My Educational History
The date was May 31, 1990. It was a muggy and slightly overcast evening sitting there on the lawn at C.S.U.S.'s athletic field. Basically I was sitting in a sea of black gowns and funny looking hats, you guessed it, it was graduation night! It took a long time to get there, perhaps too long! Yes it was a long journey, and this is what I can remember about getting there!
The early years - grades K-6 - P.S. 117, Jamaica -Queens, New York:
P.S. stands for public school. Honestly I do not remember most of these years. I'm not going to lie to you, I was a lousy student! My attendance was good, and most likely my behavior was less than, how can I say it, less than perfect? I came from a single parent household, no dad and a deaf mom. I remember Mrs. Brill and Mrs. Firestone where my kindergarten teachers, past that it is pretty much a blank. My mom was a night shift worker for Ideal Toys. I never saw her until the weekend, and if your wondering, yes I was a latchkey kid.
Education was not highly placed as it was in other homes, basically I forged my moms name on a library application just to take out some books. I never really had good grades and generally got yelled at if I came home with a bad report card, go figure! One good thing about school then was, if we studied the American Revolution, we went to the places where it happened! Not having many memories of grade school still bothers me, perhaps it might be better this way.
The middle years - grades 7 + 8 - P.S. 217 Van Wyck Junior High School
My memory of school basically starts here. It was cool to finally get rid of those horrible black boards and go to a place with green boards. Now times were a changing! Many of my teachers took time off of work to march with Dr. Martin Luther King. This change reflected in their teaching styles as they attempted to pass the torch of equality to us. I still remember Mr. Wahls who used to work for Mad Magazine, he was a great social studies teacher. I really did like the idea of focusing on subjects separately. Perhaps it was a good mix of teachers that really made me turn around? Mr. Catchatori taught Spanish, he spoke 5 languages including his native language Italian. Our classes were like mini United Nations sessions. Our classes were cultural melting pots that shared their cultures openly and peacefully. One of the many Arab-Israelie wars were raging at the time when classes consisted of Julia (from Israel) and twin brothers Gamel and Gallal from Aribia. It was too short of a time to spend in such a great place. Learning was now exciting!
The higher years - grade 9 - Jamaica High School
I only spent a half year here, but that was a rather packed half year. High School was cool! I got to take the subway to school! I lived on 144th Street, and Jamaica HS was on 187th Street. It was much safer to walk the 43 blocks, which I did most days. On the walk from the subway I passed placards that denoted this was the site of a civil war ammo storage, civil war hospital, battle of Long Island site, overall I passed history every day which drew me into the history and feeling of what had happened there in the past.
As with cases still today, my mom purchased a house on Long Island as part of the white flight of the day. Civil unrest was happening all over, and our move to the Island was no change overall. As I will note later, the Lt. Colonel who placed me in my first Air Force job also went to this High School.
The new highest years - grades 9-12 - Malverne High School
Notables to come out of Malverne HS, would you believe Tony Danza? Scarey isn't it! Main memories: race riots, being forced to play the tuba, 2 years of Latin (yeck), teacher strikes (yes no exams), region exams, lots of friends, discovering jazz music and girls. I was actually a pretty good student, I lived across the street from the school and basically rolled out of bed right into school. This was a time when I had discovered my role models were teachers. My science teacher James Lawerence (birthday June,2 - yes I still remember) was a breaded long haired teacher that took a group of us misfits and enabled us to enjoy learning. Sonja Cashdan was our English teacher streight from Texas with a heavy accent and all. Mr. Zaccaro taught social studies and drove a cab in nearby Lynbrook in the evenings. I had a first year teacher, Mr. Michael Banks, he had a horrible nasally voice and always mispronounced my last name. He retired last year after 30 years in the school district. Many of my teachers stayed for 30 years putting up with us rude, smelly, foul, lying kids. Why did they do that? I guess I saw this in them as they taught, they enjoyed teaching, and it reflected in their lessons.
In case your wondering if my school was a white bread world, think again. Go click on the link above for my school and you'll see a school with about the same racial makeup as it was when I left in 1972. The Vietnam war was will still going strong and college was for those who could afford it. I had no way to afford college except to join the military and hopefully live long enough to enjoy the G.I. Bill.
