called "professor" by his high school friends. He had no idea
he would actually become a college professor.
"At parties, I was the guy over in the corner reading or writing
in a notebook."
school," he said. Young Brocatto skipped class regularly at two
different LA high schools and blew off homework assignments,
yet still passed all his exams. Finally, just a few credits short of
graduation, he quit school altogether.
issues, such as why the world's richest society harbored hunger
and homelessness. "My perspective on education was odd," he
admitted. "When I'd ask a question, my teachers didn't know what
I was talking about."
But something was missing. "When I turned 18, I found out I could
go to community college. Community college was my life line it
literally saved my life."
studying whatever interested him most. "I would take all the
anthropology courses, then all the psychology courses. Then I'd
take a break and go back to cooking full time, but would get bored.
Then I'd take all the English classes. I did that for 10 years."
seven restaurant kitchens, and decided to take his education
seriously. "I'm curious and I wanted an education, but I wanted
to be more informed. A house, a car and a career were never that
important to me."
college transcript, he transferred to the University of California
He earned his master's degree in philosophy at Cal State University
teaching at community colleges and a small private college in and
around LA. Now chairman of the Philosophy Department, he teaches
introductory philosophy and humanities courses, as well as ethics
and honors classes. He's also the president of the MCC Professional
Association (MCCPA), the local chapter of the statewide faculty/
staff union, the Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC).
aren't always deeply invested in their education. "I often encounter
students whose first questions is, `How can I get a "C?" ' They just
want to pass the class and keep moving forward.
push students in the direction of, `What do you want to do with
your limited time on earth?'"
in "Introduction of Philosophy." "At first, they don't feel free to
express their thoughts and ideas. They think we're just talking
about these ancient guys in togas."
Students into Thoughtful
and humanities courses, plus ethics and honors classes.