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Ed’s constant encouragement reminds me of the recent Platinum Study, which debunks the notion that getting into an Ivy League school is the only path to success. This study (and many others) reflect that the personal ambition and drive of a student are far more influential in his or her eventual success than what school was attended. (Not so ironically, both Ed and I graduated from Long Beach State.) Having someone like Ed keep me on a good path until I was able to fly on my own was foundational for the success I have had in my professional career, which includes starting and growing Russell & Lazarus into the legal powerhouse that we are now. Ed was called into the priesthood soon after I graduated from college and was transferred up to St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, California, where he has been an institution in the community ever since. On May 7th, when National Teacher’s Day is being celebrated, I will be thinking of and saying " The problem with “potential” ... is that it is nothing unless you have someone who can help you to turn it into something, and Ed was that someone for me."
had potential, but my homework habits were just short of deplorable. I could usually skate through most things with my God-given abilities. The problem with “potential” as a kid is that it is nothing unless you have someone who can help you to turn it into something, and Ed was that someone for me. What added to my troubles was a “new system” of learning that they were experimenting with at Pius X: the Model Schools program. It was a “learn at your own pace” system where the students decided when and how they learned the material and took the tests. Can you think of a worse system for a 13-year-old, semi- smart, social butterfly with poor work habits? I was in hog heaven! My desire to have fun with all of my football pals, including Steve Morasse and Alex Krywenko (both currently work in the same suite as I do in Newport Beach), pushed schoolwork to the bottom of my priority list. Ed saw that and knew the Model Schools program was a recipe for disaster for me. He quickly took action by creating various “contracts,” where if I agreed to do X by Y time (homework and good test results), he would bring pizza in for the whole class (courtesy of me!) or promise a trip up to his Big Bear place with all of my buds. However, if I did not meet the terms of the contract, I would have to wash his car or go to his parents’ house and vacuum ... you know, your typical child slave labor! Thinking back on it, maybe that is where I got my first real taste of the law: when I was either breaking or keeping the contract with Ed!
The best teacher I ever had was my high school history teacher, Ed Jalbert. The high school I attended was Pius X Catholic High School located in Downey, California. My family did not have much, but my parents always stressed the importance of education (neither Mom nor Dad went to college), so they scrimped to send me and my older two siblings to Pius X, a grand total of $125 per month for the three of us. My, how things have changed! There, I met Ed Jalbert, who, in addition to being my history teacher at the time, was also my home room teacher. He was in his early 20s and was actually a graduate of Pius X who had come back to teach. As my home room teacher, Ed kept me on the straight and narrow in a way that did not include the ruler knuckle rapping that I seemed to attract from the nuns who taught me at Our Lady of the Rosary Junior High School (I usually deserved it). Ed was compassionate but firm. He was fun but kept me on task. He was the best teacher I have ever had and the best man I have ever met.
a prayer for Father Ed Jalbert, the best teacher I was lucky enough to ever have.
Ed always pushed me to do more. He knew I had tested well coming into school and
– Chris Russell
RUSSELL & LAZARUS APC 1401 Dove Street | Suite 310 | Newport Beach, CA 92660 Direct: 949-851-0222 Toll Free: 800-268-9228 www.russellandlazarus.com
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