Meet the alumni of awakening seed school
Jessica (Spencer) Raasch
I attended the Seed from 1986-1990. I am a senior product manager at Nike; essentially, I brief and collaborate with designers on the products we need in our apparel line, ensuring they meet consumer and market needs along with financial goals of the company. I always loved fashion and art, and ended up working in the apparel industry after graduating with an Associate of Arts Degree in Design in 2001. From there I spent the next nine years living and working in beautiful San Diego,California; relocating to Portland with my husband to work at Nike in 2010. What matters to me? It’s quite simple: having balance in my life, something that isn’t always there but I am in a constant state of striving for it; and living without causing harm to others, animals or the environment is something that guides all my actions. The latter has become increasingly important to me only in the last eight years, but in reflection, it is interesting that they are the same foundation as what was taught at Awakening Seed. You could say the “seed” was planted long ago. Aside from that, one of the lasting gifts the Seed gave me was a love for learning and curiosity about the world which continues today. I never again experienced the style of teaching and depth of learning in my time in the public school system. I am forever grateful to my parents and the staff for that gift.
Age: 24 | Location: Phoenix, AZ
Age: 35 | Location: Tempe, AZ
The Seed has had a number of very material impacts in my life. I came to the school when it was clear that I needed a different format than what was being offered in the public school system at the time. An energetic kid with attention deficit disorder, I failed to find early confidence in school and was routinely told by teachers and administrators that I may have significant learning challenges. After lots of thought and consideration, my parents brought me to the Seed. There, I was taught to leverage my way of thinking, rather than change it. That’s been an incredibly important lesson in my life, and one that has never left me. I returned to public school after completing the fourth grade at the Seed with newfound confidence. School wouldn’t ever be ‘easy’ for me, but I was at least equipped with a perspective that helped me appreciate my learning differences.
I went on to high school at Tempe High, where I played football and was also a member of the track and field team. From there, I attended a small liberal arts college in Indiana called DePauw University, where I also was a member of the football and track programs. A big part of my choosing DePauw was its small class sizes and less structured environment, which aligns well with my experience at the Seed. Attending the school and continuing to play sports was really important. In retrospect, I’d change nothing about the path I took.
After school, I pursued a career in sales and marketing, always preferring to help lead startups. Today, I lead a company that focuses on helping large businesses acquire customers. I live in Arizona, where my wife Jennie and I raise our two sons, both of whom have benefitted from the Seed, tremendously.