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Alumni Focus

Alfred Gonzalez

Waterside School Class of 2007


College

Bowdoin College

What is the indelible lesson you learned at Waterside and still carry with you today?

"Waterside taught me to be kind and be compassionate. Each day, we made the daily commitment to work hard, be kind, and respect learning. This commitment continues to resonate with me. As important as it is to work hard and be successful, it is equally important to treat others with kindness and compassion."

What advice would you give to current Waterside students?

"If I could give advice to Waterside students, it would be to embrace learning as a lifelong process. Learning is fun- students should relish this opportunity and enjoy their education. I would also suggest that they find a subject they are passionate about. I like to say, “Explore it, talk about it, and teach it.” When you are passionate about something, you can educate others, and broaden their perspectives too. Students should now that learning continues long after they leave Waterside, and long after we graduate from college."

What is your favorite book?

"My favorite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaleid Hosseini. The book is centered on two young women from Afghanistan, and follows their friendship overtime. The women’s lives become intertwined after a series of dramatic events. Ultimately, the book shows us how people are able to maintain hope and love during times of oppression. "

What is your favorite quote?

" Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education."
Martin Luther King Jr.


Alumni Focus

Christina Roca

Waterside School Class of 2010


College

Providence College

What is the indelible lesson you learned at Waterside and still carry with you today?

“ Something I learned at Waterside that has been valuable to me throughout my education and still resonates with me today is the importance of building relationships with your teachers and mentors. I still remember my teachers from Waterside because of the strong influence they had on me growing up. Waterside teachers not only taught us academics, but they inspired us to be our very best. They truly cared about us, and supported us no matter what, even after we graduated and moved on to our different schools. After Waterside, I found myself carrying that lesson with me, and seeking out teachers like those at Waterside. I would reach out to teachers, ask questions, and tell stories about myself. This helped me build connections with my teachers, and, like my Waterside teachers, they became my mentors for years to come. I am still in contact with my teachers from boarding school, middle school, and Waterside because I appreciate and value the guidance they have provided me. Waterside teachers taught me that there are people out there who have a true interest in my future and my success.”

What advice would you give to current Waterside students?

“If I could offer one piece of advice to Waterside students, it would be to take risks and try new things. Don’t hold back! I would tell them to allow themselves to find outlets where they can express themselves and explore their interests. For instance, if they are thinking about playing a sport, I would say go and try it out! If they want to play a musical instrument or take voice lesson, nothing should stop them! These students have earned their way into fantastic schools that will provide them exceptional opportunities. They must embrace these opportunities, even if it is scary. There is so much for them to learn explore- and who knows if one of those interests will become their passion.”

What is your favorite book?

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

What is your favorite quote?

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Nelson Mandela


Alumni Focus

Nastasja Haughton

Waterside School Class of 2009

College

The University of The Arts

What is the indelible lesson you learned at Waterside and still carry with you today?

“Waterside taught me so many lessons. The most significant one was to be kind to others, which comes out of the daily commitment: “Work Hard, Be King, and Respect Learning.” Above all, Waterside taught me to always treat others the way you want to be treated. In other words, you should use The Golden Rule. Waterside not only taught us academics, but it also taught us to have the strongest character. We learned to be honest and to have integrity, no matter what. Lately, I think about how important these lessons were, and how they shaped the person I am today. Now that I am older, I still remember to treat everyone they right way- with kindness- even if they don't do the same.”

What advice would you give to current Waterside students?

“If I could offer advice to Waterside students, it would be to hold on to your dreams- don’t let anything get in your way. If you believe that you are destined for something great, then never let anyone or anything deter you from achieving it. You will always have obstacles, and life might even look bleak at times. However, always hold fast to that "something" that keeps you up at night, that “something” that inspires you and makes you never stop striving to become better. I would tell Waterside students to believe in themselves no matter what.”

What is your favorite book?

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

What is your favorite quote?

“During the toughest of weeks, the longest of walks, the days when heaven
doesn’t seem so close… Strive”


Alumni Focus

Juan Velez

Waterside School Class of 2010

College

Providence College

What is the indelible lesson you learned at Waterside and still carry with you today?

"Waterside instilled a respect for learning that will always be with me. I have carried this with me for all of my life. Whether it is in the classroom, at work or on the field Waterside taught me at a young age that if I respect learning as a whole, no matter what the topic is I will succeed."

