*** What's been happening in your life since graduation?
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Declan McKenna, Class of
2017 (January, 2018)
My name is Declan
McKenna. I graduated from San Rafael High in June 2017, and have since been studying animation at the Maryland Institute
College of Art in Baltimore.
Since moving to
San Rafael in 2010, I always had known I would go to SRHS, and beginning 9th grade there felt like a natural
progression. As I settled into the flow of high school, travelling through the trials and tribulations of freshman and
sophomoreyear, I, like most teenagers around me, began to approach school in an apathetic manner. During my junior year, however, I realized that my feelings of angst towards school were not a fault of the institution, but rather due to my heart being in the wrong place. I had come into school wanting, no, dreaming, of being a math teacher. As I challenged myself with harder and harder courses, the workload piling up, I felt clouded by stress. As I took on AP Art my junior year, I realized where my true passions lied. I
continued to challenge myself with
my academics, but during my final two years of high school I shifted my focus towards art, lessening my work in certain
courses. I felt myself become happier, approaching my work in all areas with pride. This wasn’t due to
there being less work - in fact I spent longer on my artwork than any math assignment - but due to me being able to follow my dreams in a school that actively supported me.
passionate in my later years allowed me to form greater bonds with my peers, my teachers, and the surrounding San Rafael
and Marin communities. Little did I know, but the countless opportunities given to me through San Rafael
all played an important role in the formation of myself and my future schooling. Beginning with the San Rafael High Internship Program, I was able to intern at Art Works Downtown, a local gallery in San Rafael High. Combined with my assistant work at the Marin Art School, I was able to use my gallery management skills to secure a 4-Year job working in the Exhibitions department at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Beyond that, San
Rafael provided me with countless leadership opportunities, to truly make an impact in the school and surrounding
communities. My work in the Broadcast Journalism class offered at San Rafael High allowed me to create
stories about social justice and activism, highlighting community action and the voices of my peers through video pieces shown to over a thousand students and teachers. In addition, San Rafael High administration provided amazing opportunities to get involved in clubs - during my schooling I was the President of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the Co-President of the Art-Venture club, as well as being heavily involved in the hispanic women’s empowerment group, Mujeres con
Poder . GSA allowed me to provide a safe
space for minority students, to
create events facilitating awareness that involved the whole school. Without the help of administration and teachers,
many of our events, such as Day of Silence, where the whole school wore stickers of support or took a vow
of silence to bring attention to bullying of LGBT students, would not have been
possible. No matter what event it was, San Rafael High helped us achieve our dreams - and these events resulted in gatherings and programs stemming beyond the walls of our campus.
with teachers truly helped me achieve more than I had ever
thought possible. My senior year I
had extremely close connections to all of my teachers, and while working three jobs, running a club, attending classes,
and studying at the Marin Art School, they all had my back. It was an overwhelming period, but I was
doing what I truly wanted, all while still in high school.
These programs and my academic achievements allowed me to accomplish some amazing things - getting into the art
school of my dreams was only the beginning. My art teachers at SRHS and the Marin Art School encouraged me to go further with
my art, and as I result I had three gallery showings, sold my first piece of art, and won the esteemed Phyllis Thelen Distinguished Young Artist Award during my senior year. My work in GSA and Broadcast Journalism won me the Martin Luther King Youth Humanitarian award of 2017, and the Mae Lacourse / SRHS Foundation scholarship for civic action. With these awards, alongside scholarships provided by the Maryland Institute College of Art, I was able to fund my education, at a private university no less.
It took me a long
time to realize, but my time in school was truly what I made of it. I found what I passionate about - art, social
justice, spanish language and culture - and subsequently took classes and programs that allowed me to get involved in
these areas. The resources were there, the teachers wanted me to succeed, and the administration had my back. Without San Rafael High, there’s no knowing where I would be now, and for that I truly am thankful for my time at this
Alumni Association 2015 Scholarship Winner, Sierra Murphy, sent in the following update: (dated 9/20/16)
I wanted to send a big "Thank you" for your scholarship help ad provide a college update!
