Author, former Westlake teacher take over Schrode’s classes

Following English teacher Eric Schrode’s departure, Dr. Ronald DiCostanzo and Darcy Cosper have taken the helm of his AP English Literature and creative writing classes.

For Cosper, teaching writing in high school has been a dream since her teenage years.
She learned about the opportunity through Larry Weber, Head of English Department.

The chance to teach creative writing to adolescents was too good a chance for her to let pass, she said.

“I was delighted about the prospect of working with writers who are early in the process of learning the craft and finding their voices,” Cosper said.

Cosper’s writing career began in high school, where a series of teachers helped illuminate the art of the novel for her.

Her first successful novel was “Wedding Season,” which has sold 70,000 copies in this country and has been translated into seven different languages.

She is already making plans for a second novel. Cosper said it will cover a broad range of topics ranging from compulsion to sex.

DiCostanzo has been teaching since 1968 and was chair of the Westlake School English department for 10 years.

DiCostanzo most recently taught in Long Beach, both at Long Beach City College and Long Beach State University .

“There are probably no kinds of students I haven’t come across,” he said.

DiCostanzo expects things to be a little different teaching at a high school rather than college.
He sees students every day now, but for a shorter time period.

DiCostanzo also will not see the variety of students he saw at community colleges, some bright but others unmotivated, he said.

DiCostanzo retired last May, but the thought of teaching advanced students intrigued him.

“I thought it might be fun to come back with good students — better students than I had down in Long Beach,” Dicostanzo said. “So far that’s been the case and it’s been terrific, though it’s only been a week.”

“People seem really pleased to be here, and that’s unusual,” DiCostanzo said. “In most places, even in college, people just want to get through.  They just check off courses.  Granted I’m teaching second semester seniors who can see the end, but people seem really happy to be here.”