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Dr. James Astorga, PhD

Dr. James Astorga, PhD

World Languages Faculty

Ph.D., Classics, UC Berkeley
M.A., Classics, UC Santa Barbara
B.A., Classics, Pitzer College

James Astorga was born in Pomona, not far from the Palomares Adobe where his ancestors once lived. He spent his ‘wonder years’ in Azusa and Covina and was eventually packed off to Damien High School in La Verne. It was there he was bitten by the Latin bug. His studies, however, had to take a back-seat to more practical matters. So after graduation he landed his first job at a tortilla factory in the City of Industry. But his dreams of becoming a tortilla tycoon were dashed when he developed a severe allergic reaction to the flour in the masa. He subsequently worked a series of jobs in factories and warehouses from Irwindale to Chatsworth.

These experiences convinced him of the importance of a classical education, which he pursued with a vengeance, not stopping until he had his Classics Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. With his newly minted degree in hand he left for the land of opportunity, New Jersey, where he was an assistant professor of Classics at Rutgers. In retrospect, this career move did not turn out as brilliantly as he had planned, since he had left his wife, Cindy, back at Caltech in California. Ruefully he abandoned the bright lights of New Jersey for an even greater adventure, raising a family in South Pasadena. As a stay at home dad, he developed the skills which would eventually bring him success in secondary school, namely a keen insight into the ‘millennial’ mind induced by watching hours upon hours of cartoons. When his children, Sarah and Sam, were able to tie their own shoes and walk their own path, Dr. Astorga gradually returned to teaching at many of the colleges and universities the Southland, such as Pomona College, Scripps College, USC, UCLA, and UCI. Finally, still searching for a greater challenge (as well as greater stability) he brought his special skill set to Marlborough School, where for seven years he prepared students for the AP Latin exams. After a much needed sabbatical, he eagerly entered the hallowed portals of Providence, refreshed and ready to continue helping young people to find their own paths.
 

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