Class Notes from Recent Alumni

Class Notes from Recent Alumni

In our 2019 Community Connection Magazine, we feature a section on class notes from recent graduates and former students of Greenspring Montessori School. Read more about what our graduates have been up to in high school, college, and beyond.

If you are an alumni of Greenspring Montessori School (formerly known as The Montessori School and Emerson Farm Middle School), please visit the Alumni section of our website to learn more and connect with classmates.

Spencer Herrin

Attended from 2005 to 2015

Spencer is currently a senior at Dulaney High School and he will be attending Towson University’s UTeach program for Secondary Mathematics Education next year. In a recent interview, Spencer shared, “I always wanted to be a teacher. A lot of the people throughout my Montessori career have helped form who I am.” Spencer seeks to bring Montessori education to students in public schools.

You can hear more from Spencer in his recent video interview here.


Lexi Shofer

Attended from 2008 to 2014

Lexi is currently a high school senior at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. She has applied to Boston University, Tulane University, and Occidental College. Lexi is interested in majoring in psychology and she would eventually like to get her doctorate degree. At Mercersburg, she is the head of Jewish Club, a photo editor for the school’s newspaper, and she has been in four different theater productions throughout her two years there. Lexi is currently working on her capstone project leading a workshop on self-confidence and body image for middle school-aged girls in the area.


Rachel Morrison

Attended from 2006 to 2012

Rachel is currently an EMT and is attending Harford Community College to become a licensed paramedic. Her mother, Carol Morrison, rejoined the Greenspring community last year as our Accounting Manager.


Samantha Little

Attended from 2001 to 2012

After graduating from Greenspring, Samantha attended the Institute of Notre Dame. She later attended CCBC Essex to obtain her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Now in her last semester, she plans to continue on to either Notre Dame University or Towson University to get her Bachelor’s degree in teaching. She shared, “the reason I actually chose this field was because of my Lower Elementary teacher, Ms. Mandy. The way she helped her students as well as making sure everyone was successful inspired me to do the same thing.”


Aaron Brown

Attended from 2000 to 2008

Aaron is currently in his senior year at Brown University studying mechanical engineering, and he is applying to graduate school for a PhD in mechanical engineering, where he plans to research energy and environmental sustainability. He was elected to Tau Beta Pi at Brown University and in his spare time, he enjoys playing baseball, piano, and running.


Joseph Hornig

Attended from 1993 to 2000

Joseph and his brother Timothy both attended Greenspring as children. Joseph is a graduate of American University in DC and now lives in Southern California. He works at the University of California at Irvine. He is currently enrolled in UCI’s Master in Human/Computer Interaction and Design program.


Graham Wimbrow

Attended from 1992 to 1997

Graham leads a software development squad for a financial investments research firm, working to define the systems architecture for a new technology group. He attributes his spirit of unwavering curiosity and his drive to learn from experimentation in part to his days in a Montessori classroom.


Jocelyn Durkay

Attended from 1989 to 1998

Jocelyn attended Vassar College and double majored in Art History and Italian, then went on to receive a Master of Social Work degree, which led her to work in public policy. She is currently a policy analyst at the Colorado Energy Office, where she works on renewable energy and energy efficiency policies for low-income customers. In her free time, she volunteers to build trails and she is excited to be planning for her wedding.


Sean Elavia

Attended from 1986 to 1988

Sean attended the school when it was located at a church in Towson. After Montessori, Sean attended St. Joseph School in Cockeysville. For college, he attended Loyola University and later completed his law degree at the University of Maryland, School of Law.
Sean currently works as a corporate attorney and offers pro bono services to various charities and religious organizations when he can. His two daughters attend Greenspring in the Toddler and Children’s House community.


