A Santa Monica fireman and candidate for city council, Dominick Bei took a moment to reminisce about his days at SHC and his plans to serve his community.

What are some of your fondest SHC memories? I remember being on the freshmen campus and being in awe of the school and the students. It seems like a long time ago, and I remember my first week being overwhelming. Mr. Sansoe was my freshman history teacher and one of my good friends would always stare out in the courtyard during his class—Mr. Sansoe laid into him very gently but with authority. My freshman algebra teacher was Mr. Moy. I also remember those fantastic Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, and playing basketball. Mr. Sansoe changed my life in a major way. I wouldn’t be in this place with a history degree or preparing to run for office without his tutelage. Ms. Lorentz was a huge influence as well. The greatest Dean of Students is Mario Sazo. Some of my favorite memories were surrounded by the school and the people I met. One of the best Halloween costumes of all time is when I dressed up as Mr. Sazo with a sweater vest and goatee. I caught a few students off-guard that day. The teachers and coaches at SHC really pushed me to improve in all ways, which I appreciate to this day. In high school I was interested in the social scene and playing sports, until Mr. Sansoe sparked an academic awakening and it carried me through college with a 3.83 GPA at Sonoma State. If I had a time machine I would have read all the books assigned to me and let future students know that the classics are important.

What do you do now? You hear about giving back and being a public servant … you think I won’t end up doing that. It is great to help out, but you don’t envision that as your future. I found myself moving to Southern California for a year or two, but that has long since been extended because I ended up discovering the fire service as a member of the Santa Monica Fire Department. It has been terrific serving the public, and this experience opened my eyes to city government and being available to help people. I want to reach even more people through city planning and ultimately doing what is important with the community going forward.

I also worked as the political chairman for our department in assisting the city government on plans, toy drives, helping families that are displaced by fire or other emergencies, supporting our local sports teams. Ultimately, I have chosen to make a new career path because I have seen the underserved, the homeless and elderly, those with psychiatric disabilities, seeing what they are going through and what they needed. I feel like coming from my service work and having that background, I could really make an impact as a city council member.

Having paid attention to the big issues in Santa Monica, I enjoy hearing multiple perspectives. Naturally I felt city council would be a great place to utilize my people skills and make a positive impact within the community. I would be able to give a perspective not just from a policy maker’s view, but from a person who interacts with citizens regularly. Government money is often thrown at problems and they try help, but many policymakers do not know the details that underlie many of the problems that those resources are allocated to.

Any advice for younger alumni? Get involved in as many things as your curiosity allows to. So often people think they have to discover what they want to do at life. Discover things you don’t want to do and then those new doors will open for you. Don’t be afraid to walk through the doors even if it is difficult or the outcome is not is your favor.

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