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Alumni Spotlight

Margherita Bassi '12

Margherita Bassi '12, aka Titti Bassi, who also pens under MV Marguerite, has been busy since graduating ACDS in 2012. She is currently a freshman at Boston College, studying English Literature while also juggling being Varsity volleyball team captain and being a young adult fantasy/sci-fi author.

How do you manage your time between your studies, being a team captain, and an author of a series?

“Volleyball season was always the time of year during which I wrote less, but that was never much of a surprise, since we had practice six days a week, plus games. It’s all about responsible time management, and giving everything it’s rightful priority. I have a test tomorrow? Studying takes priority. I have an equestrian show (I horseback ride now!) tomorrow? Lessons take priority. But on very busy days, time management must be conducted on a micro-level. For example, if I get to my class five minutes early, I repress the instinct to pull out my phone and check Facebook, and instead finish the last pages of that chapter I couldn’t get to last night, or open my laptop to finish editing the end of my novel. Multi-tasking is also vital! Though I like to take my time with my meals, sometimes it’s important to know how to use a fork with your left hand, because the right one is busy punching numbers into a calculator and then recording the answer for my math homework. It’s stressful and it’s important to know when it’s time to take a break, but with some organization, planning ahead, and self-discipline, I believe people can achieve much more than they believe.”

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Now that I live so close to Boston, I love exploring the city with my friends. I’ve also started taking Zumba classes with my roommate, and I often babysit to try and curb the infamous depleted student bank account.

You started “Those Who Cry Green Tears” when you were in fourth grade? How did your first book initially come together?
I imagined the two main characters in Those Who Cry Green Tears (though they both have different names now) around the time I started fourth grade. As the years went on, I developed the interaction between these two characters into a more complex plot, adding magic, more people, bad guys, twists, turns, you know the drill. Many people have asked me how I was able to stick with one story and the same characters for over four years, and at such a young age. My answer is that I cheated! The plot was only a jumble of scenes until it finally assumed the shape of a more traditional story line at the beginning of my eighth grade- the only thing I kept since my initial inspiration was, in fact, the two main characters, and the presence of magic. I lost count of how many times I rewrote at least half the novel, changing themes, names, plots, and other elements I no longer found appealing. Even now, rereading my published version, there are so many things I wish I could go back and change. But some say that’s the beauty of writing -- that it’s never finished, and certainly never perfect!

What came after “Those Who Cry Green Tears”?
Those Who Burned the Shadows is the sequel to Those Who Cry Green Tears. Though the original plot is obviously continued, the few months between the final draft of the first book and the beginning of the second book (during which I rarely wrote, since I had to dedicate my free time to the bureaucratic and technical aspects of publishing) brought great change to my writing. I believe the language in Those Who Burned the Shadows is much more elegant and mature. After all, an author’s writing style is bound to change between the beginning and end of a series, especially one whose creation has spanned across seven years of one’s life. In Those Who Burned the Shadows I tried to nail down the themes that, in comparison, are only whispered about in Those Who Cry Green Tears. I think the end result is not only the development of a story of love, loss, and conflict, but the development of how I’ve grown as an author. Those Who Burned the Shadows was published in April of 2014, bringing an end to my main characters Auria and David’s epic search for their lost families, an explanation for the magical powers that are suddenly thrust upon them, and an end to the war.

What are you working on now?
Those Who Cry Green Tears and Those Who Burned the Shadows will forever be in my heart, but since the latter’s release, I’ve moved on to bigger and (hopefully) better written projects. Right now I’m working on the third book of a trilogy, whose first book is tentatively called So Human. None of the books in this series have been published yet because once I have finished the third novel, I will be pursuing the traditional publishing route. Though the So Human trilogy is closer to the science fiction genre rather than fantasy and takes place on Earth (California, specifically!), readers who have explored my previous works will find recurring themes and characters that I was unable to part with just yet.

To keep up with my new main character Alice’s adventures (and figure out why in the world my pseudonym is M. V. Marguerite), come visit me at http://mvmarguerite.com/beans/!

Parting words for budding authors?
My proudest author-moments so far have been the times I received emails from other young writers who read my books or even just visited my website, asking for my advice in the pursuit of their dreams. This is why I do what I do!

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...

Margherita Bassi '12

Margherita Bassi '12, aka Titti Bassi, who also pens under MV Marguerite, has been busy since graduating ACDS in 2012. She is currently a freshman at Boston College, studying English Literature while also juggling being Varsity volleyball team captain and being a young adult fantasy/sci-fi author.

Maya Kaul '09

Maya Kaul '09 attended ACDS from the 4-year-olds program to 8th grade. She graduated from Pomona College in 2017 with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and went on to study Finnish teacher education and development at the University of Helsinki as a Fulbright Scholar. Maya is currently an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Predoctoral Fellow, William B. and Roberta V. Castetter Fellow, and Ph.D. student in Education Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education with an anticipated graduation in May 2023.

Jake Heindel

Jake Heindel, Class of 2008, was first bitten by the film bug during his iMovie elective in middle school at ACDS and has been making films since then. Jake's latest short documentary is entitled, aptly, Perspective, and it is no wonder that this film went on to win the one of the prestigious 2015 Leigh Weimers Emerging Artists Awards.

Kristin Schroeder

Kristin Schroeder, MD, MPH, graduated from ACDS in 1993. Today, Dr. Schroeder is a Board Certified neuro-oncologist currently pioneering work with The Global Pathway, in partnership with Duke University, at Bugando Medical Center in Mwanze, Tanzania to improve access to chemotherapy and life-saving medications for pediatric cancer patients in Tanzania.

Bernie Zimmerman

Bernie Zimmerman '83 joined ACS as an inaugural ‘Country School of Almaden’ 4th grade student when the doors first opened in September 1982. Now the Clinical and Academic Director at Cherry Gulch, an award winning ranch-style therapeutic boarding school for boys, in Emmett, Idaho, Bernie credits his foundation at ACDS as a cornerstone of his academic journey and an influence on the standards set at Cherry Gulch. 

Early Childhood COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Jackson Bordelon '11 has always loved building things, and throughout his life he’s found ways to direct that love towards helping solve real world problems. As a freshman in high school, he participated in house-building trips to Tijuana, Mexico with his church, Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos. He’s currently preparing for his thirteenth trip to Mexico this summer. Jackson has sought out church leadership roles, first as a Caring Ministries Deacon and now as an Elder overseeing mission trips.