I am pleased to report my first year of college at Barrett, The Honors College--ASU, was very successful. I made the Dean's List both semesters and earned a 4.2 GPA Majoring
in Biology. Over this past summer, I took additional classes in order to add a second major. I am currently in my second year of college, now majoring in both Biology and Mathematics and minoring in
Chemistry as well. In addition, I am excited to share I have been selected to work as part of the cancer research team, under Dr. Stephen Johnston (Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year).
This research interests me greatly as I aspire to become a neurosurgeon.
I couldn't thank you enough for giving me these opportunities. As a first generation student, I truly appreciate all (the Alumni Association) has done to make my dreams come
true. I worked extremely hard in high school and continue to do so in college.
Thank you again for your support
Sierra Murphy (Class of 2015)
Open Letter to Alumni from Dean Tibbott, Class of 1945 (dated 10/1/16)
I consider each of my classmates from the graduation year of 1945 to have been not only classmates, but essentially friends in many ways. A lot of comradery existed as a result of attending high
school, growing and learning, during the primary four years of World War II. Our graduating class held approximately 105 students. In the three years preceding 1945, and indeed, from the class of
1945, virtually every male student and a few of our female classmates went into the service. The experience of living with the rationing of virtually all of the products used in daily life, the
experience of co-operating in school drives to bring in metal and other products for use in supporting the war effort, all contributed to establishing fellowship among our classmates.
Among my classmates, I recognize a number of them as being among my closest friends. Many of these folks were co-members of B & C Basketball teams under the tutelage of Coach Miller,
and many of us were members of the Tennis Team or Tumbling Team under the tutelage of Coach Fred Hines.
In particular, these close friends and classmates can be named as follows:
Charles (Charlie) Stevens
Thomas (Tom) Stoy
Harold (Hal) Hinrichs
William (Bill) Baglietto (later, Bagley)
Robert (Bob) Ayers
Robert (Bob) Strahm
Maurice (Pinky) Picard
To the best knowledge, only Bill Bagley, Maurice Picard and I remain alive, from among this group.
With fond memories of the Happy Times we had, Dean W. Tibbott
STEPHANIE KIRBY PLANTE, Class of 1987 (dated 10/5/15)
Stephanie Plante purchases family business
Third generation of Bramante family now sole owner
SAN RAFAEL, CA – Stephanie Kirby Plante, granddaughter of the late Martin Bramante, has purchased Cal-Pox, Inc., the San Rafael-headquartered real estate management and development company her grandfather founded in 1967. Plante, along with her aunt and cousins, has operated the family owned business since 1999. With the purchase from the other family members, Plante assumes sole ownership and will continue in her current role as president and CEO of the company that has operations in Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco counties.
“The purchase of Cal-Pox is a dream come true for me,” said Plante. “My grandfather was 94 when he passed in 2014. He spent a half century building a business and teaching his children and grandchildren about it. I am honored to be able to continue that tradition.”
Martin Bramante founded Cal-Pox, Inc. in 1967, when he acquired San Quentin Disposal, San Rafael’s former landfill. Bramante operated the landfill for 20 years, closing it in 1987 to develop Shoreline Center. His daughter, Susan Kirby, helped transform the land into a buzzing business center that included Sonnen BMW and Home Depot. When Susan passed away in 1999, her daughter Stephanie Kirby Plante assumed the presidency of the company.
In 2011 under Stephanie’s leadership, Cal-Pox, Inc. added Marin Honda to Shoreline Center and received San Rafael’s approval to develop a Target store next to Home Depot. The Target store opened in 2013 and has been one of the corporation’s top sales performers.
Marin native Plante is a graduate of San Rafael High School and University of California, Berkeley. She and her husband, Chris Plante, are parents to two school-aged children. Plante is an active volunteer at her children’s schools. She also serves on the board of directors for the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and the Marin Economic Forum. She is a part owner of the San Rafael Pacifics, a professional baseball team and a charter franchise of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs.
