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Alumni Highlights from our “Where are they now?” Facebook Series
Over the past few months, we’ve had fun highlighting Snoqualmie Valley graduates in our Where are they now? series on the Snoqualmie Valley School District Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/svsd410.org. In case you missed these, we’re sharing the posts below for all to enjoy. And, a special thanks to everyone who shared their stories.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director of Enrichment Science & Engineering and Mount Si High School grad Brian Anderson (Class of 1988) was wowed by a tour of the new MSHS with Superintendent Lance Gibbon. Dr. Anderson earned his PhD from the University of Washington, has been a nuclear scientist and researcher for over 25 years, and is an accomplished musician.
Michelle John is an OES/TFMS/MSHS ‘16 alum. She was heavily involved with band and still plays the trumpet. She graduated with a social work degree from Pacific Lutheran University and worked AmeriCorps with United Way of King County. Now she's back in North Bend and, this year, will be serving SVSD students as Empower Youth Network’s Youth Resilience and Community Resource Coordinator! We're thrilled to have you here, Michelle!
Natalya Truitt (MSHS class of 2017) graduated from George Fox University with bachelor degrees in Cinema and Media Communications: Film and Video Production and in Music Composition. She composed several pieces of music for her final recital: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXbf3XiZAOY&t=12s. Natalya is currently working as a media support specialist for Church on the Ridge, and plans to continue composing music and expanding her media work in our community.
Bob Weller (MSHS class of '56) graduated from WSU Pullman in 1960 and earned a Master’s degree in 1961 from Temple University. Bob spent most of his career as a superintendent of schools in many Washington communities such as Davenport, Washougal, and White Pass. In retirement, Bob was a football official and currently volunteers at his local church and court house.
Annie Hager (MSHS class of '19) is a junior at WSU Pullman studying Journalism & Media Production. She's interning this summer at CNN as a video news producer. She's been churning out dozens of stories for CNN and is also a reporter for The Daily Evergreen newspaper. Annie says her experiences at Mount Si High School, especially Mr. Dockery’s classes and Wildcat TV, laid the foundation for the terrific jobs she has today.
David Sotelo (MSHS class of '18) is currently a senior at Western Oregon University studying business. David is attending WOU on a football scholarship and is playing for the Wolves as a tight end. He credits Mount Si Football and Coach Kinnune for helping him land the scholarship and for giving him the foundation for success.
Julia Dorn (MSHS Class of ’11, pictured in the middle) graduated from Western Washington University in Elementary Ed and taught at Opstad Elementary School. This summer, she was our K-5 summer school principal and just landed a job in Issaquah as an elementary school assistant principal. Congrats, Julia!
Rachel Hunter (MSHS Class of '16) grew up with a learning disability and attended special education classes. Today, she is a graduate from Brandman University with a BA in Organizational Leadership and has worked for Disneyland Resort for the past 5 years, currently on a merchandise leadership team. She shared her story to show others that "if you believe in yourself, anything is possible, no matter what challenges you face." Thank you for being an inspiration, Rachel!
Today, we’re featuring a brother and sister in our series, Renee and Brandon Spear. First up is Brandon (MSHS class of ‘16), who is now a Sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps. Brandon went directly from high school into the Marines. He is currently stationed overseas with his Force Recon unit where Brandon serves as the Communications Chief. Thank you for your service, Brandon! Semper Fi!
Next, in today’s brother-sister feature is Renee Spear (MSHS class of ‘15). Renee has a B.A. in Aerospace Engineering (Computer Science minor) and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering (Astrodynamics & Satellite Navigation focus) from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is working on her PhD.
Renee co-led a project implementing a new trajectory design tool in The Julia Language in collaboration with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her signature is even on NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover currently exploring Mars! She also interned at Advanced Space working on technology development and trajectory design. Incredible work, Renee!
