Cerritos College Adult Education Student Publishes Book on Loving Father-and-son Relationship
84-year-old Cancer Survivor’s Accomplishment Empowers Senior Learners
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 18, 2008
Media Contact: Aya Abelon Public Affairs; (562) 860-2451, ext. 2287
NORWALK, Calif. – March 18, 2008 – Cerritos College has announced that John Camilleri, the college’s OWL (Older Wiser Learner) Program student recently published Dad and Me: Our Loving Relationship, an autobiography about an inseparable, deeply loving relationship between father and son. Camilleri depicts the rollercoaster life and the invincible spirit of his father with vividness as if he had seen it all.
“I had a very close relationship with my father, and he’s taught me many valuable lessons,” says soft-spoken Camilleri with his wife Marion on his side. “I decided to write a book about my father as my way of saying thank you to him and to keep his memory alive.”
Dad and Me was the 84-year-old Camilleri's maiden work. Literally typing with his two fingers, Camilleri finished the book in an amazingly short period of 10 months, suffering and overcoming cancer in between. “I knew exactly what I was going to write about, because the stories my dad used to tell me were so rich and powerful.”
“The only thing I did was to encourage John and some editing,” says Dr. Elijah Levy, a professor in the OWL Program and a very close friend of Camilleri. It is true that fully-committed Camilleri did not need much help writing the book, however Levy’s support and Camilleri’s experience from Levy’s Veteran History Project, which helps veteran students to record or write about their military experiences, pushed his back.
Levy also helped Camilleri work with the printer, and there is one touching story behind this. Levy ordered one proof copy prior to mass printing. When he received a package of the copy, he thought of a nice surprise. Instead of opening the package himself, he brought it to Camilleri and gave him the honor of opening the very first copy of his book himself. Levy videotaped Camilleri opening the package, showing the book to his father in a better place. The intense memory of his father and the process of writing the book made Camilleri choke on his words as he tried to tell his father that this book was dedicated to the father. The touching video was inserted into the hard cover special edition copies and given to his family and friends. “I just added a nice final touch to make it special,” says Levy with a playful grin.
Camilleri’s book is especially important in this era filled with hate and anger. “Love is a lost art in the current society. John’s book teaches that love is the most powerful force of parenting,” stresses Sally Greer, Emeritus Assistant who is integral to the OWL Program at Cerritos College.
This book sends a strong message to older adults – age is not a matter, illness is not an excuse, everything is possible if one has a strong will to achieve a goal. Camilleri’s dedication to leave a legacy of his hero, even with illness in between, surely inspired his fellow classmates.
“It conveyed to them in a powerful way that regardless of age, they can achieve something if they are motivated,” acknowledges Levy.
Most importantly, Camilleri’s book passes down an important but lost art of parenting and storytelling to the young generation.
To purchase a copy of Dad and Me: Our Loving Relationship, contact Dr. Levy via email at email@example.com.
The OWL (Older Wiser Learner) Program is part of the college’s Adult Education and Diversity programs offers courses for older adults at various senior centers and sites in the community. Courses include arts and crafts, exercise, music, quilting, chorus, creative writing, senior topics and self-management. Seniors have an opportunity to interact with others in classroom settings, but also have a chance to participate in senior fairs within the community. More information is available at www.cerritos.edu/aed/programs.
Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college’s district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers degrees and certificates in more than 200 areas of study in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently nears 20,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at www.cerritos.edu.