Q: Favorite DSOA teacher:
A: That's a tough one. I had a number of favorites for different reasons. Ms. Sherri Catalano Hubbard (née Mills), Señora Smith (despite her insistence that I was a thief for stealing a yellow plastic Quidado Piso Mojado sign from a janitor at a store on Worth Avenue; it was purely a symbol of my devotion to the Spanish language and my contribution of a real world artifact to her classroom. She and I never saw eye to eye on that, unfortunately), Mr. Deluz, Ms. Marshall, Lady Pfeffer (the lovely standby substitute teacher and Stephanie Pfeffer's mom)
After high school graduation Kasia attended NYU film school, and received a BA in Communications, she then went on to earn her MA in international affairs from Marymount Manhattan, New School.
Kasia doled out a little advice for college students, “Always remember to confirm you properly dropped a class if/when you're adding/dropping at the start of the semester. I have a horrendous recurring dream where two weeks before graduation I'm told I got an F in English class and consequently need to repeat a year because I didn't drop the class the right way”. Luckily that didn’t happen and she graduated, on time.
Ms. Reterska went on to explain how she arrived at her current career.
A lot of it was serendipitous. I always liked storytelling - my own stories and those of people who had no voice. My first job in New York outside the fascinating and sometimes unsavory nightlife scene involved working with Cuban and Haitian refugees for International Rescue Committee. The next job I worked on an HIV/AIDS communications advocacy campaign for Save the Children in Malawi. Then I worked as a press officer for a human rights organization that sought to bring war criminals to justice in post-conflict countries (Liberia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Colombia, and so on). Just before the Beijing Olympics I was hired by Edelman, the largest global PR firm, to help message and publicly position some of their Fortune 500 clients about corporate responsibility, specifically regarding human rights. From there I came to Fenton, where I currently work, to help build the corporate responsibility practice - essentially to help companies and public sector organizations have positive social impact while conducting business in a sustainable--and profitable--way.
Q: What recommendations do you have for our current DSOA students?
A: Getting good grades in school is important, yes, but it's not everything and certainly not something to lose sleep over. In my view it's critical to go outside your comfort zone, be endlessly curious, learn by doing (beyond the classroom) to become a valuable contributor to the world. Look for real life experience outside of school. Get an internship in something completely different from your studies. Volunteer helping Haitian refugees. Travel to a place that makes you uncomfortable. Be scared every now and then. And try to have as much fun as you can along the way.
Life is so much more fun after high school. My two kids, dog Penelope, and Nicolle, my partner of 12 (!) years are proof that it gets better. Embrace who you are and don't let bullies bring you down.
October 2012 | Alumni Spotlight
Christine Wang graduated from Dreyfoos in 2002. After completing law school she returned back to our community to accept a position at Ward, Damon, Posner, Pheterson & Bleau, PL where she practices Commercial Litigation and Condo/HOA Representation law. Additionally Christine is the newly instated Alumni Representative on the School of the Arts Foundation Board of Directors.
Christine was a Dreyfoos Visual Arts student and feels she was profoundly changed by her fellow student’s willingness to cross boundaries and stereotypes to come together as one.
Q: Is there something DSOA could have provided that could have better prepared you for your college and career?
A: I think that DSOA is such a close knit community with such a strong support and base that taking that first step into college or any new environment can be very daunting. Personally, it was a huge transition for me going from DSOA where I felt like I knew everyone and everything to an entirely new and different environment. With that being said, my experience at DSOA did prepare me to thrive in both diverse and challenging situations because the experience at DSOA is unlike any other.
While Ms. Wang chose to focus on academics after graduating from DSOA she still pursued a second major in art history at Duke University and co-curated an exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art. After graduating from Duke University Christine went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Q: How did you arrive at a law career after being an art student?
A: I choose to pursue academics after DSOA instead of pursing art school, but that was just a choice I made. As much as I love and enjoy the visual arts, it is something that I like to do for fun as a form of expression and stress relief.
Upon returning to West Palm Beach Christine quickly became involved with Dreyfoos by working on her 10 year class reunion.
Q: You spearheaded the 10 year reunion for the class of 2002; why was this important to you?
