Alumni

Alumni News & Events

List of 20 news stories.

  • Melissa Thomas '05 holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers she arranged

    Melissa Thomas, Class of 2005 - Florist Design Company Owner

    We have some of the most talented and entrepreneurial alums! Alum Melissa Thomas (Class of 2005) is a perfect example of talent, grace, brains, and beauty combined. Recently, Melissa started her own floral design company called Pepper Rose, which brings together her passion for flowers, art, design, and beauty. She is so talented that notable Hawke Media hired her to do the flowers for their annual marketing event, Hawkefest, which turned out to be a huge success. 

    Not only does Melissa have a keen eye for design, she is also a skilled teacher! One of Melissa’s most recent projects was becoming a teacher on Skillshare, a platform where she could learn and teach her skills to anyone all over the world. She was recently chosen as the Grand Prize Winner of Skillshare's June VIP Teacher Challenge for her online video class called "Design an Elegant Floral Centerpiece". She was chosen as the Grand Prize Winner out of 6,500+ applicants, 360 class projects, and many published classes. Way to go, Melissa!

    We chased her down, because we wanted to celebrate her successes with her. And we wanted to know, how does she do it all? Luckily for us, Melissa was able to make time for us out of her busy schedule to give us an interview about her new company, her recent gigs, her future plans, and provide some invaluable advice for our students. Check out her interview! Also, you can head over to Skillshare and check out her profile and classes here, follow her on Instagram @pepperrosedesign, and watch her Youtube channel here.
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  • Taryn Johnson '00 with her husband Alan and their two daughters, Harper and Sloane

    Alumni Legacy Family - Five Generations at Clairbourn School

    With an infectious laugh and effervescent personality, Taryn Johnson, Class of 2000, simply glows. Now that her daughter Harper is enrolled in the kindergarten class at Clairbourn, it marks five generations here. 

    The family history dates back to the mid-1940s when Taryn's great-grandmother, Lola Wallden, started her career as a school bus driver and retired in 1982 as the Assistant Head of School. Taryn's grandmother, Beverly Thomson, was the preschool and kindergarten teacher from 1971 until the year 2000. Taryn's mother, Jodie Robison, is also an alum of the school and worked in the finance office for years. 

    As you will see in this interview, the impact that Clairbourn had on Taryn is significant not only for the duration of their family legacy, but also because the school shaped her and made her who she is today.
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  • Alum, current parent, and now Board of Trustees member Kerry Reiling with her son Matthew.

    Kerry Reiling, Class of 1988 - Clairbourn School's Trustee

    We are delighted to recently welcome current parent Kerry Reiling to the Board of Trustees. Kerry has a long history with Clairbourn School.

    She attended Clairbourn herself as a child from Kindergarten through third grade (her husband Mike Reiling also attended Clairbourn at the same time when he was a child). Kerry is a devoted mother to her sons Matthew and Jeffrey. Both of her sons started at Clairbourn in Kindergarten.

    Matthew is now in the 7
    th grade at Clairbourn and Jeffrey graduated from Clairbourn last year and is now a freshman at Flintridge Prep.

    Kerry loves to volunteer for organizations that serve children. Kerry is also a teacher with a BA in Liberal Studies and a teaching credential from San Diego State University. She has worked as a 2nd and 3rd grade in Northern California for 4 years, and is currently in her 6th year of teaching at a local preschool in San Marino. She took the time out of her busy schedule to do a brief blog interview with us.
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  • Lindsey Wopschall's professional headshot

    Lindsey Wopschall, Class of 2004 - Acclaimed Author and Life Coach

    Lindsey Wopschall, Class of 2004, is the author of a new book called I'm Not My Job: Discover Worth Beyond Work. Her personal mission is to uplift, enlighten and encourage. She is on a mission to help people find their identity in a world that over-labels people by their job titles.

    She was recently interviewed on KGW in Portland to discuss this topic. Lindsey worked in Texas and Ohio as a TV news reporter before discovering how the story writing process can help people and organizations uncover their true purpose.

    Today, Lindsey works as an Organizational Effectiveness Consultant in Portland, Oregon. She facilitates leadership courses and coaches companies how to embrace what she believes are their best assets, people.

    We are so proud of Lindsey, and wanted to find out more about her experiences at Clairbourn and her incredible personal journey that led her to write this book and discover her life calling.
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  • Clairbourn Mascot Captain Cougar

    What are Clairbourn Alumni doing now?

