Pictured with Jill Manfredi of Admissions dept.
Ojai native Timothy Bunce, 55, has spent 26 years passing on his knowledge to Villanova Preparatory School students. He has taught English since 1984 and is regarded as one of the best teachers at the Catholic college prep school run by the Augustinian Province of the West.
“Tim’s strengths come from the love of language and literature, combined with a genuine affection for his students,” says Dennis Rice VPS Assistant Headmaster for Academics. “As a colleague, he reminds me by his actions that we are here to teach students, not just subject matter.”
The school is putting on a reception for former students, friends and colleagues of Bunce who wish to honor him on the eve of the school’s 83rd annual alumni reunion. The reception is on the Villanova Pool Deck at 6 pm, July 29. Admission is free but an Rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org is required.
Dianna Adams Wilke’88, one of Bunce’s biggest fans, is hosting the reception and is contacting her former classmates to join the celebration.
“I feel very strongly that we need to do something special to recognize him at this year’s weekend,” Wilke said. “He is so loved by his former students and has over 950 friends on Facebook, the vast majority of which are VPS alum.”
Class of 2002 graduate Megan Van Epp is one of Mr. Bunce's Facebook friends.
"There aren't many teachers out there like Mr. Bunce. It's been a privilege and an honor to have been one of his students," she said.
Wilke remembers memorizing extensive portions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales aided by the inventive rap of the rhyming couplets that Bunce created.
Rice says that among Bunce’s many virtues are, “his wit and his patience, which enable him to encourage the hesitant student and to stimulate and entertain one who is advanced.”
Bunce has an extensive knowledge in his subject area (English Literature) which allows him to quote and reference widely, says Rice.
“He can relate stories and passages to history, psychology, religion, philosophy, or the any of the arts,” he said.
Bunce, who loved writing and storytelling when he was a student (he first thought he’d like to be a journalist, ) still reads extensively to prepare his students for AP English, he said. He became a teacher after a brief stint at a newspaper. He’s not sorry he did not become a journalist.
“I am doing what I was meant to do,” he said.
Michelle Kolbeck, parent of two Villanova students said it is very clear that Mr. Bunce loves teaching.
“He expects the students to achieve at a level that they themselves don’t realize they are able to achieve. He helps a student improve by using a positive which make students an active part of his class and in their own learning.
According to a recent article at greatschools.org, great teachers make themselves available to students and parents who need them.
Kolbeck’s experience with Bunce has shown, “he helps students before school, during lunch, and after school.”
Bunce is also involved in school-wide committees and activities. He serves as school advisor to the California Scholarship Federation, the Associated Student Government, the Film Club and is Senior Class advisor. He chaperones outings like Senior Prom and Grad Night at Disneyland and occasionally travels internationally to connect with alumni.
On his way to chaperone the 2011 Senior Prom at the Oxnard Tower Club, he stopped on the freeway to help a carload of his students change a flat tire.
Bunce says his dedication is all part of, “treating my students the way I’d like to be treated.”
Over the past 26 years , Bunce says the school has grown and changed in many ways yet the students have remained constant.
“They are gifted, talented, fun and rewarding to teach,” he said.
CONTACT: Mr. Tim Bunce at BunceVPS@yahoo.com