(3 Total References)
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.
, who is leaving the school this year , helped Garcia with her
Teacher Heidi Cooley
was already weepy last week when she
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
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
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
My philosophy is once I'm their teacher , I'm always their teacher , Cooley
Caps , 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
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.