California Educator

December 2012

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A LEG UP ON THE CAREER LADDER GLORIOUS STORIES OF CLASSROOM SUCCESS B Y S H E R RY P O S N I C K - G O O D W I N PHOTOS BY SCOTT BUSCHMAN Good news abounds in California public schools. These pages contain just a few examples of outstanding teaching by CTA members... and of the achievements of our students. ���I was thrilled to see him in uniform,��� says Margaret Fujisawa of Jake Hodges. ���I was just so proud.��� Margaret Fujisawa, who runs Culver City High School���s College and Career Center, was very surprised during a fire drill when a firefighter turned to her ��� and waved. From across the school yard she recognized Jake Hodges, a former student. She tears up as she recalls the moment she realized his dreams had come true, thanks in part to her support. ���I was so thrilled to see him in uniform,��� she says. ���I was just so proud.��� In 2001, when Hodges was a sophomore, she approached him on the school yard and handed him a flier about a weekend firefighter academy program for high school students run in cooperation with West Los Angeles College and the Los Angeles Fire Department. ���If you are interested, come and see me,��� she said. He signed up. And when he went to his classes, she was there. ���I had to be there for my students,��� explains Fujisawa, Association of Classified Employees Culver City. ���I took attendance. I interviewed students, walked with the captains and did what I needed to do, like inspecting students��� uniforms before lineup.����� Hodges took beginning, intermediate and advanced courses at the academy. He also participated in the high school���s ���job shadow program,��� including a ���ride-along��� with members of the Culver City Fire Department. ���The academy offered rigorous training,��� says Hodges, a firefighter and paramedic for five years now. ���We studied theory. We worked with hose lines and ladders and did marching drills. It made me focused and prepared.��� Fujisawa gave him Oh, he Places You���ll Go!, a book by Dr. Seuss that encourages youngsters to follow their dream, when he graduated in 2004. (It is still on his bookcase.) He enrolled in El Camino Community College���s Firefighter Academy. He took a series of eligibility tests, and Fujisawa helped coach him for job interviews by giving tips such as ���make eye contact��� and ���smile.��� He was hired by the Los Angeles Fire Department at the age of 20; he now works for the Culver City Fire Department. ���Mrs. Fujisawa deinitely had an impact on me. She helped me ind my career. It���s never boring, the people are great, and I get to make a diference, helping people in the city where I grew up.��� December 2012 ��� January 2013 11

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