Parting Words

Tributes to the mentors, the friends and the teachers who’ll be leaving with us
Abel Magana
Abel Magana

Metal sparks travel across the room, bouncing from wall to wall, reflecting off newly shined and polished projects. The smell of metal that fills the air is a reminder that it’s a regular day in metal shop.
But for Abel Magana, it’s a lifetime of memories. For more than 25 years, Magana has been a long-time member of the TO community.
Throughout his time as a respected teacher, Magana has come to believe strongly in understanding students’ needs and the power relationships have on student success and achievements.
“Teaching begins with a relationship and that relationship should be one-on-one, if possible,” Magana said.
Through a strong teacher-student relationship, he hoped to inspire and provide his numerous students comfort as they navigated their way through high school and transition to a post-high school path, sending them off with a strong foundation in the practical and impractical teachings of metal shop practices. Magana says that one of the most important presences in the room, aside from himself, have been his teacher assistants.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to help my TAs as they take charge of security, safety and procedures of the metal shop,” he said.
Teachers assistants aid Magana by answering students’ questions or concerns with procedures or assignments, and most importantly ensure the safety of students and themselves by carefully observing and guiding students in handling equipment correctly. Further advancing their understanding, and problem-solving skills.
Looking back and reflecting on his time at TO, he thinks fondly of his past and present students but just as easily recalls his most challenging students, and suddenly a smile forms on his face.
“Sometimes I’ll get a student that challenges me, and as their teacher, I determine their punishment,” he said. “I try to give them opportunities to change their behavior, rather than initially giving them detention.”
By doing this, Magana believes students have a higher probability of learning to avoid potential risks to themselves and other students.
Despite the challenges that arise from different classes every year, Magana said, “I’ll miss my students and the supportive administration.”
The memories and extraordinary experiences that Magana made with the community surrounding him are something that will be cherished in the minds of everyone he has impacted.
“I’ve done what I’ve come here to accomplish,” he said. “I have finished what I’ve started. Now I’m making way for new blood, young blood, young teachers to take over the mantle.”

Kerry Lyne
Kerry Lyne

For Kerry Lyne, his arrival at TOHS did not mark the beginning of the school, but more than two decades later. he still reflects back onto the school he first saw 24 years ago as if it was a dust bowl and he was a cowboy.
“Honestly, my first impression when I first came up with my wife was kind of a little dusty and a little surprised,” Lyne said. “One thing that’s really grown is that the way the campus has been beautified with all these trees and benches.”
Lyne was born and raised in Massachusetts and headed off to Bowdoin College to play football and wrestle, graduating in 1984, before attending Boston College for graduate school.
Then Lyne was off, moving from the East Coast following his schooling and off to the West Coast where he would begin his teaching career in San Diego before coming to TO in 2000, where he has been ever since.
As Lyne leaves TO as a forever mentor, he reflected on his mentors, as well.
“I would just say a lot of my memories revolve around my time with Coach (Manny) Valdez,” Lyne said. “I’ve worked with a lot of great coaches and a lot of great kids, but him and I have been working together all 24 years. He had the job before me, and he has just become a real mentor to me, and someone I really look up to.”
In addition to his time teaching various history classes over the past 24 years, Lyne was the junior varsity football head coach from the time of his arrival in 2000 until 2005, and he has also been coaching wrestling since his arrival, both in the role of head coach as well as an assistant. In his time as a wrestling coach at TO, Lyne has been fortunate to have coached nine Marmonte League Champion teams.
Lyne has also taken numerous trips to CIF in the last quarter of a century.
“In 2006, with my youngest son, Matthew, at CIF, just coaching with Coach Lyne and coaching Matthew, that was a good time,” wrestling coach Dennis Ritterbush told the Lancer.
One of Lyne’s several CIF trips brought him the opportunity to coach and work with Ritterbush. who would then take the reigns of the Lancers giving the two the opportunity to reunite.
Lyne and Ritterbush were able to win the last four Marmonte League Championships, which let Lyne go out in the best way possible, with a grand slam of league championships.
“You could always just tell from the start that he would coach you through whatever you needed, and that you would always have him by your side and in your corner,” junior wrestler Atom Wroblewski said.
Lyne was able to provide is trustworthiness and reliability to hundreds of Lancers over the course of his time in Thousand Oaks.
Aside from the hundreds of student lives inside the classroom and inside the gym that Lyne has been able to positively impact as a coach and teacher at TO, Lyne has his own life with his wife and daughter, who Lyne is excited to spend time with in retirement. His daughter just finished her freshman year of college.
“(He is looking forward to) travel, hanging with his family, spending more time on the East Coast when he can,” Ritterbush said.
“And coming back here and helping coach wrestling when he’s able to get out here.”