Monica Spear (MSHS class of ‘16 - no relation to the other Spears in our series) grew up in the UK before moving to the Snoqualmie Valley where she helped win a state championship for the Mount Si Cheer team. She recently graduated with a BFA in Film & Digital Content and landed a job with a huge multimedia firm supporting the film and theme park industries. She is currently a Guest Ambassador for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood and is serving as a lead for this year's Halloween Horror Nights - Hollywood event.
Kira Denny (MSHS class of ‘16) graduated from WSU Pullman with a Communications Degree in PR. She landed a cool job during COVID with Edelman, one of the largest PR firms in the U.S.. She’s living in Seattle and working remotely on the Microsoft Xbox and Microsoft Surface accounts. She gets to interact with social media influencers which provides a fun element to her day-to-day. Kira looks forward to her office opening so she can experience more of a “normal” in-person work life.
Curtis Dorr (MSHS class of ‘04) was on a team of mining partners that dug up a pair of 16 oz. and 13 oz. gold nuggets in historic Liberty, WA in 2013. These "potato" sized specimens were the largest found in Washington in 50 years and believed to be some of the last of their kind, as most old mines melted everything down for cast. Curtis continues to prospect with his partners from the World Famous Potato Patch, always in search of this rare and precious metal.
Marie Thompson Figgins (Two Rivers School class of ‘96) grew up in the Valley, went to MSHS, but transferred to Two Rivers, had her first child her senior year and still graduated on time. Marie said she really enjoyed both schools. She earned an AA in Interior Design from Bellevue College. After working in that field, became an optician and then a stay-at-home mom. She got into the fitness field in 2008 and is currently the Fitness Coordinator for the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District in her husband’s hometown. Marie says she still loves the Valley and has very fond memories here.
Brooke Lamberson (Webb), MSHS class of ‘99, earned her BA in Elementary Ed from WSU Pullman and M.Ed from Concordia University in Curriculum & Instruction with a minor in Trauma & Resilience. She is currently a middle school teacher in Pasco, has her own consulting firm, GRITT LLC, focused on trauma informed practices, and runs Beautifully Inspired, a nonprofit for those involved in foster care. Her work with foster children was recently featured on NBC: https://tinyurl.com/294zn6d3 and she even did a TEDx presentation called, “Foster the Revolution.”
To wrap up our Where Are They Now Series, we're highlighting A.J. Boyd (MSHS class of ‘96 and Eagle Scout in Snoqualmie Troop 491). A.J. graduated from University of Notre Dame. After working in ministry in the Seattle area, he moved to Rome, Italy on a graduate fellowship, where he lives today. A.J. has studied, researched and participated in international interreligious dialogues around the world.
Since 2013, A.J. has been a Professor of Theology and Comparative Religions in Rome, with a focus in Ecumenism (church unity). The photos show him reading from the pulpit of St. Peter's Basilica during the Easter Vigil in 2018 and meeting with Pope Francis in 2019. A.J.’s mother is SVSD Preschool Teacher Suzanne Spuhler and she’s very proud of him! We are, too!
We received a couple bonus submissions for our series and had to pass them along. First up is Michael Blackmon (MSHS class of '11). Michael earned a BA in Criminal Justice and a MS in Psychology and now lives in Redmond and works as a Clinical Therapist for Fairfax Behavioral Health, a behavioral health hospital in Kirkland. Michael provides individual, group, and family therapy for youth with mental health struggles.
We wrap up our series with Patricia Perez (Two Rivers School class of ‘03). Patricia graduated from Brenneke Massage School in 2004 and became a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) in 2005. She currently lives in North Bend and works at The Balanced Spine in Issaquah, where she helps clients with chronic pain.
Patricia shared she recently obtained legal guardianship of her two young nephews who lost their mother in October 2020. Amid of the grief of losing her sister, it look time, energy and strength to navigate the legalities of keeping her nephews with her and safe. She is now the proud mother of three -- her own daughter age 9, and nephews ages 4½ and almost 2. Thank you, Patricia, for sharing your inspiring story!
Re-posted from Facebook October 3, 2021