Now in our 48th year of service to children and families, we love hearing what our Montessori students are up. Our graduates remain a part of our community, even as they move on to pursue many diverse and exciting directions in their lives. Sometimes they return to visit with their teachers; some have even come back to work in our community as adults. They remember the community that nurtured them, and we are delighted to share some of their stories with you through a series of Alumni Spotlights. Here is the first in that series. Enjoy.
After attending West Hills as a young child, Sarah attended Catlin Gabel School. Following high school, she spent the summer working as a whitewater rafting guide on the McKenzie River, and then embarked on a gap year that included working on farms in New Zealand, living with a family in India, and volunteering at an environmental school in Costa Rica. After her year of exploration, Sarah spent two years at the University of British Columbia before transferring to Prescott College in Arizona, where she completed a degree in Environmental Studies with minors in Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies.
Between college and graduate school, Sarah worked as a forest firefighter in Southern Oregon and also came back to her roots for a time, joining the West Hills community as a member of our Lunch and Aftercare team. Sarah describes coming back to West Hills as an adult as a “full circle experience” that provided her with an awareness of how her Montessori experience had influenced the adult she has become.
While reflecting on her years as a Montessori child, Sarah remembers enjoying many wonderful activities, including polishing, hammering, birthday celebrations, the beautiful ritual of mealtimes at school, adventures on the big playground, and creative movement experiences with ‘Jumpin Joan’ Gunness, who, as you can imagine, was delighted to meet Sarah again as an adult! She also recalls how her Montessori guide, Anne Blickenstaff, supported her passion for drawing and creativity by inviting her to decorate the papers and booklets she made after math lessons.
Sarah is now attending Yale University, where she has already earned her degree as a Registered Nurse and is immersed in graduate level studies in pursuit of her passion: Midwifery and Women’s Health. As a recipient of the Nurse Corps Scholarship, following her graduation Sarah will spend at least two years serving in a medically underserved community as a Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
Following one’s passion in life is at the core of what we strive to instill in our West Hills students. We look forward to staying in touch with Sarah and hearing more about the impact she will make in the lives of women and families through her leadership and service.