Waterside is known for having outstanding alumni as a result of their foundational education at the School. All of our 310 alumni know that they can access support from the School through our Alumni team. We are especially proud that three of our alumni now work as members of Waterside’s faculty and staff: Mike Bazelais ‘07, Christina Roca ‘10, and Abigail Leyson ‘11. It’s incredibly meaningful to have members of the earliest Waterside classes now on campus to work with our students.
Mike Bazelais was a member of the first class to attend Waterside from kindergarten through fifth grade. Mike volunteered at the School in high school and has always enjoyed working with students. Like many of our alumni, he received guidance from Waterside during the college application process. Mike majored in Art at the University of Hartford, and Head of School, Jamel Keels, recruited him to become one of our art teachers after seeing a painting of Mike’s at a Stamford smoothie shop. He has been working as a member of the Waterside faculty for two years now.
When Mike comes to work, he embraces his positive influence on our students and alumni. His pedagogy not only reflects the meaningful work the students create in class but extends to the lives of our current students because he sees himself in them. To Mike, being a teacher means more than teaching – it involves creating a foundation of life lessons and values.
“If possible, I would return to Waterside forever to see the success of each student I have taught.” – Mike Bazelais ’07
Christina Roca always had a passion for helping others, dating back to her volunteering at Waterside after graduating. This passion propelled her studies at Providence College, where she double majored in Global Studies & Sociology with a concentration in Immigration Studies.
As president of the Providence Immigrant Rights Coalition, she supported her college’s immigrant community by providing accessible information and networking opportunities for careers, on-campus jobs, and internships. This work carried over to her role as a second-grade teacher at Waterside, where she has worked since 2021. Christina wishes for her students to know that their voices are important and wants to prepare them for their future with the necessary knowledge and resources for them to succeed.
“Waterside is a place that not only empowers but taught me to see my worth, my value,” said Christina. “Despite being the first in my family to do a lot of things, I was never alone because of the Waterside community when transitioning to my next independent school, college, and once I learned to be proud of being a first-generation Latina woman.”
Abigail Leyson continues to benefit from the commitment to academic excellence she cultivated at the School. As a student at Sacred Heart Greenwich, she continued developing her passions, like reading and writing, which began at Waterside.
Abigail remained strongly connected with Waterside after graduation. In middle and high school, she volunteered at the School and participated in an early version of our College Boot Camp program. This spring, she graduated from Hobart & William Smith Colleges with a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric. Today, Abigail proudly works in the advancement office at Waterside, where she continues to grow professionally and give back to her community as an adult.
She recently reflected on what Waterside means: “As a first-generation graduate, Waterside has played a huge part in how far I’ve come. At Waterside, I learned about the power of education, especially as a woman of color. The foundation I gained from this school has guided me since I was young. I’m grateful to continue growing in a place that has meant so much to me.”