Thank You Seniors: Spandana Vagwala


Adam Richins

Spandana at the Baccalaureate Mass.

So many things make me think of Spandana Vagwala. Gold star award – Spandana. Let’s Talk About Race – Spandana. Looking Glass – Spandana. Model UN- Spandana. Awesome sheep sweater- Spandana.  What can’t this girl pull off? (I mean that sheep sweater is iconic!) Many wouldn’t expect that Spandana didn’t always feel like the leader she clearly is. As a Freshman, she describes herself as “quiet and nervous,” however excited to start a new chapter at Montrose. 

Her first impactful Montrose experience was going to the Boston trip and the summer class barbecue, which served as a good way to meet her classmates before the year started. And by her sophomore year, she felt like she was really coming out of her shell. She said by the time the class went to Plymouth Plantation and had the Sophomore symposium the grade was “on a good wavelength”. Although a new school can be an intimidating challenge, Spandana didn’t give up on trying out new things such as the Looking Glass and Model UN, two clubs that many Montrosians now associate with her name.

Spandana and her fellow seniors pose for a photo at the Senior prom. (Kathryn Purinton)

Spandana and the Looking Glass

When Spandana first started at Montrose she decided to join a club. At accepted students’ night Spandana was luckily seated next to Maevis Fahey, last year’s editor in chief. Maevis encouraged her to think about joining the newspaper, so Spandana and her sister sat down together and skimmed through a list of club titles. She was immediately drawn to the Looking Glass’ description and she decided that she wanted to begin writing articles. Spandana already knew Mrs. Whitlock or “deedee” as the Seniors call her through Western Civilization and Genres of Literature. Spandana loved having class with Mrs. Whitlock and she knew that the Looking Glass was the place for her. 

 When asked about her array of articles, she stated that she “really liked the ones about the presidential debates, entertainment and politics, and specifically the one I wrote with Erica Brown ‘22 about  the confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson.” One of her favorite articles of all time is on the controversial Harry Styles Vogue cover, titled Individualistic Fashion Expression Beyond Gender Stereotypes: Harry Styles on the Cover of Vogue. Her favorite part of her Looking Glass career has been the editor meeting this year and last year, along with the Ask Alice questions. 

Spandana takes a selfie with seniors Tess Farr and Anna Rose at a concert. (Spandana Vagwala ’22)

Model UN

When we first started talking about Model UN during her interview she plainly stated, “Forsgard [who is the faculty advisor for Model UN] is a boss lady and a very cool person.” In 9th grade, you haven’t yet been blessed by Forsgard’s teaching abilities so Spandana was pumped to meet her in Model UN.  She was also excited to start new relationships with others. She said that working with the politics side of the newspaper paired well with Model UN. Although she may not realize it, she made a lasting impact on so many people in the Montrose community. When asked about her fellow Montrosian, Hansini Gundavarapu ‘24 says, “Spandana is a great leader. She inspires me to actually talk in Model UN.” 

Let’s Talk about Race

Spandana adored Let’s Talk About Race. She loved seeing Montrosians engaged and enthusiastic about important topics facing us today. Bipartisan Dialogue club was so important in the context of the current world. Erica Brown states, “The work she’s been doing is so incredibly inspiring. I really enjoyed going to the meetings this year and I’m very proud of what she’s accomplished” Hana Shinzawa said, “Looking at the articles she decided to write… They were big topics. I was very impressed by how fairminded and thoughtful they were. It goes well with her involvement in Bipartisan Dialogue Club and Multicultural Club where she expresses her beliefs and educates others.” 

So what is the Gold Award? The Gold Award is the ultimate honor a girl scout senior can win. Fewer than 6% of girl scouts win a Gold Award, and Spandana has worked so hard to earn hers. To win the Gold Award girl scouts have to work on a project that focuses on an issue their community faces for two years. Spandana was inspired by racial problems plaguing this country, especially after the summer of 2020. She wanted to start an initiative that would help others voice their opinions and become educated. She did this through her Let’s Talk about race program where we watched movies, read books, and listened to talks about race related issues. I have become much more confident in voicing my ideas, opinions, and concerns because of Spandana and all she has done for Bipartisan Dialogue and Multicultural Club. 

Montrose and Beyond

Next year, Spandana will attend Duke where she will major in Political Science. I’m sure we’re all wondering what advice Spandana may have for younger students. When asked that very question, she said, “It’s a bit of a cliche, but don’t be afraid to try new things at Montrose. No matter what you choose to do, if you take the step out of your  comfort zone, Montrose will always be there for you.” When given time to reflect on a last comment Spandana writes, “ I’m really glad I choose Montrose. Even though it was a painfully long drive every day, it really was worth it. I felt so supported by all my classes, clubs, friends, and teachers and I’m really gonna miss out on that when I go to Duke. I  hope a lot of other students get the opportunity to feel as much love as I do for Montrose.”

By Cecilia Ashenuga ‘24, Food and Wellness Editor and Social Media Editor