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Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Harrington

Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Harrington

Featuring Ryan Harrington

Ryan Harrington, Hershey Montessori School Alumnus

Ryan Harrington, Hershey Alumnus

This month’s Alumni Spotlight features Ryan Harrington. Ryan has lived in many states across the U.S. during his life, including California, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. He currently lives in Urbana, Illinois and is attending college at the University of IL at Urbana Champaign where he is pursuing his Master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering. While working on his studies, Ryan is also a Graduate Research Assistant at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Before moving to Illinois, Ryan completed his undergraduate degree in civil engineering at California Polytechnic State University.

Ryan came to Hershey Montessori School in 2001. He said his parents enrolled him at Hershey when the local kindergarten program wanted to hold him back until he had the proper communication and motor skills. 

“My parents thought it was unacceptable that the school would hold their autistic child back for these deficiencies when their child could draw roadmaps for every freeway in the greater Cleveland area,” said Ryan. “My parents brought me to Hershey Montessori School because the program allowed students to learn topics by proficiency and rarely by age.”

Ryan stayed at Hershey for ten years, from 2001 through 2011, when his family moved to Chicago.

Below is our interview with Ryan.

 

How would your friends describe you and how does that compare with how you would describe yourself?

My friends would describe me as someone who could introduce you to any academic topic. I would describe myself as a down-to-earth realist.

What are your favorite places to go and favorite activities to do?

My favorite place to go is Bay View, MI, where I love to sail! I also enjoy hiking. The last mountain I was able to hike was San Gorgonio, which has an elevation of 11,503 feet! I also enjoy solving Rubik’s Cubes.

What has been your happiest moment to date?

My happiest moment was being re-elected as the president of my high school Science Olympiad team. It was a big deal not just because we achieved our highest placement at the state competition that year, but also because I had never known an autistic person who held a significant leadership position.

What is your favorite book and favorite movie? 

My favorite book is the Grapes of Wrath and my favorite movie is The Godfather.

What is your favorite memory from Hershey?

While I was taking a water quality class at the [Huntsburg Campus] farm, I asked my teacher about whether the treatment pond was filling up with debris over time. In response, she gave me access to a canoe, several feet of string, and a submersible weight to graph the profile of the pond. After comparing the data to that collected ten years ago, we found that the pond hardly changed. The “just go for it” attitude that I gained from that project is something I still carry with me.

What did you like most about Hershey?

I most enjoyed the lesson structure that Hershey Montessori School employed. Hershey helped me to learn by helping me to remember things. I learned by preparing and presenting my work to the whole class.

Who made the biggest impact on you and what was the impact that was made?

The person who made the biggest impact on my life was the principal [program director] at Hershey during my time there. She helped me to keep the fact that I was moving away confidential because I worried that students would treat me differently. Not only was she willing to convince the staff to keep that secret for an entire school year, but she was also willing to help me navigate a successful path onto my next school. The success of that agreement has allowed me to be a secret keeper for topics my friends and family do not want to discuss openly amongst others.

Tell us your favorite quote and your most important life lesson you’d like to share with others.

My favorite quotes is “The best and worst thing you can say to a student is ‘you can do better,'” and my most important life lesson to share is that everyone should live in a different location at least once in their lifetime.

 

And that is a life lesson that has definitely served you well, Ryan.

It has been great reconnecting with you. We are glad you are doing well. On behalf of your Hershey family, we wish you great, continued success in life and as you complete your Master’s program!

 

Alumni Spotlight: Maya Harwood ’20

Alumni Spotlight: Maya Harwood ’20

Featuring Maya Harwood, Class of 2020

Maya is from Cleveland Ohio and attended Hershey Montessori School for sixteen years. She began her Hershey journey back in 2004 in our Children’s House program when her mom, desiring a Montessori education for her, chose Hershey while in the process of house hunting.

Maya graduated from Hershey in the spring of 2020. She has since enrolled in the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia. She is currently studying to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Film & Television and her of Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dramatic Writing. Maya is currently undergoing her studies remotely, living at home with her turtle, Fred, and her new Labradoodle, Sadie May.

Maya’s friends describe her as dedicated, hardworking, and responsible, and hardworking is an adjective she and those of us at Hershey would agree with. Along with her current school studies, Maya does video project work for Hershey.

Here are some fast facts about Maya. We wonder if her friends or fellow alumni know these things about her.

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Favorite part of attending Hershey?

The freedom that we were allowed to have throughout their day.

 

Favorite memory of Hershey?

My sixth grade trip to Washington DC and my ninth grade trip to Findley Lake, New York, which was part of her Education and Peace class.

 

Favorite space at the Upper School?

It was either the Upper School Café or the Community Room.

 

Enjoyed most about senior year?

Being able to go off campus for lunch.

 

Favorite book?

The Harry Potter Series.

