The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

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The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

The Community On the Road: How Westridge Students Connect While Riding the Bus

Los+Feliz+and+Silverlake+Bus+takers+posing+for+a+photo+before+we+head+to+school.
Rebecca L.
Los Feliz and Silverlake Bus takers posing for a photo before we head to school.

Every morning at 7:10am, about seven students file onto the Westridge Los Feliz Bus. Typically, most are sipping on their warm cups of hot chocolate from the local Coffee Bean. They are ready to go, backpacks on, standing in the corner of Hillhurst and Ambrose. When the bus arrives, I hear students and parents say, “Have a nice day!” 

Half asleep, I board the bus and greet Michelle Zinzun, our bus driver, “Good morning, Michelle!” Like always, she replies with a smile, “Good morning!” I begin my walk down the aisle. 

8th graders claim their usual spots next to each other in the front corner of the bus. Lower schoolers follow behind and sit in the first row. I continue walking to the back of the bus, where I find Micaela R. ’26 sitting on my left with her headphones on. Knowing Micaela, she’s probably listening to Taylor Swift.  I turn and sit in the row behind her, the same spot I’ve had since 7th grade. 

Waking up extra early to catch the morning bus can be a real pain, especially when those extra few minutes of sleep seem that much more tempting and needed.  For me, the morning ride has become one of my favorite routines of the day. 

Michelle Zinzun, our bus driver, before heading to the Silverlake stop. (Re)

When I came to Westridge as a new student in 7th grade, I despised the fact that my transportation on my first day at my new school would be riding the bus. On that unusually chilly morning in August, as I stood on the corner of Hillhurst and Ambrose, shivering in my itchy dress white uniform and anxiously waiting for the bus to arrive, I realized that this was going to be the way I arrived to school every day, whether I wanted it or not.  

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Micaela R. shared, “I dreaded [the bus] in fourth grade. I hated it. I even cried. I used to be scared because I didn’t know where I was going. But, now it’s my favorite place.” 

With a thirty minute bus drive twice a day with the same people, all year long, it’s hard to not make conversation. As my Westridge experience began in 7th grade, the bus helped me get to know my new community. It gave me courage to learn my bus-mates’ names; even a simple, “How was your day today?” helped start my new friendships. I learned about their hobbies, sports, and school life. I began to recognize my fellow riders while on campus, stopping to talk in between passing periods or waving from afar. 

Taking the School bus builds friendships and fosters student independence.”

— Michelle Zinzun, bus driver

Vivian S. ’26, a new student this year at Westridge, also found that riding the bus helped her make new friendships. She said, “For all the people that are in my grade [on the bus], when I got here, I got to talk to people, and that brought me closer with them on the bus.”

On the 6:00pm bus from school, Nova R. ’28 and Sofia R. ’28 are always sitting next to each other, talking the entirety of the ride home. When I spoke to them, Nova said, “We actually wouldn’t be close without the bus.” Sofia agreed with her. She told the story of their first interaction while on the bus, and exclaimed, “And then we became friends!” Almost every afternoon, the two eighth graders spend the ride watching funny Youtube Videos and Tiktoks or talking about each other’s day.

Just like Nova and Sofia, I’ve had countless conversations with my busmates from advice on classes and sports to the upcoming theater performances; we talk about everything. I’ve even had someone tap me from behind and mention how they can hear my Taylor Swift music through my airpods which started our mutual love for her music.

The bus not only connects students within the same grade, but it also creates a space for students to meet others from different grades. When Phoebe M. ’27 was on the bus as a fifth grader, she made an upperclassmen friend named Ruby. Phoebe said, “Ruby…would always come sit next to me after school…I was so little, and she was so much older than me; she would tell me all about her big world, and I would just float around in it.”

The bus ride to and from Westridge has not only left me with connections and friendships, but also lasting memories. I will never forget having a substitute bus driver who got lost and drove us all the way to La Cañada, resulting in a tardy to all our classes. 

A film photo I took on the bus in 8th grade. (Rebecca)

Micaela shared her favorite memory of the bus was in fourth grade when she mistakenly took the 4:30pm bus instead of waiting for the later bus that arrived in Los Feliz at 6:30. Since she got to the bus stop two hours before her parents could pick her up, the bus driver at the time offered to buy her ice cream to cheer her up. Micaela recalled, “She [bought] me like a pint of strawberry Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and I tried eating the whole thing but I felt really sick…still a really fun memory, though.”

My busmates and I shiver every morning in the cold weather.  We lose our breaths  running from the bus to our first classes.  We are often the last people waiting on Westridge’s dark campus at night. Although taking the bus can be a hassle at times, the community makes up for it. The bus can transform from a quiet place to relax and listen to music to a place to talk to others and make new friendships. I often don’t see my fellow riders around campus or in classes, but the unique experiences of taking the bus connects us twice a day, even in those short 30 minutes, we can become a community. 

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About the Contributor
Rebecca L.
Rebecca L., Staff Writer
Rebecca is a freshman in her third year of writing for Spyglass. Other than school work and volleyball taking up most of her time, you’ll find her constantly in cafes eating crepes and drinking iced chai lattes or amusement parks, especially during Halloween Horror Nights season.
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