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Six ERHS teachers move on

As this year comes to a close, Eagle Rock says goodbye to six teachers who will be either retiring or continuing their career elsewhere, besides those who have been displaced for budget cut reasons (see this article for more information on the teacher cuts). Ms. Roman, Mr. Montemayor, and Ms. Alfarro are retiring, while Ms. Villegas and Mrs. Zhang will be transitioning to other things. 

Ms. Alfarro

By Irene Maddox

All photos by Nyda Hosack

Ms. Alfarro, a longtime Eagle Rocker, has been working at our school since October 4th, 1987 (she remembers the date by heart!). She’s a true supporter of every student, remarking that her favorite memories of her time at our school are when she sees her former students growing up and becoming successful. Despite originally wanting to major in business, she quickly learned that education was the path for her after working with elementary schoolers as a teacher’s assistant. 

Upon asking about her retirement, Ms. Alfarro says that “in the beginning, it’s like being a kid again,” and that she looks forward to dancing, traveling, and of course, supporting others. “I still want to help people,” she states. “In the community, there’s a big need.” 

Thank you for 36 years, Ms. Alfarro! We’ll miss you!

Mrs. Zhang

By Sumiye Allen 

Mrs. Zhang, ERHS’s Mandarin teacher, will be moving on after six years at Eagle Rock. This move to a “new stage and new life” is bittersweet, as she started the Mandarin program at ERHS from scratch upon her arrival and has been with this year’s DP Mandarin seniors since the beginning. Although she finds the transition hard, the long commute and her 4 and 2-year-olds have necessitated her pursuing a job at a school closer to her home. Still, she is confident that the program will continue to grow. Mrs. Jin, who taught Mandarin when Mrs. Zhang was away on maternity leave, will return to take it over. 

Mrs. Zhang says that she will miss her students the most, describing them as a “really independent, special group of students.” One of her favorite memories of Eagle Rock is of how motivated her students were in getting ready for their final project, willing to bring their own supplies, ask for help from different teachers, and come into class ready to go, with their enthusiasm touching and inspiring her. She also appreciates ERHS’s supportive admins, faculty, and staff, the “amazing language department”, heart team, and the wellness sessions held on minimum Fridays. 

Despite this move, Mrs. Zhang is “once an eagle, always an eagle,” she says.

Mr. Montemayor

By Kylie Sadsad

In spring 2006, our flock gained a new eagle: Mr. Montemayor. As an RSP, or Resource Specialist, he has always enjoyed working with various types of students: “Just because a person learns differently doesn’t mean they deserve different treatment.” Not only has Montemayor aided in helping students succeed, but he’s also been seen helping our very own Eagle Rock Jr/Sr Ping Pong Association win some matches as well. Although he’ll miss playing against other staff and teachers, the proudest period of his career was when he was the UTLA chapter chair; the ability to be a representative for teachers on a national level was so fulfilling and he aims to continue to do work in these areas even after retirement. Other than that, he looks forward to “living freely” and “staying more engaged” with his friends and family.

It’s a bittersweet goodbye to Mr. Montemayor; although we’ll miss his joyous and fun personality, the mark he left at ERHS will never be forgotten. 

Ms. Villegas

By Edith Croshaw

A long time ERHS Eagle, Ms. Villegas has big dreams, and feels like she doesn’t have the time to fulfill them when teaching. “Right now, I don’t have time for my life as it is,” she comments, “So I am trying to figure out balance.” With multiple kids, her life is all a blur of sports, work, and taking care of her numerous animals. She is even getting mini pigs by the end of June, which will just add to the responsibilities she has to uphold. She wishes that she could dedicate more time to the little things, finding precious moments in her daily life without feeling rushed. Once everything calms down more, she plans to open an animal rescue. With a deep love for animals that has lasted since childhood and a desire to help them in any way possible, this seems like the perfect path for her. “My ideal goal is to have a mini animal farm with mini cows, mini horses, and mini pigs, but also big dogs,” she states. 

She has taught for 22 years, so naturally Ms. Villegas is nervous. This is a large milestone in her life and a huge change that she is ready to take. “I love teaching though,” she states, “and I love my students. You find ways to make me happy when I’m sad and to make me laugh. I’ll miss that.” Eagle Rock is always going to be a part of her family. She will miss her students the most, watching them grow from 7th grade to their senior year and forming connections with them. Ms. Villegas has been an influential part of Eagle Rock High School. She has taken on responsibilities like ASB sponsor, class sponsor, ACADECA Coach, and teacher. She will always be a part of the Eagle Rock community, no matter what adventure her life takes her on next.

Her final message to the school is for everyone to “help each person find their true inner happiness, because happy people aren’t bullies. Happy people thrive, happy people push each other up instead of pulling others down. That's what I want for all my students. I want them to find their best selves and to be happy.” 

You will be missed, Ms. Villegas!

Ms. Roman

By Lucia Allen-Cannone and Zadie Kang

Ms. Roman has been a counselor at our school for many years. Her favorite memories at Eagle Rock include the friendships she has made with her colleagues and all the amazing people she has met in her time at our school. This includes some of the students, who she has gotten to help through difficult times in their lives. She’s enjoyed watching them grow and flourish into new people.

Ms. Roman, while appreciating her time at Eagle Rock, is excited for the freedom that she will get during retirement. She looks forward to spending time focusing on her health and exercising. She also plans to spend her first six months enjoying her ability to travel. After this period, Ms. Roman thinks she will start working again—either through private practice or working one day a week as a social worker for LAUSD.

While she looks forward to retirement, Ms. Roman appreciates all the students that she has met while working at Eagle Rock. She says that they have all been amazing, smart, fun, intelligent, and admires the bravery of them in going to her to improve themselves.

Ms. Roman will miss everyone she has met here at Eagle Rock, but not as much as we will miss her!

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