    Dr. Janny Chang
    Read the latest updates by decade here!  Please keep in touch with us and give us updates on news in your life to be shared with the Clairbourn community. To update your information, give suggestions or make a submission to be featured in Alumni Spotlight, email Janny Chang at jchang@clairbourn.org.
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  • Richard and Eric Dong with their parents Charity and Ed

    Clairbourn Alums Richard and Eric Dong Honored with Young Philanthropist Award

    Richard (Class of 2014) and Eric Dong (Class of 2016) were presented a prestigious Outstanding Young Philanthropist Award on November 7, 2018 for their contributions to the Union Station Homeless Services. The event took place at the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Los Angeles Chapter.
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  • Mina Kasama (on left) is pictured with Clairbourn School's Communications Director Nancy Ward at Dr. Robert Nafie's Retirement Open House event on campus.

    Mina Kasama, Class of 2011, to Pursue International Law

    Dr. Janny Chang
    Clairbourn alumna Mina Kasama, Class of 2011, is sharp, well-spoken and passionate about changing the world.

    She's currently majoring in political science at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and plans on attending law school and pursuing a career in international law upon graduating from college. She discusses the integral role that Clairbourn had on her career trajectory and how her experience studying abroad in Canada and examining Holocaust history in Germany helped solidify her ambitions to pursue international law and strive for justice...
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  • Jamie Kwong, Class of 2010, in her professional headshot

    Jamie Kwong, Class of 2010 - Former Rose Princess and Graduate of USC and Marshall Scholar to Pursue PhD in the UK

    Dr. Janny Chang
    Clairbourn Alumna, Jamie Kwong, Class of 2010 just graduated from USC, is a Marshall Scholar and will pursue a doctorate on war studies at King's College London. She is poised, smart and eloquent.

    Having just graduated this year from USC with a major in international relations, Kwong was named the 2018 Marshall Scholar and is getting ready to start her doctoral studies in war studies at King's College London. She envisions a future career with the U.S. Department of State and Energy, think tanks and nongovernmental organizations, where she can use her knowledge to play a critical role in nuclear disarmament and the eventual worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons systems.

    We caught up with her and asked her how her experience at Clairbourn influenced her passion for research and inspired her to become a leader in the nonproliferation world.
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  • Erin Songwang, Class of 2012, is now pursuing Biotech at UC San Diego

    College Prep Event: Current College Students Shared Valuable Advice About How to Get Into the College of Your Choice

    Dr. Janny Chang
    This summer, Clairbourn hosted an event at Margarita's restaurant in Pasadena for alums who are preparing to apply to college.

    Alums Mina Kasama (Clairbourn Class of 2011, now attending Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada) and Erin Songwang (Clairbourn Class of 2012, now attending UC San Diego) were joined by Columbia University student James Gong and UC Berkeley student John Siano to share vital information and advice about applying to college with successful results.
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  • Richard and Eric Dong Give Additional $20,000 to Clairbourn in Honor of Dr. Nafie

    Alumni Richard and Eric Dong returned to campus to give $20,000 to the Richard and Eric Dong Scholarship for Music and Arts at Clairbourn School in honor of Dr. Nafie's thirty-nine years of service to the school and the community.

    When the scholarship fund was initiated in 2014, the boys contributed $30,000 to establish the fund. This year, they wanted to contribute $20,000 to the fund in Dr. Nafie's honor and to express gratitude to him as their wonderful former headmaster. As philanthropy is a core value in the Dong family, they wanted to show young people the importance of generously giving back to others.

    Richard and Eric also performed a musical recital and shared with students their exemplary piano playing skills. Dr. Nafie introduced them both and shared a biography of their accomplishments, followed by a short speech by Richard Dong. Watch the video and read Richard Dong's speech.
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  • Congresswoman Judy Chu (center) gave the Congressional Award Medal to four SGV students (left to right): Julieanne Guo, Richard Dong, Melanie Phan, and Cristie Huang. Courtesy photo (credit: Pasadena Independent article)

    Clairbourn Alumnus Richard Dong Presented with Highest Congressional Award

    Alumnus Richard Dong continues to accomplish so much at such a young age. He was recently awarded the prestigious Congressional Medal for the third time.

