Welcome to the PS alumni blog! From academic achievements to world travels, we will be posting what our alumni are doing. Please email your alumni news and updates to Ryan Hertlein, Alumni Coordinator and Assistant Director of Admission. Check back to find out about upcoming alumni events.
Jackson Williams was recently hired to make customization apps for Aston Martin, a British luxury sports car company. He is a junior at Episcopal High School, but found is affinity for app creation and coding during his time at Presbyterian School. He started to teach himself to program when he was around twelve, in the 6th grade at PS. At first, he made games and simple websites and he would read programming books after school and on class trips to learn how to better his skills. His favorite project from PS was the eighth-grade science fair, where he made a game website that younger kids could play. The interest from the younger kids made him feel so accomplished and that he had made a website that others enjoyed so much. This fueled a fire to create more.
When his first game app, Fast Feathers, was put on the app store, He was extremely happy to see everyone download it. The amount of support from friends and family really gave him a huge amount of confidence in his programming ability. He made three major game apps through the end of middle school and the first two years of high school. During the summer of his freshman going into sophomore year, he was asked by a friend's dad to make a utility app for their life insurance company. The app was finished around a year later, with lots of learning taking place of how to work with a business. He still works on the app to this day making modifications and updates. The life insurance app, he believes, really prepared him to work for Aston Martin. The job gave him the experience of making a utility app and how to work in a business environment with a large number of people.
Speaking of Aston Martin, the customization app, Jackson created, allows customers to customize an Aston Martin inside the dealership on an iPad, with the help of the sales people answering questions. Once they are finished customizing their car, the app has a print button that air prints all the information to a printer for the dealership and customer to keep. The salesmen and women also use the app to see if certain customizations are possible for customers, as some are not compatible with other customizations (ex. you cannot choose the Contemporary Pack and the Contemporary & Luxury Pack).
So far, he has completed an app for one model, the DB11. He will continue to make bug fixes and tweak the app to improve it, and they are already discussing making a second app as well. Jackson has worked at the dealership for about two months and he is living his dream, as he has always loved cars, specifically sports and luxury cars.
Jackson credits Presbyterian School as the foundation of where he started to program, and he is grateful he was in an environment where his skills were appreciated and encouraged.
This past summer Brooke Jenkins ('11) had the opportunity to intern for the Houston Astros. During her internship she served in the Retail and Merchandise Department, and she got to learn and experience first hand everything that happens on this side of the business. From running the ten team stores in the stadium, to sitting in on meetings about buying new merchandise, helping unload merchandise in the warehouse and everything in between.
Brooke had the privilege to work on several projects throughout the summer. She was able to work with the Authentication team and work on a project for that part of our department. She was also able to help with a Spring Training Review, a Retail Marketing Investment Fund and Budget project, and was able to help create the Organization's Newsletter over the summer.
Since the end of her internship in August, due to school, Brooke kept in close touch with her department and the organization. During the team's post-season run she was asked to come back and help as the team hosted three home World Series Games. This was such an incredible honor to be asked to come help work these games. Brooke had the time of her life working for the team, she grew up supporting, in the World Series. It has been the experience of a lifetime and she was so thankful to The Houston Astros for the opportunities they gave her. What a team, what an organization and what a season!
Way to go, Brooke!
Preston Heard, PS Class of 2012 and current Episcopal High School senior, was honored by the Touchdown Club of Houston as Offensive Player of the Year! Touchdown Club recognizes the areas best players in private school ranks each year. The Episcopal Knights won 9 of 11 games, finishing as the South Zone’s top seed in the SPC Large School Playoffs. They played the Kinkaid Falcons in the finals, losing 31-27. Preston threw for over 2,200 yards and 27 touchdowns. Congratulations to Preston for such a huge honor!
A big weekend for our Presbyterian Alums in HGA Junior Golf! William Weinheimer and Henry Fisher, Class of 2012, faced off this past weekend in the finals match of HGA's 2015 Greater Houston City Match Play Championship at Memorial Park. William finished 1st overall and Henry finished 2nd overall. We are proud of our Panther alums for their perseverance and accomplishments on the golf course. Way to go boys!
Congratulations to Kelly Oubre, PS Class of 2010, for being selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 15th overall pick in the NBA Draft. He was later traded to the Washington Wizards. What an accomplishment!
