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Louise Phelps Shamblen
My memories of Fullerton College go back to when I first entered Fullerton High School in 1953. Most of the kids going to the Fullerton Junior College, “across the street”, still came to the high school cafeteria for lunch. As a freshman, these students all seemed so much older, but by my senior year, having them eat in our cafeteria, was a wonderful way to keep in touch with many graduated friends.
My first class at the J.C. was in the summer of 1958, after my freshman year of college. I took one of my basic education classes in summer school in an attempt to graduate from college in three years.
My second enrollment at what had become Fullerton College was in 1983. In the 1970’s, I had been a 5th grade teacher for seven years in Brea. However, after 3 surgeries on both knees I found I was unable to stand unaided and had to use metal crutches and sometimes a wheel chair. I was going through a divorce and the school district informed me I could not return to teaching until I could stand unaided. My future looked pretty bleak to me. I heard Fullerton College had a testing program to help students find new careers. The school also offered handicapped parking, guidance center and ease of admission. So, in middle age, I was going back to school full time. It was very empowering and the classes I took at Fullerton College were outstanding. I especially enjoyed the classes from Dr. Joyce Morton, who was an inspiration to me and many of the other women going through similar problem. It was during the early years of computers and her classes and others that I took at Fullerton College opened new opportunities for me. As it turned out, after another surgery on both knees in 1985, I was able to return to teaching. Fullerton School District hired me as a 3rd-4th grade GATE teacher at Hermosa Drive School, even though I was still using a cane. I did not end up with a career in computers, but I did learn enough basic knowledge to stay interested in computers and enjoy them still today.
I am very thankful that Fullerton College is in my hometown. It offers opportunities for change and advancement for students of all ages. The school helped me in a scary time in my life and gave me the confidence to keep learning and explore new careers choices.