2016 Prospect Sierra Summer Stories

September 23, 2016


Aaron Moorhead

aaron-moorheadThis summer my family and I spent a few weeks in Northern California and Bend, OR. We have a multi-generational tradition of spending the last week in June at the Trinity Alps Resort. We stay in rustic cabins along the Stuart’s Fork of the Trinity River and spend our days slowly moving from one leisurely activity to the next–from the swimming hole, to the general store for ice cream, to bingo night, or the weekly square dance. Our two weeks in Bend were spent playing in lakes, floating the Deschutes River, hiking, biking, and exploring the area. During the second half of the summer we began preparing ourselves to welcome a third baby girl into our family this fall. She is due in mid-September! Our oldest daughter, Brynn, is starting kindergarten at Prospect Sierra, which is exciting for all of us, and It’s a great feeling to know she is in such good hands over at Tapscott!


Abby Guinn

I enjoyed time on Barton Lake in Michigan this summer with my husband’s family. We spent Fourth of July weekend visiting with family and friends we only get to see once or twice a year. It was filled with boat rides, BBQ and lots of laughs.

Alex Fatemi

This summer I worked full-time giving lessons at the UC Berkeley Skateboard Camp. It was hard work, but also very enjoyable and gratifying to see youth become inspired and interested in skateboarding. Their enthusiasm inspired me to get to another level as a painter and skateboarder.


Angi Boyle

angi-boyleI spent 10 days around the 4th of July in my hometown of Pittsfield, MA. I treasured the quality time I spent with my in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, goddaughter, and 89-year-old grandma. Less than a week later, my husband Ian and I spent 48 hours exploring Seattle en route to our vacation destination: Alaska! We loved the fact that our home base for our 12-day adventure was in Fairbanks at the home of my college roommate, Lael and her family. We enjoyed partaking in the local ways of life, as well as absorbing as much history and information as we could at the wonderful Alaskan museums and parks. The real highlight that stole my heart was the breathtaking beauty of the land, water, and wildlife we encountered. We visited Denali National Park multiple times while on a road trip through Talkeetna, Wasilla, Anchorage, Girdwood, and Seward. We took an 8½-hour boat tour through Kenai Fjords National Park on the Gulf of Alaska, which was incredible! We observed the calving of the Aialik Glacier and the breaching of orcas and humpback whales, among many other wonders of nature. I put the day’s videos together into an iMovie that you can watch here!


Annie Fujimoto

annie-fujimotoThis summer I went to Maui with my family! It was my son Dylan’s first visit and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. We had a wonderful time relaxing, eating and soaking in the warm weather. We plan to go back VERY soon!

Audie Audage

audie-audageThe big event of my summer (and life, really) was the birth of my son, Jones Alexander Audalin, on June 28th. Being a parent is everything everybody told me it would be and so much more! Jones is a mellow baby who makes every day sweeter for his two moms!

Beth Alsberg

beth-alsbergMy partner and I took our fifth annual summer road trip cross country to visit our families in Chicago and Maine. Being with our families is always great, but the true adventures happen on the road. Highlights of this year’s cross-country escapades were sleeping in a sheepherder’s wagon, watching the amazing light show on the peak night of the Perseid meteor shower, hiking through the lava tunnels of Craters of the Moon National Monument, and parasailing above Lake Tahoe.

Beth Lewis

beth-lewisMy husband and I took our thirteen year old twin sons to Maui for a fantastic family vacation! We went snorkeling along the Kaanapali coast and saw eels, puffer fish and at least 20 sea turtles! We spent many hours playing on the beaches and also got to see the sunrise at the top of Haleakala!

Brian Holbert

brian-holbertThis summer I went to Atlanta and South Dakota to visit family, and took a camping trip up to the Sierra Nevadas. In South Dakota I was able to visit Deadwood, Custer, and Mount Rushmore. In addition to traveling I spent a lot of time biking, fishing, and enjoying long sunny summer days outdoors.

Carolyn Newberg

carolyn-newbergThis summer I visited my boyfriend’s family in New Jersey. I went to New York for the first time and saw my first broadway show…a dream come true! I also visited Princeton, Philadelphia, and the infamous Jersey Shore. While it was a blast, the weather was humid and reaching the hundreds, so I was quite happy to return home to the mild Bay Area climate. I spent the final days of summer curled up with my kitty and a good book.