Mary Ashleigh Boles, Class of ’06, graduates this spring from Washington and Lee. As a Business Administration and Spanish major, she has accepted a position at the Investment Bank, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Company here in Houston. Boles is grateful to W&L for broadening her horizons academically, socially and athletically. Currently captain of the volleyball team, Boles played all four years while maintaining a rigorous academic schedule. She studied a broad four times and interned internationally. We wish her all the best as she graduates and begins a new chapter in her life!
Click here for a link to the full article on the W&L website.
Amanda Leavell, Class of ’09, is off to an incredible start at Princeton University. This freshman lacrosse star appeared in 13 games and started 11 of them. She finished third on the team in draws, with 23, while adding five caused turnovers and four ground balls. With three years still to go, I think we will be hearing a lot more outstanding news coming from Amanda and her Princeton Tigers.
This year Sophia Skelly (Class of ’10) is spending a gap year before college. She is chronicling her time through an insightful and educational online blog entitled “The Great Perhaps.” Skelly believes the experiences of her gap year will better prepare her for college and for her future. Beginning with a whirlwind European tour this past summer, Skelly’s adventurous travels have also taken her to India and Costa Rica. When not abroad, Skelly has spent time interning at the Houston Chronicle. Skelly’s blog not only highlights Skelly’s talented journalistic abilities, but also unveils her spirit as a visionary activist. We are excited to see how her year continues to unfold and to see what is next for Sophia Skelly. Take a look at her blog at https://sskellygapyear.wordpress.com.
Will Rippeto, Class of ’14, and Kyra Link, Class of ’12, star in the St. John’s School Winter One-Act Play, Words, Words, Words, by David Ives. Playing intelligent chimpanzees, these PS alumni cynically ponder the purpose of a typing experiment of which they are the subjects. We look forward to seeing Will and Kyra in future productions!
Kelly Oubre, (Class of ’10) models how patience, respect for the process and hard work really pay off. Oubre, a McDonald’s All-American and consensus top-10 recruit, chose the Kansas Jayhawks with hopes of helping his team to an 11th straight Big 12 title. However, as the season began to unfold, he was spending less time on the court and more time on the bench. Disappointed, Oubre, studied the team’s play books and paid close attention to his older, more experienced teammates. He kept his confidence high by adopting a “professional mind-set” and taking things day by day, all while enjoying the experience. One month later, his determination solidified his starting position as the Jayhawks’ wing. Oubre chose Kansas because he wanted to play for a team who held him accountable, demanded perfection and taught professionalism. His patience and perseverance keep him moving forward. We look forward to following Kelly Oubre and his career at Kansas.
Taylor Miller (Class of ’07) currently a senior marketing major at SMU, plans to graduate early in order to focus full time on her jewelry company, Hazen LLC. Miller was 9 years old and in third grade at Presbyterian School when she started designing jewelry; 12 years old when she first went to market and now ten plus years later, she has managed to make Hazen a thriving and profitable company. Miller credits her marketing courses for helping grow her company. Her professor noted her ability to “successfully run a company with a clear vision while maintaining an excellent academic record.” Miller is currently focused on the first steps of implementing her 5 year business plan. We look forward to watching Hazen, LLC continue to grow! Check out her website at www.hazenjewelry.com.
Jack Rogers (Class of ’11) committed to swim for Bucknell University in conjunction with the NCAA’s National Signing day in November. Rogers is currently the fastest 200 freestyler swimmer on Strake Jesuit’s Crusaders swim team. He swam a personal best 200 freestyle of 1:46:99 at regionals last year. Best of luck to Jack as he begins his collegiate swim career at Bucknell.
This past November the Houston Touchdown Club honored Dewey Gonsoulin (Class of ’11) as a finalist for their Annual Greater Houston High School Football Scholar-Athlete Award. A defensive lineman on the Strake Jesuit’s Crusaders football team, Dewey had 29 tackles including three tackles for a loss, three pressures and two pass deflections this year. He also served as a member of the Football Leadership Council. Strake Head Coach, James Clancy, commented, “He embodies the mission of the school. The dedication he provided not only to his performance on the field and in the classroom, but to his teammates and coaches, has set a standard for future generation of Crusaders to follow.” Congratulations Dewey! We are proud to see our PS Alumni showing such leadership and dedication.
Laura Brill (Class of ’06) has found a way to combine both of her academic interests in Theatre and Physics through Acoustical Engineering at Nebraska’s Wesleyan University. Brill began research at her university’s theater in order to make recommendations for changes that could enhance the sounds an audience hears. Following her research position last summer at the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha, the Acoustical Society of American in Indianapolis, Indiana accepted Brill to their 168th meeting, where she spent a week presenting her research and consulting with other acoustical engineering scientists. As a current senior, she plans to attend graduate school for theatre design, focusing on optimized sound. This PS Alumni has paved her own academic path and we know we will continue to see amazing strides from her work.
