Christie (Valdez) Bonner to
Teach For N.A.S.A. In July
Christie (Valdez) Bonner graduated from Boise City High School in 1982, looking to the stars and wanting to be an astronaut. Instead, Bonner now teaches high school Chemistry and Physics at Colorado City, Texas, (southeast of Lubbock, west of Abilene).
Bonner said the area around Colorado City is much like the Oklahoma Panhandle, even though the main crop is cotton.
“This has been a wonderful place to teach and to raise my own children.”
“I went to Oklahoma Panhandle State right out of high school,” Bonner said.
“When I graduated, (in 1992), I looked at a jobs availability list put out by West Texas State, found a job here, and I’ve taught here for 16 years.”
Bonner also teaches each summer at Western Texas College at nearby Snyder; but this summer, the wanna be astronaut will teach for a week at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Bonner’s students for that one lucky week will come from all over the state of Texas. The students will be broken into four groups and will then begin planning a trip to Mars.
“One group will plan how to get there, while another plans for survival after arrival,” Bonner explained.
Bonner and the students will work closely with a N.A.S.A. Engineer.
Bonner said each group will have about 10 to 12 students but she had no knowledge of the breakdown of young women to men.
For the last three years, Bonner has taken students from her Colorado City Physics class on a trip to the Space Center.
Asked if, in 1982, she had perceived any difficulty in graduating and going on to college while being a woman and Hispanic, Bonner answered quickly and emphatically, “No. I had teachers as mentors. Mrs. Pafford…Judy Pafford, has had a big influence on my life. She didn’t teach me science, she taught accounting and typing. But she is the one that made me want to become a teacher,” Bonner recalled.
“I was a science nerd and I decided that’s what I wanted to teach,” she laughed.
“Boise City had excellent teachers and a good administration; also, Bill Ramsey was important to me,” she added.
Bonner has tried to take that mentoring experience she first encountered in the halls of BCHS and use it in Colorado City.
“My kids are my life, ” she said.
Bonner works with her students as a class sponsor and with the student government association