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My parents moved to Fullerton in 1955 and purchased the home I was to be raised in on El Dorado Dr. I was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital as St. Jude’s was being constructed at the time. My childhood memories include spending most daylight hours playing in the Chapman orange groves which stretched from my backyard to Spadra (Harbor).
I attended St. Mary’s Elementary School through fifth grade. St. Mary’s has since closed its doors. I mention this as you will see a reoccurring theme. I next attended Ford Elementary for my sixth grade year. Ford closed its doors as well. My next school adventure took place at Wilshire Jr. High. And yes, it closed shortly after I graduated. I am happy to say that my high school, Fullerton Union, still stands and currently educates 2 of my nieces and a nephew. I attended Loyola Marymount University as a pre-med major directly after high school. After seeing that acceptance to medical school was next to impossible (4 of 37 in my cohort made it first try) I changed my major to Liberal Studies and transferred to CSUF. From there I graduated with 2 teaching credentials, BA and MA. My first teaching job was in my good old home town too – Woodcrest Elementary. This has more personal relevance as I taught alongside 3 of my wife’s elementary school teachers at Woodcrest. I then accepted a teaching job in Corona and sadly moved out of the high-priced North Orange County area.
My high school sweetheart, Elli, and I have been married 34 years and have been blessed with 3 natural children and 3 granddaughters to date. In 1978, while sitting teary-eyed watching a Special Olympics event in Fullerton High School’s stadium, we made a commitment to bring a child with Down syndrome into our family. That came to fruition not once but three times as we adopted 3 beautiful angels into our family.
Fast forward to the year 2000. This is the year that I returned to my Fullerton roots and was hired as a faculty member at Fullerton College. I taught the special support classes for students with disabilities for nearly 8 years. This was very rewarding and watching the success of our disabled students was special. The highlight of every year was (and still is) watching our students walk in the commencement ceremonies. My first year at FC saw less than 10 DSS students graduate and now that number has exceeded 70 for the last several years. 6 years ago I accepted the director position at DSS and over 2 years ago I took on the directorship of the Veterans Resource Center. I feel extremely fortunate and honored to be able to serve these two wonderful groups of students.
As I approach the end of my current career at FC, I can say that I will take with me many memories of serving students and working closely with some wonderful colleagues. Thank you Fullerton College community for accepting me and allowing me to contribute to the legacy!