What advice would you give to current Waterside students?

"My advice to current Waterside students would be to never back away from a challenge. I remember times where homework would seem like it was too much to handle or I just couldn’t quite grasp on to a subject. It is these times where you have step away from a situation gather yourself and then face it head on."

What is your favorite book?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

What is your favorite quote?

"You just can't beat the person who never gives up."
Babe Ruth



Alumni Focus

Nicholas Barlow

Waterside School Class of 2011

Nick Barlow, a member of Waterside’s class of 2012, accomplished what’s nearly impossible: earning the highest possible ACT composite score of 36. On average, only around one-tenth of 1% of all test takers earn the top score. Among US high school graduates in the class of 2017, just 2,760 out of more than 2 million who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36. Nick also had the highest PSAT score in the state. As a student who was fiercely bright and uniquely driven from the moment he walked through the Waterside doors, Nick’s achievement- though significant and rare- is no surprise to the Waterside family. Bravo Nick Barlow!



Alumni Focus

Aaron Santiago

Waterside School Class of 2006

College

Bard College at Simon's Rock

What is the indelible lesson you learned at Waterside and still carry with you today?

"People are everything! Waterside showed me that each and every individual is invaluable, and that it is important to do everything we can for our communities and our relationships with people. Waterside boldly strives to make the world a more inclusive and friendly place to live in, and its students should be proud to be a part of Waterside's mission."

What advice would you give to current Waterside students?

"Don't let anybody tell you who you are or what you can and can't do! Everyone will have to find their path, and you are the person that knows you the best. In the meantime, you're young! Try to have some fun :)"

What is your favorite book?

"It's not so much a book, but an interactive story: A Dark Room by Amir Rajan. Interactive works are my absolute favorite medium, and Rajan did a fantastic job of telling a story that appealed to both people familiar and unfamiliar with the format, while still having plenty of interesting ideas and tricks up his sleeve."

What is your favorite quote?

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations



Alumni Focus

Justin Cedeno

Waterside School Class of 2006

College

Elon University

What is the indelible lesson you learned at Waterside and still carry with you today?

"Looking back, I would say that Waterside really helped drive home the importance of holding yourself accountable. Whether in school, with friends or even now at work, how well I perform is based off of how much work I am willing to put in and Waterside really helped me understand that."

What advice would you give to current Waterside students?

"My biggest piece of advice would be to set goals. Then after you set those goals have a realistic understanding of what it takes to reach the goals. It’s not enough just to want something, you have to commit to working towards that goal."

What is your favorite book?

"I love reading sci-fi/fantasy so the Eragon series is one of my favorites."

What is your favorite quote?

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Neale Donald Walsch




Alumni Focus

Anna Guo

Waterside School Class of 2010


College

Boston College

What is the indelible lesson you learned at Waterside and still carry with you today?

"One indelible lesson that I learned at Waterside was to work hard, be strong and respect learning. That really stuck with me throughout middle school and high school. I was always reminded of how fortunate I was. Waterside also taught me to be persistent in what I wanted for my future and that really helped me in school. No matter how difficult something seemed, I learned that anything is possible with work and determination."

What advice would you give to current Waterside students?

"To current Waterside students, I want to say that you should always believe in yourself. The only thing that matters in school is what you do with what you learn, not everything is about doing well on tests. Be openminded to what teachers want to tell you because you can learn more than what a textbook tells you. Go to office hours and meet with your teachers!"

What is your favorite book?

"My favorite book is The Republic by Plato. Socrates in The Republic asks a lot of important questions about the soul of a person. The book really goes into what justice is and what it means to be truly happy. I started reading it this fall and it made me think of who I am as an individual and what kind of friend I am to others."

What is your favorite quote?

"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be."
Ralph Waldo Emerson




Alumni Focus


Alyssa Thomas

Waterside School Class of 2009


College

Johns Hopkins University

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?"

What is your favorite book?

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

What is your 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




Alumni Focus

Andres Soto

Waterside School Class of 2006

College

Columbia University

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."

What is your favorite book?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What is your 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.




Alumni Focus

Jessica Johnson

Waterside School Class of 2007

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College

Syracuse University - Newhouse School of Public Communications

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 quality 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."

What is your favorite book?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

What is your favorite quote?

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