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Alumni News - WNS | Westside Neighborhood School

Jomar Pierson (’14)

By | Alumni News

Joseph (Jomar) Pierson (’14) is a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan, teaching English and learning Chinese. Jomar attended WNS beginning in 2005 where he was able to participate in many of our project-based learning approaches. One in particular was WNSville which he said has greatly impacted his educational trajectory. During his time in Taiwan he is exploring how to incorporate the critical skills found in WNSville into the Taiwanese public school systems curriculum. Jomar attended Loyola High School and  Loyola Marymount University, where he completed a B.A and a M.A in English. He will be attending law school next school year at either Berkeley, University of Chicago, or University of Virginia, specializing in educational policy and Artificial Intelligence IP!

 

 

Dean Osborne (‘15)

By | Alumni News

Dean Osborne (‘15) graduated from the University of Miami in 2023 with a major in Business Management and minors in Architecture and Exercise Physiology. He obtained his real estate license in 2021 and is currently working in commercial real estate in Westchester. He has also been following a passion of his and is currently taking some culinary classes in Los Angeles. He has been fortunate enough to participate in the medical missions on their last two trips to Guatemala. On each medical mission they partner with a local children’s non-profit to support the communities most vulnerable children. Dean has been leading these impact missions since 2022. 

 

 

Taylor Osborne (‘13)

By | Alumni News

Taylor Osborne (‘13) graduated from the University of Miami in 2021 with a major in Health Sciences and a minor in Public Health. She’s been participating in medical missions with her father since 2016. The team has been to Ethiopia, India, Belize, Peru, and Guatemala. Her love of medicine has led her to pursue a passion she’s had since she was 8 years old. She is currently enrolled at UCLA/Drew Medical School. She’s not sure what her specialty will be but is leaning towards becoming an Otolaryngologist (ENT – Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor). Fun fact…the Osborne’s were assigned to be a host family for an incoming WNS 6th grade family while they were here and that student is now Taylor’s roommate!

 

 

Marlee Porter (‘20)

By | Alumni News

Marlee Porter (‘20) was featured for her original poem on the CBS Original Show, The Talk, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day. Marlee’s poem is called ‘A Dream Realized’ that starts out by saying, “I can’t quite wrap my head around the definition of a Changemaker. A series of adjectives strung together that society has collectively decided gets assigned to an elite few. Well, I can guarantee I didn’t know what a changemaker was in the second grade, when a classroom full of eager eight year old faces were told to embody one. The boy to my left pleaded for someone in particular. His hand shot up and in full exclamation he stated, I want Dr. King! He said it was because he, too, had a dream.” Marlee’s poem goes on to describe the boy’s dream amid the struggles the black community has and continues to face. And, even amongst the challenges there is still a story of hope that Dr. King’s dream has been realized. Marlee attended WNS in the second grade where she participated in the grade’s Changemaker Project. It’s amazing to see that this project has stuck with her and has inspired this powerful piece. We are so proud that she is now sharing her heart and wisdom with the world.

You can watch her recite the full poem on here!

 

 

Seela Kapoor (‘20)

By | Alumni News

Seela Kapoor (‘20) was recently accepted to her first-choice college, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida for Aeronautical Science! She is waiting on a few more acceptance letters before making her final decision but this is an exciting start to her college journey. Leading up to this Seela has been taking pilot lessons at the Santa Monica Airport and in November took her first flight! She is also a part of the Aerial Drone Club at Pacific Christian High School where they will be competing in the 2024 Western Regionals and Nationals for Aerial Drone Competitions. Continue shooting for the stars, Seela! WNS is cheering for you.

 

 

Grace Rector (‘13)

By | Alumni News

Grace Rector (‘13) was selected for the Fulbright Scholarship to serve as a University Professor in Casablanca, Morocco for one year. The Fulbright scholarship was created to promote cross cultural exchange between the United States and other countries. Currently she spends her time in Casablanca teaching Oral Communication, Public Speaking, and Debate, and in her free time she’s taking intensive Arabic classes to support her goal of working in international education and development in Washington DC. The grant also supports participants with pursuing community engagement projects, and currently Grace is offering teaching training workshops through the American Language Center. She connects the work she’s currently involved in with several WNS memories including a dynamic immersion Spanish class with Señora Paul and she proudly teaches others the pledge to the earth that she recited everyday for 9 years in the WNS MPR. 

 

Katrina Binks (16’)

By | Alumni News

Katrina Binks (16’) is graduating this year from Muhlenberg College! She was recently featured in the school’s newspaper, The Weekly. She has been studying both Theatre and Dance and during her time there she has been involved in several projects and productions, including ‘Reset: New Dances’ (as both a dancer and choreographer), ‘In Motion,’ ‘Miss You Like Hell,’ ‘Head Over Heels,’ ‘Dance Works’ and a semester spent studying at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. She is ready to enter the wider artistic community after graduation where she will be attending the Paris Summer Academy to study Contemporary and Physical Theatre. She also has potential opportunities to show her choreographic work at artistic conferences! Her plan, in addition, includes a lot of auditioning for shows, dance companies and freelance commercial industry work! To read the full article, visit muhlenbergweekly.com/arts-culture/artist-spotlight-katrina-binks-24.

Sadie Kaplan (’23)

By | Alumni News

Sadie publishes an article about WNS!

Sadie Kaplan (’23):  Sadie’s research and writing is featured in the Voices from the Field section of the NBOA: Business Leadership for Independent Schools magazine, Net Assets: Business Leadership for Independent Schools. Sadie took it upon herself to research and report on what the Business Office really does at WNS as a member of the Executive Board of Student Council. Sadie explains in her findings that a school, like WNS, is a full fledged business “– as complicated from a financial and operations standpoint as many of the larger businesses in the area. The business office plays a huge role in upholding the financials of the school among lots of other responsibilities.” She goes on to explain what the business office at WNS does and speaks with her schoolmates about their roles and importance. She encourages each of them to stop by the office to say hello and get to know the important people who work there. During her 8th grade year Sadie pioneered the creation of the first-ever Student Entrepreneurial Day where students were able to showcase their homemade creations and sell them as school. Thank you, Sadie, for shining a light on WNS and may you always remain curious!

Click here to read.

 

Caroline Haas (‘13)

By | Alumni News

After graduating from the Orange School of the Arts, she attended Oberlin College obtaining a BA in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies in 2021.  She is currently working as a Community outreach worker for Safe Place for Youth, a non-profit based in Venice assisting homeless youth (18 to 25 years old) with housing, food, job training and mental health care. Her “beat” is West LA. She spends every day locating, encouraging and supporting youths living with housing insecurity. She recently was selected to be a 2024 Activate Delegate which is a program sponsored by Arts for LA. The program is described as an “advocacy lab for artists” who are interested in the intersection of community organizing and the arts. To learn more about the program, visit artsforla.org.

 

EJ Vernon (‘21)

By | Alumni News

EJ’s Future on the Court Looks Bright!

EJ Vernon (‘21) is now a sophomore at Crossroads and playing on their Varsity basketball team. He’s averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds per game so far this season. He currently has two Division 1 Athletic scholarship offers from Loyola Marymount University and San Jose State University as well as interest from several others including Yale, Colorado State, and Notre Dame. While at WNS, EJ played on the Boys Basketball team and helped bring home our first ever WNS championship trophy in the sport. We can’t wait to see how his skills continue to develop over his next two high school seasons and see where he will land in college. We’re all cheering for you, EJ!