Graduate Admissions Blog

Meet our Student Blogger: Carolina Soto Bonds

Hello! I am the 2016-2017 Bank Street College Graduate Admissions Student Blogger. Yay! I am excited — maybe too much — and a little in awe of all the opportunity it encompasses.

Carolina Soto Bonds. That is my name. My name is me.

I am from New York City born and raised. My wonderful parents are from the Dominican Republic—  hence the Caribbean-breeze-laced Carolina, and the Soto. Growing up in the Bronx, then Washington Heights, I am comprised of a thousand little pieces — colorful pieces of beveled glass on a vivid stained glass window. I am Spanish, Native American, African, Latina — Dominican — brimming with history, culture, experience. I am many languages —  Spanish, English, Spanglish, and lots of city vernacular.

My education story is one of English language learning, of being bullied in the inner city, of wanting to escape more than I wanted to learn. Growing through elementary, junior high and high school was not easy. I am sure this is the experience for many adolescents anywhere, but it made me strong and emblazoned me with a lens that is my own, and I have come to learn that this is valuable. I remember leaning on my supportive family for warm hugs and I remember reading a lot of books to entertain myself. I was always fond of literature and writing. Writing was an outlet where I painted a different picture than the one I saw every day. I also remember Ms. Stinson, my high school French teacher, who I ran into at Starbucks the other day. She had a whimsical, meaningful approach to teaching. She took us out of the classroom as much as possible, into Manhattan where French class was an experience as opposed to singularly a language. I didn’t know pedagogical practices then, but it felt right. I knew that If I was ever to be a teacher, my practices would be somewhat like this–new, unconventional, but true to my students.

I went to SUNY Purchase College in Westchester. It is an arts school where I really fell more and more in love with writing. Subsequently, I obtained a B.A. in Journalism. But I still felt empty somehow. Journalism wasn’t all I wanted to do, I just didn’t know what was. Post graduation, I remained jobless and annoyed at the economy. My mother (who worked in early childhood education for over a decade) encouraged me to follow in her footsteps, and I did. In 2013, I began working at Highbridge Advisory Council in the Bronx with children ages 3-5 as a Teaching Assistant. I fell head over heels for the day-to-day work of being in the classroom. I loved the fun activities, the art, and the reward of having these young children grow and learn before my eyes. All of it spoke to the child in me. Two years later, Ursula Davis, Highbridge Educational Consultant, and Bank Street alumna introduced me to a fantastic graduate degree program. Thus, Bank Street came bounding into my life — it was everything I didn’t know I wanted, yet needed.

Bank Street College of Education was launching its Urban Initiatives Program via Bronx Cohort #1. Unfamiliar with higher education and its admissions practices, I was a little incredulous at the application process and remember thinking — “There’s a lot of writing to do!” The more I became entrenched in the tenets of the College — developmentally-appropriate, progressive early childhood education, social justice, celebrating cultural values, advocacy — the more I realized the absolute importance of such careful and thorough methods in constructing a community of learners. We would be primed for serving children and families in the most effective ways.

Today, I am a wife —  hence the very English/American, and a little mysterious last name —  Bonds. I am a full-time, second year graduate student, a full-time head teacher of 3s, and I am also now a student blogger. I hope my weekly posts serve as a small tributary of the rich resources Bank Street has to offer and to answer questions about life as a student here. Please join me in experiencing Bank Street,  New York City, and my life as an exhausted (but generally upbeat!) coffee, matcha, sleep and early childhood education enthusiast.

Always feel free to comment —  your ideas and feedback are infinitely welcome!