There’s no doubt that the faculty and staff at Alverno Heights Academy are a group of compassionate, intelligent, committed, and creative individuals. Every day they come to work and dedicate themselves to our mission of empowering each young woman to be exactly the person she wants to be. While they do their jobs with the utmost professionalism and dedication, they do like to have a little fun and share a little more of their personalities with our students and our community as a whole. We hope you enjoy a new series of blogs about some of these fun personalities and their own stories!
From Teacher to Colleague to Friend
A Blog by Ms. Corrine Jimenez, Theology Department
In 1978, I was a senior at Sacred Heart of Mary, an all-girl Catholic high school, in Montebello, CA (Sacred Heart of Mary and Cantwell High School merged in 1991 to form what is now Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary). One of my favorite classes was titled “Nations in Conflict.” Each student received a copy of Newsweek magazine. The magazine provided in depth analysis of worldwide news. We had an amazing teacher who was engaging and knowledgeable. Her enthusiasm for politics was contagious! I recall reading and discussing the conflicts in Israel and Anwar Sadat, the Muslim president of Egypt, and Menachem Begin, the Israeli Prime Minister of Israel coming together in peace. We took this class very seriously, yet were given freedom by our teacher to have fun. Yasser Arafat was a Palestinian leader at that time and we would all sing “Yasser that’s my baby. No sir don’t mean maybe, Yasser that’s my baby now.” Parodying an Eddie Cantor song from the 1920’s. Sometimes we would practice saying Menachem Begin’s name with a harsh sound on the “ach,” which usually resulted in us spitting on one another. Mostly we sat around skimming through the magazine to gather information about world events at the time. Our teacher would go into detail about events and answer our sometimes silly questions patiently. She taught us that it was important to be informed not just on local politics but on politics on the national stage as well.
Jimmy Carter was running for President of the United States at this time. I can’t quite remember the details but our teacher got us all fired up about the election. Now this is no easy task when you are high school girls who were much more interested in trivial things like school dances and the Cantwell High School boys, whose school was across the street and the boys from various other high schools who lined the street waiting for us after school. Our classroom window looked out toward “boys galore boulevard” and our teacher often had to compete for our attention at the end of the day. Somehow she was able to get our attention back to the upcoming election. Several of us campaigned for Jimmy Carter at his local headquarters and others went door to door passing out last minute flyers. I was in the latter group. My best friend, Alma Martinez, was in the first group and committed much of her time to working on Jimmy Carter’s campaign. After high school, she attended UCLA and graduated with a degree in Political Science. Alma later went onto to work for then State Assemblywoman, Gloria Molina. She continued her career with Molina, serving as her chief of staff when Molina became an L.A. City Councilwoman, and again, in 1991, when Molina became a member of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, overseeing the first supervisorial district.
Alma and I speak of our “Nations in Conflict” course fondly to this day. I loved the class because I love learning and was in awe of the knowledge of our wonderful teacher. Alma loved it because it ignited a spark in her that lead to her passion of being an activist in her community. Both of us agree that this teacher was our favorite and her class to be life changing. Who was this incredibly gifted woman? None other than Alverno Heights Academy’s own Ms. Denise Tymon.
This was not my first encounter with Ms. Tymon. My sophomore year of high school I left Sacred Heart of Mary due to poor grades. I attended the local public high school for a semester. I was devastated that I had to leave my school and friends. During this time, Ms. Tymon sent me a plant and a letter of encouragement. I was so thankful for her reaching out to me. I returned to Sacred Heart of Mary during my junior year with much begging on my part and I was able to thank her again and let know how much her kind gesture meant to me. I still have that letter today and is considered one of my “treasures.” Denise is also the reason I am here at Alverno. She is the one who let me know via Facebook that there was a theology position available. Over the past four years, I have had the pleasure of working with my favorite high school teacher–now how cool is that! Thank you Denise Tymon for being a motivator, guide and positive role model…and friend!
Ms. Corrine Jimenez is a member of the Theology Department at Alverno Heights Academy. This is her 3rd year at Alverno Heights Academy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from California State University Los Angeles and has a Master Catechist Certificate from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. She currently teaches Spiritual Life, Ecclesiology, Christian Lifestyles, and World Religions. In her free time, Ms. Jimenez enjoys shopping at thrift shops and flea markets and enjoying the sights and sounds of Los Angeles.