Last Friday, December 5, we hosted our first annual Middle School Alumni Speaker Series. To kick things off, our Alumni Office connected with four alumni from varying careers and diverse backgrounds to host this collaborative virtual assembly for our Middle School students.
The topic for our first assembly of the series was Alumni Impacting Youth. The speakers talked about their different careers working with children, how they overcame personal obstacles, and provided helpful advice to engage, motivate, and inspire our students.
Our first speaker, Natalie Browne Holmes, graduated from Springside School in 2008 and attended Boston University. She currently works at Google headquarters in New York City as a program manager of Code Next — a computer science and leadership education program for high school students that meet with Black and Latinx students in their communities. During her presentation, Natalie reflected on the importance of discovering your personal likes and dislikes, and that it's okay to change your mind and try new things at any point, especially if it works best for you.
Chelsey Roebuck, our next panelist, graduated from Chestnut Hill Academy in 2006 and went on to Columbia to receive his Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Chelsey started a program to bring the STEM education he received to youth in Africa. He has since then expanded his program ELiTE (Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering) to Central America, the Caribbean, and underserved youth in New York City. A highlight from Chelsey's presentation was when he spoke about the importance of confidence and the power of using your own voice. As someone who has given TED Talks and spoken to large audiences, Chelsey shared that he still gets nervous before public speaking and works to overcome that challenge each time.
Our third speaker, Carolyn Tague, has lived in Alaska for the past 25 years. She graduated from Springside in 1980 and has served as a Special Education teacher, mentor, and counselor for thousands of children, underprivileged and underserved. She is the founder of The Lemong’o Project which is dedicated to empowering the Maasai people of Lemong’o in rural Kenya through improvement of nutrition, access to education, health support, and employment opportunities. During her presentation, Carolyn spoke the importance of following your lifelong dreams and passions, sharing: "As soon as I arrived in the village, it just felt like home for me... I met with the leaders of the community and asked them to meet with the greater community to find out their priorities and needs. It wasn't my role to come in and tell them what they needed. I wanted to learn from them where they needed support."
Last but not least, Frank Jackson graduated from SCH in 2014 and moved on to attend Texas Christian University. During his time in college, he studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador, where he lived with a host family. In 2018, he joined Teach for America and worked with youth in Texas to carry out his vision of ending educational inequity for all students. Now, Mr. Jackson has returned to his roots by working as an Upper School Spanish Teacher here at SCH Academy. During his presentation, Frank highlighted the importance of capturing memories by speaking about his father, who he calls his "north star." He shared: "My dad was a teacher for 40 years. He taught special education and my whole life I said I was never going to be a teacher... but the influences you get from your parents or the people you look up to, you end up falling in love—maybe not with the profession, but the feeling that you have by doing what they did." A lovely way to honor him, Frank!
Please stay tuned for our next virtual assembly in the Alumni Speaker Series, Alumni with Careers in Sports, which is currently scheduled for December 17. Alumni with Careers in the Arts is scheduled for January 14.