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SANTA ANA VALLEY High School
Valley High School in Santa Ana
University of California , Irvine
A beginning? An end? It's graduation time
SANTA ANA VALLEY High School teacher Heidi Cooley hugs the class valedictorian , Mayra Garcia , before graduation Wednesday at the Santa Ana Bowl.Cooley , who is leaving the school this year , helped Garcia with her speech.Teacher Heidi Cooley was already weepy last week when she dismissed her seniors row by row for the last time.The Advanced Placement English students insisted that she do so - just like she did at the start of the year.Only this time , they hugged her one by one as they left.This time of the year is always emotional for Cooley , a teacher for seven years , including four at Valley and one as district teacher of the year.But this year is especially tough because it's her last.Next year , Cooley will work on her doctorate at the University of California , Irvine.It's really hard.So many of them I won't get to see again , Cooley said.Cooley checked caps and gowns before students entered the field.She scouted out familiar faces among the sea of blue gowns , finding edgy valedictorian Mayra Garcia , who Cooley helped with her speech.And she found Melissa Vasquez.While students waited on the field , Cooley listened to muffled speeches in the shade behind the goal post.She likes to sit there so she can see kids one last time as they walk out.After a two-hour ceremony , Cooley stood at the field's edge where students were filing out row by row , just like they had in her class.And just like she had last week , Cooley's eyes welled up as she squeezed students.At the end , she hugged Vasquez - one of her first students.My philosophy is once I'm their teacher , I'm always their teacher , Cooley said.Graduation memoriesCaps , gowns , smiles and cameras.Here's a chance to share your memories with classmates and friends across Orange County.The Orange County Register and MyOC.com are gathering 2001 graduation photos for publication in the newspaper and online.
HOT Inspires Aspiring Teachers and Struggling Students
Heidi Cooley , an English teacher at Valley High School in Santa Ana , explained that the merit of the HOT program exceeds the extra focus placed on humanities in the curriculum.The reason I'm excited about HOT is that I think it's beneficial for my students to be in contact with college students because it makes them think of engaging in a college level of dialogue , Cooley said.Having the university or the UC system be more real to them makes the college experience more relevant to them..The value of this is that it will help them have an argument and substantiate it with notations from their text and outside texts , Cooley said , explaining that these skills will carry into their futures.Another student in Cooley's class , Aquela De Beneditto , 17 , hopes to be a lawyer and feels that the HOT program is helping her get closer to her goal.I really benefit from the HOT program , it gives me a lot of ideas and really helps me with my writing and public speaking skills , De Beneditto said.They help us create better ways of presenting an argument.You can't just say something without backing it up-you have to back it up in a formal manner in your presentation.They help us organize our points..De Beneditto also credited her HOT mentor Danny Elmakawi , third-year history and philosophy double major , for helping her learn from new perspectives.
Heidi Cooley, an English teacher at Valley High, has high praise for the program.After exposure to H.O.T., her students "love to engage in intellectual discussions, posing questions/assertions and challenging their peers...no longer are they timid in expressing their ideas." Aristotle and Shakespeare would approve.