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Alumni Spotlight

Anya Barrese ‘14

Anya Barrese ’14 says that her love for learning blossomed in 5th grade when she transferred from a public school to ACDS because faculty and staff emphasize education as a positive experience that is cultivated and encouraged. Unlike at her previous school, where learning felt like a chore, her curiosity blossomed in science, literature, art, and social studies at ACDS.She advises current students to take the fun electives because “you never know how they may apply later in life!” She adds that although middle school academics can be challenging, the teachers and staff are “looking out for you and want you to succeed.” 

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.Anya Barrese

Anya fondly remembers her class trips to Yosemite, Catalina, DC, and the annual field trips for DARE Day (now called EDGE Day). She is grateful for her teachers’ and parents' efforts to make these trips successful and for exposing her and her classmates to new situations that broadened their worldview. These trips also gave her the confidence to travel alone and the excitement to explore new places.

Although Anya developed numerous significant relationships at ACDS, she values the friendships she retained with teachers after graduation. Her relationship with Mme. Paula Furniss is especially memorable. The summer before coming to ACDS, Mme. Furniss tutored Anya so she could catch up with her prospective peers. During that time, they got to know each other, and subsequently, Anya felt seen and heard whenever she was in French class. Even after graduation, they would grab coffee to catch up on their lives, bake scones, share travel stories, and crochet together.

To prospective families, Anya declares that “ACDS is a wonderful place to entrust your child.” She adds that although “no school is perfect, the intention and effort that ACDS staff put into the structure and curriculum shines through every time.”

Lastly, Anya received her permit to hike the Pacific Coast Trail this July from Canada through Washington and Oregon to the California border (about 500 miles of the 900-mile trail). We hope to share pictures of her exploits in the fall issue!

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.