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Alumni Spotlight

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. He also builds custom cars for Snakepit Customs and helped build a performance truck to show at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, which is one of the largest automotive trade shows and competitions. Matt’s team finished in the top ten in the competition which included hundreds of trucks.

Matt has put down roots in Indianapolis, where he bought a home on the upper east side. He is dating a woman he describes as, “an incredibly supportive, kind, understanding, loving, outgoing, and beautiful young woman who managed to find me and tie me down for a few minutes to go on a first date during racing season.” When Matt has spare time he builds hot rods, and his current projects include a 1967 Dodge Dart, a 1968 Plymouth Barracuda, and a 1968 Ford Mustang. In the racing off-season, Matt tells us, “I hope to start coming back to the Bay Area more and see old friends, visit alma mater campuses, and see teachers from my past.”

ACDS helped Matt reach his dream of building cars starting in kindergarten. He told us that, “being able to explore how the technology worked at the ‘take-apart station’ in kindergarten gave me an early understanding of how to explore my curiosities and that it is okay sometimes to take things apart and not be able to put them back together.” Now he knows that when you can’t put things back together, “you can re-engineer them to be easier to build in the future and simpler to understand.”

Some of the traditions that Matt loved include the Fun Run and tug of war with the middle school teachers, but Matt liked the Halloween Pumpkin Carving and the middle school dance the best. Matt shares, “We would carve pumpkins together, dance to fun music, watch the Adams family on the blacktop wall, and when I went into middle school, I would go to the dance in the auditorium. I loved all the holiday events we did, but Halloween was my favorite at the school. I even got the chance to be Michael Jackson in a flash mob of Thriller!”

The Birthday Book Squad (BBS) was another important part of Matt’s ACDS experience. He spent recesses in the library and said that “In my opinion at the time, and still today, it was one of the most comfortable, fun places to hang out, and all of this was only possible because of Shannan (Williams) Egli. She made me feel at home every time I walked in the door of the library and was one of my best friends at the time.” Matt and Shannan still stay in touch ten years after his graduation.

When asked what advice he would give to future alumni or current students, Matt acknowledged that it is difficult to offer advice to everyone, but he shared some things that have helped him along the way.

Goals: “I can say that there have been so many times in my life that I have been faced with challenges I did not think I would be able to make it through and finding something to work toward in those situations can be extremely difficult. For me, finding that light at the end of the tunnel, and starting out with that mindset going into anything I know will be difficult is key.”

Friends: “Having a few extremely good friends is more valuable than I can describe. Real friends tell you the things you don’t want to hear, but what you need to and when you need to hear them. Real friends will be by your side through the hardest days and laugh with you on the best ones. Real friends listen and know when to give advice and when not to, which is just as important. And a real friend accepts that you will make mistakes and knows the mistakes you make are not what defines you as a person, but how you recover from them.”

Career: “The saying is so true, doing what you love is so much more important than the financial compensation it provides. It will bring you more joy to go to work excited every day than to have more money than your peers. The most excited I have ever been going to a job was working with hot rods in a shop with no air conditioning and no hot water. I got paid less than I do now… but none of that mattered. When I went to work in the morning, I knew what I built would be a piece of art for one person that everyone who saw it, heard it, smelled it, could love, and experience together. My passion drove me forward every day.”¬

When asked what advice he would give to a prospective family Matt shared emphatically, “Going to ACDS largely made me the man I am today. My mother instilled in me a lot of my moral compass, but ACDS enforced those fantastic values of kindness, selflessness, giving, inclusion, knowledge-seeking, courage, and a lack of fear in taking the leap to what you love. I know when I have kids, if I am living in the Bay Area, they will be attending ACDS because I know the kind of people the school produces, and I trust those teachers and staff with my family and friends.”

Matt Hunt Alumni Spotlight Collage

 

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.