James Rokas started playing guitar the summer before 5th grade when he began taking lessons from Mr. Prestianni. It has been a passion of his ever since!
After graduating from Saklan in 2012, James went to San Ramon Valley High School where he continued playing guitar in Jazz Band all four years. He also broadened his musical interests by playing cello in Orchestra (recommended to him by Mrs. Chaffey) and playing percussion in the Marching Band.
After high school, James decided to follow his passion for guitar and music by pursuing a degree from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. As a jazz performance major at Thornton, James has enjoyed performing in multiple ensembles including jazz combo, big band and Afro-Latin jazz. He has also written many jazz big band arrangements.
Another big part of his experience as a student at USC has been as a member of the Trojan Knights, an organization known as the official hosts and guardians of traditions at USC. If you watch college football you may have seen James on the sidelines in body paint cheering on the Trojans!
He is currently getting ready to graduate in May with a degree in Jazz Guitar Performance and a minor in Music Industry. After graduation, James is planning to pursue graduate studies at UCLA for Film Scoring and working in the music industry.
This past weekend, Saklan Alum Finn Anders and Sarah Zemmelman performed in Night of January 16th at The Athenian School. Saklan Alum Ada Martin was the production manager for the show and (literally) built the set. What a gift to have their MS teachers there to cheer them on and to reconnect.
We are proud of our alumni and love seeing what they are up to, whether it be in HS, college, or beyond. Follow us on IG, and send us updates or pictures!
Earlier this month, 2010 Saklan graduate Nick Barendregt stopped by to visit some of his former teachers. During his visit he connected with Miss Obenchain, Miss Kim and Mr. P, all teachers who could share great stories of how Nick’s curiosity, creativity and courage set him up for success in life. Nick, who started at Saklan as a preschooler in 1999, graduated from Saklan to go on to The College Preparatory School in Oakland. He then went on to complete his undergraduate work in Applied Mathematics from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Nick has now started his full scholarship doctoral program in Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado.
Nick’s current research at the University of Colorado revolves around creating mathematical models to explain how the brain accumulates and weighs evidence when making decisions. Nick “happened” upon this course of study in a typical Saklan student way. He was driven by curiosity and encouragement from his teachers to further explore questions and wonderings he had about how math might apply to the brain.
Nick’s visit is not only a testament to the power of the Saklan approach to learning, but also highlights that strong relationships and passion are key to creating lifelong learners. We look forward to hearing more from Nick in the not too distant future. #SaklanConnected #SaklanConfident
Exciting news about Nick Barendregt, Class of 2010, recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University
He was at Saklan from preschool through 8th grade and went on to College Preparatory School for high school. He is a huge supporter of Saklan and often attributes his success and love of learning to the academic foundation received here at Saklan.
Currently, he is at the University of Boulder Colorado receiving a full scholarship in their applied mathematics doctorate program. Woohoo, Nick!
Please click here to read the article: http://artsci.case.edu/magazine/2018/a-happy-discovery/
Last Sunday, we hosted our ALL Saklan Alumni Reunion here on campus, bringing back alumni from the Class of 2017 to the Class of 2011 and in between.
Here’s what to know:
8 of our favorite Saklan teachers and staff greeted alumni.
54 alumni visited.
16 alumni parents joined us.
0 alumni had kids of there own.
43 alumni are in high school.
11 alumni are in college.
74 Top Dog hot dogs were eaten.
936 laughs were exchanged.
78 “Let’s do this again next year!” were joyously expressed!
All Graduates from 2017 and before are invited!
Join us for dinner on Sunday, January 7th, 4:30 – 6:00PM at Saklan. We miss you! Your favorite teachers want to see you! Alumni parents are welcome. RSVP by January 3rd.
Congratulations to 5th grade teacher Lisa Rokas and her husband George for moving their son, James, off to college this fall. James is a Saklan class of 2012 graduate who attended San Ramon Valley High School and is beginning his freshman year at USC in the Thornton School of Music.
Congratulations also goes out to Director of Development, Carol Goldman and her husband, Ron, for moving Mac off to college this fall. Mac is also a Saklan class of 2012 graduate. He attended Bentley High School and is beginning his freshman year at University of Puget Sound where he’s studying Math & Physics.