Military history -
I joined the Air Force at the age of 17. I was paid $68.00 a week not counting $1.00 a day for combat/TDY pay.
U.S.A.F. - 1972 - 1976
U.S.N.R. - 1976 - 1978
U.S.A.F. - 1978 - 1982
U.S.A.R. - 1982 - 1984
I mention my military service as part of my education simply because I had a chance to live all over the world during my 11 1/2 years of service. You can read about living in foreign lands, but it is nothing like living that dream at all! Try asking for something as simple as a soda in the back roads of Asia!
Nassau Commmunity College
I finally got to live my dream and go to college! My veterans benefits did not actually kick in soon enough, so I had to scramble to raise 500 plus dollars to pay for college. Years of not going to school took it's toll. I gladly took remedial courses to get back into school. By the way, this college used to be Mitchell Field, an old Air Force base. My memories from here were getting lots of parking tickets, meeting old high school friends who I had no idea who they were, but they remembered me. At this point I had met my wife Jean (now married for 25 years) I was working full time and going to Navy Reserve meetings twice a month. I continued classes until I returned to the Air Force in 1978.
American River College - Associate Degree
After being discharged from Beale AFB in Marysville, I moved to North Highlands and settled into civilian life. I applied to ARC to continue my education. I can not say I enjoyed school there except for one teacher Mr. Sam Ackerman. Mr. Ackerman made math fun. He wore horrible plaid shorts and had boney and hairy legs, but this man had a passion for math. If not for him I would have never felt good about math again! Looking back the overall quality of teachers were poor to forgotten.
California State University, Sacramento - Bachelors Degree 1990
Not just because I am turning in my MA here, I really enjoyed my years at CSUS! My most memorable teachers are Richard Bay and Leo Eylar. Mr. Bay still is at CSUS and most likely still keeps his students amazed with his talents. My son even remembers my enjoyment in Rich's classes. The other execptional teacher is no longer at CSUS. Leo Eylar drove down from the Oakland Hills each day. He lost his house in that huge fire and still kept on going. Leo taught the upperdivision music classes. The man was an honor student from UCLA and was a good friend. We had arguments about music, I once went back to visit him and there he was showing a film about Theolonious Monk whom he had said he would never show after I suggested it. That is the great thing about teaching, you always need to be open to new ideas even if you don't agree with them at first.
National University, Sacramento Teaching credential & CLAD
I really wanted to go through the teaching program at CSUS, but an impacted program has limited slots, and two years of waiting drove me to look elsewhere. I knew I wanted to be a teacher after subbing for a while in the Rio Linda schools. I had no other choice but to drain my families savings and get my teaching credential at National University. Taking a class a month really limits what you can do or learn within any class. National put a drain on our resources and my time. I would not recommend this route unless you are ready to follow a monthly class schedule and pay out lots of money.
California State University, Sacramento - iMET Masters Program
This is my current place in history. iMET is an internet masters in education and technology. I first heard about iMET about two years before I started the program. I used to send Dr. Larry Hannah notes bugging him to get into the program. This is a rather intense 18 month program with a masters degree at the end for those who make it through. We had some intense projects, and met some intense people along the way. Incase you have just stumbled on this page (and were brave enough to read this far) then I will let you know who has ventured in as our guides during this journey: Dr. Bruce McVicker, Dr. Mike Menchaca, Mary-Anne Pomerleau, Dr. Larry Hannah. These people have become our mentors, babysitters, decission makers, guardian angels and what have you. They have put up with countless mac versus ibm fights and of course they can never make all 24 of us happy! They are what I hope to be one day.... fantastic educators!
I am going to be honest with you, a program like iMET is not for the lighthearted. They just do not give you your masters degree, believe me they make you earn it! Nothing worth having should be easy anyways, fun yes, easy nope! I hate to say it but I really do not want this program to end. I have missed only one class in the last 18 months, and I am a special needs child in most cases (not to mention a trouble maker), but if asked to do it all over again............yes I would (but perhaps later okay I need a long rest right now!).