Farewell to a Legend


Though history is often tarnished, ignored, or forgotten, Mr. Steven Armstrong never will be. We students encounter numerous teachers and, through experience, we are able to identify what makes a good teacher. Mr. Armstrong is the best. His passion enlightens students and draws them in. The sense of purpose that engulfs his whole being drives us to find and fulfill our own. Yes, he inspires, but he is an inspiration in his own right. And the hope and certainty in his eyes emit a hidden secret that he knows we are all capable of achieving what we put our hearts into.

A man as humble yet outgoing as Mr. Armstrong has led a fulfilling life dedicated to his students and family. Growing up in the city of Lakewood he spent the majority of his life within its boundaries. When he was young, watching the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s inspired Mr. Armstrong to devote his life to making a real, positive difference around him. He initially thought he might make a real difference by gaining a political position. Yet, life led him elsewhere. 

Seeing an opening at Mayfair High School, Mr. Armstrong took the opportunity and fell in love with teaching, so much so he wanted to make a difference by teaching and extending “peace and love and support for all people” with other nations we had been at war with in the past, including Vietnam and China. Teaching became a gateway of opportunities that allowed him to carry out a long-time wish to “travel and meet people from all around the world.” And in the classroom he loved “meeting with students and talking and sharing ideas,” and quickly grew to love teaching.

One thing Mr. Armstrong is going to miss the most are the “wonderful students here over the many, many years and they’ve touched me and helped me grow in so many ways.” 

In his retirement, he plans to devote his time and attention to his “two alpha females” in his family. “I have to take care of both of them because I love them so much.” He also intends to spend his time selfishly after devoting so much time to us. Fond of gardening and reading, Mr. Armstrong plans to spend his time tending his plants and filling his head with new stories, specifically ones in Spanish and French to help his daughter. Mr. Armstrong hopes to spend as much time as he can with his growing daughter, “ I don’t know how long I am going to be here and I want to be able to help her. In the years I have to have a really rich life, I want to play games with her.”

Whether online or in-person Mr. Armstrong was able to do one of the most impossible tasks, making history both fun and interesting, providing lessons we can all learn to better ourselves. 

Natalie Villa had Mr. Armstrong online during her junior year due to the pandemic. And, despite this, she was still able to experience the Mr. Armstrong thousands of students have, a teacher full of personality and perseverance.

“He started the year with great energy and ended it the same way. He just made the whole Covid year more tolerable,” she said. 

In class, Mr. Armstrong incorporates both crazy and truthful stories that allow his students to become interested in what they are learning. 

“He is super energetic and it’s really clear that not only is he really passionate about what he teaches but that he also cares for the kids,”  Senior Desni Hadley said.

 From the crazy story, he tells us to the serious talks he gives his students about the terrible events that have taken place through history, Mr. Armstrong’s impact seems unforgettable for many of his students. 

“I enjoyed being in Mr. Armstrong’s class this year. He has so much passion for history and it shows in his lessons. Mr. Armstrong has an amazing personality and is just a good person overall. He understands his students and wants to see us succeed, which makes him a great teacher,” Junior Mitzi Duarte said. 

His memory will stay in Cerritos High School forever. Mr. Armstrong will leave behind a legacy here that is unmatched and will continue to go on and inspire his students throughout their lives. All the years he has devoted to his students will not be forgotten. In our memories he will always be that teacher who paved the way for our success and delivered only the best of himself to his students. 

To Mr. Armstrong: We thank you for all you have done for us and are eternally grateful for you. Words cannot express how much you mean to all of us. It’s hard for us to let go of a teacher that we hold so close and dear in our hearts. All of Cerritos High School wishes the best for you and we hope you will always keep us close in your heart. Lastly, we warn you to stay clear of the formation of political parties, European affairs, and permanent alliances.