 

Favorite movie?

The Devil All the Time and Harry Potter.

 

Happiest moment?

Being a camper during the summer, which later led me to become a camp counselor.

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 It was great to catch up with you, Maya. We wish you all the best and look forward to our continued connection.

Thanks for chatting with us!

 

Hershey Alumni Return, Provide Support to Students

Hershey Alumni Return, Provide Support to Students

Members of the graduating classes of 2018 and 2019 recently returned home to Hershey Montessori School for its annual Alumni Day. 

The graduates hosted a panel discussion with current students where they reflected on their time at Hershey and answered questions about life after high school. The graduates went on to share valuable insights regarding their transition to college, making new friends, and various tips to help students as they continue their own journey in the years to come.

The alumni were also gracious in their time as they participated in a Q&A session with Hershey parents via video conference.

We are grateful to all who were able to join us for this informative, heart-warming, welcome home event.

Many thanks to Mathematics, Business and Microeconomy Guide, Jennifer Snead, for organizing this event, and to all of the alumni for taking the time to share their wisdom with the Hershey community.


 

Alumni Spotlight: Cameron Zona

Alumni Spotlight: Cameron Zona

Hershey Montessori School is proud to put a spotlight on one of our alumni, Cameron Zona.

Cameron was able to travel with the Mercury Theatre Company to perform in the National Performing Arts Festival on February 21-24. Cameron and his group were judged on national standards by four world class judges. They performed an original 20-minute cabaret, Disney on Broadway, composed of 14 songs from different Broadway musicals like Mary Poppins, Frozen, Aida, and Aladdin. 

The group placed first in their division and second overall and were able to perform half of their show on stage at Disney Springs. Cameron received an award for his singing, dancing, and acrobatic skills during “Seize the Day” from Newsies. 

While at the Festival, Cameron was also able to participate in master-class workshops run by employees and actors at Disney, including former and current Broadway and National Tour actors and actresses.

Photo courtesy Cameron Zona.

Upcoming Performances:

  • The Bridges of Madison County
    March 8-16

    Western Reserve Playhouse
    Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00, Sundays at 2:00
    Synopsis: This musical tells the story a love story between a woman and a photographer who has come to town to take pictures of the famed bridges of Madison County, Iowa. Cameron plays the son, Michael.
  • 1776
    April 11-May 5

    Ohio Shakespeare Festival
    Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00, Sundays at 2:00
    Synopsis: This classic musical recounts the writing and ratification of the Declaration of Independence. Cameron plays The Courier, who closes Act One with a song that reminds the audience just how even when there are arguments happening within congress, the real problem lies on the battlefield.
    This is a good one to bring middle/upper school students to, great music and very historically accurate.
  • The 10-10 Festival of New Plays
    June 21-July 13

    Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (River Street Playhouse)
    Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00, select Sundays at 2:00
    Synopsis: Ten original one act plays, each ten minutes long! Cameron will be directing five of them selected from nearly 800 submissions.
  • Himalayan Dreams (a Tale of Nepal)
    September 14-October 6

    Talespinner Children’s Theatre
    Fridays at 7:00, Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 (Possible 10:00AM school matinees on Fridays)
    Synopsis: The story of a Sherpa boy’s humorous coming of age adventure that teaches him about himself, and about his father, a porter.
    This is a great show to bring lower/upper elementary students to, entertaining and original play that teaches about another culture and preaches equality between all children.
Marianna Pasaret – Alumni Spotlight

Marianna Pasaret – Alumni Spotlight

Marianna Pasaret is a 2012 graduate of the Huntsburg campus of Hershey Montessori School.  She is a current resident of Austin Texas and was recently interviewed by ESPEROS in their SoHo stories blog which focused on Lifting Women Up.

Read it here!

Marianna is a multimedia artist, concentrating on a combination of digital and sketch work. She exhibited in London late last year and was Boss Babes’ resident artist last winter. Read her inspiring interview where she discusses what and who empowers her and how she lifts other women up. We at Hershey are very happy for her success both as an artist and an inspiration!

 

Meet the Hershey Montessori Alumni

On March 16th, five Hershey Montessori School Alumni shared insights into our lives after Hershey Montessori School. Each of us are in different places in our lives and careers so it was interesting to see how we each have ways in common that our time at Hershey Montessori School impacts us in our lives, school, and careers today. Katie Vadakin and I participated remotely and Andrew Yarger, Connor DeWalt, and Leigh Emelko participated in person at the Concord Campus.

If you did not have the chance to attend, please watch the entire event on the Hershey Montessori School YouTube channel!  

You can also learn more about Hershey Montessori here

If you have any questions for alumni, please feel free to email them to mwebster@hershey-montessori.org and a group of alumni will answer them!

Thank you!

Makella Webster, Hershey Montessori School Alumni Coordinator