Looking back, Sycamore has been probably the most powerful influence on my life. Many people get anxiety when they see a problem, but I see an opportunity for simplification. I have Sycamore to thank for this.” – Daniel Jones
I've always liked drawing. It is an important piece of life where you lose track of time. You never know what's going work. You always have to improvise and there are always things you don't expect - - Matt Kroeger
“If you look at my old notes, just everything is filled with drawings on the side,” says Matt Kroeger, a 2003 Sycamore graduate and now a visual design manager for Bottom-Line Performance. “A teacher once caught me doodling and said, ‘Well, that helps people learn.’”
Jonathan Schwartz (’13) is one of the founders and leaders of Every Vote Counts, and in the fall of 2019, he was invited to sit on a panel entitled “Cast Your Vote: How Students are Shaping American Democracy” at the #SpeechMatters event at the University of California. A junior at Yale, Schwartz is pursuing a double major in Economics and Statistics and Data Science as well as an Advanced Language Certificate in Spanish. Yet his education in the classroom is only part of his story. And he credits his experience at Sycamore as a driver in his ability to juggle his classroom education, his extracurricular work, and his desire to push himself to become a leader.
“Tina was unique. She was her own person,” longtime Sycamore teacher, Mary O’Malley, says. “She was comfortable being herself no matter the circumstances. She was memorable because of her unique creative mind and keen sense of humor.”
A graduate of both California College of the Arts and Columbia University, Ashley Gange has worked across multiple fields within architecture, interior design, animation, public art, and sculpture. The diversity of these experiences informs her approach to design, which is her passion.
One of her recent architectural works was being involved in the design and construction of Women’s Opportunity Centers in Rwanda and Kosovo, a 4-tier educational campus in rural Rwanda (pledged as a Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative), and project management for commercial and retail spaces - from design through construction with Sharon Davis Design, an award-winning socially-minded design firm in New York City.
While the school day gave Kevin Karimi his circle of friends, it was the late afternoon options after the classroom teaching was complete, that he relished. “The kids you’d hang out with were ones you don't usually hang out with during the day. There's an immersion of different people that you get to know,” he says. “Sycamore School is not a very large school. There are 40 kids in each grade, and you tend to stick with your friends. Everyone knows everyone, but you have four or five friends or maybe another little circle of friends. But when you go to after-school activities, you meet new people and by the end, everyone knows everyone in a different way and for different reasons. I enjoyed that a lot.”
Jay Maturi’s (’14) passions have led him to the unlikely connection between medicine and environmental science. As he heads to Stanford University in the fall of 2018, he wants to continue learning how we can be healthier through understanding how the environment affects our day-to-day lives.
When the Appalachian Trail beckoned, Bill Ristow answered. In the end, after more than 2,000 miles and a summer of hiking, the Sycamore alum discovered something important – that taking the time for himself really mattered.
Ristow, talking about how he chose to hike on the historic trail, says, “At the time, I was just kind of trying to figure out what kind of job, out of a series of unappealing jobs, I wanted to do. I thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute. I've been working a little bit, but I'm not by any means tied to this job. I have time. What if I went for a month or two months or the whole thing?’”
Kevin Lehtiniitty (’08) found he had a knack for entrepreneurship at a young age, and he hasn’t stopped in his pursuit of business success. “When I left Sycamore, I took a lot of the things that I had learned, and I actually started a software company. That company was called TINITT, and that's what I did through Brebeuf and through college.” As the founder & CEO of TINITT, Kevin created iPhone applications that saw more than one million downloads from the App Store. He also designed business strategies for medium-sized businesses. He continues to merge his business and technology ideas today.
An interview with Sycamore grad Joey Mervis, who is now senior at North Central High School. Mervis spearheaded the recent lip dub at the school and was the key player in the process - he directed and produced the video. They made it a fundraiser for the Caroline Symmes Endowment for Pediatric Cancer Research at Riley Hospital for Children. We interviewed him about the process, and this is an excerpt of that interview. A longer version will be published in the upcoming Sycamore Magazine.
It has been the international experience that has drawn Sycamore alum Katherine Shirrell (’05) to continue to look overseas as she pursued jobs and experiences. Currently at the American School in Bilboa, Spain, she’s learned that simple changes in living habit necessitated by living overseas – changes of language, food, and sleeping habits.
Sycamore alumnus Alex Sventekis (‘04) has built a strong core of knowledge and skills early in his career, and it has led him to earning as position as a Development Officer at The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.
Dr. Andy Wilson, one of the members of Sycamore’s very first class of graduates, came back to the school to give graduates a final push to their next destination, with advice and lessons he learned at Sycamore
Sycamore School alum Caroline Emhardt (‘06) is beginning her third year of law school at Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. She enjoyed academic and athletic success at Sycamore, Park Tudor and DePauw. Now, when peers ask her, “How are you still in school?” Emhardt first considers the formative experiences that brought her to this point.
Sycamore School ‘96 alum Daniel Sledge and his fellow alum George Mohler combined forces to write a submission to the esteemed American Journal of Public Health (AJPH). The paper explores how malaria was eradicated in the American South in the 1930s and seeks to reconsider how that data may help us eradicate malaria in the global south today.
When he graduated from Park Tudorin 2013, Sycamore School alum Kevin Rex was Harvard-bound . His hard work in the classroom and on the baseball field has earned him the opportunity to both study and pitch for Harvard.
Mytili Balahas always been interested in social justice. When asked about what she aspires to as her career grows, Bala reaches back to lessons of patience and about following her heart; ideas that were planted while at Sycamore.