Our alumni make us proud and enrich the Keystone experience

Jan 13 2023

Our alumni make us proud and enrich the Keystone experience

“Old friends, they mean much more to me than the new friends,
Cause they can see where you are,
and they know where you’ve been.”
–Harry Chapin

Among the many treats of the holiday season is the opportunity to see and catch up with Keystone alumni when they return to campus. Whether it’s discussing college life with recent grads while sitting in the bleachers during a basketball game, chatting about favorite books in the quad, or hearing about a college professor’s research at a ten-year reunion, conversations with former Cobras prove to be interesting, enjoyable, and inspiring. As you would expect, our alumni engage in meaningful and beneficial work.

While current students, families, and faculty/staff commenced the winter holiday break on Friday evening, December 16, past Keystone students took to the hardwood to join in the annual Alumni Basketball game. As former classmates cheered them on, the players competed with heart and camaraderie. We have held this game for many years; two years ago we started a new tradition in August with the Annual Cobra Soccer Classic where current varsity players battle former Cobras on the pitch in “the beautiful game.” We plan to add a third contest in August 2023 when current and previous volleyball players duke it out for bragging rights.

Following the alumni basketball game, members of the Class of 2012 and Upper School Head Bill Spedding gathered to reminisce for their ten-year reunion. The next morning, Director of Development and Alumni Relations Adriana Villafranca and I toured them around the main campus where they expressed delight at all the changes in the facilities and programs since they graduated a decade ago. Their reminiscences and anecdotes as they visited former classrooms engendered both laughter and sentiment.

We then proceeded to lunch at La Fonda on Main where we could hear about the excellent work in their chosen fields ranging from academia to medicine to finance and other areas. Learning about their careers was both enlightening and energizing. Thank you to the members of the Class of 2012 for returning to Keystone and sharing your stories with us!

On the first day of classes of the new semester, recent alumni returned to campus for the Annual College Panels. During this time, Upper School students heard from their predecessors who now attend colleges and universities all over the country and world. Each of the four high school grades meets in a different place to listen to words of wisdom about high school, the application process, the transition to college, and lessons learned.

I was fortunate to facilitate the panel for high school juniors, and as in years past, I left this day awed by the sage advice of our former students on a variety of topics. For example, Alana Pickens, Class of 2019 who is in her senior year at Rice and headed to work in Manhattan after graduating in a few months, encouraged students to explore different fields of study and avoid going down a preconceived path, but also realize that “success can be complicated.” Karina Sauceda, Class of 2021 and a sophomore at Texas A&M, assured the 11th graders that they will get into college and they will be successful, but “things don’t always work out the way you think.” Stephanie Rao, Class of 2020, current junior at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and heading to study in Brazil, reminded students to “put things in perspective and make time for friends,” but also bear in mind that “working hard will get you where you want to go.” Kishore Botla, Class of 2020, now at the University of Texas-Austin, and preparing for his MCAT exam, advised students that “life has a way of working out, do things you care about, and don’t do things just to check a box.”

Along the way, these alumni gave great counsel on the college application process, “don’t apply to places you don’t want to go” and “tour the campus.” They also pointed out the importance of a social life when looking at schools since your friends to some extent become your family away from home. In terms of classes, they exhorted students to “be open to new areas of study,” and to “take classes in areas you may not know.”

Following the panel sessions, administrators and teachers enjoyed lunch with the alumni and learned more about the next steps in their educational or life path. Whether these young alumni will soon start a new job in automotive engineering in Ohio or travel to Spain the next day for a semester abroad, their enthusiasm felt infectious and elevating.

Today, alumni from a variety of professions met with upper school students to share stories about their time at Keystone and what they have done since graduating. They represented fields including business, digital marketing, education and entrepreneurship, engineering and technology, the fine arts, medicine, political science and law, and public policy. Current Cobras described today’s sessions as helpful and interesting. Following the alumni information sessions, students learned how to design a resume; after lunch, they attended an internship fair where they learned about opportunities in San Antonio. Thank you to everyone who made these events possible!

And thank you to all the alumni who have visited Keystone over the past few weeks. You have inspired our students to see what is possible and what areas or careers they may wish to pursue. As students here at Keystone, these alumni, like other former Cobras, worked hard with the help of our faculty and staff to realize their potential. Seeing them grow and excel as college students and adults should make all of us at Keystone joyful and proud.

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