Debi Schafer-Braun, who has been at De Anza College for 39 years, said she will retire in June 2014.
Shafer-Braun joined the De Anza College faculty in 1974, after she graduated from Cal State Hayward with a master’s degree in Physical Education.
In addition to being a physical education instructor, Schafer-Braun also coached Dons’ volleyball and women’s basketball teams for 25 years, winning multiple championships through the years.
Leaving the coaching world in 1992, Schafer-Braun “elected” to help administration and become a full time physical education instructor.
Schafer-Braun said people fail to see the importance of it and how crucial exercise is for the human body.
“We are a computer technology driven society,” Schafer-Braun said. “We are less active; less evolved … our society is growing vastly with obesity, heart conditions, diabetes, joint conditions, strokes … the
Schafer-Braun said that because people are not taking the time out to manage their stress, they are weakening their body.
“Your body is a muscle, if you don’t use it, you lose it,” Schafer-Braun said.
She said that scientists have proven with exercise you create hormones, like endorphins, and with those hormones the body creates more energy and a feeling of happiness.
“People that sit at a computer and count numbers all day long … they’re going to be in a world with a whole lot of hurt,” Schafer-Braun said.
She said that the Physical Education department educates people on the value of exercise, movement, socialization, and nutrition among other things.
The attitude of students towards physical education is positive and well-received Schafer-Braun said and because of that, many students return and repeat certain courses.
But, Schafer-Braun said, the attitude has changed with the state government. She said though everyone understands the budget problems and respects the budget committees and authorities that balance the budget, cutting courses and repeatability “is not the solution.”
Schafer-Braun along with other faculty has created new courses with new curriculums with the hopes of being able to provide students another way to continue taking courses and stay active.
“I love De Anza College,” Schafer-Braun said, stating she doesn’t “want” to retire. “I love what I do.”
“Debi will be missed by everybody in this department, she has done an unbelievable job with everything … especially the teaching aspect,” said volleyball head coach, Dawnis Guevara.
She said Debi is a huge impact on the physical educations department and without her it’s going to be a big difference.
“She one of our best, if not our best, instructors that we have in this division,” Guevara said.
Speaking on behalf of other members in her department, Schafer-Braun said the physical education department is “knowledgeable of what we do,” stating that it’s a passion for every coach and instructor.
“We touch a lot of people’s lives in this department,” Schafer-Braun said. “We probably spend more time with them outside of class as we do inside [of class].”
She said it’s rewarding when students come back, years later, just to say “thank you” for helping them or reaching out to them in some way. She said that instilling a work ethic, sense of commitment and loyalty, the character building values is what the physical education and athletics department is all about.
Schafer-Braun described herself as an intense personality who likes to push hard. But, she said laughing, “I really am a nice person … I can’t change the spots on me, it’s who I am … but I really a good person.”