Meet the alumni of awakening seed school
Age: 33 | Location: Liverpool, ENG
I went to the Seed in the late 80s and then went to Tempe High School, graduating in 2000. When I was young I became increasingly interested in pursuing a career in music composition (just like my father) and decided to study at the Eastman School of Music in New York. I continued studying at the University of California, San Diego where I earned my master’s and slogged through a PhD in music composition. After a period living in France and working at a research institute, I decided to stay in Europe and took a job as a professor in England. I teach about writing music for different instruments and ensembles, about ways of imagining and designing time, and about new forms of expression made possible by technology. I am quietly thankful that each and everyday I get to interact with young people who are curious and passionate about music. I wasn’t particularly strong in reading/comprehension at a young age. Nonetheless, the Seed did a wonderful job cultivating my creative tendencies despite the fact that I lagged behind in more traditional metrics. This is a refreshing approach, especially nowadays, as mainstream education increasingly ignores non-“core” subjects.
Age: 41 | Location: San Francisco, CA
As a kid, and one of the original Seeds who started in 1977 (I was 3), I always knew that I went to a different school but it wasn’t until later on in life I realized that in this case different meant special. Special in that I want everyone to know what an amazing place this was and is. Special in that way that you want to shout it from the roof top and want every kid to go there. Needless to say, the Seed has been a huge influence on my life in that it taught me to celebrate the differences in life and that different is special. I wish I could send my two kids, Liam and Fiona, to the Seed so that they too could experience this special place, but since I live in San Francisco it would be a hard commute on everyone.
Age: 34 | Location: Brooklyn, NY
I live with my husband and son and work for Performance Space 122, a presenter of multidisciplinary contemporary performance. I have a dual bachelor’s degree in Spanish and theater from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My favorite thing about being an arts administrator is working with artists at the very beginning of the creation process. As a fundraiser I help them craft language describing their work to seek funding and get the resources they need to take risks, further their creativity, and make fully produced work. Seeing the outcome of the full creative process is very rewarding. As a mother and human being fully invested in the world around me, I believe that education is the foundation of a better future. My early education at Awakening Seed fostered my creativity and taught me to value independent thinking, research, to trust people and to believe in myself. It helped shape me as an individual and still enriches my experience of the world.
Age: 37 (deceased) | Location: Portland, OR
(written by Blake’s mom)
Blake was born in Tempe, Arizona, May 18, 1978. He attended Awakening Seed School where he made life-long friends and developed strong and enduring learning and creative skills. He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in forensic anthropology and additional studies in sculpture and drawing. He received a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture from California State University, Chico, where he was awarded numerous scholarships and the distinguished Graduate Student Award in Art and Art History. For fifteen years he worked as an art director in film and photography and conceptualized, designed and fabricated props, sets and installations for clients, design firms and agencies throughout the West. He was a partner in the design firm Thousand Design with Aric Mei and designed both The Parlor and Phoenix Public Market in Phoenix, Arizona. After a long struggle with cancer, Blake passed away on May 8, 2015. He leaves behind his wife and best friend, Vicki, his one-year-old son Carver Jett, his mom, Sheilah, and many other family members.
Britt (Cooley) Samii
Age: 35 | Location: Roslyn, NY
Britt lives with her husband, Parsa, and 1-year-old son, Cameron. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California (USC) in international relations and more recently, received her MBA in Executive Management from St. John’s University, where she was named student marshall for academic excellence and leadership. Britt works in the pharmaceutical industry in oncology sales but has held many positions throughout the decade; training and development, institutional sales, and market access. Outside of work, Britt loves spending time with family, staying active, escaping to the beach (preferably in the Caribbean), traveling in general and reading CIA operative books. Although Britt was quite young when she attended the Seed, the foundational learning she received is truly what makes her the person she is today. Creative thinking, independence, and inclusion are just a few of the things that Britt has carried with her from the Seed. The Cooley family lovingly talks about the Seed often and how it’s shaped both Beth and Britt into the women they are today!