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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...

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.