by CATHERINE PHAM
special to 92131 Magazine

Life Lessons

Throughout high school, even since my freshman year, I’ve been incredibly lucky and grateful to have teachers who were both creative, effective instructors that valued their students’ understanding and success, as well as welcoming, trustworthy listeners who were always ready to give thoughtful advice and guidance.

I didn’t know I actually disliked math until junior year, when I was no longer lucky enough to learn from Mr. Tsui. His class was always fun and captivating, which is so rare when it comes to polynomial functions and permutations, and he never rushed his explanations and lessons, always taking the time to answer each individual student question and keeping his room open each day for additional tutoring.

My 9th and 12th grade English teacher, Ms. Scalero, has always been someone I could turn to, whether I needed a final edit for a poem or essay, or someone to vent to about all my fears and hopes about the future. Her classes are notoriously difficult, but they have also been the most eye-opening, exposing us to Chinua Achebe and One Day In the Life of Ivan Ilyich when we were only 14, a time when we were just beginning to question history and humanity, and could do so intensely through writing and literature. And all the years in between her English 1-2 and AP Lit, I could always stop by her classroom and just talk, whether about Gone Girl or my constant internal debates about what I wanted to do and become.

Ultimately, I will miss my teachers the most when I leave in a few months – their boundless kindness, unforgettable wisdom, and unyielding support – but I know that they’ll make an impact on countless other current and future Falcons.


Catherine Pham is a senior at Scripps Ranch High School. She is participating in an internship program with 92131 Magazine.