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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Lakeview Center.

Contact: William Morris
phone:(415) 405-3606

Mother, daughter mirror each other's experience at SFSU

Flo and Christina Teani both graduate with Liberal Studies degree and plan to teach

SAN FRANCISCO, May 21, 2001---When Christina Teani of South San Francisco lines up for SF State's 100th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 26 most of her family members will be waiting in the stands of Cox Stadium ready to cheer her accomplishment.

Her mother, Flo Teani, won't be there. She'll be standing right next to her. Both women are graduating this year with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies.

Christina, who is hearing impaired, says of the experience, "It was cool, but a little bit different. We talked a lot about our classes and compared notes on professors and stuff."

Flo says that they have a great relationship but admits that sometimes there was tension between the two, and Christina is quick to point to its source. "My mom is a perfectionist. She is a very good and conscientious student. I would drive her crazy sometimes because I can cram for a test or write a paper at the last minute."

Christina came to SF State after graduating from South San Francisco's El Camino High School in 1996. At first she didn't know what to major in and that led her to the Liberal Studies Department.

"I could never make up my mind," she says. "I wanted to do a little bit of everything, and that's what you get in liberal studies."

She also says that her disability didn't slow her down much. "My mom always told me that I can do anything I want to, so I did. It wasn't easy, but you have to be creative and find ways to get what you need."

For Christina, who relies on lip reading to communicate, that meant making sure that her professors knew about her needs from the beginning of the semester. She also was quick to make friends with her classmates so if she missed something she could borrow notes.

Flo admits that it was sometimes hard to see Christina struggle in the classroom because of her disability. They only had one class together - geology with professor Raymond Sullivan. Flo decided to keep a low profile and not let the other students know that she was Christina's mother, but she took extra careful notes.

Flo knew right away that she wanted to major in liberal studies. She had been working as an instructional aide at Ponderosa Elementary in South San Francisco when she decided that she would like to become an elementary school teacher. Since she knew that liberal studies provides great background for those who want to get a teaching credential, Flo entered the program in fall 1998 as a transfer student from Skyline College.

Flo finished up her coursework in December and is now working on a teaching credential at SF State.

Christina has decided that she also wants to teach. She begins a special education credential program next fall with an emphasis on working with students with mild to moderate disabilities.

"I'm very excited," she says. "I was never in a special ed class in school, but I know what it's like to be in school and have a disability."

This will not be the first time Flo has graduated side by side with one of her children. She and her oldest daughter Teresa simultaneously earned A.A. degrees in liberal studies from Skyline College in San Bruno.

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Last modified May 17, 2001, by Office of Public Affairs