The Kenwood Press
: 06/15/2013

Village Chat

Ann Q. Peters

Joel Kruzic performing at the Bern International Jazz Festival in early May.
On May 24 the supremely talented Joel Kruzic graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance from the New School of Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City. He plays double bass, guitar, and a number of other string instruments. Before graduation, Joel's four-man combo traveled to Switzerland for the Bern International Jazz Festival. They performed three shows a day for several days to standing ovations and got to play with a lot of great musicians. Back in New York, Joel gave a one-hour senior recital on May 19, and his family from Kenwood - Linda, Paul and Max Kruzic - as well as relatives from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Washington, DC, were in attendance. They all stayed in New York until after graduation and celebrated by going to The Village Vanguard that evening for some fantastic jazz.

Alexis Ferrera will graduate from the University of Oregon on June 17 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. Alexis studied abroad in Bonaire last fall and also volunteered with Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire. She has a position with the Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, Florida, in their Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program, starting about a week after graduation.

Ben Ostrander graduates this weekend from UC San Diego with a degree in Bioengineering and a minor in Global Health. Ben was president of the Health and Medical Professions Preparation Program, which was named Outstanding Student Organization of the Year. After graduation he'll spend a couple months in Lima, Peru, for a medical internship.

Amanda Bunte graduated from Cal State Chico on May 25 with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Sciences, with a concentration in Hydrology. She plans to move to Tahoe where she has a part-time job lined up, and hopes to secure a full-time position soon.

And, as I noted last time, Ali Holmes (AKA Ali Rose Holmes) is also graduating this weekend, from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Environmental Science, with honors.

Congratulations to all five of these smart, talented and hardworking young people!

On the high school graduation front, Katy Lee and Paulina Lorenc both graduated from Sonoma Academy. Katy was voted “Most likely to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.” In any event, she's headed east. She'll be spending the summer working on a farm in Vermont, and then attending Barnard College in the fall. Paulina is headed for New Orleans and Tulane University.

Just graduated from Marin Academy, Stephen Hannon will take a gap year. His plans are to continue working at the Buck Institute, get Emergency Medical Technician certification, and travel to Madagascar, Ghana or Australia to volunteer in a hospital or field clinic. Stephen was admitted early decision to Rice University where he will study biochemistry.

On May 31 Cameron Halkovich graduated from Archbishop Hanna High School and was presented with a medal from the American Legion for his commitment to serve in the US Marine Corps. He also was awarded a medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for Citizenship. Cameron will start boot camp on Sept. 3.

Rosie Keller is headed to the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and her twin sister Katharine Keller will attend ETH University Zürich. The Keller girls are dual citizens of Kenwood and Switzerland. When they were in elementary school they split the school year between here and their home in Adelboden, before committing full-time to high school in Switzerland. Besides English, they speak Swiss German, French and Spanish. Fortunately for them, they never had to take English, unlike the rest of their classmates over there!

Quite a few Kenwood and former Kenwood kids graduated from Maria Carrillo High School last month. Cassandra Amantite is going to Santa Rosa J.C., as is Austin Bellach. Following family tradition, Dallin Lowder will be attending Brigham Young University with an academic scholarship, starting this month. His studies will be interrupted, probably after freshman year, when he will serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other MCHS grads include Vanessa Garcia, Paige Hile, Andrew Hoss, Tyler Lee, Kyle Lewis, Sean Kazemini and Chase Weaver. Paige, Kyle and Dallin graduated Summa Cum Laude and were California Scholarship Federation Life Members.

Congratulations, everyone! It's not too late to send in your news, so if I left anyone or anything out, please email me for next time,

And speaking of leaving something out, last time I left out the correct name of Joe Hansen of Green Acres Manor. I misplaced my brain and called him Jim. Joe is nothing but gracious and joked that many people asked him if he had a twin brother. Oh, brother!

Kenwood School had its sweet 6th-grade graduation ceremony on June 4. Twenty students walked to the microphone to recount memories of their years at Kenwood, and as usual, 6th-grade teacher Mrs. Springer got teary-eyed right from the get-go. This year's Danielle McKenzie Most Inspirational Student award went to Francis O'Donnell. The Outstanding Student was Austin Rogers. DAR Award recipients were Kassie Aronson and Caleb Collins. The week before, the Oakmont Kiwanis Club's Hope of America Awards were given to Lorelei Voegels and Max Bohlke-Slater, as well as to fifth graders Erin Schnabel and Agustin Reiter. Congratulations to all these outstanding young Kenwoodians!

The Kenwood Fire Department announced its scholarship recipients for this year. They are Hope Cupples, Claire Cupples, Tyler Lee, Katy Lee, Kim Ghisla, Dallin Lowder, Briga Mullin, and Nathan Wagner. Amounts vary, and some of these students are just starting their college careers, while others are upper classmen and women. The scholarship selection committee consisted of Bob Bales, Joan Dinner, Dee Sand and Thelma Jorgensen, and Bob wants to remind people to think of the KFD scholarship when it comes to wills and estate planning. Good idea! Congratulations, everyone!

Quick reminder that the 'Ten Minute Plays' from the recent Redwood Writers contest will be performed June 27-30 at Sixth Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, and among the winners are two local writers, Jean Wong of Kenwood, and Kay Mehl Miller of Oakmont. Jean's play is called Hot Water, and Kay's is Intervention. Check it out.

Also, you can catch a showing of the documentary Project Censored The Movie; Ending The Reign of Junk Food News (I love that title)on June 17, 7 p.m., at the Sebastiani Theater in Sonoma. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at, or at the door. The film's editor, Kenwoodian Mike Fischer, has been nominated for best editing of a Feature Documentary by the Madrid International Film Festival. The film is also nominated for Best Directing of a Feature Documentary Film and the prestigious International Filmmaker Award.

I am completely out of room, so stay tuned for more news next time. Thanks to everyone for sending in your graduation and other information for Village Chat. It's easy to do. Just email, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP