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Alumni Focus

Alyssa Thomas

Waterside School Class of 2009

College

Johns Hopkins University

What was your favorite subject at Waterside and why?

"One of my favorite subjects at Waterside would probably have to be Science. I remember a teacher, Mr. B, who was super enthusiastic about the sciences. I remember keeping a journal where I would write questions and show him and he would reply to them and provide me with different articles. I can't recall much of the actual lessons we learned, but I know that this particular teacher was very engaging and made me excited about what I was learning and doing!"

What was your favorite memory at Waterside?

"One of my favorite memories at Waterside would probably have to be this one year, I believe second grade, where there was some gift exchange event where I got a pair of boots and the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I remember getting through this book reasonably quickly and continuing to read one after another. I also recall my participation in the ABT (American Ballet Theatre) program that Waterside provided. I remember auditioning, practicing each week, and going to New York City to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House. I believe I did this about twice during my time at Waterside. The connections Waterside had that made the gift receiving I first detailed and my ballet participation possible definitely added to the unique experience that is Waterside."

What is the best quality of Waterside?

"The best quality of Waterside was probably its commitment to its students, even once they have left. I know that I was a difficult one during my time but the individuals within the school, particularly Ms. Visage, made sure that I wasn't neglected. I was able to continue my education at Waterside, participate in many great programs which set me up for where I am now, all the while feeling secure in the support I had of my family, teachers, and administration."

What piece of advice would you give to current Waterside Students?

"My advice to current Waterside students would be to find at least one thing you enjoy and do it as often as possible. For example, if you love reading when you're at school make it a habit of doing so outside of school. If you like the physical activities you do in gym, perhaps look into joining a sports team. The same can be said of dance and academics. Ask questions about how you might become further involved or challenged in the things you do every day. How can you become better at x, y, z?"

Favorite Book: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Favorite Quote

"Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12

What do you like to do for fun?

"For fun, I am involved with three dance groups, participate in bible studies and fellowship with the Christian group I'm involved with on my campus, seek opportunities for learning and/or laughter, read opinion pieces and thoughts shared on social media, listen to music, watch shows."

Alumni Focus

Andres Soto

Waterside School Class of 2006

College

Columbia University

What was your favorite subject at Waterside and why?

"It is a bit challenging have to just pick one subject as I really enjoyed Math, Science and Art class. If I had to choose one, I would say Math since it really appealed to my competitive spirit as a kid since it was clear whether you were right or wrong. The feeling of learning how numbers interacted with each other and perfecting my arithmetic was fun for me. I especially liked learning arithmetic tricks and doing brain teasers."

What was your favorite memory at Waterside?

"Again, a bit hard to pinpoint a single memory at Waterside as I had many. I always think about the good times I had playing tag and playing outside with my peers, whether it was tag, kickball, basketball, soccer, making paper airplanes, to even exploring our surroundings.

One of my favorite memories at Waterside also had to be Family Night (I think they call it Bingo Night now). I found it so cool to see all my friends with their friends and family in our school in the hopes of raising money for the school (our goal back then was to buy a small school bus). I had a lot of fun running around the school after hours."

What is the best quality of Waterside?

"I think that the utmost best quality of Waterside has got to be the sense of community. You don’t find it anywhere else. Everyone is committed to Waterside’s dream and purpose, from the parents and teachers, to the students and even the janitors and administrators. It’s quite clearly reflected in the volunteer efforts across all the parents."

What piece of advice would you give to current Waterside Students?

"To dream big and to cultivate those dreams with a strong work ethic, and resilient attitude."

Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Favorite Quote

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What do you like to do for fun?

"I love to work out and play soccer and basketball. I also love listening to music and reading anything I can get my hands on."

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Alumni Focus

Jessica Johnson

Waterside School Class of 2007

College

Syracuse University - Newhouse School of Public Communications

What was your favorite subject at Waterside and why?

"My favorite subject at Waterside was definitely science. I had two awesome science teachers while being there and they really helped me become more aware of the world around me by teaching me about different animals and little fun facts about the world and how it worked. Science class was never a bore for me and I always couldn't wait to go back!"

What was your favorite memory at Waterside?

"When Waterside first opened, there were very few students, which made room for a lot of bonding between grades and families. Almost every weekend, the Waterside families would meet at Burger King, enjoy a meal together and the kids were able to go play in the ball pits. It seems simple but it was in these moments that I noticed the support system I and all other Waterside students had behind them. We truly were a family and Waterside is what brought us together."

What is the best thing about Waterside?

"Waterside has such an intimacy between students and their families. They want to know you and understand your story and where you come from. They want to help you and they want to see your child do great. They don't give up on any child and always try to do what is best for them and honestly, that is amazing. It may not be recognizable to those used to this close Waterside bond, but every school is not like this. To have the care and support from every single faculty member is truly a blessing that I feel every Waterside student and family should be aware of."

What piece of advice would you give to current Waterside students?

"Never forget how great you are. Hold yourself in high regard because you have the ability to excel in ways you are not even aware of yet."

Favorite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Favorite Quote: "Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?

What do you like to do for fun?

"For fun, I like to sing, play volleyball or hang out with my friends!"


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