Full Circle: From OLu Student to the Director of Marketing and Communications at OLu

Beth Fitzgerald’s love of the written word began at a young age, but it was during her freshman year at Orange Lutheran (OLu) that she had a beautiful opportunity to hone her skills. 

Her English teacher recommended her for the student newspaper, and she eagerly joined the staff as the Photography Editor. After one year on the job, she was quickly promoted to Co-Editor-in-Chief for both her junior and senior years. 

Not only did this time help her strengthen her writing and editing skills, but she was also able to learn some additional aptitudes that helped drive her career forward.

“[I learned] how to work as part of a team – especially as the leader – and also learned how to use some of the software programs that I still use today,” says Fitzgerald. “My teachers were incredibly supportive and encouraging, which helped me build confidence in what God created me to do.”

OLu “holds a lot of weight with employers” and “has become synonymous with excellence,” she says. Her time at the school, her time with the encouraging teachers who inspired confidence, and her time in a place where students feel supported and cared for, opened doors for her in college and beyond. 

After graduating from OLu, Fitzgerald attended Chapman University, majoring in Communication Studies.

She’s now the Director of Marketing and Communications at OLu. 

Why OLu is the Best Choice 

Fitzgerald started at OLu as a freshman and quickly discovered how the school prepares students for success in all facets of life.

“It may seem contradictory, but the amount of attention paid to relaxing, socializing, and enjoying high school – beyond doing well academically – is great preparation for life.” 

With her love of the written word, Journalism and English were her favorite subjects.

“My Journalism teachers were incredibly supportive of my desire to be a writer and looked for opportunities for me to learn and grow,” she says. “One of my advisors, Brian Underwood, challenged me to grow as a leader and a writer, which certainly benefited me in my jobs and leadership roles after high school.”

As mentioned earlier, Fitzgerald was also the co-Editor-in-Chief of the OLu newspaper, The Cornerstone, which continues today as the OLu Muse, an online publication. During her tenure, The Cornerstone was named the top 10 best high school newspapers in the country. 

“That was an incredible honor and was not the result of one person’s work, but a team effort.” 

Pursuing – and Landing – her Dream Career 

Thirteen years after graduation, Fitzgerald was thrilled to accept an offer to becomethe Director of Marketing and Communications at OLu.

She had worked in this position before at a law school, but working for an organization where she would have the opportunity to do more fundraising communications was greatly appealing to her. 

And being reminded of the true ethos of the school early on in her interview stage, she was eager to begin.

“When I came back for my first interview, I saw someone that I never had as a teacher, but they were a teacher while I was here, and they recognized me and said, ‘Hi’,” she tells us. “That sums up the Orange Lutheran experience in a lot of ways because we are very focused on relationships.” 

In addition to the familiar warmth and welcome, she was also able to focus on the area of work that was missing before. 

“I'm able to do a lot more with fundraising, which is really interesting to me. I get to work with a lot of different departments, so there's plenty of variety here,” Fitzgerald says. “Myy knowledge and  general understanding of marketing has really grown a lot as well.”

In the five years since she returned to a place that shaped her into who she is today, she says there’s been a lot of growth, both professionally and personally.

And given she’s a lifelong learner – an attribute first nurtured at OLu – Fitzgerald is quick to let us know just how much emphasis the school puts on learning both for students and for staff members. 

“There are a lot of opportunities to keep learning and keep growing,” she says. For example, OLu helped pay for her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership at Concordia University Irvine.

“Anytime I've wanted to go to a conference or wanted to send my team to a conference or look for new opportunities to grow with our skills,,” she adds, “I've never had to fight for it.”


OLu alumni

Advice to Current Students 

When asked to share a piece of wisdom with current OLu students, Fitzgerald was eager to answer.

“Be curious and dig deeper! If you’re interested in something, take the next step to experience it as much as possible,” she says. “You never know what tools and skills you’re learning today that will benefit you in the future.”

Meet Drew, another OLu alumni who has written a book about the joy of service and giving back to the community.

In addition to being curious and tapping into the many resources OLu provides, Fitzgerald encourages students to get uncomfortable.

“It’s so easy to sit in the same seat every day, talk to the same people every day, ignore the world around you, stare at your phone, and go through the motions of high school,” she starts. “But we grow through being uncomfortable and trying things that make us think about life differently. Sometimes it may not work out the way we hoped, but often, it leads to great and unexpected things.”


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