A: I wouldn't say spearheaded -- we worked as a team. I was always very active in different organizations during my time at DSOA and I felt it was important to continue in that tradition. I have always looked back at my time at DSOA and remembered what an amazing time I had and the amazing people I met and really just wanted to be a part of recreating the connections we made. The class of 2002 was always very spirited and always pushing the limits of what we could do and accomplish. We won spirit week as 7th graders and we never lost that spirit! 20--02!!!
Not only was Christine integral in the planning of her class reunion she is also very involved in the Dreyfoos Alumni Committee. With 18 years of graduating classes and as the school approaches its 25th anniversary the Alumni are an important part of the school’s history and future.
Q: What goals do you personally have for DSOA alumni?
A: When I first returned to West Palm Beach, I did not realize how much of an impact my DSOA experience would have, but everywhere I turned, someone had a connection to the school and I realized just how unique the DSOA community really is. We are a community willing to help and support each other and my goal is to build and cultivate an active alumni base to increase opportunities and awareness between both alumni and current students.
With Christine’s arts background and interest in excellence in education The School of the Arts Foundation Board of Directors felt her involvement would be invaluable to the growth of the Foundation. This month Ms. Wang joined the School of the Arts Foundation as the Alumni Representative.
Q: What do you hope to bring to the Board?
A: I am hoping to bring a fresh perspective from someone who has benefited tremendously from both the school and the work of the Foundation. I know the DSOA experience is unparalleled and I want to continue that tradition. I want to share alumni experiences and happenings and to help cultivate a stronger connection between the alumni and the school. There are so many of us who are now in a place where we can offer the advice and help to students who are unsure of where their next step might be and there are also so many other connections that have remained untapped as to opportunities and ventures between alumni creating and growing their own ventures.
When asked what she recommends to current Dreyfoos students Christine suggested students “Take advantage of every opportunity you have and enjoy every moment of your DSOA experience”. It is clear Christine continues to do the same.
September 2012 | Alumni Spotlight
Class of 2000 Dreyfoos School of the Arts Visual Alumnus Brandon Brady-Fitzpatrick has just accepted a position as Senior Designer of Apparel at New Era. New Era has been making the official field cap of MLB for decades and was recently contracted to design the official field cap of the NFL. Brandon will be developing New Era branded urban sportswear to go with their iconic caps. The concept and release dates are still very hush-hush at this time but truly exciting things are just on the horizon.
With the guidance of then Visual Dean, Jane Grandusky, Brandon changed his plans from wanting to pursue animation to realizing his goals as a fashion designer. Upon graduation he went on to attend the prestigious Parsons The New School for Design.
While at Parsons Brandon quickly stepped into the design world doing creative jobs for Ralph Lauren and as an Associate Designer for Orvis Signature Label Men’s Sportswear where he picked trends and fabrics for upcoming seasons and looks. He opted to not graduate and instead pursued the garment industry with a fever. Brandon was most recently the head designer at Nat Nast, a menswear designer, where he managed a small team of designers to execute seasonal looks and designs.
Along with his many years of freelance work Brandon has been quietly launching his own brand, The Brooklyn Sheriff Clothing Company. Brooklyn Sheriff is a vintage inspired menswear line. Think Gangs of New York with a modern twist: rugged jeans, tweeds, distressed leather all with dandy tailored refined elements. The inspiration came from New York City during the industrial revolution; a time when millions of immigrants from all walks of life were constructing the city of New York to become the metropolis it is today. Keep your eyes peeled for his line.,/p>
As New Era looks to the future of their brand there in no doubt Mr. Fitzpatrick’s keen eye for design and aesthetic will help them on their way.
- Dr. Susan Atherley, Dreyfoos Principal - named PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR - Region 4 of the US - by Magnet Schools of America
- 3 Seniors Nominated for Presidential Scholar!!
- 4 Seniors Nominated for Presidential Scholar in the Arts!!
- A.W.Dreyfoos School of the Arts ranked #37 in the NATION by Newsweek Magazine Top High Schools!!
