La Verne Magazine
"Education in La Verne"
Booze ... A Little Goes A Long Way at Bonita
by Jeannette Gano
photography by Ian Gratz
Standing and delivering his message, Bonita High School instructor David
Booze, student-oriented yet highly organized, walks fourth period Honors
Calculus students through the concept of digits and calculations. Though
quite casual and down-to-earth in demeanor, the math teacher is a favorite
among students for his humor and compassion. Aside from teaching in the
classroom, Booze also coaches the Bonita High boys' varsity basketball
team on the court.
"Booze is the only answer." Not a typical quote for a high
school classroom, but appropriate for a specific math class at Bonita High
David Booze is the teacher of that class, and his work as an educator
and varsity basketball coach at the school has impacted many young lives.
His desk is neatly organized, with its only clutter being a large notepad
filled with doodles and notes left by students. On the wall, a sticker reads:
"Booze is the only answer." There are several pictures and notes
hanging beside his desk, each given to him by grateful students from past
Four rows of desks face forward, directing students' attention to an
overhead projector where Mr. Booze stands. It is third period, and all but
two desks are filled with second-year algebra students. Only one student
sits at the front of the class, separated from others, as he has been disrupting
another student. He is not being punished, says Booze, but "is being
given the opportunity to succeed."
Booze teaches this course, calculus and sports PE. He has high expectations
for each of his students. In class, he expects their attention, and, for
the most part receives it.
As he stands aside the projector, Booze writes information for students
to copy. He assigns a sample problem and walks through the classroom aisles
to assure that each student can execute the necessary moves to understand
and attain the correct answer. He stops at a desk to guide a student doubtful
of her answer; later, he wraps up the lesson to assign the homework assignment.
Booze loves working with young people because "they have their
whole lives in front of them; they are so open minded."
But his students make as much an impact on his life as he does in their
own. He remembers his former students' names and can pinpoint where each
of them sat in his class. Many of them have returned to the classroom, taking
a new seat in the room when they visit him. Often, current students come
into his room during lunch to say hello or to eat lunch with him.
The math teacher says he respects his students with the hope that they
respect him in turn. He lists students with after school detention on the
chalkboard, and prefers to refer to the detention hour as, "getting
to visit with me for a big party after school."
Back in the classroom, the bell ending third period rings. Students
pack their books; some call out, "Later, Mr. Booze," as they make
their way to the next period. Just before the next bell, a few students
drop in to buy sodas from Booze. He sells them to help raise money for the
Fourth period calculus students arrive, filling fewer seats than the
previous class. The students object to their upcoming quiz, but Booze ignores
their pleas and instructs them to begin. At the end of the quiz, one student
exclaims, "You know, I really don't like math." The apathetic
teacher sarcastically tells the student that he is deeply hurt and offended
by such a comment. Students laugh, and class moves on.
Booze says he does not have a teaching philosophy, but that he just
teaches. He has taught for a total of 12 years, the last 10 of which have
been at Bonita. Booze says he knew he wanted to be a math teacher since
taking a geometry class during his junior year of high school. He is also
aware that many students find math difficult, and that most do not like
it. But the same students find the subject easier to tolerate with Booze
as their teacher. Christy Nicholas, a calculus student who has also had
second year Algebra with Booze says, "He makes math fun; he's organized.
I've definitely learned a lot from him." Says sophomore Emily Gordon,
"He's a fun teacher, and his math makes sense."
The same reaction is received from his basketball team members. Anthony
Estrada says that, as a teacher, "he is really good because he devotes
most of his time to bettering the students." As a coach, Booze "is
constantly looking for new ideas to help the team and constantly working
on ways to improve his coaching abilities," adds Estrada.
"The past 10 years have been really enjoyable; they have just flown
by. I hope to teach for many more years; I really enjoy watching the students
grow and progress through the years," says Booze. "I look forward
to having past students visit with me years after they have left my classroom
to see how their lives have changed, and how they are doing."
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