Jeffrey Tannenbaum

Attended from 1973 to 1979

Jeff attended Greenspring Montessori School when it was located on Park Heights Avenue and it was known as The Montessori School. He went on to attend Washington University and now works in Accounting for Laureate Education. Jeff’s daughter is currently a student in Mr. JR’s Lower Elementary class. Jeff writes, “[It is] very fulfilling to see all of my children attend the same school that I attended as a child and be able to experience the joy of independent learning that the school facilitates. [It is ] also very pleasing to see the strong growth and health of the school for the current and future generation of Montessori students in Baltimore.”

Alumni Spotlight: Toni-Ann Williams

Alumni Spotlight: Toni-Ann Williams

Toni-Ann Williams, Olympic Gymnast
Attended from 1999-2010

“Something I learned from Montessori is leadership, even from a very young age. Having that independence and being able to take my own initiative – two values Montessori taught me – I became the first Jamaican Olympian for gymnastics.

Toni-Ann Williams is working to use her passion for social welfare and legal studies to not only open access to the opportunities gymnastics can provide for young Jamaican girls, but to ensure that the environment is a safe one throughout their journey.

The spark that started Toni-Ann’s journey to become the first gymnast to represent Jamaica at the Olympic Games began at Greenspring Montessori. “Before Montessori, I had done ice skating. Once I got to Montessori, when I was playing on the playground Ms. Vivian saw me [doing cartwheels] and jumping off the playset and told my mom I should look into gymnastics. And that’s how I kind of got started. She helped my mom figure out my focus.” Toni-Ann obtained dual citizenship when she was fifteen years old and went on to represent Jamaica in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Toni-Ann’s story was filled with destiny from before she was born. “My mom was my age, in her twenties, when she came to America. My parents hadn’t met – well, actually they hadn’t known they had met in Jamaica – until they came to America. They met each other through a mutual friend in the close-knit Jamaican community here in Baltimore. They got together and opened up a grocery store in Baltimore City and their relationship grew from there.

“In Jamaica, my mother had lived toward the beach in Jamaica – an ‘uptown girl’. My father lived in the poorer neighborhoods and he often had to steal to survive. When he came to America my father was retelling the story and my mom asked him, did you steal from this specific house? It turned out that my father had been stealing my mother’s family’s chickens for years and they had no idea who it was until they came to America and realized it was him! I thought it was a really cute story: he stole your chickens, then he stole your heart.”

Recent immigrants working hard to provide the best opportunities for their children, Toni-Ann’s parents sent her and her younger sister Maya (also a Jamaican gymnast and now an Arizona State University student) to Greenspring Montessori. Toni-Ann says, “They wanted a more open teaching mechanism than my older sister experienced at public school.”

Toni-Ann attended Greenspring Montessori for eleven years. After completing her Montessori experience and graduating Greenspring with the class of 2010, she attended high school at Roland Park Country School.

Montessori Moments
The Montessori model helped Toni-Ann open up and explore her passions. “I remember being really shy when I first came. Being able to interact with people of different ages, I was able to become more comfortable, involved with more sports, not afraid to play with the boys at recess, playing soccer, trying more things – it was a very open environment. I felt welcomed within each age group and within each gender – I became really comfortable and I was able to explore more of myself. [The school offered] a freedom to explore.”

Montessori also helped her become a confident learner. “Not only did I figure out my gymnastics career, also academically I got to explore a lot of different things I might not have done if I’d gone to a traditional school. Different books I got to read and being able to advance ahead of other people my age, being able to have the opportunity go ahead or stay back or whatever I needed to do, being able to explore my own academic journey on my own but also to have people guide me, as well.”

Bringing Montessori into the World
Toni-Ann took the challenge of balancing college school work, college gymnastics, and international gymnastics by the horns. “Something I learned from Montessori is leadership, even from a very young age. Having that independence and being able to take my own initiative – two values Montessori taught me – I became the first Jamaican Olympian for gymnastics.

“[Going to the Olympics] is everyone’s dream as a kid. I knew that I wanted to do college gymnastics, and I knew I wanted to compete for my family’s country, but I never ever dreamed that it would get me all the way to the Olympics. That was definitely one of my biggest accomplishments.”

