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High School Volunteer Not Seen by Friends in Retirement Home Since Being Accepted to Stanford

Residents of the New Horizon Gardens retirement home in Fountain Valley, California report missing Felicia Cooley, 17, a local high school student who volunteered at the center regularly over the last three years before stopping abruptly last month, when she was accepted to attend Stanford next fall.

"I know how much she wanted to get into college, so I drew her a congratulations card in art class," said Edith Montross, 83, a New Horizon Gardens resident who counts Cooley as one of her best still living friends, "I can't wait until she comes in again so we can celebrate over a game of gin rummy."

Montross isn't the only New Horizon's resident anxious to see Cooley again after her prolonged absence.

"I like her (Cooley) because she reminds me of my daughter, whose name is also something along the lines of Francis, and because she agrees that Harry Truman is a god damned crook," grumbled Henry Washburn, 87, who, after recovering from an acute state of respiratory distress, added with tears in his eyes, "But that was years ago. He probably died in the war."

Meanwhile, although she expressed regret over her failure to keep in touch with her elderly friends since being accepted to Stanford, Cooley wouldn't say when she might return to volunteer or just visit New Horizon Gardens again during a chat at a local Jamba Juice, where she was seen "just hanging out" with her boyfriend.

"It's not that I don't miss my friends at the retirement home, I'm just busy with other stuff right now. I mean, spending an hour telling Mrs. Dunleavy that school is fine a thousand times in a row is great stuff - possibly even better than listening to how I remind every single person who lives there of one of their own children or grandchildren somehow - but I don't know, I guess I just need a little time off," said Cooley, who, when informed of the congratulations card Mrs. Montross had made for her, indicated she would ask the center to pass along her mailing address to her former gin rummy partner.

In addition to her friends at New Horizon Gardens, neither her fellow volunteers with Habitat for Humanity nor her "best buddy" Amanda, a nineteen year-old with cerebral palsy living in a hospice in Anaheim, has heard from Cooley since she was accepted to Stanford.

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