Chelsea Feldman

chelsea-feldmanThe Feldman family is consistent with our summers…we love to play in and around the water as much as possible. In late June, Jesse and I celebrated our 10th anniversary and, thanks to Grandma, we got to spend a few nights glamping at Costanoa, hiking in the redwoods, and hanging out at the beaches in Pescadero. In July we had a family reunion vacation in Cape May, New Jersey, where we spent most of the time playing in the waves on the shore. On our way back to the West Coast, we stopped in Kentucky to visit old family friends and explored the beautiful landscape around Lexington, including doing some amazing river hiking! We ended the summer with a foggy camping trip in Mendocino where we played on the beach and went canoeing on the Big River. Closer to home, we spent many hours this summer slip n’ sliding, paddle boarding in the Berkeley Marina and at China Camp, and skim boarding and building sand castles at Stinson Beach.


Cindy Cheong

cindy-cheongIn the month of July, I travelled to four different states. Tyler and I were in Dallas, Texas for the Summer National Fencing Championship and July Challenge when the tragic shootings occurred. Our travel continued with a long awaited family vacation to visit my cousins in Augusta, Georgia, before moving on to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for more adventure! We saw double waterspouts (tornadoes that hit the water), ate great southern favorites, boogie boarded on the beach, caught blue crabs (for our low country boil) from the pier including a sea turtle, puffer fish, and a horseshoe crab (which we released back into the ocean) and enjoyed our cousin time! But wait – my travels didn’t end there! I literally land in Oakland, go to work the next day, and get on another plane less than 17 hours later to meet my high school friends in……VEGAS, baby! And now, that concludes my summer travels because as we all know: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!


Cindy Pfost

cindy-pfostI had a relaxing summer with my husband, Jim, and my 16 year-old-son, Christopher. It was filled with trips and fun times with family and friends! One highlight was our trip to Montana, where we hiked, rode horses, fly fished, and river rafted on the Blackfoot River near Missoula! I also enjoyed watching thunderstorms in the Midwest when we visited our families in Kansas City and Detroit!

David Allen

david-allenIn late June, I road tripped throughout the Southwest and camped at a number of wonderful national parks and other sites. Each stop was as incredible as the last, but I have one story in particular to share: Arriving near the rim of the Grand Canyon around midnight, exhausted from a long travel day, my dad and I decided to walk to the edge and see what we could see by the light of the full moon. This was one of the best ideas either of us has ever had. It may sound cheesy, but standing there by ourselves, hearing the silence, feeling the stillness, and watching the moonlight wash over the canyon walls immediately moved me to tears. It was a spectacular experience that I will never forget. I have many more great stories from my summer, but I’d rather tell you about them in person and hear some of your own – feel free to stop by Room 12! In the meantime, enjoy this selfie from Arches National Park…


David Gould

david-gouldThis summer I flew 20,098 miles eastward until I was back where I started! Along the way I traveled with my wife and daughters on the East Coast and in France, and also spent a few fascinating weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia with my father.

Diane Simoneau

diane-simoneauI spent time in my garden with my cats, dogs, and of course, my grandson Dash!

Doug Garfinkel

doug-garfinkelOn my way to Santa Fe this July I stopped at amazing national and state parks that I’d never visited before: Great Basin, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase/Escalante, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Mesa Verde National Monument. In most of these parks I hiked trails where I saw few or no other people, just me and the mountains and the desert. The photo on the left above is inside Lehman Caves at Great Basin. I loved Great Basin for the amazing caves and the trees on the Bristlecone Pine trail, some of which are 3,000 years old or more, the great high alpine hiking trails and the small number of visitors. The photo at right is taken near sunset looking east into Capitol Reef National Monument.


Eliza Kingsley-Ma

eliza-kingsley-maSummer 2016 was filled with adventure! I traveled throughout Perú, Chile and Colombia with my best friend. Highlights include hiking in the Andes, biking through Bogotá and eating as many paletas as possible.