Plante says she is especially proud to guide the company in its mission of being a leader in sustainable land and business development, a tradition that began with recycling a former brownfield landfill into a contemporary commercial use. As for day to day operations, she has one immediate change in mind for the business: she is simplifying the company name to its initials, CPI. “I think my grandfather would agree it is time to modernize a little,” she said.
Shirley Patrick Graves, Class of 1950 (dated April, 2014)
I am still with the College of Marin Alumni Association and have been President. Our main activity now is maintaining the Archive Room in the COM Library where we display things we have gathered over the years relating to COM's past - yearbooks, lots of photos, event programs, etc. If you have anything to add to the room, give me a call! (415-883-4834).
I still have my discussion show over Public Access TV Channnel 26, a one hour show where I talk with members of a local organization, a Marin author, or - around elections - a Democrat and a Republican! It airs in Novato at 8pm Wednesday and 10am Saturday; in the rest of Marin at 9pm on the fourth Monday and 3pm the next day. How about a show featuring SRHS Alumni?
Jeff and I live in Bel Marin Keys, two daughters also live in Novato, one daughter in San Jose, son in Virginia, all with their families; and three grandchildren, all in college.
Rodger Mueller, Class of 1956 (dated September, 2013)
Rodger Mueller retired in 2011 after 46 years of employment at NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. He attended College of Marin and has a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from
Heald Engineering College in San Francisco. After receiving his degree, he also earned a professional license in Control Systems engineering. Rodger worked in the Flight Simulation Laboratory during
his entire tenure with NASA-Ames Research Center, concentrating first on analog computer programming, and then moving into analog circuit design and feedback control. Early on, he provided analog
computer programming support for the Vertical Short Take-off and Landing Optimization (VSTOL) and the Saturn V First-Stage simulations. In the early 1970s, he supervised an electronic design and
fabrication group, and then later moved into a research-only position where he continued to work on motion control systems for flight simulation. In the last decade, he published several papers
detailing his cumulative work refining pilot controls for aircraft simulation on NASA's Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS). In 2010, he was selected to receive the American Institute for Aeronautics and
Astronautics De Florez award for his contribution to flight simulation. This award is presentd by AIAA to recognize outstanding individual achievement in the application of flight simulation and
aerospace training, research, and development. Other NASA awards include "Excellence in the Category of Best First Paper" and "Excellence in the Category of Engineer."
***Update 2018: Rodger and Carol Anne, his wife of 50 years, have moved from Milpitas to Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Tom Lowney, Class of 1944
Tom Lowney was inducted into the Marin Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame Class of 2008.
While at SRHS Tom was an active athlete. He won 10 block letters in four different sports. He was an all-league left end in football, qualified for the section meet in track and was a skilled basketball player, scoring 33 points in a city league basketball game (then a county record). Most markedly he pitched a five hit shut out victory for SR vs. Tam which broke a 24 year losing streak in baseball.
While in high school Tom enlisted in the Air Force Reserves as he wanted to join their pilot program. But at the time there were too many applicants so after graduation Tom played baseball at Marin Junior College, now known as College of Marin, and then was among 80 men who were sent to Montana for six months of officers training. He then joined the 301st Fighter Wing Group. He went to Okinawa, Japan and even played quarterback for one of his base's football teams.
Tom settled in Santa Rosa. He worked the night sift for the CHP and coached St. Eugene's CYP Basketball team to a 47 game winning streak. He also coached JV football, freshman basketball, tennis and baseball at Cardinal Newman High School.
Stephen Graham, Class of 1963
Stephen is a graduate of San Rafael High School, class of 1963. He went on to acquire an English degree from Yale University then a law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
After graduating from law school Stephen worked in private practice in San Francisco, followed by working at the San Francisco district attorney's office. He then joined the US attorney's office and led the northwest region of the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
He won a judicial seat in Marin County. As a judge in Marin he presided over thousands of cases. He was known for his sternness with disrespectful or sloppy lawyers and was as notably courteous with courtroom visitors and local students studying about law.
He was well liked by his peers and was known to do the unpopular thing if he knew it was the right thing.
Judge Graham has now, after serving twenty years in the Marin Superior Court, retired from the bench.
