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Devon Markert

Devon Markert, ESL Teacher, Technology Coordinator and Teacher Mentor at Torrance Adult School, died September 19, 2008, after a long battle against brain cancer. She succumbed to complications following her fourth surgery. She was 28. Of her illness Devon recently wrote: My illness has only served to make me stronger, forced me to look even deeper within, to know myself at the deepest level possible. I told my husband we are going to fight this every step of the way, though it has been taxing on us to continue the struggle, no end in sight. Every little win is a reminder of what is at stake in the long run. It would be nice to celebrate the victory, ever so small, but the reality of my condition keeps everything in perspective. Devon was born in Santa Monica and grew up in Clovis, CA. She was an avid soccer player throughout her childhood and adolescence, playing on competitive traveling teams and on the 1996 Central California State Championship Buchanan High School team. She credited soccer with giving her an identity, the opportunity to develop and sustain close relations, and the strength to face tough situations with hope and confidence. She stated in a draft of her memoirs: Joining the soccer team was the single most important decision of my life. Soccer helped me forge my identity as a scholar-athlete and kept me distracted when I needed a distraction. I dont know if I was always good, but I turned into a solid player. The lessons I learned through my various soccer teams and the relationships I made on and off the soccer field were important character-building experiences that continue to carry me through the tough times of today. In 2006 Devon was honored by being selected to participate in the California Adult Education Technology Integration Mentor Academy (TIMAC), an innovative program designed to help train teachers state-wide to utilize more computerized curriculum approaches in their ESL classes. One of the teachers she worked with wrote: Devon brought me into the 21st century by teaching me technology skills. She was a wonderful, gifted mentor. A 13-minute video clip of her first TIMAC conference presentation is available at http://drop.io/devonmarkert. Tributes from her students and peers underscore the impact Devon had on all those around her. Devon was poised, dedicated, powerful, creative, productive and dynamica champion of thinking outside the box, a visionary who always looked for new, interesting and effective ways of teaching, an inspiring, gracious and gifted mentor, professional in every sense of the word. She had a gentle, disarming manner, so intelligent, positive, happy, fun, encouraging and comforting, the best teacher in the world! Devons love for learning and interest in others were personality trademarks, visible well before she entered the teaching profession. While earning her bachelors degree in International Relations at UC, Santa Barbara, she spent several summers studying Spanish in Mexico and learning of that countrys culture and its people. She completed her final year at UCSB in the Study Abroad Program at Granada, Spain, where she met Noureddin Boughlala of Morocco. Through her later marriage with Noureddin she became a member of his loving Moroccan culture and family. Devon traveled extensively throughout Europe, relishing the nuances of its many cultures and languages, then flew to Japan to vacation with her step-mom and dad. There she was continually awed by the traditions and subtle beauties of that countrys culture and people. She experienced, too, being fully embraced by yet another foreign society and family, deepening further her sense of interconnectedness with people of all backgrounds. Upon returning home, Devon enrolled in the masters degree program in Linguistics at CSU, Long Beach, where she was working on her thesis when forced by her illness to take a leave of absence. To learn more of Devon's travels, interests, hobbies, friends and the poignant account of her struggle with cancer, visit her blog site at http://devonmarkert.blogspot.com. There, one cannot help but be uplifted by the moving tributes posted by the friends, family, colleagues and students of this talented teacher whose life was tragically cut short at the very dawning of her career. Devon is survived by her husband, Noureddin Boughlala, of Long Beach; mother and step-father, Diana and Allan Pendley, of Cerritos; father and step-mother, Louis and Asako Markert, of West Los Angeles; brother, Cory Markert, of Stockton; step-sister, Marla Pendley, of Long Beach; grandfather, Dick Noke, of Torrance; and scores of loving aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and colleagues across the country and around the globe. Memorial services will be held on Monday, September 29th, at 3 PM at Green Hills Mortuary, 27501 South Western Avenue, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. http://www.greenhillsmortuary.com/. Please sign the guest book at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze from Sept. 27 to Sept. 28, 2008
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