Iranshid Ghadimi

iranshid-ghadimiThis past summer we lost our fourteen years old dog, Chika. Her death felt sudden because she was a healthy and happy dog till the final week of her life. My husband and I were devastated by this loss. We have reasons to believe she was an angel. The day after Chika’s passing, a small black cat stepped into our lives – literally. He belongs to a neighbor who has many cats and dogs. He walked in the back door, announcing his arrival, sniffing around the house and stole our hearts right there and then. He has been coming by every day and evening since. We believe he has been sent to us by Chika. She simply knew how heartbroken we were.

Jesse Feldman

jesse-feldmanThis summer I spent a lot of time hiking and paddling at various beautiful locations around the Bay Area. I also traveled with my family to visit dear friends in Lexington, Kentucky and fell in love with the Bluegrass State. The endless, rolling green horse pastures were hypnotizing, and hidden gems like the rock formations in the Red River Gorge were truly spectacular. I also learned quite a bit about the art and craft of distilling bourbon. Cheers!

Jessica Walker

jessica-walkerIt was another beautiful summer! Our main event this summer was a trip to Boulder, Colorado for my cousin’s wedding where our daughter, Alice, was the flower girl. We took our first flight as a family of three, and we especially loved spending time with my two wonderful younger brothers. Another exciting first for us this summer was making homemade sushi! I’m happy to report that it was delicious and we plan to make it more often in the future. 🙂

Jim Haas

jim-haasAfter 27 years living abroad, I moved this summer to the Bay Area with my wife, Jackie, and son, Eli. We spent much of the summer acclimating to our new surroundings, setting up house, and appreciating all the wonderful opportunities living in the Bay Area offers us.

Jo Tams

jo-tamsMy favorite part of the summer was a family trip to the Sonoma coast and our days there hiking in the redwoods, reading Pippi Longstocking stories, and checking out tide pools and digging for sand crabs on the beach. I especially loved running the coastal trail in the foggy mornings with the ocean sounds and birds singing.

Jordan Stout

Version 2I spent my summer alternating between teaching/performing vertical dance and spending lots of time with my very first newborn nephew. Each was equally rewarding and exhausting. There were long, tiring days spent creating BIG ART with kids. And I had the privilege of dancing in the air in the middle of a HUGE stadium for 17,000 people! After that I spent many quiet hours holding my sweet nephew. Perfection.

Julia Chambers

julia-chambersThis summer I took my two daughters to Universal Studios to explore Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. We rode broomsticks (or at least it felt like it), drank butterbeer in Diagon Alley, and ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks. We also went to Santa Monica beach and saw dolphins jumping close by while we were body surfing.

Julie Ouellette

julie-ouelletteThis summer I enjoyed visiting several locations in the great outdoors with my two adult children, Hannah (30) and Harlan (22), pictured here at Fort Baker. We enjoyed walks in the redwoods in the Oakland hills, whale watching from the shore in Half Moon Bay, body surfing at Muir Beach, visiting the Point Bonita Lighthouse, and walking in the Marin Headlands. My daughter and I watched a pod of dolphins herd a school of fish on a second visit to Muir Beach and were transfixed at the grace and teamwork of these magnificent creatures. I feel so lucky to live in a place of diverse natural beauty and am glad to have spent time sharing its wonder with those I love most.


Katherine Dinh

katherine-dinh-1I used to have a tradition of going to Boston for Red Sox games every summer, and that hadn’t happened for a few years. This summer, being David Ortiz’s last season, my son Henry and I decided we had to go back and see a few games at Fenway. We had a blast watching baseball and seeing old friends. We also spent time playing in Boston Gardens, where there is the famous Make Way for Ducklings statues, which are bronze ducks memorializing the fiction ones in Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s book. Not only was this one of the favorite books we shared at bedtime, but also the memories of my son’s early childhood come back every time we are in Boston.

Keith Davis

keith-davisThis summer I again made my pilgrimage to the mountains of Colorado and my cabin, now lovingly known as ‘Jack’s Place,’ in honor of my father. Working on the cabin and enjoying the peaceful land with my family always brings much-deserved rest and rejuvenation. Back and ready to rumble, I will start the year directing Macbeth at Prospect Sierra and The Winter’s Tale with Ragged Wing Ensemble!