Jaleen Murphy
Jaleen Murphy

Jaleen Murphy has been a beloved teacher and coach for the Thousand Oaks Dance Department. For more than three decades, Murphy has poured her heart out and shared her wisdom to thousands of people and years of generations.
After 33 years of hard work, Murphy has a few ideas on what she wants to do with her time now that it isn’t being spent in the dance room.
“I plan on being a devoted grandma to my 14, soon to be 15 grandkids,” she said. “Spending a lot of time with them to grow relationships and help teach them values of life. I want to travel as much as my husband and I are able. I have not done very much travel due to the commitment here with the done program.”
And finally, she said, “I plan to devote more service and time to my church responsibilities.”
Over the years, Murphy has spent her time and dedication to multiple jobs inside the dance program. Murphy has served as the head coach of the Varsity dance team as well as teaching different classes of everything she knows, and she knows a lot. Murphy does an endless amount of jobs that probably go unnoticed by most.
“I hope the dancers under my direction and teachings will know they can do hard things,” she said. “And that any progress takes work, commitment and consistency. They can relay this to any part of their future.”
Aside from all the hardships that pile up from her job, Murphy finds many moments of pride that make the hard work worth it.
“Each concert is a moment of pride as you see the growth of each student no matter the class level they are in,” Murphy said. “Beginners are a significant source of joy/pride because they have to learn and trust the process so they are ready for performing. Growing the program so we are highly competitive in the dance world and able to take home national titles.”

Jen Smith
Jen Smith

Jen Smith, or Mama Smith, as she is known throughout campus, has been a part of TO for more than three decades and is now approaching her final “senior year.” As we delve into her favorite and least favorite parts of TO, we have to start in the classroom.
Throughout her time at TO as a respected teacher, her classroom has witnessed many passionate and heartfelt moments, ranging from school conflicts to meaningful interactions.
“Being the corner room you hear a lot of stuff going on,” Smith said. “It is just action-packed right on this corner, and the language that comes out of students’ mouths, it’s wild. Whoever gets this room next year will be just interesting.”
One touching experience was her close bond with a student whose mother had been battling breast cancer.
“There was this girl, Jenny Kent, and my youngest son was friends with her in kindergarten, and her mom and I became friends,” Smith said. “When Jenny was in 9th grade, her mom got breast cancer, so her mom called Mrs. Oliveri, and requested Jenny be put in my class, so I could just check in on her once and a while. She became my TA and she would sit right next to my desk and we had a close connection. I felt like a second mom.”
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Smith has touched the hearts of Lancers every day, and she said they have touched hers since the very start of her career. In addition to her classroom duties, Smith has been an active part of programs such as ELD and the Christian Athletes Association.
“I’ve been an ELD teacher for many years,” Smith said. “I like to encourage and just be with those students who are just trying to make it in America by trying to help them personally or academically with their English.”
Next to her students, she takes immense pride in her son, Connor Smith, who is following in her footsteps as an English teacher at TO.
“It’s been fun working alongside him,” Smith said. “What’s cute is, I never say anything like, ‘My son works here,’ but he’s always like, ‘Hey, Mama Smith.’ It’s just funny. He’s a great kid and he reminds me of me when I was young, getting involved. It’s just fun for me leaving knowing that he is going to be carrying on the fun, dedication and care.”
As Smith reflects on her 31 years at TO, she recalls and cherishes the strong bonds among the teachers and the profound connections she has formed with her students.
“It’s nice knowing that I put so much of my heart and soul into this school for 31 years and my family will continue the legacy,” Smith said. “I feel like I’ve just enjoyed the spirit among the teachers and all the fun we have had. I will miss that dearly.”
In her final days at TO, she looks ahead with anticipation to her family continuing her legacy.

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About the Contributors
Jake Bradley, Sports Editor
Becca Glaubke, Assistant Features Editor
Julia Pineda-Dominguez, The Lancer Staff