A Tribute to Annie Whitacre
Posted 06/22/2017 09:51AM

It is with deep sorrow that we announce a great loss to our school community. On June 6, 2017, Annie Whitacre, Class of 2014, passed away suddenly with her family by her side.

Annie is fondly remembered by her Pinewood community as a creative, talented, compassionate person. Her contribution to the Pinewood Performing Arts program instilled a legacy of excellence that continues today.

"At Pinewood School Annie was trained and mentored by Spencer and Shenelle Williams who developed her skills as a vocalist. She appeared regularly in stage productions at Pinewood including Whisper House, All My Sons, Sound of Music, and Les Miserables." Read Annie's full obituary, here.

Annie's services were held on Sunday, June 11, 2017 in Mountain View. Dozens of Annie's Pinewood peers and faculty attended to honor her memory, including a group of Pinewood singers who paid tribute to Annie's love of music. In lieu of flowers, Annie's family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society.

Remembrances of Annie by Pinewood Faculty

Annie attended a Pinewood service trip to Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico, in June of 2012. We helped a community of people build safe, comfortable houses for themselves in a part of the country where many people live in cardboard shacks.

Annie was a delight to have on the trip. She took wonderful photographs of our experiences, bonded with many of the students on the trip, as well as the community members we met, and worked tirelessly doing the brute labor of mixing concrete and carrying rocks. One of my favorite memories is how much she loved the animals we met, from squirrels to roosters to pigs. I remember her letting a tame squirrel crawl all over her body at a palapa near the beach--she was in heaven, while the rest of us were kind of freaked out!

On the last day of the trip, there was a hurricane. Our group was on the way to a fiesta to celebrate our partnership with the community members, when they called and told us to turn around. We returned to our hotel and huddled in a room under the stairwell as the storm came in. We could hear roof tiles blowing off the roof and trees being ripped out of the ground. It was terrifying.

As we waited out the storm, we shared our thoughts and feelings about the people in the posada, whom we had grown to care so much about. We were all painfully aware that, while we were safe, they were in grave danger. When it was Annie's turn to speak, she expressed, of all things, anger at herself. She said that she was furious at herself for getting upset about little troubles in her life, when she was so privileged and so lucky. She expressed sorrow that she had been so blind to the suffering of other people before the trip.

Another student, Etelle Stephan, said, "Annie, we've all been looking through the little narrow tube of privilege. Now we have a second lens, a pair of binoculars. Now that you can see more clearly, you will do better. We all will."

Annie did so much to recognize other people's struggles and to offer her loving support. She was a fierce champion of those her needed her, as well as a sweet, helpful, funny young woman. I miss her terribly.

  • Hannah Jones, High School English Instructor

Annie was very passionate. When she got worked up about something, no one was going to stop her. This included helping others. She was more than happy to stop what she was doing or go out of her way to help others. I remember many rehearsals in which we mentioned needing a prop and Annie would say, "we have one of those!" It didn't matter what it was... she had one. I am still not sure if she actually had one, or just wanted to go out and get it for us. She was a huge part of our performing arts family and always wanted to contribute. She was in the choirs, plays, musicals and the rock band. She was a vital part of the rock band and approached it with such passion. I am saddened by our loss, her beautiful voice will be missed in this world.

  • Doug Eivers, High School Theater Instructor

I met Annie her freshman year, my first year teaching at Pinewood. Inquisitive and participative, Annie captured my attention from the beginning. I remember Annie shared with me a recording of her singing; the qualities of her voice captivated me and mirrored what I recognized in Annie in the classroom: her maturity, yet innocence; her delight in learning and need to explore truisms as we discussed literature; her emotional intelligence, and her wit. Annie's writing also revealed her ability to see the world through her own lens, and her desire to make sense of it. Annie was more than just a student to me. She was like a beloved daughter; she was a friend. Annie captured my heart from the day she sat in the back row of class with her hand in the air, and she will remain in my heart forever.

  • Cheryl Zepp, High School Literature Instructor

Over the course of my career, I have had the privilege to teach some incredible humans. Annie was one of them. Walking into Pinewood as a freshman, she was a shy and nervous girl, and the transformation that happened over four years was astounding.

Her strength and grace as she played Fantine in Les Miserables was stunning. Her dark, beautiful portrayal of the Female Ghost in Whisper House will be one of my favorite performances I have ever seen. The way she jumped up and performed with Duncan Sheik at Yoshi's was one of my proudest moments as a teacher. The list could go on and on...

Her honesty in her performance always shined through.

It was an honor to teach her, to see her grow through the gift of music and theatre, and to see her become comfortable with her "voice", as a musician, but also as a young woman.

  • Spencer Williams, High School Choir & Theater Instructor
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