The Kenwood Press
: 06/15/2015

Village Chat

Ann Q. Peters

Lights, Camera, Auction! took place on May 16 at Chateau St. Jean Winery, a perfect setting for the Great Gatsby-themed soirée. The evening was a big financial success for the Kenwood Education Foundation (KEF), and the party ran like a well-oiled machine, thanks to chairwoman Cynthia Coleman, who got a lot of help from Rosemarie Ramponi, Regina Rolland, and Breanne and Alex Benward. KEF netted a little over $80,000, about 60 percent of its annual output for the Kenwood School district (the rest is made up thorough various other fundraising activities). $17,400 of that came from the Fund-A-Need portion of the auction, which went toward the school library in honor of retiring librarian Katy Biller.

Steve Corrigan celebrates
Steve Corrigan celebrates his winning bid, with the help of the “Sold Sisters,” (from left) Patricia Amend-Ehn, Amy Seyms, and Karla Schloemp.
Bidding was enthusiastic from the start, with Michelle Sand's homemade cake going for a whopping $2,200. High bidders for the evening were Paula Behmke, Steve and Rosemarie Corrigan, John and Jane Rector, and Lisa Janson. They were spurred on by the expertise of auctioneer Ed Vaughan and his partner in crime, Chris Benziger. As Cynthia said that night, “It takes a village to run LCA!” Thanks, everyone!

Joseph Gruchawka with parents Nancy Summers and Pete Gruchawka
Newly sworn-in lawyer Joseph Gruchawka with parents Nancy Summers and Pete Gruchawka (center), and friends Liz and Mike Mullins (right).
One of California's newest attorneys, Joseph Gruchawka was sworn in as a member of the California State Bar on June 3 by Judge Lawrence Ornell of the Sonoma Superior Court in Santa Rosa. Joseph received his J.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder Law, and his goal is to be an environmental lawyer. Joseph's parents, Pete Gruchawka and Nancy Summers were in attendance, along with next-door neighbors Liz and Mike Mullins.

And now on to the graduates!

Sam Kallman, a Kenwoodian up until 2010, graduated from Syracuse University's School of Architecture, a five-year B.A. program. Sam is the son of Robin and Kjell Kallman, who used to live right across from Plaza Park. Sam's sister Nora just graduated from Maria Carrillo High School and is headed to Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Congratulations to both of you!

Here's the run-down of our local high school graduates:

Jackson Lasseter and Lucas Lorenc have both graduated from Sonoma Academy. Lucas is going to Wake Forest University in North Carolina to study Business.

Hannah Horowitz with her parents, Alice and Sandy
New Tulane grad Hannah Horowitz with her parents, Alice and Sandy.
Cameron Schudy and Caleb Horowitz graduated from Sonoma Valley High School. Caleb is headed for Tulane University in New Orleans, following in the footsteps of his sister Hannah, who just graduated from Tulane last month. This info was in Shannon Lee's Glen Ellen Telegram column on June 1st, but I couldn't resist this cute picture of Hannah, which came in too late for the earlier publication.

As usual, we have lots of Maria Carrillo High School graduates.

Connor Clardy will be attending Santa Rosa Junior College in the fall. He hopes to transfer to U.C. Davis and study Plant Science. He will be joined at the JC by Erica Calderon, Kevin Moe, Ivan Soto and Taylor Steele. Taylor plans to study in the medical field. Kevin will be on the track team, and plans to be a firefighter.

Hyrum Cook will start out at Brigham Young University for the summer, and and then is leaving on his church mission, location to be determined.

Prescott Creveling will be going to Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.

Philip Hile will be at C.S.U. Monterey.

Sarah Hoaglund is headed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She graduated with a California Scholarship Federation Life Member Award and a Biliteracy Award.

Also headed to Cal Poly is Sean Murgatroyd.

Senior Nathan Ostrander
Senior Nathan Ostrander was Outstanding Student at Maria Carrillo High School.
At Senior Awards Night, Nathan Ostrander was given the Outstanding Student Award (chosen by the faculty) and the Student Government Department award. He was Senior Class Vice President. Nathan will go to Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall, in their Motion Picture Science program.

Samantha Perry graduated Summa Cum Laude and is heading south to Tulane University (the lure of the Crescent City is strong). Samantha was given the Social Science AC and English AP Department Awards, and the Biliteracy Award.

Ian Johnson and Duncan MacDonald both graduated from Santa Rosa High School. Duncan is going to SRJC to study computer science.

Samantha (Sam) Hogan, another former Kenwoodian, graduated from Petaluma High School. In August she is heading to the University of Alaska Anchorage in their Environment and Society program.

Congratulations to all of you! Remember to keep in touch as you move forward with school and life; the village cares.

In the course of investigating the high school graduates, with much help from Renata Amantite, I also found out about 2013 graduate Cassie Amantite. Cassie finished her General Ed requirements at the JC, and at the moment she is in Madrid, Spain, doing a two-month marketing internship for a winery/event center and upscale restaurant ( through a program called Adelante. She is living with a Spanish-speaking woman and navigating the whole experience by herself, which is pretty exciting stuff. When she returns, she heads to Cal State Northridge in their film school for Media Management. Thanks for the update, Renata! And thanks to everyone who sent in information about all the various graduations. If I missed anyone, it's not too late to send in your news. Email it to and I'll get it into the July 1st issue.

Frances O’Donnell with her parents Cory and Mike
Rincon Valley Middle School Student of the year Frances O’Donnell with her parents Cory and Mike.
Now we turn to middle school, where we find out from Susan Wurtzel that her granddaughter Frances O'Donnell was selected by the faculty at Rincon Valley Middle School as the female Student of the Year. Frances was recognized for her positive attitude and leadership skills, in addition to being a straight A student. Grandma says, “She is one special girl.”

Kenwood Elementary School held its graduation ceremony last Wednesday, June 3. It's always a beautiful ceremony, and this year was no exception. A number of students were recognized. The Kiwanis Club of Oakmont gives out its Hope of America Awards every year to two fifth-graders and two sixth-graders, and this year's recipients were Alaina Kolling and Caya Aronson (fifth grade), and Hunter Halkovich and Mackenzie Cramer (sixth grade). The DAR Award for good citizenship and scholarship was given to Tyler Bellach. The Danielle Mackinzie Award for Most Inspirational Student went to Martin Austin, and the award for Outstanding Student went to Gabriella Belmonte. Congratulations to the entire class! Now go out into the wider world, but never forget that you are part of Kenwood, and we care what happens to you.

Our next issue of the paper is July 1st, and after that we take a two-week break. We do not publish a July 15th issue, so if there's anything coming up in July that you want people to know about, send it to us by June 25 or sooner. If you want to submit an item for Village Chat, it's easy to do. Just email, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP