Dr. Corazon Ponce

Dr. Corazon Alafriz Ponce

An educator and advocate for multicultural education passed away on March 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, surrounded by her family and loved ones. She was 84. Corazon was born in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines to the late Angel Florendo Alafriz, a schoolmaster, and Petronila Sison Alafriz, a teacher. She earned her BS in Education from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, her MA in Counseling from the SF State University, and her EdD in Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco. Her early professional years were spent in Manila as a high school teacher where she met the late Nestor Echanis Ponce, the love of her life. Nestor bested many suitors smitten by Corazon - a triple threat in the courting circles-a scholar, athlete and great beauty. After immigrating to San Francisco in 1968, she served the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) for over 30 years, as an inspiring teacher in the classroom, as a beloved counselor, and as a passionate administrator and protector of SFUSD's bilingual education program. One of Dr. Ponce's favorite positions was as Principal of Newcomer High School, one of the first schools in the United States for newly-arrived immigrant youth, empowering them with the skills and spirit to be successful in high school and beyond in American life. In many ways, Dr. Ponce empowered many people and family members. In the early 70s, Corazon and her husband Nestor helped found the Santiaguenians of the USA club, a still vital social network of Filipino-Americans with ties to Santiago, Ilocos Sur. Between work, home life, rooting for her favorite baseball and basketball teams (first the Giants and Warriors, but later, the Dodgers and Lakers), she was also very active in the Narvacaneans, USA, the Filipino American Educators Association of California, and the California Federation of Teachers. An avid cook, her kitchen served memorable meals to many friends, colleagues and relatives, always welcome (no reservations needed!) to her home in San Francisco. She leaves her dear sisters Erlinda Pingca, who lives in Los Angeles and was her fervent health care champion, Josefina Wi, who lives in San Francisco, and brother Marino Alafriz, who lives in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur. Her family, daughter Dr. Ninez Ponce, a professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, son-in-law Dr. Bob Nordyke, granddaughters Alexandra and Malaya Nordyke will remember her love, courage and dignity as she spent her last years in their home in Topanga Canyon. Memorial donations may be made on her behalf to the .


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 6, 2013