Latest Alumni News Blog Posts
Spectators at this year’s San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade might’ve spotted a familiar CAIS face among the floats: Miss Chinatown USA and CAIS alumna Katherine Wu ’14! Katherine took home the crown at the 2019 Miss Chinatown USA pageant, held on February 16 at the Palace of Fine Arts. She says she was inspired to compete because she thought it would be a great way to connect with her cultural heritage and the Chinese American community. In an interview with KTVU she credited her time at CAIS in leading to her participation in this tradition, expressing, “My message to everyone is to find some way to connect with their culture, whether that be learning Chinese dance, learning an instrument, or through learning Chinese.”
Katherine plays the guzheng and is also a skilled archer who traveled to Luxembourg, Macau, Rome, and Las Vegas to compete in the Indoor Archery World Cup series this year. She trains for three to five hours daily in the hopes of representing the United States in archery at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In addition to a year full of pageant duties ahead, she will be attending Rice University this fall as a pre-med major. Congratulations, Katherine!
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Reylon Yount ’08 made his Sundance Film Festival debut last month when traditional Chinese yangqin pieces from his EP “Sun 陽” were used as the soundtrack to Renee Zhan’s short film Reneepoptosis! Yount and Zhan met during their time at Harvard and both currently live in London where Yount is pursuing two master’s degrees in music and serving as the co-founder of Tangram, an artist collective that creates and curates new Chinese music. He also appeared as a featured artist on the Silk Road Ensemble’s 2017 Grammy Award-winning album “Sing Me Home,” making him the first yangqin player to be recognized at the Grammys.
Yount accompanied Zhan to the film’s premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland (pictured to the right). Reneepoptosis then made its Canadian and stateside debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival and at Sundance, where it won the Short Film Jury Award for Best Animation. Yount says, “I’m just so happy to be a part of the project, and to have the sound of the yangqin playing somewhere as special as the Sundance Film Festival.”
The CAIS alumni council serves as the link between CAIS and alumni by keeping alumni connected with each other and the school, steering alumni programming, and modeling the CAIS mission: embracing Chinese, becoming their best selves, and creating their place in the world. We welcome all alumni, regardless of age or current location. Bakari Smith ’11 has kindly agreed to be our first ever Alumni Council President, reaching out to alumni at the annual Cookies & Cocoa Reunion.» read more
On June 13, the Herbst Theater was THE place to see beaming smiles and eyes glistening with proud tears as families and faculty promoted Fifth Grade to Middle School and ushered the Class of 2018 through the traditional Graduation Exercises. Emcee Romi Yount ’11 deftly handled the multifaceted graduation ceremony which featured musical performances by:
- June Jasmin 六月茉莉 and Seeking Plum Blossoms in the Snow 踏雪寻梅 performed by the Chinese Music Ensemble (Chloe C., Natasha M., Henry M., Stella P., and Isabella S.)
- Pomp and Circumstance performed by Isabella S. ’20
- Prelude in G Sharp Minor, Opus 32, Number 12 performed by Alyssa Y. ’18
- Let It Be performed by Caleb C. ’18, Chris S. ’18, Jace B. ’18 and Malachi C. ’16
- Forever Young performed by Ana H ’18 and Brooke G. ’18
- Violin Concerto, Opus 7 performed by Lea T. ’18
- Friends Forever and Peng You 朋友 performed by Fifth Graders accompanied by Cesar Cancino
Lower School Director Anne Valentino and Middle School Director Joe Williamson presented the Citizenship Awards respectively to the Fifth Grade and Eighth Grades. This year, both grades exemplified such admirable collective spirits that they warranted group honors over individual callouts. Anne Valentino was joined by Chinese Program Director Kevin Chang and teacher Ron Morris, Michael Hsu, and Annie Liu in promoting the fifth grade to the ranks of middle schoolers. Board Chair Ernest Chow joined Head of School Jeff Bissell, Kevin... » read more
Alice C. and Adam W., both members of the Class of 2018, reached out by email to Alexander Massialas ’08, a fellow Firedragon who blazed a path a decade prior, to learn about his accomplishments and life after CAIS. At Graduation Dinner, the three were able to meet in person and also were joined by CAIS founder Carol Ruth Silver. Massialas shared his Olympic medals which drew an awed crowd of students.
