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My grandparents moved to Fullerton in the 1950’s. My grandfather, James Richard Smith, attended Fullerton High School and eventually Fullerton College. I was born in Fullerton.
Although there were many different colleges to choose from in Orange County, I knew that Fullerton College had a wonderful reputation for giving students an opportunity to explore different goals, dreams and ideas. Professors included students at every level and truly integrated them into their programs which was amazing.
I was very active in the theatre department throughout my education at Fullerton College. We were a family, working together at school, rehearsing until late at night and on the weekends along with performing in many shows. I was also a cheerleader at Fullerton College.
Fullerton College provided me an opportunity to explore some of the dreams I had in my heart. From acting classes, to Shakespeare, costuming and lighting. We were exposed to all aspects of the theatre, which helped me to grow as a person and a performer. I learned leadership skills along with organizational and life skills that allowed me to pursue my dreams and eventually attend law school.
I was truly inspired by my fellow students, especially those that stepped into teaching/leadership roles. Taking guidance from my peers that were leaders within the college, was a new concept to me initially. But, working alongside them day in and day out, taught me so much about myself and my ability to become a leader. To this day, I use those experiences in my own business as I lead my employees with respect and motivation.
The most significant event was when our fellow student Bronwyn Dodson was killed. The impact it had on the entire college, theatre department, professors and students was profound. Thinking of it still takes my breath away even though it occurred in 1991. Perhaps the most profound memory I have of that time was the memorial service that the professors and students held at Fullerton College in honor of Bronwyn. It was an amazing day, honoring the life of a wonderful student leader that greatly impacted not only my life but the lives of professors and students alike. It is so fitting that the college named their theatre, The Bronwyn Dodson Theatre.
During my first year in the theatre department as a “newbie”, my professor Bob Jensen went out on a limb and cast me in the lead of Steel Magnolias. I was terrified, but his confidence in me was solid and never wavered. It was his belief in me that allowed me to succeed in that adventure and surpass all of my expectations for myself. This is really one of the fondest memories I have of Fullerton College. It may seem like such a simple gesture, but it provided me the confidence I needed at the time, which has stuck with me for the last 20+ years.
During my first year at Fullerton College when I was a cheerleader, I met some of the best friends I could ever ask for. They are still my best friends today over 20 years later! We’ve experienced a lifetime of memories together that started when we met at Fullerton College.
Get engaged and take full opportunity of what Fullerton College has to offer. It will prepare you for the amazing future that lies in front of you, which is truly limitless!
Fullerton College gave me a sense of confidence in myself that I didn’t initially have. My professors believed in me before I could ever believe in myself. I was given opportunities that I had never been given before and I thrived! I was placed into a teaching role, leading other students with the help of other student leaders. This experience was amazing and taught me so much about leadership, business and pursuing my dreams. After I graduated from Fullerton College, I pursued my Bachelor’s degree and then attended law school. In law school, I became deeply involved in student leadership and was elected secretary of the student body. After law school, I became a deputy district attorney and eventually opened up my own law firm in 2003. Today, I am partner in that law firm I founded nearly 10 years ago with a full staff of attorney’s and support staff. It truly all started at Fullerton College when I was given the opportunity to follow my dreams, work as a leader and pursue a greater future.
“It truly all started at Fullerton College when I was given the opportunity to follow my dreams, work as a leader and pursue a greater future.”
Student Leader-Theatre Arts Department
AA in Theatre Arts.