Mrs. Condelles recognizes the humanity of all

Once an international educator, Mrs. Condelles finds her home on Mission Hills High School's campus as a special education teacher.

Story by Sophia Perun, Features Editor

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   Currently teaching her fifteenth year as a moderate-severe behavior specialist, Sylvia Condelles’ qualifications must not go unnoticed. Before her time at MHHS, Condelles taught history—culture, geography, politics—internationally in Budapest, Hungry for one year, in Prague, Czech Republic for five, and taught university professors in western China near Mongolia. 

   Language barrier between teacher and student may seem daunting to some, but Condelles embraces differences wholeheartedly. As a musician herself, she relates language to music because both have different tones to create harmony.

  “What I love is the commonality; the more countries you travel and get to see the design of being human meaning all human beings want to be loved, respected, gotten, have the curiosity to learn something new—that is the common denominator. We are all people and at the end of the day, we are all just born in different parts of the world,” Condelles said.

What I love is the commonality; the more countries you travel and get to see the design of being human meaning all human beings want to be loved, respected, gotten, have the curiosity to learn something new—that is the common denominator. We are all people and at the end of the day, we are all just born in different parts of the world.”

— Sylvia Condelles

   Inspired by the life her parents lived before they died in a plane crash when she was twenty, Condelles wants to serve and help others internationally. She plans on carrying their legacy of helping those less fortunate; as she was growing up, they worked in education in third-world countries. Condelles connects her life of travel in both her childhood and adulthood to her time as a special education teacher. 

   “Students with special needs each have their unique way to communicate almost as if they are from their own country, with their language. I was so humbled and moved by their personal stories and working with medically fragile kids or unique genetic mutations and just wanting to honor their humanity; a lot of the world can see special needs as lesser than; some cultures kill them off and I thought they have a heartbeat, they deserve human touch and music,” Condelles said.

   Condelles admits to being a student, although she is a teacher; her students have taught her the value of humility.

   “It is easy to get caught up in the day or even silly things. When you’re in this world, it’s so raw, authentic; we have kids who can barely move, you sit with them during their nap time, they smile at you just ‘cause you looked at them. ‘Look, he’s still happy every day, he can’t move his body at all,’” Condelles said.