Alice and Adam: Your father was also an Olympic fencer, is this how you got involved in the sport?
Alice and Adam: From what we have heard, the amount of homework that you get at high school is even more than CAIS, how did you manage to fit in your fencing?
As newly minted Alumni Achievement Award winner, one of Alexander Massialas ’08’s first duties was to induct the Class of 2018 into the ranks of CAIS alumni at Graduation Dinner on June 12.
Enjoy his congratulatory remarks and sage advice to his new alumni fellows:
Congratulations to th Class of 2018, who will be attending the following schools in the Bay Area and beyond:
- The Bay School
- The Drew School
- Carlmont High School (Belmont)
- Choate Rosemary Hall
- Convent of the Sacred Heart
- Gunn High School (Palo Alto)
- International High School
- Lick-Wilmerding High School
- Lowell (SFUSD)
- The Nueva School
- The Proof School
- SOTA (SFUSD)
- Stuart Hall High School
- The Urban School
- University High School
Head of School Jeff Bissell proudly presented Alexander Massialas 陳海翔 ’08 with the Alumni Achievement Award “for setting an outstanding example to become your best self and create your place in the world through your accomplishments at the highest levels of international fencing.”As Bissell shared with the soon-to-be graduates and parents at the Graduation Dinner, “Two-time Olympian Alexander Massialas is a silver medalist in Men’s foil from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he also earned a bronze medal in men’s team foil. He earned a silver medal at the 2015 World Fencing Championships and team silver medal in 2014. He began fencing at his father’s gym while at CAIS (along with his sister Sabrina ’11 and ’08 classmate Nobuo Bravo.) A well-rounded scholar-athlete, Alexander also competed on the basketball and the swimming teams at Drew School and enjoyed a fencing scholarship to Stanford University where he earned NCAA titles in individual men’s foil and was named three-time NCAA All-American. Alexander credits his Mandarin fluency with helping to develop a strong relationship between the US and Chinese fencing teams, which have been able to hold multiple training camps together.”» read more
Whether they had been at the new Middle School campus before or not, alumni and parents from the Class of 2014 quickly felt at home relaxing and catching up at the 888 Campus for reunion this weekend. Head of School Jeff Bissell and special guest Ms. Winnie Mu (who remembers teaching many of these students in first grade!) were impressed to hear from alumni about high school accomplishments and plans for college. If you (or your graduate) couldn’t make it, please feel free to drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org with college plans and preferred post-high school email address (and let us know if you’re still using your Chinese).» read more
The newsletter for St. George’s School (Middletown, RI) shared that Zoe Barros O’Haren ’16:
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came in second place at the advanced level in the 13th Chinese Bridge Speech Contest for U.S. High School Students last weekend. Contestants had to make a prepared speech as well as participate in a Q&A and talent show. Zoella passed the elimination round in late February and joined 26 finalists to compete in the competition’s final round at the University of Massachusetts Boston on Saturday.
Just before Winter Break, a record-setting 100+ alumni and alumni parents from grades 2010-2017 gathered in The Carroll Family Learning Center at the 888 Campus for the 3rd annual Cookies & Cocoa Alumni Reunion.
The only thing warmer than the cocoa and sweeter than the cookies were the rekindled connections among the families and teachers and administrators including Jeff Bissell, Anna Donnelly, Susan Kennedy, Kaicy MacLeod, Winnie Mu, Susan Sherman, Anne Valentino, Joe Williamson, and Alice Woodman-Russell. The Advancement Office collected details of graduates’ high school and college happenings to be shared in the winter 2018 alumni newsletter.» read more