The first thing many of us think of when hearing this next Senior’s name is Hockey, Hockey, and more Hockey! I’ve know Vadim since the 3rd grade and let me tell you folks, He’s a lot more than just Hockey. A twister, that used to erupt through the courtyard and Hayden Hall, he has mastered the ability to control his emotions, co-exist with his classmates, always showing the best in sportsmanship. What makes me most proud of Vadim, is his ability to accept and advocate for his learning differences, to become the best he can be. And don’t forget he’s a heck of a Hockey Player. It’s my pleasure to introduce: Vadim W.!!
Each graduating senior was asked to present a speech at Commencement 2017 describing his/her Stanbridge experience. This is Vadim's story. Below read a transcript of P.E. Teacher Mark Kelley's introduction:
I came to Stanbridge in sixth grade. Before coming to Stanbridge I was at a school called “Alpha Beacon." I fit in like trying to put a square in a circle hole. My level of learning was just not there. I came to Stanbridge, which was the right and easy call. My school life was so much better.
My math and reading skills have grown a lot. Understanding what I’m reading is now easier. My homework is easier now that I understand what I’m doing. Even if I need help on the homework I don’t feel judged for asking for help.
I would like to thank all the people who have helped me through my years at Stanbridge. Thank you Maureen, Jeff, Mark, John, Allison, Aaron, Jay, Kenny, Matt Juul, Travis, James, Camille, David, and Mary Hurlbut. I would also like to thank my mom, my dad, my bunny Benny, and all my friends. Thank you for your support.
I am planning on working at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA Adoption Center. I have found a home there. Helping rescue animals is a great use of my time, and I enjoy it. It is the job that—at the end of the day—I can hold my head up high knowing I have made a life better. Thank you.
Each graduating senior was asked to present a speech at Commencement 2017 describing his/her Stanbridge experience. This is Sean's story. Below read a transcript of Agriculture/Woodworking/Physical Concepts Teacher Aaron Carter's introduction:
Having taught this student in two disciplines and accompanied him on several H.S. trips, I got to see firsthand the many shades of Sean: Sean the Builder, Sean the Camper, Sean the Gardener, Sean the Giver, Sean the Freedom Fighter, the patriot. The Twain quote, “they didn’t know it was impossible so they did it,” comes to mind when I think about this young man. Congrats, you are now Sean the Graduate.
Before coming to Stanbridge, I was in public schools. I was happy and outgoing, in preschool and kindergarten. But in first, second, and third grade, I had difficulty concentrating so my school gave me an accommodation to listen to music when I worked. But when I changed schools, I was no longer given that accommodation. I also had no friends. I had bullies that picked on me and made fun of me, so my mother found Stanbridge and—after shadowing—I knew it was the right place for me. I wanted to start right away, and I attended summer school, taking a baking and pastry workshop and a theater workshop. I transferred to Stanbridge as an 8th grader. My homeroom teacher was Allison, and I met so many friends.
In the 8th grade, I had a lot of friends to sit with and talk to during recess and lunch. I consider those friends my junior high friends. I have fond memories of junior high. Two of my favorite memories are the trip to Chinatown and the trip to Pigeon Point. During the Chinatown trip we looked around different stores, ate Chinese food for lunch, and took a tour by a woman named Linda Lee. During the Pigeon Point trip we went hiking, we looked at the lighthouse, we went to Ano Nuevo to see the elephant seals, and we did many other things.
When I transitioned to high school, I was very excited! In high school, I also had a lot of friends and a lot of great experiences. I attended all of the school dances, and I plan to come back next year as an alumna. I went on the experiential trips, and my favorite trip was the Web Of Life trip during my freshman year. I remember being nervous during one of the ropes courses, but after cheers and encouragement from my classmates I felt much better. I was in STAR team and the Stanbridge Choir. I even did the talent show four times.