Kinne Chapin

kinne-chapinThis was a fantastic summer! I spent some time learning the ins and outs of Kindergarten and taking classes for my graduate degree, but in between I was able to sneak away for my first trip to Hawaii. I spent a week on the Big Island drinking Kona coffee, eating poke, and feeling black sand between my toes. I’ll be going back as soon as I possibly can — you can’t beat the sunsets!

Laura Palin

laura-palinThis summer I explored London and Scotland with my husband. Highlights of our trip include driving on “single track roads” all the way up to the top of the Isle of Skye, where the sun sets at 11:00pm in June, hiking the Quiraing on Skye, and listening to traditional Scottish music at a local pub in Edinburgh. The rest of the summer was spent planting fruit trees and vegetables in my backyard, entertaining guests, playing with my grandchildren, and hiking the hills of the East Bay and Marin. Crystal moment: driving and singing, “pigeon bird is gone, pigeon bird is gone, high ho the dario, the pigeon bird is gone” with my 2 1/2 year old grandson and husband.

Maddie Hogan

maddie-hoganThis past summer my husband and I embarked on a six week journey that took us to Ireland, Portugal, Cape Verde and Senegal. We met some remarkably talented and friendly people, heard many varieties of music, and were treated to astonishingly beautiful scenery. A highlight of the trip was our visit to a kindergarten class in Cape Verde, where the students were practicing songs for their graduation ceremony.

Madeleine Rogin

madeleine-roginI spent most of my time this summer with my daughters – Emma (11) and Esi (8). We ran away and joined the circus! For two weeks, I taught dance at Camp Winnarainbow, a circus and performing arts camp, and the girls learned how to walk on stilts, juggle and use a trapeze. I ran Akoma Camp for the rest of the summer – a dance camp for children ages 5-11 at a studio in Albany. We created original musicals which we performed at the end of each week. My summer was full of dance, laughter and lots of great time with my daughters.

Maggie Manzano-Mallison

maggie-manzano-mallisonThis summer I went to Colorado with my family to visit my aunt and explore. It was my first time in Colorado, and it was great to take in the beautiful landscape and explore some of the unique geography you can only find in middle America. As I drove through Nevada and Utah, I saw salt flats, small towns and strange lighting storms that couldn’t compare to any of the Bay Area weather I’ve grown so accustomed to. As I try to develop a deeper understanding of this country and expand my travel experiences, I am grateful to have gotten the opportunity to go someplace new this summer!

Maria Montes Clemens

maria-montes-clemensThis summer I traveled to France for the very first time. My husband and I traveled from Paris, through the Loire Valley and to the south of France for our 25th wedding anniversary. I had a wonderful surprise visit for my birthday from my daughter who lives in San Diego – perhaps the best surprise and present I have ever received. My son and I spent a significant amount of time playing Pokemon Go on dates at places like Ocean Beach, the Embarcadero, and Petaluma. This September I am an empty-nester as my youngest child is off to college to study computer science.

Markiell Styles

markiell-stylesI got a lot of rest this summer after finishing my graduate program, but I made time for some incredible professional development down at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I spent a week in Cancun where I visited Chichen Itza, snorkeled, went zip lining and rode horses and ATV’s.

Mary DeNardo

mary-denardoThe highlight of my summer was a Labor Day trip to Brooksville, Maine for a friend’s wedding. Our trip was full of delicious meals, quality time with good friends and family, and an incredible view of the Penobscott Bay. We felt very far away!

Melissa Casado

melissa-casadoThis summer we travelled to Israel for our niece’s wedding. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with our family and to experience the rich and complex history of the country. This is one of the most memorable moments our trip. We are at the border of Syria where you can see for miles and miles. As we stood there, the UN peacekeeping patrol generously answered my daughter’s many questions. That is a moment that brought history to life and one we will never forget.

Melody Esquer Gil

melody-esquer-gilThis summer I completed a project that was a goal for the past year. Exactly one year ago, my father passed away after a time of sickness. As my mother and I worked together to mourn and to clean up his belongings, we found some paintings hidden in his tool shed. He had been a home and commercial painter, as well as a licensed contractor and a member of the painters and tapers union. Although I knew he was a painter, I didn’t realize he was a painter. We found a set of beautifully painted hot rods and other vehicles that were his passion in life. My project was to have them framed and displayed in my son’s room, meanwhile giving his room the needed upgrades to his new preschool life. He now has a race car theme room complete with Grandpa’s own artwork as a final gift from my dad.

