Sonia Bribiescas is the Vice Principal of Walker Butte K-8 Leadership School. She also teaches Computer Information Systems at South Mountain Community College, where she was once herself a student. Her students call her “Dr. B.”
One of Sonia’s favorite memories from her childhood was when she and a group of friends wanted to go to a swimming pool, but they didn’t have any money. So, Sonia suggested that they make a lemonade stand! After long hours of working and standing in the hot sun, they finally made enough money to go to the pool. This story perfectly describes Dr.B’s mindset and drive. Born in the small mining town of Superior, Arizona, Sonia was accustomed to working hard to get what she wanted. Her parents instilled a mindset in her to work for whatever she wanted no matter what it was. Dr. B is a go-getter and she knows that success comes from hard work.
Sonia was an excellent student and always maintained an A in most of her classes. Growing up around all boys, Sonia liked sports and fell in love with basketball. She played all throughout her elementary and high school years and even received a chance to attend Old Dominion College but declined because she was afraid to fly in an airplane to visit the campus. Before she graduated high school in 1988, she received offers to play basketball at South Mountain Community College and Scottsdale Community College. Though she committed to Scottsdale, she was curious and decided to tour South. She was impressed by the kindness and hospitality that the head coach of the women’s basketball team, Kathy Bates, offered her. She told Sonia that if anything ever went wrong then she’d be welcome to attend SMCC anytime. Upon arriving at Scottsdale, Sonia found out that her scholarship had been given away and she decided it would be in her best interest to attend South and take Kathy up on her offer.
Upon enrolling into SMCC, Dr. B encountered with culture shock. Since she grew up in Superior, everything in South Phoenix was foreign to her. From the vast cultures and communities to the intricate do’s and dont’s of the city, she felt that it was all completely unique to South Phoenix. Before coming to South, she never interacted with people of races other than Mexican in Superior. South Phoenix was home to a plethora of races and cultures. And with that, she saw her first signs of discrimination and racism. She nonetheless vividly remembers how close the community was and how all members of the faculty were kind to her.
With every good thing there comes trials and tribulations. 1989 was an extremely difficult year for Sonia. She experienced a devastating car accident which sadly resulted in the death of her boyfriend. Along with this traumatic experience, Sonia’s basketball team was about to be disbanded. Her coach had resigned and her teammates were leaving the team. Things felt like they were getting worse and worse until one day, thanks to her new coach Dr. Wiley Davis, Sonia was able to get the support she needed and eventually got back on track. Even though these incidents made her lose the love she had for the basketball, they inspired her to keep moving forward. This attitude allowed Sonia to finish her 2 years at South and move on to continue her education. She eventually earned a Doctorate degree in 2011 and became the Vice Principal at Walker Butte K-8 Leadership School. Dr.B says that when she became a teacher it was mainly because of the faculty and mentors who encouraged her to keep going and that’s what her goal is to do as a teacher and educator. She wants to keep the spirit and emotions alive in her students and that is her purpose for teaching and her goal in life.
Student Researchers: Jorge Magana & Lynden Murphy, Fall 2019