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Alumni Spotlight

Hunter McKown '15

Hunter McKown '15 attended ACDS from the four-year-old program through 7th grade but left early to pursue high-level ice hockey. His greatest accomplishment to-date was earning a spot on the US National Development Team, a two-year program in the United States Hockey League. Their team won the gold medal at the 5-Nations tournament in Sweden in 2019. Hunter's goal is to play professional hockey someday.

Hunter McKown

After finishing high school in the Midwest in just three years, Hunter earned a full-ride scholarship to play Division 1 hockey at Colorado College. In December, he is headed to Omaha, Nebraska, for 21 days for National Collegiate Hockey Conference play. Academically, Hunter is enjoying Colorado College's unique 13-week block system, where he takes one class at a time for 3 ½ weeks.

Hunter says that his years in ACDS' supportive environment has a lot to do with who he is today. He appreciates how his teachers really cared about their students and made learning practical and fun. At ACDS, he's made incredible friends and learned a lot about friendships and getting along with others. These lessons have been invaluable in getting along with his coaches and teammates.

Hunter has so many favorite ACDS traditions, such as sharing a meal at Thanksgiving Feast, running around the blacktop with friends as the parents carved Halloween pumpkins, trying to eat as many Sno-cones as possible at the year-end carnival, and snorkeling in Catalina Island.

He also has several favorite teachers: Mrs. Ray's sense of humor made him feel special, Mrs. Galante was upbeat and fun, and Mrs. Egli made reading fun. PE was a blast with Coach Wardner, but Speech and Debate class taught Hunter to enjoy public speaking. Hunter is incredibly grateful that Coach Wardner took a real interest in him by attending his games and continuing to support his hockey journey.

Hunter's advice to young alumni and current students is "to enjoy every moment of your time at ACDS. Be thankful for your teachers. Be willing to work at the things you love."

For prospective families, Hunter says, "you will not get an education like this anywhere else. The teachers are amazing and so supportive. There are so many wonderful traditions. You'll make incredible friends. You'll also get to try everything from being on stage to playing sports to going on incredible field trips."

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...

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. 

Deena Shakir '00 and Laith Shakir '04

Deena Shakir is a successful business professional. She and her husband Mehdi have two children, 6-year-old Lana and 4-year-old Adam. She earned a joint BA in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard, and an MA from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, funding her education through a variety of merit scholarships and side ventures, including co-founding her first company while in college. She is currently a partner at Lux Capital, a venture capital company focusing on emerging, futuristic ideas in science and technology investments. In addition, she is a lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

Maxwell Love Snowboarding

Maxwell Love’19 is a vibrant, well-rounded learner whose resume-to-date belies his youth. As a junior at Oakwood School, he recently completed a research summer internship at UCLA into the analysis and remediation of cytotoxicity of cigarette smoke in the lungs. He will submit his resulting research report to the nationally renowned Davidson Fellow Scholarship and the Regeneron Science Talent Search. Maxwell also testified to the San Jose City Council on a high schooler’s perspective of the vaping epidemic, assisting in the successful effort to pass legislation banning flavored e-cigarettes.