Nathan Tanaka

nathan-tanakaThe highlight of my summer was playing guitar for my friend’s wedding in Kauai. We snaked electricity from the generator all the way down to the beach. The ceremony was small and beautiful. The smooth sound of the guitar and the waves crashing softly against the sand lingered with me well beyond the date of the wedding.

Nick Malick

nick-malickThis summer my family (Rebecca, Juliet (7), and Eloise (4)) and I traveled to Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Delaware, where we enjoyed canals, chocolate, waffles, breakfast sprinkles, sausage, boat rides, cycling and time together.

Priti Hulse

priti-hulseThis summer I flew to New York with all of three of my boys, SOLO! It was a first, and I’m happy to say that we all survived and had an amazing time on the East Coast. We were there visiting my sister and her new son in Long Island. There were visits to farms to pick our own fruit, trips to children’s museums, Yankees vs Giants game, lots of quality time with family, and most important – we just enjoyed long, lazy, WARM summer days. Locally, we camped out near Pescadero, had our second year of swim lessons, watched the Rio Olympics, and I got ready to go back to work after being home with the boys for seven years. It’s been an amazing summer that seemed to fly by way too fast!


Remi Rubel

remi-rubelOne of my favorite trips this summer was my week in Toronto. I traveled there with my sister and brother to visit with our first cousins and to spend time with our 80-year-old aunt, who I haven’t seen for 30 years! It was wonderful to laugh, reminisce, and see where my aunt and cousin live. This is one of our many restaurant photos – check out the waiter behind us! More summer fun included several days in Ashland at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a week in the Sierra Foothills chilling with my family, tons of yoga, lots of walks, quality time with friends and family, and sleeping as late as possible as often as I could.


Sheba Aaberg

My husband Michael, daughter Makeda, and I moved from Mills College in Oakland to El Sobrante this summer. It was a monumental four part move, and soon after, we were engrossed in getting our space nice and functional for the upcoming school year. We are so happy to have had the whole summer with Makeda before she begins kindergarten in the fall.


Vivian Ponte-Fritz

vivian-ponte-fritzThis summer I went on a journey from New Orleans to New York City with my sixteen-year-old baby brother. We bonded over reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer while driving through the green south and into the blue mountains.

Wendy Horng Brawer

wendy-horng-brawerI travelled to Austin with my son Max to celebrate his 21st birthday in July. The highlight, besides excellent bison ribs at Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, TX, and a gospel choir concert, was jumping out of a plane together at 10,000 feet! I also took my son Reid to visit Colorado College and daughter Kaia to multiple soccer events, practices, and camps. I completed an online intensive professional development program on leadership and management in August, called altMBA and produced by author and marketing guru, Seth Godin. I’m looking forward to another excellent year at Prospect Sierra and to getting to know all the new families entering the school this year. Welcome back, everyone!


Zahra Jackson

My summer was packed with love and fun! As soon as I finished up the school year, I began my summer job at Fieldston Outdoors as a head counselor, returning for my fifth summer! I had a wonderful time working with third graders, hiking along the Hudson River, and experiencing my very first camping trip in the middle of the wilderness. It was such a beautiful experience lying down and looking up at the sparkling stars at night, eating wild blueberries along our hike in the woods, and being engulfed in nature for two days. I also went to the Hamptons for the first time and got to relax on the private beach, soak up the sun, and sing some tunes. A week later I went to North Dakota to visit my brother (along with my mom), Lamin, whom I had not seen since Christmas, and we had a blast together. We went golfing and traveled to the Peace Gardens which run along the US/Canada border. I enjoyed take one step over the line, allowing me to be in Canada for one minute, then stepping right back over the line and coming back home to the US. In addition, we watched A LOT of the Olympics which we all bonded over. A week later I made my journey across the country to start a new chapter in California, ending my lovely summer here and getting settled in my new home. It was truly a great summer filled with family, friends, love, and laughter.