Congratulations to Blaire Honore (Class of ’05) and Brittany Ellis (Class of ’05) on their Fall weddings. Blaire Honore married Christopher Byrd and Brittany Ellis married Ian Saterdalen. Even though both weddings were in October of 2014, these former classmates made sure to include each other in their ceremonies. We wish these newlyweds all the best as they begin a new chapters in their lives. It is wonderful to see that these new chapters include friendships that started here at Presbyterian School!
Suman Alturi (Class of ’12) and Aubrey Calaway (Class of ’12) have recently teamed up to work on a non-profit organization, Swasthya, which was founded by Alturi in 2013. Swasthya helps at-risk youth in India understand the importance of living a healthy life. Check out their website at www.creatingahealthierindia.org. Who better to partner with in philanthropic work than a fellow PS alumnus! We look forward to watching this organization grow. Keep up the great work!
A longtime PS teacher, Ms. Christou, Christmas carols every year on Christmas Eve with the Luther and Tamlyn Family at BellAire Gardens.
Harrison Hanna, PS Class of 2009, is currently a freshman at Baylor University. Last semester he worked as the Student Equipment Manager for the Baylor Bears football team. He helped the team with equipment and uniforms for practices and games. Harrison also traveled with the team and was a ball boy on the sidelines during games. In the locker room before the Oklahoma State game, he was able to meet and speak with ESPN sportscaster Brent Musburger! What an awesome opportunity for Harrison. We love hearing how our alumni work hard to live out their dreams. Best of luck to Harrison in his next years at Baylor!
Eva Schneller, PS Class of 2013 alumni and daughter of PS nurse Colleen Kimball, was recently hired at Murder By the Book, a local family-run bookstore. She will be taking inventory on incoming books and was asked to compose the write-ups for new arrivals. She will also assist in hosting author visits and book signings. Eva is a freshman at HSPVA for Creative Writing. Eva is a great example for other PS students. She developed a strong passion for writing and books and lives that out at work and school.
Kristen Winship graduated from Presbyterian School's first eighth grade class in 2003 and was on the first Panther sixth grade volleyball team in 2001. Coach Ann Horne was Kristen's volleyball coach and twelve years later is coaching Kristen's little sister, Kaitlynn Carroll, a current PS sixth grader. Coach Horne reflects on why she loves to coach the sixth grade volleyball team and has for so many years at PS. "I enjoy coaching the sixth grade girls because I get to know them early in middle school and that relationship lasts long after." Horne is excited about continuing to reconnect with PS alumni like Kristen, who she coached in her first years at PS.
Elizabeth Copper, PS Class of 2011, is a Certified Puppy Raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs. Her puppy, Captain, is essentially a 24 hour 7 days a week companion to Elizabeth and her mom, who shares the responsibility as Captain's puppy raiser. They teach Captain basic obedience (40 commands) and socialization so that he is prepared for formal harness training at 16 months of age. Socialization includes planning daily outings to expose Captain to various experiences and to replicate life as a guide dog. During the outings, they work on obedience, familiarity with various settings, interaction with other people, and answering questions about guide dogs and the visually impaired. At home, they work on good house manners and basic obedience during daily training sessions. This will also be Elizabeth's Girl Scout Gold Award project, which she anticipates to complete in June 2014.
In addition, Elizabeth prepares and gives community presentations to raise awareness of the need for and availability of guide dogs for the visually impaired. Elizabeth and Captain recently visited Presbyterian School's Kindergarten classes! They were the first special guests and presentation for the kindergartners this year. Mrs. Christou, PS Kindergarten teacher, remarks on Elizabeth's presentation. "Watching Elizabeth put Captain through his drills was a great learning experience and a real treat. As Elizabeth's kindergarten teacher it was a time of great pride for me. Just to see the young lady she has grown to be and her care for this dog was amazing. But also to see the core values of respect, perseverance and compassion she exhibits to our community is so valuable. Elizabeth's dedication and focus in training Captain truly represents the Presbyterian School spirit."
We are thankful to have such wonderful alumni like Elizabeth, who come back to PS to show their teachers what they have acheived and how they have grown. "My kindergartners always enjoy the visits the alumni make and the insightful advice they give. We look forward to more visits from our alumni who set such positive examples for our students," said Mrs. Christou.
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