    There were only a total of four recipients to receive the award from Arcadia, Alhambra, Claremont and San Marino High Schools. Congresswoman Chu called it the "highest award for youth in our nation." To receive the award, one must excel these four areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration/expedition.
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  • Alumni Richard and Eric Dong are Notable Philanthropists and Accomplished Musicians

    At such a young age, Clairbourn alumnus Richard Dong has accomplished so much. He performed piano at a world-renowned talent show, attended a symposium at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and regularly performs piano at Clairbourn School. 

    Alumni Richard and Eric Dong have a litany of accomplishments under their belts. Amongst them include Richard Dong's performance at the HKS Annual Talent Show. At age 14, he performed at the talent show and presented the 2015 Graduating Class Gift Campaign. This took place on May 1st, 2015 at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. You can watch the video here. 
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  • Young alums and current student Andrea Ma (Class of 2019) lead fundraising efforts and volunteerism

    Clairbourn Alums and Current Student Raise $10,500 as Junior Ambassadors for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

    Clairbourn alums and students are consistently at the forefront of leading altruistic projects. Tiffany Chang was in fourth grade when her teacher Mrs. Mary-Kaye Halferty taught her to knit scarves during recess, and what started as a craft skill, has now become a fully-fledged nonprofit organization.

    The Madhatter Knits has over 80 members and three school chapters.

    To top it off, the organization can now boast that it has raised $10,500 for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, surpassing its target fundraising goal!
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  • Goro Toshima in his Clairbourn yearbook picture (left) and his current photo (right)

    Alumni Spotlight - Goro Toshima - Class of 1984 - Award-winning Director and Cinematographer

    Nancy Ward
    Clairbourn alumnus Goro Toshima, Class of 1984, is an award winning director and cinematographer based in Los Angeles. His work on the renowned documentary "City of Gold" received rave reviews. 

    We had a chance to talk to Goro on the phone and ask him about his experience at Clairbourn, how he became interested in documentary filmmaking and any advice he has for Clairbourn students and alumni.
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  • New Richard & Eric Dong Endowment at SMHS

    Alums Richard and Eric Dong, from the Clairbourn Classes of 2014 and 2016, also made a generous gift of $75,000 from their own personal investment earnings to San Marino High School to support music, arts, athletics, student organizations, staff and faculty appreciation and recognition at San Marino High School.
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  • 1940s Alumnus Sylvia Pauloo Takes Us Back in Time

    Our alumni are a treasured part of the Clairbourn community. Through their eyes, we can travel in time and get a sense of the powerful history and legacy on which this school was built.

    Sylvia Pauloo-Taylor, who attended from 1946 to 1948, visited Clairbourn in the Spring of 2016. She met with Communications Director Nancy Ward who encouraged her to send in any photos and stories of her time here at Clairbourn.

    Below, Mrs. Pauloo-Taylor sent in the following information about her life and the impact that Clairbourn had on her since her attendance.
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  • Richard and Eric Dong, Youngest Members of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Leadership Council

    Alums Richard and Eric Dong have just become the youngest members of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Leadership Council. As excellent swimmers, debaters and pianists, both brothers began venturing into financial investments in 2010 and have since, not only endowed their middle and high school with philanthropic gifts, but also created an endowment for the International Leadership Foundation (IFL), which supports leadership training, global democracy and governance initiatives with an emphasis on Asian countries. 
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  • Alumni Spotlight - Pete Paciorek, Class of 1990 Author

    Nancy Ward
    Alum Pete Paciorek has just released a book on character development in sports titled Character Loves Company: Defining The Teachable Moments In Sports. Among the contributors to the book are Olympic gold medalists, NCAA National Champions, coaches, and the foreword is written by World Series Champion General Manager Fred Claire. Check out the book by clicking here.
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  • Kris Mohandie, Clairbourn Alum, Renowned Forensic Psychologist

    Alumni Spotlight - Kris Mohandie, Class of 1976 Renowned Forensic Psychologist

    Nancy Ward
    Our first alumni spotlight of the 2016-2017 year shines on alum Kris Mohandie, who is also a current parent at the school. Kris arrived at Clairbourn in his 7th grade year, which he says, “...would have been a long time ago.” After graduating from Clairbourn, he went to La Salle and from there went to Cal Poly, Pomona, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
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  • Alumni Spotlight - Kris Van Cleave - Class of 1994

    Nancy Ward
    When Kris entered Clairbourn for his 8th grade year, it was the sixth school he’d attended in nine years. “I got very used to being the new kid,” he recalled in a half-hour long phone interview with the alumni office.
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