California State University, Fullerton

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Alum’s Fourth-Grade Students Are Titans in Waiting

Oct. 22, 2012

Alumnus Steve Cooley, who earned a bachelor's degree in communications in 1991, is now teaching at Fairhaven Elementary School in Santa Ana.

Along with teaching the standard fourth-grade subjects, the former public relations student has turned his students into fans of Cal State Fullerton.

"Each of our classrooms represents a college, in order to promote further education," Cooley explained. "Being that I went to CSUF, I love to represent this University to my students."

Cooley's class "adopted" his alma mater five years ago, and each new crop of students learns about what the university has to offer.

"There were three other teachers who wanted to represent CSUF, but I won out, and I am super glad I got to," he noted. "My students have had quizzes about CSUF, [such as] year established, mascot, athletics etc.."

The other day, Cooley gathered his students outside their classroom, Room 27, where they posed with CSUF banners donated to them by the Titan Bookstore.

"One cool fact is some of my students, who were 10 years old at the time, are now attending CSUF (8-12 years later). Some come back and share stories of their experience with me."

One of his former students, Jonathan DeSantiago, is now a junior at CSUF, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent studies and is an observer in his former teacher's classroom. 

Cooley cited this as "an example of what the term 'full circle' means to me. I value education and try to instill this in them, as well."

After graduating from Cal State Fullerton, he earned a master's degree in education and teaching credential. Cooley spent 15 years teaching fifth-grade students, then moved on to teaching fourth grade.

"Being a member of the Titan family is one awesome experience, and if I can, I will encourage them all to become Titans."

Cooley is also proud of that fact that this month, Fairhaven was named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Fairhaven is the first school in the Orange Unified School District to earn this distinction and is among only three Orange County schools selected this year.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools, where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of academic achievement.

By: Paula Selleck, 657-278-4856

Tags:  CommunityTitan Pride