- A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts is named ARTS MODEL SCHOOL 2011–2014 by the Florida Alliance of Arts Education
- Three Dreyfoos dancers accepted to Juilliard
- Dreyfoos seniors earn 19.5 million dollars in scholarships with a 100% graduation rate
- Dreyfoos FILM major wins PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR in the ARTS
- Two Dreyfoos seniors make semi-finals in the PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS program — one for arts and one for academics
- Dreyfoos JAZZ Band has 5 students selected for UCF’s JAZZ FESTIVAL
- National Scholastic Art & Writing awards two NATIONAL GOLD awards to visual arts; one NATIONAL GOLD award for writing and one AMERICAN VISION award to architecture
- Dreyfoos Theatre Dept. nominated for 13 CAPPIE Awards for Last Night at Ballyhoo
- Two Dreyfoos students recognized as SEMI-FINALIST in the PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS in the ARTS
- Five Star School – Florida Department of Education
- “A”-rated school for ninth consecutive year (Florida Dept. of Education)
- #51 High School in the United States (Newsweek)
- #61 High School in the United States (U.S. News and World Report)
- Magnet School of Excellence (Magnet Schools of America)
- Palm Beach County Cultural Council Muse Award for Arts/Cultural Organization with Budget over $500,000;
- Palm Beach County Cultural Council Muse Award for Cultural Leader — Principal Ellen Van Arsdale
- #61 High School in the United States (U.S. News and World Report)
- Dreyfoos student named Presidential Scholar in the Arts; two others are semi-finalists
- Graduation rate of 99%; graduates receive over 14.5 million dollars in scholarships
- Dreyfoos Film, Visual Arts, and Writing students receive numerous awards at the National Scholastic Art Awards in New York City
- Dance, Film, and Visual Arts students participate in NFAA ArtsWeek in Miami
- Dreyfoos band students win top honors at Florida Music Association All-State competition for eighth consecutive year
- Senior music student named a semi-finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search for his four year study of a Red Sea coral reef
- Five Star School (Florida Dept. of Education)
- No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon School (U.S. Dept. of Education)
- International Leader in AP Studio Art for second consecutive year (College Board’s Advanced Placement Report to the Nation)
- Dreyfoos Theatre Department receives the Cappie Award for Most Outstanding Play
- Speech and Debate Team wins first place in the nation at the Bickel and Brewer National Public Policy Forum for second consecutive year
- Dreyfoos student named Presidential Scholar; another named President Scholar Semifinalist
- Governor Jeb Bush identifies Dreyfoos as The #1 School in Palm Beach County
- Exemplary School of the Year (International Network of Schools for the Advancement of Arts Education)
Carlos José Alvarez is a Los Angeles based film composer and percussionist. As a child in a musical Cuban household, he was exposed to a spectrum of music, ranging from the Cuban masters to the great symphonies. Enthralled by Cuban rhythms, Carlos took up percussion. He is a class of 1998 Music Department alum who had the experience of attending both Palm Beach County School of the Arts and the newly named Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts.>
Carlos has contributed his talents to notable films such as Deadline (starr. Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch), One for the Money (starr. Katherine Heigl), 9 (starr. Elijah Wood), Fame and Discover The Gift. Additionally, he has composed the music for numerous national and international commercials including BMW, Acura, Best Buy, Kia, Home Depot, and Expedia. He considers himself as much a storyteller as a composer; breathing life into the characters and luring the audience into the story.
Q: What is the most profound change you experienced at SOA?
A: My first year there was pretty life-altering. I had come from an even smaller private school and the transition was scary for me. I didn't know whether or not I would fit in or what to expect. But I was excited to meet other artists and I immediately felt at home within that community. Mr. (Wayne) Miller pushed us, believed in us, and inspired us. He always saw us greater than we saw ourselves. I knew it was where I belonged. We were a little weird and different and it was all ok.
Q: What was it like being the first class to graduate from the newly named Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts?
A: We were all pretty nostalgic about leaving the old campus. It was our training ground and we took with us so many memories. It was where we had grown together as friends and as artists. But I think moving campuses was a perfect lesson in how to adapt and transition at that age, and I think in some ways it prepared us for the next step in our lives. We were such an incredibly talented class and I felt a sense of pride in the legacy we were leaving behind at the new campus.
Q: How did you arrive at your current career?
