Alumni Spotlight

Beechwood is not only a school but also an extended family, supporting and enjoying one another throughout the years. Beechwood Alumni now number over 300 young people. They have demonstrated commitment to family, community and lifelong learning.

Beechwood employs a full-time Graduate Coordinator to keep in touch with alumni. Mrs. Connolly works closely with Beechwood eighth graders and their families to help them prepare for their high school experience, arranging onsite visits to schools and assisting them in the application process. She also helps alumni connect with support and enrichment programs.

Beechwood graduates remain an active part of the Beechwood community. They often return for informal visits in addition to participating more formally in the classroom, sharing principles and experiences with current students. We are proud of our growing family of alumni and applaud their hard work, determination, and willingness to give back to the community.

Alumni Spotlight

Celeste Aguilar

Celeste graduated from Beechwood School in 2017 and transitioned smoothly  to Menlo School’s ninth grade.  After attending Beechwood for nine years, starting out at a new school “felt  a little like being out of the nest.”  Her friendly personality quickly helped her make new friends.  Celeste feels particularly well prepared for Menlo’s challenging math classes. She also enjoys conceptual physics and French.  Celeste  joined Menlo’s water polo team, played goalie and earned an award acknowledging  her  as “The Hardest Working  Team Member.”  To improve her skills,  she also joined Stanford’s  water polo club team.  Among her fondest Beechwood memories are paddling to Angel Island, 4 square games, camping at Pigeon Point and her enduring friendships. Celeste advises  Beechwood students  to cherish days with classmates and maintain  friendships.

 

 

 

Brandon Drayton

Always a top student, Brandon joined Beechwood in kindergarten and graduated  with his eighth grade class in 1984.  He enjoyed playing basketball in middle school and continued playing at Woodside High School.  At Cal State University East Bay, Brandon earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies.  Married in 2008 to Cassi,  the couple purchased their own home and now enjoy parenting two children, Sydney and Cameron.  We are happy they are Beechwood parents!  Brandon has worked for over 11 years as Assistant Manager/ Consultant at Space Systems Loral.  To quote his parents, “Brandon is patient, disciplined, kind, a good citizen, father, husband and son. Beechwood helped him be the man he is today. This community will always hold a dear place in our hearts.”

 

 

 

 

Theo Kirkendoll

Beechwood School is proud to introduce Theo, an alumnus who is known for his winning smile, thirst for knowledge and a positive outlook on life.  After completing 8th grade, he graduated from Redwood High School and then attended Canada College.  He married, started a family and is now the father of five beautiful girls.  During 26 months of service in the U.S. Marines, Chief Warrant Officer, Theo Kirkendoll, completed three deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  His professional goal is to retire as Lt. Colonel by the age of 45 and then develop a new career.  Theo values his lasting friendships born at Beechwood School and continues to feel an important part  of the school family.  His advice to students: “Never give up, see things through, and make sure you are doing things for yourself and others.”

 

 

 

Latricia Simon Uba

Latricia lives by her golden rule which is, “Pursue what you love to do and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  A member of Beechwood’s first graduating class, she is doing just that. After a long challenging journey, “Trisha “ enjoys her profession  as a Registered Nurse in Maternity at Stanford Hospital. Her keen intellect, kind nature and willingness to work long hours make her ideal for this  position. After graduating from Menlo Atherton High School, Latricia attended  Foothill and Canada Colleges, while working full time in retail. Her dream of becoming a nurse began at the age of six and  at 33 years of age, after much hard work, out-of-state moves, set-backs and finally triumphs, she earned her B.S. in Nursing!Her grandmother settled in East Palo Alto in the 1960’s and raised 8 children.  Family is a key element in Latricia’s life and she enjoys her large extended family.  In 2015, she married a “lovely Nigerian man” with whom she likes to travel, dine out and enjoy Trisket, their dog.Memories of Beechwood include  “feeling at home and being part of a family,” great field trips including Ano Nuevo, SanFrancisco museums and attending theatre productions. Beechwood School is inspired by Latricia and grateful for the loving care she provides to so many in our community.