Despite all her local, college, national and international gymnastic success, the accomplishment she is most proud of took place this year. “I tore my Achilles over a year ago and I was out for the entire season. This past January was my coming back season after the injury and it was very difficult for me. At the end of the season I [earned the title of] ‘All American’ – that’s top eight in the nation – that was a big moment for me. I have earned a lot of honors and recognition, but this one meant the most to me because I had struggled and stumbled and [through hard work] became top eight in the nation.”

Impacting the Future
Toni-Ann is combining her passions and talents to impact a serious need in the gymnastics community.

When the stories of sexual abuse throughout the gymnastics world came to light, Toni-Ann says it was a watershed moment to solidifying her vision for her future. “I’ve mapped out different versions of my life. I still want to be really involved in gymnastics. But there has been a lot of scandal and sexual abuse going on in the gymnastics world. I want to be a part of helping fix that, not only in the US but in Jamaica where that has been troubling for as long as I’ve known.
“I personally know a lot of the gymnasts who have spoken up – I’m friends with them and we’ve competed with each other for years. Even some of the competitions where they recalled the abuse happening, I was probably in the hotel room a couple doors down and I never knew any of that was happening to them. It’s heartbreaking to hear.

“I always had my focus on going back to Jamaica – a third-world country where my parents grew up – to help the gymnasts there. Gymnastics is not a sport that Jamaica recognizes, so [I am dedicated to] helping the gymnasts there realize their dreams. I was able to go to college because of gymnastics and a lot of Jamaican girls my age don’t have that opportunity. I wanted to go back and help them that way.”

Toni-Ann attends the University of California, Berkeley and is double-majoring in social welfare and legal studies.

 

Are you a Greenspring Alumni? We would love to hear your story! Click here to visit our Alumni page to get in touch, learn about upcoming events, and see more stories like this one.

Congratulations to the 2018 Adolescent Graduates!

Congratulations to the 2018 Adolescent Graduates!

Congratulations to our Adolescent Class of 2018! These three hardworking Montessorians have established themselves as leaders within our community and beyond. We are so excited for what the future holds for each of them.

Madeline
Attended from 2009 to 2018
Madeline has been a student at Greenspring since first grade with Ms. Margaret. Throughout this time, she has truly loved the Greenspring community. Once quiet and reserved, Madeline grew as a leader in the Adolescent Community. She was one of the pioneering students of the 9th grade class.

Next year, she will be going on to The Park School of Baltimore. She is excited to further pursue her interests in the arts. Specifically, she loves drawing, illustration, and writing. She is also interested in science and biology.

Madeline holds high future aspirations. She could see herself one day being the CEO of Apple or the President of Argentina–maybe even both!


Johannes
Attended from 2007 to 2018
Johan has also been at Greenspring Montessori since Children’s House. He has always had an innate curiosity to learn why and how things work–so Montessori classrooms were the perfect learning environment for him!

In addition to his academic interests, Johan loves sports and being outdoors. He played on the Greenspring soccer and basketball teams during his Elementary and Adolescent years, and he also played ice hockey and did whitewater kayaking outside of school.

In the fall, Johan will be attending the Friends School of Baltimore. He is looking forward to all that the future holds.


Benjamin
Attended from 2016 to 2018
Ben recently joined the Adolescent Community at the start of his 8th grade year. After coming from a larger public magnet school, he was seeking a more inclusive model to education where he could pursue his interests and work collaboratively with other students. Over his two years at Greenspring, Ben budded into a star member of the Adolescent Community.

In the classroom, Ben loves studying science and medicine. He hopes to one day be a doctor and he eagerly researches topics in biology, chemistry, and physics. In addition, he is an avid singer, dancer, and actor.
Ben is excited to attend the Friends School of Baltimore for 10th grade and continue to grow his passions in science and art.


 

If you missed graduation, you can watch the video here and view the Facebook album here.