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.
According to Meaghan, “My greatest personal and professional accomplishments go hand in hand." She always knew that she wanted to study musical theater, so she packed up her life and moved across the country to New York City. Although navigating the subway and acclimating to cold weather was daunting at first, Meaghan stated that, “...all of this, and more, made me a tougher, more resilient person. Professionally, moving to New York was one of the best decisions of my life. Having working actors as professors, rehearsing in studios shared by Broadway ensembles, performing in Off-Broadway theaters for every production, and being fully immersed in the wonderfully chaotic NYC theater scene pushed me to new heights as an artist”.
ACDS helped influence who Meaghan is today. She tells us that “So much of myself–my personality, my interests, the ways in which I express myself, the ways in which I communicate, my morality–was formed over the course of my eleven years. I still have the Keys of Kindness hanging in my bedroom. ACDS is also where I discovered my passion for performance.”
A favorite ACDS tradition of Meaghan’s was the Thanksgiving Feast. She shared that, “Helping prepare the meal, sitting with friends and Little Buddies, listening to beloved teachers perform songs and tell stories; it was extremely special.”
Meaghan noted that her Class of 2014 was and continues to be a tight bunch. A favorite memory occurred while taking the iMovie elective class in sixth grade. One of the assignments was to make a music video. Her group chose the song, “What Makes You Beautiful”. One class period was spent in the rain splashing on the blacktop, rolling around in the wet grass, and jumping off the bleachers, all while recording their movie and documenting the fun they were having.
When asked about relationships formed at ACDS, Meaghan recounted, “...most, if not all, of my relationships at ACDS were significant; and continue to be significant to this day. Both my parents and I made strong, lasting friendships. Our ACDS family is forever." Since Meaghan joined the ACDS staff she observed, “...it has become even more clear to me how strong the bonds between students and teachers are. Teachers that I knew and loved as a student are now my co-workers. Entering the workplace hasn’t been intimidating, it has felt like returning home”.
When asked what advice she would give to future alumni or current students, Meaghan suggested holding on to not only academic gains, but also to the experiences and wisdom gained outside the classroom. She explained, “Cherish the friendships, the bonds with teachers, the traditions, and the life lessons that you are bound to learn or have learned already”.
When asked what advice she would give to a prospective family, Meaghan spoke enthusiastically, “I would tell them that they should absolutely choose ACDS. In choosing ACDS, they are choosing a top-notch education, a community that cares for each member wholeheartedly, and experiences that are hard to find anywhere else”. She added, “What you gain at ACDS stays with you forever”.