Alumni News

NNM's Alumni are our Greatest Accomplishment

Zach Wang ’13, NNM Alum

I am very fortunate to be excited about a lot going on currently. Just being back in Chicago and having the opportunity to hang out with old friends (most who went to NNM actually) is something I love and definitely don’t take for granted. I also have a little brother who is almost 3 who I love hanging out with. Excited to watch him grow up and even attend Near North one day!

Emi Stearn ‘12, NNM Alum

My first memory of Near North is in Cynthia’s class learning to write in cursive. I was very shy and timid as a kindergartner, but Cynthia’s warmth and care made me feel safe and optimistic. I can still remember the feeling of tracing my pointer finger along the pink sandpaper letter board — I think it was a capital “I” — and that feels significant because I began the discovery of myself as an individual there in that classroom!

Grace Perry ‘04, NNM Alum

My earliest memory (ever) is from Jan Szostek’s 3-6 class. Jan was showing me how to use a stencil to trace a triangle, and asked me to pick three colored pencils to color in the triangle. I picked three purple pencils. (I was a lady who knew what I liked.) Jan encouraged me to mix it up a bit, maybe try a red or a yellow along with the purple. Wise advice, in retrospect.

Perri Lucas ‘16, NNM Alum

I am currently studying biology. I want to go to med school and become a dermatologist. I am excited about where I am with my volleyball career. I had a great season and am continuing to improve, work, take care of my body, and learn more about the game. I can’t wait to continue to reach my potential.

Alum Hayden Holbert ‘09

Hayden Holbert graduated from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina in 2017. Having completed an environmental studies major with a concentration in sustainable agriculture, Hayden created a full-time job out of work he'd been doing for years: growing food at Avrom Farm in Green Lake, Wisconsin, where his mother grew up.

Alums Taylor Dugas '10 and Linsday Thompson '10

Lindsay organized a pop-up in Lincolnsquare to support her restaurant employer, Bistro Campagne, as well as local artists, and my organization, NeighborFood Meals. Lindsay, along with her friends at Home Again Goods, organized a Farmer’s Market pop up and raffle which granted proceeds to NeighborFood Meals.

Alum Skyler Schremp ‘97

"Find joy!" That's what Skyler Schrempp ('97) says, and she heeds these words every day. The 33-year old theatre artist works as an actor and runs the Viola Project, a nonprofit where girls from diverse backgrounds find self-expression and empowerment by performing Shakespeare.

Spencer performing at special COVID-safe live event. (Photo Credit: Zoran Orlic)

My name is Spencer Tweedy (25). I graduated from NNM in 2010 and have spent pretty much every waking moment since then, savoring my Near North memories and wishing I could go back. As much as I miss NNM, I’ve been doing well and enjoying the new privileges of adulthood. In 2020, I began renovating a building in Chicago to become a music studio and general creative space.

Danny and Loren pose at Millennium park

Besides graduating from NNM in 2002, I came back after college and taught from 2010-2014, starting as a 6-9 assistant and then teaching 12-14 science. After NNM, I moved to teach at Elgin High School. After a year there, I went to Beacon Academy (Montessori high school in Evanston) and have been there since. 2020 marked my 6th year at Beacon Academy, teaching Integrated Science to 9th-10th graders and teaching IB Chemistry to 11th-12th graders. I am also currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Chemistry Education degree through Illinois State University (2022 expected graduation).

Billy and Emma Gargroetzi with Emma’s parents

A lot happened in 2020, to say the least: alongside the coronavirus pandemic, the heightened awareness and organizing around our long national history of racial violence. I finished writing and defended my dissertation and graduated with a Ph.D. from Stanford University (with an infant and daycare closed), and then drove across the country in three 12-hour days with my husband, a one-year-old, and two cats, where I started a position at University of Texas at Austin in the Department of STEM Education.

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