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

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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

She Painted Birds In Flight And Helped Me Fly: An 8th grader Remembers 6th grade with Anna Bondoc

”They looped and meandered, like long conversations with close friends.” -Ms. Anna Bondoc.
Ms. Bondoc loved to draw art that traced bird wing movements.
Lorelei C.-E.
”They looped and meandered, like long conversations with close friends.” -Ms. Anna Bondoc. Ms. Bondoc loved to draw art that traced bird wing movements.

On a hectic Wednesday morning, I made my way across Herrick Quad and towards the crowded library where the celebration of life for Anna Bondoc, my sixth-grade English teacher, would be taking place. I stepped onto the firm coral-colored ground, and with every step I took, there was some hesitance hidden inside it. 

Although it had been months since she had passed away, the feelings I had experienced then were still lingering and raw. And I knew that with this memorial all kinds of emotions and memories would bubble right back up. 

My view was terrible, so I squeezed past the groups of murmuring, sorrowful and nervous students and teachers who were there to remember and honor Ms. Bondoc just like I was. 

It wasn’t until my classmates started talking about her that the memories of that one magical and exhilarating year came back to me. All the emotions which I had buried at the pit of my stomach rose up in an instant, and suddenly every waking memory felt as fresh as a daisy.

Her laugh felt like a soft cloud and it sounded like pure joy.

Ilyana P.-F. ’28 recalled the first day of English class when Ms. Bondoc pointed at a clear fish tank hidden in plain sight on a shelf in the back of the classroom. We were all confused. It was just a random fish tank with blue rocks in it. What was so special about it?

She then asked us to do some imaginative thinking about the fishtank. After some hesitation, one brave soul offered a comment. Eventually, the class entered into a conversation about the tank. Each student brought inspiration and a different thought process to the class and that continued on throughout the year, each one of us grew a new pair of wings each time we were in that classroom.

I thought about the few classes we had throughout the year where we would just talk about stress. Ms. Bondoc made it OK for us to share and show up with all our 12 year old insecurities and worries. I thought about all the encouraging and congratulatory Teams chats and Outlook emails she would send me about presentations or essays I had worked on. There were a few months during the school year where every morning one of my friends would write on the chalkboard and white board on the English room, “Happy Birthday Lorelei!” As a joke, one morning I came in a few minutes late, and as I set my backpack down I noticed that my friend had written happy birthday all over the chalkboard. My horrified expression revealed my embarrassment. When Ms. Bondoc saw me, she started laughing hysterically which made me smile. Sometimes I think that’s why I enjoy making people laugh so much.

So now every time I see a plain and boring object, I think of it more deeply. Even though Ms. Bondoc is gone, she’s still very much present with me. As her daughter Claire Bondoc said, “Her students are the greatest representation of her legacy.”

Ms. Bondoc hugging me on the last day of 6th Grade in June of 2022. (Jennifer Curren)

Ms. Bondoc and her legacy are written in shapes, in the sap on the tree right outside of Ranney House, in the graceful movements of chirping birds, in the green trees that sit on campus, the warm spring breeze, in the snowy mountains of Pali, in her artwork, and in that old fish tank, wherever it is, and in me.

 

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