La Verne Magazine
"Education in La Verne"
From the Editor...
by Araceli Esparza
Memories: splattering bright paint outside the lines and disguising
a drawing of a butterfly; greeting little people just like myself as I first
entered my classroom; and sitting before the small television screen, with
a bowl overflowing with Cocoa Puffs and milk in hand, to learn English from
Big Bird and the Sesame Street gang. Each memory is a flashback to my first
experience of education, when I stepped out into the world to share my life
with other 3-5 year old children of Lil' Toots Preschool.
That was the beginning of my admiration for teachers. I remember the
afternoon my preschool teacher gently tucked me underneath my Care Bears
towel just before I shut my eyes for nap time. I still possess that towel,
now somewhat worn and faded. But every time I grasp it between my fingers,
I still envision the warming smile of that young teacher.
Kindergarten through eighth grades also created their own reflections
of my past. Each of my teachers was encouraging in his or her own way. When
I drew a picture of Mickey Mouse as a fourth grade art project art project,
my teacher displayed the drawing in the principal's office. And when hesitant
teardrops welled in the eyes of my teachers on the last day of every school
year, I was reassured that I could always come back to visit. For the time
being, I was continuing to grow as a person. I was beginning to realize
what a blessing each teacher bestowed upon my life and admired their adult-like
ways and confidence.
The experience of high school was much the same, if not more influential.
For about four months, I lost track of my direction in life; I especially
lost sight of what I wanted for myself. But remarkable Bishop Amat teachers
like Ronald Woolsey and Marcus Lewis became more than adult-like educators.
Each had become a mentor and friend. Both believed in me and in my ability
to succeed. And it was through their faith that I, at last, found my future.
Most importantly, I found myself in their shoes.
The road I had traveled was immediately repaved with a new vision --
to carry on the confidence and perseverance that my teachers had implemented
in me and, in turn, to contribute those efforts toward educating others.
I could see myself holding a thin stick of chalk, directing students in
the same way that Mr. Woolsey and Mr. Lewis had done.
That is part of what attracted me to this small, family town of La Verne.
Beyond its University stood people -- educators -- who have also become
unforgettable friends like Mr. Woolsey and Mr. Lewis. Neither their titles
nor their positions as professors could prevent them from becoming mentors
and sources of guidance to me.
And now I, too, am preparing to be a teacher to the same world that
educated and inspired me. Like my days of sitting before the Sesame Street
gang to learn English, I hope to be a nurturer to those who are our future.
For those lost or confused, I seek to be a reliable source of confidence
and guidance. And to those who seek assurance for themselves, my goal is
to be like the preschool teacher who tucked me under that Care Bears towel
... and started my love for those who nurture others.
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