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Alumni Spotlight

Jake Heindel '08

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. 

Jake attended ACDS from Junior K to 8th grade, so he has a lot of favorite traditions, but he shared that he really enjoyed and looked forward to the annual class trips. The trips to Yosemite in 6th grade and Catalina in 7th grade were his favorites because they were fantastic learning experiences and opportunities to bond with classmates.

A favorite story was one from his 5th-grade French class when he had difficulty paying attention, which, he says, "wasn't uncommon for me at that age." He got the whole class laughing, including Mme. Furniss, by parading around the classroom with his legs through the arm holes of his school sweatshirt. "Needless to say," he continued, "my antics derailed the rest of the class."

The ACDS teachers have had a profound impact on Jake's development. Some of the standouts have been. Mrs. Soohoo, Mrs. Edmunson, Mrs. Curtis, Mrs. Wilkus, Coach D (Demetrus), and Coach Wardner. Jake says they taught him "how a teacher can be more than an instructor or mentor. They could also be a friend. And that's definitely stuck with me throughout my life."  

ACDS has influenced who Jake is today. He acknowledges that he learned how to treat others with respect, the importance of learning, how learning can be fun, and how to be proud of his accomplishments while proud of others for their successes. "[ACDS] taught me teamwork. It taught me to be creative and to explore new passions."

When asked what advice he would give future alums, Jake suggests trying as many different subjects as possible. Take advantage of the variety of classes offered, especially the middle school electives. He adds that the teaching structure gave him the "creative freedom to pursue a topic I was interested in and present it in a way that fit my creative interests. Because of this, I feel like I became a really well-rounded student in a lot of different areas," which helps with life skills in the adult world.

Jake Heindel '08

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.