Category Archives: An Eye On Alumni

Ladue Alumnus Publishes Memoir, Credits Ladue Schools for Dream Education

Ladue Class of 1965 alumna Joy Passanante has recently published a memoir she had been working on for 12 years entitled Through a Long Absence: Words from My Father’s Wars.

The tale is told through her father’s eyes and is set against the backdrop of World War II. It takes place for the most part in North Africa and Europe during World War II, where Bart (Joy’s father) was a young physician and while Bart and Bertie were separated from each other for two years and eight months. There are also several sections that take place in St. Louis.

Joy shared the impact that attending the Ladue School District had on her success:

“I’ve thought over and over about what those Ladue schools gave me all my adult life. Like many parents whose parents were immigrants to this country,  mine moved into the Ladue School District (Chevy Chase for us) when I was five so that my sisters and I would be assured an excellent public education. They got what they had dreamed for. And I received something that, in retrospect, seems like a dream-education.

Alumni Publishes First Novel, Bases Character & Setting on Ladue Schools

Michael Currinder (Ladue Schools Class of ’83) has recently published his first novel for young adults titled Running Full Tilt. Praised by Newbery medal winner Jack Gantos as “a quick read with a kick at the finish,” his novel sensitively and memorably captures a teen runner’s relationship with his older brother who is autistic. The novel is set in Ladue Horton Watkins High School circa 2006, and the Coach Gorsky character is based upon former Ladue Schools track coach legend, Phil Brusca. The American Library Associations Booklist publication recently awarded the novel a starred review stating, “The characterizations are complex and realistic, with sensitively depicted virtues and flaws, evoking empathy and sympathy in the reader. Currinder’s novel is poignant and powerful, with a story that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Michael ran cross country and track at Ladue Schools, and earned a college athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His first novel is a hybrid of his collective experiences as a competitive runner and as an adolescent with an autistic sibling. Michael is currently living in Tokyo and is teacher and track and cross country coach at The American School in Japan.

2013 Graduate Annie Kopp Attends Emmys with Late Night Show

Annie Kopp, 2013 graduate, was at the Emmys on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, with the show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. For those of you that do not know her, she’s the one in the teal dress 4th from the left. Go, Annie!

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is a leading late night show that covers Washington politics, spotlights stories throughout the states and travels around the world to cover international news.

Alumna Sheila Michaels Remembered as Champion of Title Ms.

Ladue Schools 1957 alumna Sheila Michaels passed away recently, and soon after her death, she was widely recognized and will be remembered for her championing of the title “Ms.” and for bringing the term back to popular use. See the following obituaries for Sheila’s story.

New York Times

Washington Post

Reuters

The Times of London

SBS (Australian news)

Ladue Schools 2016 Graduate Featured on KSDK for Rowing

Check out this neat feature by KSDK on Ladue Schools 2016 grad Hunter Wallace! Hunter is a national champion in rowing with fellow rower and Clayton grad Will Lerwick.

2017 Laduepalooza a Success

The 2017 Laduepalooza—a three-day weekend in Southern California for alumni—just ended! At least 25 Ladue Schools graduates were sprinkled throughout the weekend’s festivities. Check out the video below!

Alumnus Honored by St. Louis Business Journal

Congratulations to Ladue Horton Watkins High School alumnus Vin Ko, who has been selected by the St. Louis Business Journal as a “30 Under 30” honoree! Vin is a 2005 graduate of Ladue Schools, and works with the St. Louis Mosaic Project, a regional initiative between the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the World Trade Center St. Louis. The group welcomes immigrants into the community to share talent, ideas and energy to drive innovation. Vin also serves as board member for the Ladue Education Foundation.

The honorees were chosen from a pool of nearly 250 nominees and will be recognized at an event on July 13.  The program recognizes the St. Louis region’s future leaders and local business community.

Young Ladue Schools Graduates Excel in Local Civil Rights Organization, Local Government

Ladue Schools graduates have gone on to establish successful careers in academia, business, entertainment, government, nonprofits, medicine, along with so much more.

Two Ladue Schools graduates will be a part of the NAACP-St. Louis County’s Freedom Fund Leadership Dinner, due to their accomplishments. John Gaskin III is the Freedom Fund Dinner Committee Chairman, an NAACP national board member and a graduate of the class of 2011. This event is the third-largest NAACP dinner in the nation, and John serves as the youngest freedom fund dinner chairman in the county.

Jimmy Loomis, also a Ladue Schools alumnus, class of 2013, is the youngest elected official in the state serving as the Clayton Township Democratic committeeman, and will serve as Honorary General Chair for this major event.

To learn more about the event, click here.

Solomon, Alumnus and Photojournalist, Covers Drone Attack Against ISIS

Ben Solomon is a New York Times video journalist and filmmaker. He’s also a 2006 graduate of Ladue Schools. He has reported in numerous war zones and in 2015, he was part of a team who won a pulitzer prize for their work in Sierra Leon, Liberia and Guinea during the Ebola virus epidemic.

Recently, Ben accompanied Iraqi special forces fighting ISIS and experienced a drone attack firsthand. Watch the video he created below.

2012 Graduate and Football Star Jehu Chesson Drafted by Chiefs

Jehu Chesson, a Ladue Schools 2012 graduate, was recently chosen by the Chiefs in the NFL draft! Jehu, wide receiver for the Michigan Wolverines, is one of the top receivers in the Big Ten. He’s 6-foot-3, 204 pounds and finished his Michigan career with 114 receptions for 1,639 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Check out this article for more information!