Alumni Spotlight – Molly Jendryka

We were so fortunate to have Molly Jendryka attend our Celebration of Children event as our alumni guest speaker. Molly spoke of her memories of Westmont and her early childhood years there. Molly’s speech is below.

Good evening. As Mrs. Cross said, my name is Molly Jendryka and I am now a sophomore at Mendham High School. I was honored when Mrs. Cross asked me to make a few remarks this evening and share some memories as an alum of Westmont. Since it’s been over 10 years, I had to ask my parents to help me with some of the earlier memories.

My mom says that I was a very reserved preschooler who preferred to observe any activity for a long time before joining in or trying it myself – even on the playground. After visiting 5 local pre-schools, she said they knew Montessori was a good fit for me and that Westmont Montessori “Wowed” them. Looking back, what Westmont did most for me was helped nurture my curiosity, developed my independence and broadened my view of friendships because of its inclusive spirit.

Mrs. McCalmont and Mrs. Moranski were my Toddler teachers. Practical life, painting, singing and rolling up my work mat were my favorite activities.

Once I joined Mrs. Sandrue’s EC class, I wasn’t observing so much anymore, but diving right in, led by the older kids in my class. I do remember generally the work we did; building the pink tower, lining up the rods, map work and getting my own snack. One of our favorite sayings from those days I learned on the playground at Westmont and that is “You can’t say ‘you can’t play’”! Everyone was included.

Studying a new country or continent every year really helped me see myself as a citizen of this big world and it peaked my interest in seeing more of it.

Mrs. Brodgesell guided me through kindergarten which left me academically well prepared when I went on to first grade. Developing curiosity, independence and confidence to be myself were among my greatest gains from 4 years at Westmont. Now as a 10th grader, I still observe but I participate way more! I’m active in our HS theatre program, I am a peer leader chosen to be a buddy to new students, I work after school at the library, and I’m the co-leader of a program that runs yearround and offers children with developmental delays the chance to play sports. And all that map work in Mrs. Sandrue’s class would seem to have had a significant impact as I traveled for 3 weeks last summer to Nepal and am fortunate to be
going to China this June! So, watch out parents – it all started at Westmont!

Thank you very much and enjoy your evening