A: I was obsessed with films as a child and was mesmerized with the roll music played in them. There were few things that excited me more than sitting in a dark theater. The first album I ever owned (which I saved up for) was John WIlliam's score to “Jurassic Park”. I would play it over and over again while standing on my bed conducting to it. I wanted to be a part of it and had made a subconscious decision that I would one day work in Hollywood. Though I don't think I publicly acknowledged it until my senior year of high school.
When I got to college, I started composing music for student films, trying to figure it all out. One thing led to another and after graduating, I made the decision to move to Hollywood. It was a bit tough in the beginning, but I found my way and had great mentors. It's been quite the roller-coaster and I remind myself everyday how lucky I am to be doing this.
Upon graduating from Florida State University with a BA in music, Carlos was honored with a scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music, graduating magna cum laude with a diploma in Film Scoring. He then accepted a conducting fellowship to study with maestro Michalis Economou with the Athens Symphony Orchestra.
Q: What do you think makes a good film composer?
A: Writing a great piece of music is one thing, but understanding how music shapes a story, a scene, a character, a line of dialogue… that is a different skill entirely. I think the great film composers are as much committed to the story-telling as they are the music. They are passionate about the marriage of music and image and have that special sensibility of knowing what is needed and when it's needed.
Q: What do you feel has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
A: Personally, I would say it's my most recent score to the film Cubamerican. I’ve dreamed of the opportunity to compose music that would celebrate my Cuban heritage and serve as a tribute to the sacrifices made by my parents and grandparents’ generation. It’s a really great film and was a labor of love for everyone involved. I was able to record the score using first-class Cuban musicians along with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. It was kind of a dream gig.
Q: What is your next project:
A: I’ll be composing the scores to two films: The first one is titled “Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind”. It’s a drama about a neuroscientist’s journey to uncover the mysterious past of a New Orleans street singer stricken with Alzheimer's. It’s actually a very moving story. The other, is the action film “Payday: The Heist” which is a modern day Robin Hood story based on the Sony online video game. Both could not be more different and will have their own unique challenges. I’m very excited.
When asked what Dreyfoos means to him, Carlos put it simply, “SOA is where I discovered who I was and where I was going. It is where I decided that music and my artistic expression would be my life's work. It was the foundation for everything to come.”
Visit www.cubamericanthemovie.com to watch the trailer to Cubamerican
January 2013 | Alumni Spotlight
Katie Alender (nee Schmidt), is the author of the Bad Girls Don't Die series of young adult novels from Disney-Hyperion and the upcoming Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer (October 2013) from Scholastic. Katie is a Palm Beach County School of the Arts class of 1995 Communications Department Alum.
Q: What is the most profound change you experienced at Dreyfoos (SOA)?
A: I learned that not only was it not a terrible thing to be different from the people around me, but it was actually a good thing. I had spent two years at a "normal" middle school being crushed by the sense of not being good enough. At SOA, the change was immediate and so powerful--people liked you for exactly who you were and not only didn't expect you to change, but didn't want you to.
Q: Favorite Dreyfoos (SOA) teacher?
A: I have so many! Mr. O'Brien, a science teacher who was one of my class's faculty sponsors, and Mr. Deluz both had a huge impact on me. I remember Mrs. Schanel, my math teacher, for her utter commitment to her students' learning, and Ms. Beermann for her creative approach to teaching. I also remember having Dr. Bucklew my senior year after having heard for years that she was strict and serious, and finding her very kind and completely willing to let us be crazy and have fun as long as we put the work in. That was a great lesson for me. I honestly feel that, between the emphasis on academics and the space given to the arts, Dreyfoos set me up in the best possible way.
After graduating from the School of the Arts Katie went on to attend the Florida State University Film School and received her degree in Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Arts. She then moved to Los Angeles and began working in development TV shows.
Q: How did you arrive at your current carreer?
A: When I moved to Los Angeles, I worked in development—researching, writing, and pitching ideas for TV shows. One of those companies produced content for kids and teens, so I spent a lot of time thinking of that age group as protagonists. I had wanted to write a book for a couple of years (and had started but not finished one or two in that time), and after I had begun a draft of “Bad Girls Don't Die”, I came across Stephen King's memoir, “On Writing”. That book made me realize that normal people like myself could actually finish a book. You just had to put the work in. So I finished the draft and spent the next couple of years rewriting it in my spare time--early mornings, late nights, weekends.
