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Sundy’s Journey: Future Writer Takes Galapagos Trip

posted Feb 26, 2014, 5:24 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 13, 2014, 8:25 AM by Unknown user ]

Kristen Conner


Mrs. Wendy Sunderman, known as “Sundy” by her students, can be classified as everyone’s favorite eighth grade English teacher. She has been teaching English at Van Buren for 5 years and has even won the Golden Apple award.


Last summer, Sundy took a trip to the Galapagos islands with her husband, Mark, and son, Luke. The islands are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the west coast of South America.


In Galapagos, Sundy and her family were awed with the untouched state of being of the islands. “I had no idea how remote it was. There are no people there,” she stated.


Galapagos had lawn chairs set out on the patios outside of restaurants and guests’ rooms. While they seemed to be for the enjoyment and relaxation of the guests, Sundy found that these chairs were actually meant for the sea lions, which populated the beaches like shoppers on Black Friday.


        “One sea lion wanted, apparently, his seat back that another sea lion was already on; so he barked at the one on his seat, who got down, and then proceeded up onto ‘his’ seat and fell asleep,” she shared about her observation of the animals.

What Sundy loved most about her trip to the Galapagos was being in a place that had history that seemed untouched by people. “There weren’t thousands of people, you could 

interact with wildlife, and people seemed to respect things more.”

Galapagos was the destination of choice, she said, because, “I’ve always wanted to go there. It was on my bucket list. I also love sea lions.”

From this trip, Sundy’s eyes were opened to the beauty of the world and it has inspired her to be adventurous.


When she retires from teaching, Sundy plans on writing a book called “Chasing Steinbeck,” which will showcase her journey on the same trip that George Steinbeck made in the 1960s. The route stretches from Maine to California and estimated travel time is 3 months as she plans to do everything Steinbeck did in his original Travels with Charley.


Sundy has had quite the lifetime experience from traveling to the Galapagos and winning the Golden Apple award in teaching, to being inspired enough to write her own book. Wherever her journey takes her, Sundy is going to leave an imprint on the world; just like she already has here at Van Buren.


What is the one thing in life that you cannot live without? My double tall non-fat whipped mocha, books, and my son.


Favorite book: Today, it’s The Historian. In high school, it was To Kill a Mockingbird and I also like the Harry Potter books.


Favorite author: As a kid, Judy Bloom. In college, Walt Whitman, and John Green, now.


What is your life-long dream? I want to live on the Puget Sound Beach and watch the orcas swim by everyday and kayak with them.


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