He plans to continue serving on other courts through the Assigned Judges Program administered by the state judiciary. The program assigns retired or sitting judges to fill temporary vacancies.
Rev. Dr. Matt Amis, Class of 1995 (updated 6/3/20)
Hi, my name is Matt Amis. I have cousins I am very close to. I also have a loyal best friend named Matthew who is head grocery clerk at Safeway. We meet weekly and talk about the meaning of life. We are like brothers and we are both bookworms and classic film fans.
I've worked in youth development since 1994, nursing home programming since 2000 and TV production since 1997 and have produced my own TV show Bay Area Beat TV. Check out my videos on www.bayareabeattv.com
I got my education at San Rafael High and College of Marin. I was also a Red Cross Volunteer. I helped the victims of the 9/11 attacks and won an award for my work.
I volunteered with San Rafael City Hall for seven years doing information desk work and was honored for my time there in front of the San Rafael City Council and I won an award from the Alliance
for Community Media for being an Audio Director of a show called "Reflections of Unity" from Comcast Community Television.
Rev. Dr. Matt Armis runs a nursing home ministry with the universal life Churches for the past 20 years. Rev. Dr. Amis was ordained in the universal life Church and obtained his honorary
doctor of divinity degree with them.
Founder of a non profit for risk teens called Marin Interfaith Youth Outreach I did mentor work and press promotion.
College of Marin 2007
Majored in Nursing Home Programming and Broadcast Journalism
Tu Dang, Class of 1996
Tu Dang left her birthplace in Southeast Asia as a baby with her family and came to the United States to escape from the Communist regime in Vietnam. They settled in California and made Marin home. Tu attended schools in Marin, including San Rafael High School for her entire high school career. In fact, she served as Student Body President at SRHS her senior year.
After graduating from SRHS Tu attended college at George Washington University, studying as an art major, then international economics. She spent time studying abroad as well in Vietnam, Thailand and England.
After graduating college Tu spent three years in Mauritania as part of the Peace Corp.
After her time in the Peace Corps Tu returned to school, earning her master's from Columbia University.
She currently is employed by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for the State Department, working on labor affairs. She is based in Washington D.C. but travels internationally often as a part of her job. She loves being actively engaged in international affairs and encourages youth to think about foreign or civil service jobs.
Tony Vidal, SRHS Alumni from late 1960s
http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_11585722?IADID=Search-www.marinij.com-www.marinij.comPosted: 01/29/2009 06:52:46 PM PST
Film producer returns to alma mater San Rafael High to direct movie by Paul Liberatore (Marin IJ)
To hear him tell it, Tony Vidal was "a quiet, nerdy guy who studied a lot and got good grades" at San Rafael High School in the late 1960s. But he wasn't above playing a prank or two.
Three decades later, the 56-year-old film producer and screenwriter returned to his alma mater to direct his first movie, "The Prankster," a teen comedy about high school kids who rebel against authority by pulling what Vidal calls "sophisticated and fun pranks" - like humiliating their boorish dean and sabotaging the Senior Follies.
"The people who are pranked deserve it," Vidal said the other day in his Sausalito office. "The Pranksters are kind of like Robin Hoods who right the wrongs of the high school world. They get even through their pranks. Kids love the idea of that, of course. Every kid is a prankster to some degree."
Vidal, who lives in Larkspur with his wife and 10-year-old daughter, called on some of his own memories as a Marin teenager when he was writing the script. He graduated from San Rafael High in 1970, and subtitled the film, "You Thought Your High School Was a Joke!"
"My frame of reference was San Rafael High School," he said. "In my mind's eye, I was remembering everything the way it was when I was a student. I imagined things like a fight behind the gym. As luck would have it, we ended up staging the movie's fight behind the gym just as I had envisioned it. In a way it was the perfect locale."
The independent film, the first for Vidal's Marin-based Prankster Entertainment, was shot on campus over 23 days in September and October with a cast of young television stars from shows such as "Lincoln Heights," "Hannah Montana" and "Saturday Night Live."
