Mr. Bhelly Bagbonon to teach history from multiple perspectives

Mr. Bhelly Bagbonon joins the history department – Pierce Laveran 24

After five years of teaching history, coaching multiple sports, and advising multiple student organizations at the William Penn Charter School, Mr. Bhelly Bagbonon joins the history department to teach Ancient World History, Modern World History, and African American History.  Mr. Bagbonon earned a B.A. in History and Secondary Education from Immaculata University and is in the final stages of earning an M.A. in History from Villanova University, concentrating in Africana, Race, and Ethnicity studies, as well as earning a teacher leadership certificate in the education department. 

“My family has a very extensive background in history,” Mr. Bagbonon said. “I’ve traveled to various countries all over the world, and both my parents have stressed the importance of understanding my background and my cultural heritage.”

Prior to teaching at Penn Charter, Mr. Bagbonon worked as a teacher in the Norristown School District, as well as a small satellite school in Berlin. An alumnus of Conestoga High School who used to play lacrosse, Mr. Bagbonon has had plenty of experience with Haverford already.

“I’ve always admired the poise and the composure and the hard work ethic of the boys at Haverford.”

Mr. Bhelly Bagbonon

“I’ve always admired the poise and the composure and the hard work ethic of the boys at Haverford,” he said.

Finally having a chance to be a part of the community, Mr. Bagbonon is looking forward to lots of things throughout the school year. At Penn Charter, Mr. Bagbonon was an advisor to several student-led clubs and organizations, including a current-events club, a political awareness club, and an “MTV” club.

“[In the MTV club], every week, we would take an album that was popular, and send it out a week ahead [of our meeting] on iTunes and Spotify, so young students could listen to it. Then, on Fridays, we would sit down and unpack the album, and we’d talk about the influence of it. I’d love to start doing that again.”

Along with getting the chance to consider new clubs, he also looks forward to celebrating all the hard work upper school students do throughout the year.

“One of the things that I’m looking forward to is the academic award ceremony at the end of the year,” Mr. Bagbonon said. “I’ve heard many positive things about what our young men are able to contribute to society, and I think that the academic award ceremony is a perfect example of showcasing that to the world.”

The importance of learning about multiple perspectives of history is a major theme in the school’s history curricula, and Mr. Bagbonon hopes to contribute to a wave of rising awareness of the danger of single stories. 

“As a young African American student, I learned that the history of black people in this country began with slavery, and that narrative continued to be taught to me as I was growing older. It wasn’t until my undergraduate work and my graduate work where I really began to learn the counternarratives to that and understanding how the contributions of ancient African civilizations and people of color have been really impactful to society.”

Author: Arsh Aggarwal '24

Arsh Aggarwal is currently the Sr. Managing Editor of The Index. His previous roles were Editor of Features and Campus Opinions. In 2023, Arsh was awarded the First Place prize in the Pennsylvania Press Club Annual High School Journalism Contest for his piece titled "SAT going digital in 2024",