There are so many people I need to thank for helping me get to this moment. I would like to thank my sister for helping me with my math homework, my mom for choosing a perfect school for me, my dad for always supporting me, my paternal grandmother for being the sweetest woman I’ve ever met, my maternal grandmother for all the food she cooks for our family dinners, and my grandfather for being so kind and generous. I would also like to thank my friends, including Jace for being my really good friend and Grace for inviting me to hang out with her. I would like to thank a few teachers. Thank you Kenny for helping me with my math skills, Camille for helping me with art, Jay for helping me dissect a frog and a worm in biology, and David for helping me improve my voice techniques and for letting me tell you about operas I have seen with my family. I want to also thank Claire O’Connor, an occupational therapist I worked with for seven years, and Krista Keintz a behavior therapist who helped me with my behavior issues from 2007 to 2010.
Next fall I will attend Sequoia High School’s Transition to Work Program where I’ll learn how to make doggie biscuits for my dogs. Then I will transfer to Foothill College to attend the Tools for Transition and Work program. My future goal is to work for either the San Francisco or the San Jose Opera as an usher. I am sad to be leaving Stanbridge, but I’m happy about my future and I hope to visit when I can. Thank you.
Each graduating senior was asked to present a speech at Commencement 2017 describing his/her Stanbridge experience. This is Hameen's story. Below read a transcript of Bridges Teacher & Director of Transition Mary Hurlbut's introduction:
Although some of his classmates affectionately call him by his nickname “squid,” the next student’s name should be a synonym for cheerful kindness and courageous strength. He fills every room with a smile and hands out words of encouragement generously. If the golden rule were a person, it would be this student. His teachers and peers note that, whether in the classroom, on the basketball court or at his job as a courtesy clerk at Safeway, he is a collaborative team player who always gives 110%. And whether in D.C. or on the train, he is also a great prankster who infuses life with laughter and joy. You might be impressed to know that he even inspired Stanbridge’s first one hit wonder aCapella Choir with their signature single entitled “Hameen.” Please join me in welcoming Stanbridge graduate Hameen B. to the podium.
When I was little, I went to Marjorie H. Tobias Elementary School—close to my home. I started there when I was in kindergarten. My learning skills were okay, and I had fun drawing pictures and reading books when moving into higher grades. When I first shadowed at Stanbridge Academy, the class had only seven students. This school was very comfortable and filled with new friendly kids. I am happy I finally got a new school to stay in!
When I was in seventh grade, I started my first full year at Stanbridge Academy. First, I was in Maureen’s advisory, but my advisory was switched to John Barnett. I met new friends such as Cameron, David, and of course, Kyle LaBlanc, who I really miss. During the next year, I became best friends with Hameen. I stayed in Stanbridge during high school after I graduated from junior high. I will remember these six years at Stanbridge.
I want to thank my first teachers in junior high—Maureen Zane and John Barnett—for helping me enjoy my first year at Stanbridge. I want to thank Allison St. John for teaching my first summer school class at Stanbridge. I also want to thank Camille Geraci for teaching my favorite subject at Stanbridge Academy: art! I really love how Camille taught me new art projects.
One goal for the future is to become more independent and earn a good income. After summer break, I will head to Cañada College and take a few classes there. I hope that I return to Stanbridge Academy soon next year. Thank you!
Each graduating senior was asked to present a speech at Commencement 2017 describing his/her Stanbridge experience. This is Cameron's story. Below read a transcript of History Teacher Travis Callan's introduction:
This student can almost always be found with a smile on his face followed by a hello and a fist bump. Whether he is suiting up for basketball or sharing stories of where his leftovers came from, he puts forth the greatest energy and enthusiasm. His sportsmanship sets the tone, on and off the basketball court. It has been a privilege watching him evolve over these past four years. I look forward to hearing about his great success as he takes those next steps into the wider world. I’m pleased to present, Cameron B.
Since my sophomore year of high school, I have attended Stanbridge. I started out my high school experience at Sterne School. My parents knew that I had a tough time there and wanted to solve the problem by having me go to a school that better fit my needs. That led me to Stanbridge.