Since the movie was being made while the regular school year was in progress, it was a case of art and life existing side-by-side.
"For the most part, it went great," said San Rafael High Principal Judy Colton, who had a small part in the movie. "There were some glitches, but they were very willing to work around our schedule and everybody was respectful. The kids were excited, but after a while you get used to having film crews there every day. Still, it was kind of fun to watch."
And to actually be in. Colton was cast in a small speaking role, playing the dean's secretary.
"I had one line in the movie," she said. "I said, 'Good morning, dean, here's your mail.'"
For its use of the campus, renamed Tres Rios (Three Rivers) High in the movie, Prankster Entertainment paid the school $30,000, which went to modernize its Third Street entrance.
As an additional thank you, "The Prankster" will have its premiere for the students on Feb. 12 in the newly renovated Hayes Theater on campus. On Feb. 15, it screens at the Lark Theater in Larkspur for an audience that will include industry people and, Vidal hopes, potential distributors.
Vidal's goal is to have "The Prankster" in theaters by the fall, but so far it is without a distribution deal, one of the challenges of independent production.
A USC film school graduate, Vidal is a former head story analyst for Orion Pictures and the Ladd Co., where he evaluated scripts for blockbusters such as "Born on the Fourth of July," "Romancing the Stone," "Ten" and "Caddyshack."
He became head of the screenwriting program at UC Davis, his college alma mater, and worked as a senior writer-director for a Silicon Valley startup, streaming business and learning video programs over the Internet.
He recently co-wrote "Her Best Move," an indie about girls' soccer that was distributed by MGM this past summer.
Vidal put up most of the $1.7 million budget for "The Prankster" himself, and the future of his fledgling company is riding on its success. "I wanted to make a movie that was true to my own vision, and the only way to do that was produce it myself," he said.
Still quiet and soft spoken, he's set up shop in a funky one-room office on the Sausalito waterfront with posters of "Zorba the Greek," "The Shawshank Redemption" and the 1950s B-movie classic "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" decorating its walls.
He shares the space with a small staff that includes associate producer Michael Valentino, a Tamalpais High School grad with deep roots in Marin (his father owns Stefano's Pizza in Mill Valley).
With five screenplays ready to go before the cameras, Vidal hopes to be the only full-time independent film production company in Marin, and he's written an appropriately new-agey manifesto for a "conscious media company whose goal is to awaken slumbering spirits" and "to put people in touch with the sacred."
Like another independent Marin filmmaker, George Lucas, Vidal is a fan of Joseph Campbell and a big believer in Campbell's "The Power of Myth."
And like Lucas he's rejected Hollywood to stay in Marin.
"I'm from here and I've lived here for the past 28 years so, for selfish reasons, I wanted to work close to home," he explained. "There's no reason not to work in Marin. We're a 50-minute flight from L.A. and the business is so decentralized anyway. So much of it has gone to other states and other countries.
"That said, there's no financial incentive to shoot in Northern California, but there is an aesthetic to this place, the beauty of the area. And there's a very talented pool of people here, actors and technicians you can call upon to make movies. So why not?"
He wrote "The Prankster" because he's comfortable in the teenage genre and familiar with it, naming favorites like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Clueless," "Sixteen Candles" and "Breaking Away."
The protagonist of "The Prankster," Chris Karas, played by Matt Angel ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Raising the Bar" and Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody") is a shy, handsome "A" student of Greek descent, not unlike a young Tony Vidal.
To the dismay of his Old World father, Chris wants to get into a top college and has to reconcile his ambition not only with his dad, but with the troublesome demands of his Prankster buddies.
The movie has a fairly stock cast of characters - the hottie editor of the school paper that Chris falls for, the wimpy, insufferable student body president, the catty blonde cheerleader, the bully jock, the handsome fellow Prankster who temps Chris at every turn, Chris' eccentric but wise uncle.
"I wanted a movie with a real story and a message for young people," Vidal said. "The message is to find out who you truly are and to have the courage to be that person. Or, put another way, the theme is to be authentic and true to yourself."
Tony Vidal has certainly been that.
Paul Liberatore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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