About four years later, I came across a web page my graduating class had started and found that one of my former classmates, Matthew Elblonk, was a literary agent. I emailed him, and he said he'd be happy to look at the book. He liked it, and we sold it to Disney-Hyperion. When the first book came out, it did well enough that my publisher asked me to write two additional books in the series. Up to that point, I was also writing and producing televised dog shows for Animal Planet. The email with the offer for the two additional books and the email saying the dog show series had been canceled arrived on the same day. And that was the day I became a full-time author.
Q: What was more intimidating writing and publishing for first novel Bad Girls Don’t Die or finding out that it had become a 3 book series and that you would need to keep the audience captivated for two more books?
A: I wouldn't say there was pressure with the first book--or if there was, I wasn't experienced enough to perceive it. With the second two, I suddenly found myself mired in the rules of my own mythology, the logistics of reopening a story after a pretty definitive "The End," and a pair of tight deadlines. At the same time, I had grown as a writer. My various day jobs had taught me a lot about discipline, collaboration, and getting the work done, so I was well prepared for the new challenges.
Q: What do you feel has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
A: Oh, there are so many highlights. The personal connections I've made with readers and other writers are inspiring and rewarding. Seeing the cover of a book for the first time is incredibly cool, as is holding a copy of your own book in your hands. Also, having been a writer long enough, having put in the work and been through the slogs and continued to educate myself, to feel truly literate in terms of craft--and to have real, involved discussions about story with other writers and creative people. But the overall highlight is the fact that I get to spend my days telling stories.
Q: You came back to Dreyfoos to talk to the students about your books and career; what was that experience like?
A: It was amazing! The students were so bright and interesting, and I got to see a few of my former teachers. I wish I had more time to spend working with aspiring writers there.
Q: “What Dreyfoos means to me”?
A: At a time when many teens are being shut down and closed off, told they're not good enough and that they have nothing to offer, I was encouraged to express myself and search and chase my passion. Dreyfoos made me who I am. It's also the place where, in ninth grade, I received the excellent advice to "get off my high horse," which has led me to spend my life in pursuit of humbler horses.
Q: What recommendations do you have for our current DSOA students:
A: If you are determined to pursue a career in the arts, make good use of the alumni networks that are available to you. When you're young, you don't realize what a pleasure it is for people who are established to encounter younger people with integrity, intelligence, and talent, who are eager to learn and put in the work. On that note--be willing to put in the work! There's an adage that to become proficient at something takes 10,000 hours of practice. Dreyfoos students certainly have a leg up in that regard, but you must continually push yourself to grow and learn.
Another thing I would say is not to see your future as simply a timeline to get through in order to achieve acclaim and success. Enjoy every minute, every day. Remind yourself that each moment is its own reward. Don't be brainwashed by our society that idolizes celebrity.
If you want to find Katie online can visit her website: http://katiealender.com or find her on Facebook: http://facebook.com/KatieAlenderBooks
December 2012 | Alumni Spotlight
Joshua Harto, a class of 1997 School of the Arts Theatre alum, is an actor, writer and producer. Since beginning his career at age 15 on the Nickelodeon series "The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo" he has appeared in numerous award winning and critically acclaimed plays, television series and films; most recently opposite Michael Sheen and Sam Jackson in Gregor Jordan's controversial film, Unthinkable. Many of you may remember him as the blackmailing attorney 'Coleman Reese' in The Dark Knight.
As a television writer and producer, Josh along his wife Liz W. Garcia, has sold TV pilots to CBS, ABC, FOX and NBC. Their show Memphis Beat ran for two seasons on TNT with George Clooney's Smokehouse Pics producing and starring Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard. This year they are creating a project for NBC with Gordon Ramsey attached as an executive producer.
Josh has worked extensively on the New York stage, premiering plays for the likes of Doug Hughes and John Guare and starring opposite legends such as Kate Burton and Amy Wright. His long list of Independent films includes The Believer opposite Ryan Gosling and Swimming opposite Lauren Ambrose.