When I started at Stanbridge, I was a little nervous. In particular, I felt like it was too small, and a bigger school such as San Mateo High would be a better fit for me. My parents then told me that Stanbridge was the right fit for me, and I started to agree. I started to like the class sizes and work load more. My junior and senior years were pretty amazing. I enjoyed having new classes and different teachers for each year, as well as some great experiential trips in both the fall and spring, especially the one to Washington DC this spring, our nation’s capital.
There are many people who have helped me at this wonderful school. I would like to thank Matt Juul and Kenny Katz for helping me out with my favorite subject, mathematics, Jay Huston for teaching me some biology and college prep physics material in science, Travis Callan for teaching me about the history of our world and everyday economics, Allison St. John and John Barnett for teaching me about some great books, and Aaron Carter for teaching me a whole new language. I’d also like to thank my mom and dad for helping me get to this point.
After I leave Stanbridge, I hope to get a great college education at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. I wish to get a degree in computers so that I may then move on to joining a video game company. I hope to live in my own house, probably with a roommate. Thanks for listening!
Each graduating senior was asked to present a speech at Commencement 2017 describing his/her Stanbridge experience. This is William's story. Below read a transcript of Music/Maker/Drama Teacher David Hopper's introduction:
Billy. Unique, creative, caring, mechanical and full of, yes BASS! Not just a little, but a huge amount of bone shaking, organ busting bass. Every time I see Billy, we talk about cars, modding stereos and upgrading to the next level of audiophile power. With Billy it’s always about more power and more fun. Meeting Billy at his house to pick up some random electronics for the Maker class, I got to experience his car and its giant speakers. Bassnectar never sounded better. That is what Billy is doing now. He’s upgrading for his next experience in life. He triumphs over adversity and hardship with a smile and keeps his love of life that is never fake or forced. Billy may your love of music and new experiences power the rest of your life after Stanbridge. Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you, fellow music lover and master of BASS: Billy.
Before I came to Stanbridge Academy. I was at a school called Chaddock. Chaddock did not help me with all my educational needs. For example, the math teacher covered concepts too quickly. Because the pace was too fast for me, I struggled to keep up and fell behind. The school did not give me an accommodation to listen to music when I worked, which helps me to concentrate.
I transferred to Stanbridge as a sophomore, and since then I have learned many life skills. I know how to fill out a job application, how to be more patient, how to make furniture out of wood and improve my carpentry skills, and how to solve problems in different ways.
At Stanbridge I’ve been able to go on a number of memorable trips. One of my favorite field trips is the Close Up Washington, DC trip in 2015. My favorite parts about the trip includes seeing all the monuments with my classmates, sightseeing around the capital, and going to the Smithsonian museums with the teachers. Another one of my favorite field trips is the Web of life experiential trip at the Wolf School in Aptos. We did team building activities, we played volleyball, and I came away with new friendships and a lot of good memories.
I have learned even more social skills than I knew before I came to Stanbridge, and this is due to the many people who have helped me on my journey so far. I’d like to thank my parents and my grandparents for supporting me. Thank you John Barnett, Allison St. John, Jay Huston, and many other staff members who have helped me on my journey. I’m hoping to get a full-time job soon, and I’m leaving Stanbridge confident of my future.
The Hulk, Captain America, three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Wonder Woman play tag during elementary recess. No, it’s not Halloween. It’s Stanbridge Academy’s annual Spirit Week, and these are but a few of the students who dressed up to show off their school pride.
“I love spirit week!” said one 7th grade student as he ate lunch next to Alice from Alice in Wonderland. “My favorite day was Video Game Day. I dressed up as Fear from Inside Out, because he’s a character in the movie, but he’s also in the game, Disney Infinity.”
Each year, the Stanbridge Student Government chooses a theme for each day of the week. This year those themes were: sports, heroes, video games, and fantasy.
“Everyone pitches ideas and then we vote,” said a senior student government representative. “Then we vote on the ones that got the most votes until we narrow it down to four.”
Themes in previous years have included historical, pajama, and scary.