 

 

Agustin Diaz

A wiz in math and science, Agustin is looking forward to a career in medicine and
one day becoming a surgeon. Presently he is taking several courses in
U.C.Berkeley’s graduate school and working as a medical scribe. He plans to tutorBeechwood math students, as well.Agustin and his two brothers attended Beechwood from kindergarten through 8th grade. They all attended local high schools. Favorite Beechwood memories include memorizing poems in first grade, cooking and gardening in fourth grade and middle school math. In 2012, Agustin graduated from Menlo School and was awarded a full scholarship to U.C.Santa Barbara where he majored in psychology. He has maintained close friendships from his college days. Now living and working in San Francisco, he enjoys the city parks and traveling. He learned a lot about other cultures on his recent month-long trip to India. Agustin’s advice to Beechwood students: “Be true to yourself and surround yourself with good positive people.”

Stacy Abonce

After receiving a warm Castilleja welcome, Stacy is enjoying her first year in high school.The curriculum is demanding and she is more than ready for the challenge.

As well as concentrating on her coursework,  she is playing volleyball and is on the swim team.  Highlights of the school year include the Father/Daughter Dance, spirit week and making new friends.  Stacy enjoys the many traditions of Castilleja school culture. She is very grateful for kind, helpful, dedicated teachers.

Beechwood memories are “feeling happy and comfortable at school, wonderful friends and teachers and the first grade water slide.  Beechwood helped me define my loves: math, writing, history and music.” Stacy’s goals include college, making her parents proud, giving back to family, having a good job and creating a stable life. Ms. Abonce advises her Beechwood buddies to  stay true to their values and keep closely connected to family.”

 

 

 

Andrew Cruz

 

The Cruz family includes four Beechwood alumni.  Noel lead the way, followed by Jordan, Andrew and Addy.  In 2005, Andrew entered Eastside Prep High School where he completed National Outdoor Leadership School, backpacking 124 miles in the wilderness.  After completing Eastside’s rigorous academic program, he began his advanced studies at the University of the Pacific, majoring in sociology and business.  He also joined a multicultural fraternity. During his college years, he tutored migrant workers and their children. Andrew says he learned a lot from this experience.  His resume includes one year in the Dominican Republic as a member of the Peace Corps, summer teacher aid at Beechwood School and presently a first grade associate teacher at Phillip Brooks School.  Andrew has fond Beechwood memories including painting the ball-wall with his classmates and “having some of the best teachers  in my life. The work I accomplished had purpose and meaning.”

After earning an M.A. in School Counseling, Andrew’s goal is to found a school with a focus on  social/emotional intelligence, combined with relevant academics and an “emphasis on understanding the world and knowing how to respond appropriately.”

Andrew Cruz’ advice to Beechwood students is: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be brave enough to make mistakes.  Your brain will grow.”

 

 

Konstance Kirkendoll

Konstance reminds us of a famous quote by Dr. Seuss.  “Life is a great balancing act.” Ms. K’s many life-roles include college student, mother of two and teacher at Beechwood School.  A summer kindergarten teacher, she also coordinates service learning  and teaches 8th grade language arts.   Ready to help out with school projects, she is active with parent fundraising and yearbook production.

The Kirkendoll’s are a Beechwood family.  Both brothers graduated from Beechwood, as well as Konstance.  Her oldest daughter is presently in the fourth grade. After 8th grade, Konstance attended Menlo School and then entered Mills College.  She is now in a teaching credentials program through the University of Phoenix. Fond school memories include Black History celebrations and programs, small classes and a family atmosphere.  She always felt comfortable talking with her teachers. The 8th grade class trip to Santa Cruz  was her favorite field trip. Ms. K’s advice to Beechwood’s students:  “Advocate for yourselves, focus on progress, not heavily on grades.” Her master plan includes earning her teaching credential, owning her own home and raising her children to be confident and kind.

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