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Alumni Spotlight

Emmett Griffith '08

Emmett Griffith '08 attended ACDS from Begindergarten through 8th grade and is a member of the class of 2008. Upon graduation from Presentation High School, he next enrolled at Chapman University, where he pursued and obtained a double BA in Integrated Educational Studies and English Literature. Emmett went on to obtain his M.A. in Higher Education & Student Affairs at New York University.

Emmett Griffith Presenting

    Emmett Griffith ‘08 leading an
    ACDS faculty and staff
    workshop

According to Emmett, “One of my greatest personal accomplishments has been discovering and living in my truth as a trans man. My identity journey is deeply connected to my work as an LGBTQ+ educator and advocate”. Emmett is the Manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University. He also provides workshops on LGBTQ+ and DEI topics for educators and other organizations. Most recently he facilitated a workshop for the ACDS faculty and staff, which was very well received. Additionally, Emmett married Brandi, whom he met in college, last October. They reside in the Santa Cruz Mountains with their two rescue pups.

Emmett Griffith Wedding

Emmett Griffith '08 and wife Brandi

ACDS had an impact on who Emmett is today. He shares that “ACDS set a foundation for me to pursue a career in education with the goal of having a positive impact on people’s lives. I am particularly grateful for all of the opportunities in the performing arts from annual school plays, to summer theater, choir, and Zoom…in a supportive artistic community”. 

After graduation from ACDS, Emmett wrote an original musical with his dear friend and fellow ACDS alum, Grace Hoffman, became the president of his a cappella group in college and met his wife in a production of “Crucible the Musical.” Emmett continues, “My love of theater began at ACDS (thank you, Mrs. Curtis & Mrs. Hatch), and has shaped me into the person and educator I am today.

A favorite ACDS tradition of Emmett’s was the Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Carving. He stated, “It was so fun to dress up at school with my friends and then come back to school at night to get messy, carving pumpkins and enjoying spooky treats together.”

Emmett shares that some of his favorite memories include when his first grade teacher was looking for a substitute teacher and told his mom that she didn’t need to find one because she trusted Emmett to lead the class! Another fond memory was when his entire family acted in two musicals together at ACDS, and they would eat dinner together in the auditorium before rehearsal. His older brother teaching the entire middle school how to dance to the “Cha Cha Slide” was another happy memory.

Emmett shares that the most significant relationships he’s had at ACDS include many of his teachers who inspired him to become a lifelong learner and educator. They provided genuine care, support and many opportunities to grow and make an impact in the world. He also met two of his best friends at ACDS, Demi Pace and Grace Hoffman, who remain his closest supporters and forever friends.

When asked what advice he would give to a younger alumnus or current student, Emmett suggested that there is a big world outside of ACDS that is waiting for you–learn everything you can, take risks, try something new, share your story, express yourself, stay curious, be open to change, build connections, and use your voice to make a difference!

When asked what he might say to a prospective family, Emmett shared that ACDS is a close community that offers wonderful educational opportunities and extra-curricular activities for students to grow and discover who they want to become in the world.

ACDS is proud of our alumni and their accomplishments. Below are a few more alumni spotlights that show just a small sample of the exciting paths they forged after graduating from ACDS.  Please contact us to share your ACDS alumni story.

More Alumni Spotlights...

Emmett Griffith

Emmett Griffith '08 attended ACDS from Begindergarten through 8th grade and is a member of the class of 2008. Upon graduation from Presentation High School, he next enrolled at Chapman University, where he pursued and obtained a double BA in Integrated Educational Studies and English Literature. Emmett went on to obtain his M.A. in Higher Education & Student Affairs at New York University.

Anya Barrese ‘14

After graduating cum laude from Seattle University in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a minor in philosophy, Anya is currently the Lifestyles Coordinator at Parkshore Senior Living in Seattle, Washington. She shares that working at an incredibly rewarding job, living in a beautiful city, and having wonderful friends and family makes her happy and is more than a person can ask for.

Lisa Ricchio'04

We've been following Tucker (Lisa) Ricchio '04 very closely these past few months, and Chef Tucker has written in to keep us up to date. Read on to hear all about how she started her journey as a Chef, what her Italian grandparents taught her about food and cooking, and her experience on Gordon Ramsay's show, Next Level Chef.

Matt Hunt '12

After graduating from Leland High School in 2012, Jake Heindel '08 completed a bachelor's degree in Film Production at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. As a Video Producer for the San Jose Sharks, Jakes says that one of his most significant accomplishments is "making the opening hype videos that play on the big screen before the players take the ice." They are an impactful way to energize the crowd before the game starts. If you're a Sharks fan, you've probably enjoyed one of his four opening hype videos. His favorite is the Stealth Jersey open video from the 2021-2022 season. 

Matt Hunt '12

Meaghan Schapelhouman ’14 attended ACDS from Begindergarten through 8th grade. Upon graduation from Presentation High School, she next enrolled at Marymount Manhattan College, New York City, where she pursued and obtained a degree in musical theater. To the delight of all who know her, Meaghan completed the circle and recently returned to Almaden Country Day School to join the staff as a teacher in the arts.

Matt Hunt '12

Matt Hunt attended Almaden Country Day School from Kindergarten through 8th grade and is a member of the Class of 2012. He attended Archbishop Mitty High School and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Motorsports Engineering with a minor in mathematics from Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 2021.

Matt’s proudest professional accomplishment is being part of the Indianapolis 500 Car Race this year (2022) and winning the IndyCar championship in 2021 with Chip Ganassi Racing. He worked on each car as a mechanic and engineer.