“My favorite day this week was Fantasy Day,” said an upper elementary student. “Even though every day during spirit week is a free dress day, on Fantasy Day you can dress up as whatever you want to be. It’s cool and fun to see everyone’s creativity.”
Teachers also participated in the fun.
“I like to see the kids’ reactions when I come into school with different, funny clothes on,” said Middle Elementary Teacher Kim Kornmann, who dressed up in a variety of costumes throughout the week. “It’s a good way to connect with my students and make the last couple weeks of school entertaining.”
The Stanbridge Academy student basketball team trounced the staff players at the annual Staff versus Student Basketball game at the Martin Luther King Community Center in San Mateo last week.
Although the Staff team led 13-10 at the half, younger legs won out with the students making up the deficit and winning 28-22.
“The student’s performance in the second half was uncanny,” said High School Teacher John Barnett. “It was like wolverine was on the other team, and he willed his team to victory…again.”
The Bulldogs were led by top scorer and Bulldog Award winner Stevie Harvey.
“I was happy to win the Bulldog award because it’s about more than being good at basketball; it’s about sportsmanship and effort too,” said Stevie.
Students and staff came out to support both teams with handmade signs.
“On my sign I drew to cartoons from the Peanuts movie and wrote ‘Snoopy and Woodstock wish you good luck,” said one junior high student. “It was an amazing game. Both teams were really aggressive, and there were a lot of great plays.”
One of the most unbelievable plays of the game was when Upper Elementary Teacher Teresa Calano made a reverse hook shot for two points in the second half.
“The boys were too tall to shoot over so I did a reverse hook shot,” said Teresa. “It was pure luck that I made it!”
The afternoon concluded with a short ceremony back Stanbridge in the Marilyn Center. In addition to a few special awards including the Bulldog Award, Sportsmanship, and Most Improved, each of the student players was congratulated on a season well done and presented with a framed team photo.
“Right now the Bay Area Small School Athletic League (BASSAL) is just getting off the blocks,” said Coach Mark Kelley. “...but next year it’s going to be even better organized with more games and sports. Basketball is the hub of this league.”
This is the seventh year the staff versus student basketball game has taken place. The students currently lead the series 4-3.
Last week, Stanbridge Academy students of all ages entertained an audience of their family members and peers at the 2016 Talent Show. More than 20 students braved the spotlight to perform an assortment of talents from singing and dancing to playing the piano to a homemade, stop-motion animation.
“Since we are a K-12 school and are such a supportive community, our talent shows tend to have more variety,” said Talent Show Director and Head of High School Jay Huston. “Our students feel comfortable to show off non-traditional skills and participate in cross-divisional acts.”
One of those multi-grade acts included two middle elementary school students and one high school senior rocking out to “We’re not Gonna Take it” by Twisted Sister.
“They’re awesome kids and it’s an awesome song. Why wouldn’t I perform with them?” asked the senior rhetorically. “Age doesn’t matter to me.”
Jay says Stanbridge has a talent show for the same reasons as any other school: to showcase the parts of students that aren’t revealed during the regular school day.
“But we have an additional reason,” said Jay. “To give our students, whom have been stifled and hidden at previous schools, a chance to shine!”
“I always like going up and performing in front of a large group of people,” said a junior high student who sang Ghost Town. “Adam Lambert is my favorite singer so it was an obvious choice.”
Staff members also delighted the audience with a hilarious skit.
“Whether it was impersonating late 1990s WWF wrestlers with my friends as kids or performing stand-up comedy in college, I have always loved to perform,” said High School Math Teacher Matt Juul. “When I gather with the staff for a formal or an informal meeting, I'm usually not as talkative. So it was great to not only work with a talented cast but to show Stanbridge that I can entertain an audience.”
Although the event was managed by staff members, the show was hosted by a high school senior.
“I don’t really like to perform, but I like public speaking,” said the Emcee. “I think the show went really well. A few of the bands were awesome.”
Videos of the whole show are available on YouTube. Click here to watch
High School Senior Jace C.’s design was voted the winner of Stanbridge Academy’s annual yearbook cover competition.