When asked how his experience at the School of the Arts shaped his career path Josh offered this explanation:
“It isn't profound enough of a statement to say that my SOA experience shaped my career path in some way. My SOA experience is directly responsible for any and all professional success I have had. SOA has the ability to see a hidden spark of something special in otherwise "ordinary" kids, helps them to hone in on it and develop it. Had the faculty not seen that and allowed me to attend, it's difficult to imagine who or where I would be today. I can say with a good deal of certainty though that I would not be the fully realized adult I am.
The school helped me to define myself as a young adult, and artist, and businessman based on the specific and unique qualities I possessed. Not on a set of general, one size fits all, criteria handed down by some kind of legislative board. Yes, there were all the tangible opportunities that come with attending an art school: being able to work at your chosen art every day, perform on stage, learn about design and music and history, receiving professional help, learning about the business of the business, meeting talent agents and industry professionals. But most importantly, SOA fostered an environment where it was safe to explore who you were becoming as an emerging adult. SOA taught me that it was okay to be my own unique self. And I can't stress what an important quality that is. I see it over and over again, as the single most important shared characteristic of those who are the most successful in the professional arts world. And I would venture to say the same is true in most arena of employment.
I talk about this with fellow alumni often. Each and every one of whom, whether they followed an art career path or not, are contributing something special and unique to the world. My wife loves to watch over my shoulder as I scroll through Facebook, delighted at the incredible, unusual and profound achievements, bold ideas and rich voices everyone one of them posses. Though she attended one of the top high schools in the country, she is constantly surprised and fascinated (and I think a little jealous) by our experience at SOA and the stables of prolific individuals the school has turned out.”
A few weeks ago when I asked Josh about his career highlights he responded, “I have a good one that I think will be exciting, but I won't be able to talk about it until Wednesday at 1pm west coast time.” The suspense was killing me … I updated my Google alert and waited. This past summer Josh produced and starred opposite Kristen Bell in The Lifeguard which his wife Liz wrote and directed. On November 29th it was announced that The Lifeguard was selected to compete at Sundance!
Josh commented on what attending the School of the Arts meant to him, “It really means everything to me. I wasn't a kid who was blessed with a wealthy family, or any kind of special connections. There really shouldn't have been any kind of easy path for me to achieve my goals. But SOA came along. It was the defining factor in my life. The school, the teachers, the staff and my fellow students as a whole were the opportunity I needed to change the direction of my life.” He concluded, “I am who I am, where I am, able to do what I do (a job that, by the way has the ability to affect countless others) because of the School of the Arts. And I am just one of so many that I know feel the same way.”
November 2012 | Alumni Spotlight
Kasia Reterska, a class of 1997 Communications alum took some time out of her busy schedule to candidly answer some questions about her experiences at the School of the Arts and how that shaped her career.
Ms. Reterska is currently Vice president at Fenton, the largest public interest communications firm in the United States with offices in New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and London. They combine decades of expertise with creativity and innovation to accelerate progress on today’s most pressing global and national issues. Their first client was Nelson Mandela.
Kasia manages several corporate and nonprofit clients with multiple teams with budgets totaling about $2 million. Her focus is on crisis management, message and brand development, leadership positioning, stakeholder engagement and corporate and public affairs management. Her recent and current clients include: ACLU, Avon, CDC, Enerkem, GE, General Mills, Half the Sky Movement, Kate Spade, Merck Foundation, Novartis, United Nations Development Program, Warner Bros. and a former deputy prime minister of Russia (by far the most colorful experience of them all).
During her time at the School of the Arts Kasia majored in communications, “though I dabbled in Theatre for a year, which was catastrophic. Thanks Mrs. Blanchette for putting up with me”.
Q: What is the most profound change you experienced at SOA?
A: I cut my hair short and never looked back...it was so liberating not to mention lessened the fuss of getting ready each morning - not that I wore beauty queen hair every day, but still. Also, meeting and developing a magical and lasting friendship with Cotter Douglas Christian. He continues to be a force of greatness in my life. Also, watching my brother Milosz (an SOA alum too) transform from a high school kid to the globetrotting, brilliant rockstar he is today. Making and maintaining other super friendships helped shape me, too. Like with Susi Kandel. And others...you know who you are.