Desks, markers, and books! Oh my!

Ashley Lord, Features Editor

At the end of this school year, AP teacher Paul Magness will retire. For those who do not know Magness, he can be recognized as the guy that supervises at lunch wearing his brightly colored sunglasses. Students and faculty will no doubt miss Magness after he retires at the end of the year.

Magness is glad to be finally retiring, but he is sentimental about leaving.

“I think I’m making the right decision about retiring, but when I hear people talking about next year… I know I’m going to be missing out on that,” Magness said.

Students will be disappointed to see Magness leave.

“I’m sad this is his last year,” Hayley Garcia, a senior in Magness’s AP Government class said.

Magness does not express any plans for the time after his retirement. He just wants to take it easy for a while.

“I don’t have any plans; I’m not pressured. . .I’m just going to hang out for a while and then decide what to do,” Magness said.

Magness has taught a total of 35 years. He taught in Apple Valley, California and moved to Whittier High School before finally coming to La Serna. While in Apple Valley, he taught actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., who played the character Radio in the movie Radio, among other roles.

[He was] in [the] first class I ever taught. He sat in the front row,” Magness said.

He coached track for a while and realized he liked the job.

“I always liked working with kids,” he said.

Magness has experience teaching Government, Economics, and Algebra I. He also taught classes with the Language Development program, but overall, Magness has preferred to teach Government and Economics. His favorite part about teaching is working with students.

“I like my colleagues and I like the people that I work for but I most like working with the kids,” Magness said.

He also spent some time as an AP reader. Magness applied for the job because he was curious about how it worked. He does not find it hard, but he admits it is tedious and a lot of reading. Magness believes his time as an AP reader gave him a good learning experience.

Magness believes himself to be boring, but his actions in class definitely prove otherwise. Magness takes a page out of the animated book. Anyone who has had Paul Magness as a teacher can recall his exclamations, loud bangs, or a sudden marker or book flying across the room. There was even a rumor about a flying desk.

“I think we’re all influenced by teachers that we’ve had in our own lives, whether it be the third grade or high school or college. You don’t want to do anything that is out of character for you, but you are always influenced by the people that are interesting [or] mean most. People who were animated. Those are the teachers that I appreciated the most, so I kind of pattern myself after that,” Magness said.

Students can appreciate his loud reminders to stay awake and pay attention in classes like Economics or Government that normally seem dull.

“Honestly, he’s one of the coolest teachers I’ve had. . . He’s straight with us. He tells us what we need to know. . . [but] he’s very playful,” Garcia said. Garcia loves Magness’s humor the most and appreciates his relaxed and laid-back attitude in class. Another senior in his AP Government class, Briana Ortiz, enjoys Magness’s enthusiasm in class as well.

Magness has achieved the impossible and made those classes fun. Many students wonder about broken markers that soar across the classroom and how many he uses.

“I don’t know. I have enough. Fortunately, they give me enough that I can get through the year,” he said.

There is one memory Magness has that really stuck in his mind. While timing a football game one year at La Serna, the football team played a school that did not have many fans in their section of the crowd and La Serna’s crowd was filled. During the game, a football player from the other team was injured.

“It was a horrible injury. The bone was sticking out of his leg. It was horrible to see,” Magness said.

The entire La Serna student body saw the player being taken off the field with the ambulance.

“The [La Serna] kids started spontaneously chanting his number in support of him. It was a real moving and emotional thing. He raised his fist and gave us the thumbs up. We got a letter from the principal saying it was the classiest thing he’d ever seen high school kids do,” Magness said.

Magness’s character is kind and he is a man who is willing to help others.

“He reviews almost every day about the lessons we’ve already learned in class. He goes in depth in order for us to actually understand and it’s not in so technical terms,” Ortiz said.

His kind and helpful character is reflected by his job as a teacher who helps students learn and by his second career choice which was to be a doctor.

“I think it’d be great to be able to help people. [To] save lives,” Magness said.