“I was cool with whatever happened,” said Jace, “but it’s awesome that I won.”
The winning design was voted on by all Stanbridge students, faculty, and staff on February 11 and 12.
“It was cool, and it was very creative, “ said one 7th grader of the winning design. “I like the cute giant octopus.”
The cover design is based off of the yearbook’s theme. Yearbook club members and art students brainstorm many different theme ideas before whittling them down to five. Then yearbook club members and art students vote for their favorite theme. This year’s winning yearbook theme—Dive Deep, Explore More!—was propounded by High School Junior Anthony Martinelli.
“I was listening to the song Rhinestone Eyes by the Gorillaz; it’s on their album 'Plastic Beach,' which is ocean-themed,” said Anthony. “The idea just spawned from there.”
All high school and junior high students are invited to submit a cover design for consideration. After a preliminary round of voting by Staybridge faculty and staff, the field is narrowed to five finalists from which all students vote for their favorite design.
“Voting gives everyone a voice in the yearbook design,” said Yearbook Sponsor Camille Geraci. “Plus it’s something fun that we do as a school. It brings us together and builds community.”
This year’s design includes a calculator-toting kraken attacking a yellow submarine.
“Somehow the idea of a kraken came up, and I thought that would be really cool,” said Jace.
Yearbooks will be delivered around the third week of May. Many thanks to everyone in the yearbook club for all their hard work.
Hello again and welcome to another edition of the Weekly Bridge. Last week we celebrated our staff with Teacher Appreciation Week, and this week, it is the students' turn to celebrate as our annual Spirit Week begins on Monday. Lots of other year-end activities to look forward to on the calendar, so without further ado, here is the latest news:
Our thanks to all of the SPA volunteers who helped make last week's Teacher Appreciation Week a delight for our dedicated staff. Each day, we were treated to a delicious spread that included fruit, bagels, salads, lunches, desserts, and more. Students signed Thank You cards for all of the teachers, who were also fêted with Starbucks gift cards and freshly-blended fruit juices (mmmm-mmmm!). Again, our sincere thanks to the parent/guardian organizers who contributed to last week's celebration, and another round of virtual applause for our faculty and staff for all of their hard work throughout the year. You truly make Stanbridge the amazing school that it is and I couldn't do it without you, so thank you for making this farewell year one to treasure!
This is also a special year for our high school seniors, who are just weeks away from graduation. This past Saturday, many of this year's graduates-to-be joined the high school staff at Vault 164 restaurant in San Mateo for the annual Senior Luncheon. More than just lunch, the event offered a chance for each student's parents to say a few words about the difference Stanbridge has made in their lives. It was an emotional, yet positive experience to hear each family's journey, and I'm so proud of this year's graduating class for the growth and progress they have made. The journey isn't over yet, so be sure to treasure these final weeks as Stanbridge students—you'll be alumni soon!
Before graduation, however, there is still plenty to look forward to on the school calendar, including this week's annual "Spirit Week." A highlight of every May, this year's Spirit Week theme days were chosen by the Stanbridge Student Leadership Team, and the schedule is as follows:
Speaking of signing-up, the initial enrollment deadline for Summer School is this Monday, May 18. Please note that classes which do not reach the minimum enrollment quota by Monday afternoon risk being dropped from the schedule. Right now, a few classes are in danger of being cancelled, so please return your Summer School enrollment forms to the main office as soon as possible. Copies of the course guide and enrollment paperwork are available in the main office, as well as on our website's Summer School page and the Files & Forms page. There truly is something for everyone during all six weeks of the program, so check out this year's offerings and sign-up your student ASAP!
Before signing off, a few additional notes:
Looking forward to a fun-filled Spirit Week ahead. Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and see you back at school on Monday!
Stanbridge Academy is a caring, inclusive K-12 school for students with mild to moderate learning differences and social communication disorders. We use an individualized, whole student approach so that students thrive and develop their academic, social, and emotional capabilities to their fullest potential.
Follow us on Social Media