UA Alumni Stories

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"Something Rotten!" - Alumni Partnerships

The UAAA caught up with Lydia Smith-Lockwood, UAHS Choral Music Director, to learn about the impact that alumni can have on existing students when it comes to musical theater, dance, video, backstage, audio, and more!

 

“The alumni connection is the link between the past and the future. There is tremendous value for our students in connecting with those who have gone through the Upper Arlington school system and who have gone on to be respected adults within their chosen fields. The alumni share their knowledge and gifts for the benefit of our students and I know that our current students are grateful! These current students will perpetuate this same philanthropy in their lives and future students will undoubtedly be talking about them. Organizations, such as ours, thrive on incredible partnerships between the school district and the UA community at large. I am honored to be a small part of this continuum which will far outlast my tenure!” 

We were able to ask a few of the alumni some questions about how they participated in the musical and their time at UAHS and beyond.

 

 

Anthony Stype

UAHS Class of 2008

UAAA:

How were you involved in the UAHS Musical this year?

Anthony:

The musical consumes my life each year—just ask my wife, UA alumna Robyn Stype ’08. The simplest way I can say it is I help coordinate and train students to operate the technical elements of the show. There is a lot that goes into that: assembling projection systems, hanging drops, organizing set pieces, setting lights, and giving the students the chance to try things themselves. The most time consuming part, but also the most rewarding, is building the set with students and parent volunteers. This year brought a new challenge of coordinating video and audio recording for the viewings of the show. I am sure that the students will never forget this production.

 

UAAA:

Please describe your notable achievements at Upper Arlington High School.

Anthony:

During my sophomore, junior, and senior years, I performed in the ensemble of the annual musical, while also building and painting the set,  and hanging and focusing lights. My first time designing lights for a show was for The Laramie Project in the Little Theater in 2008. That year, I was honored to receive the Twilight Theatre Award- “The award has been given each year to a graduating senior. To qualify, the senior’s work must demonstrate a love of and need for the theatre. To win, the senior must have significantly moved others through a composition, production, or performance at some time during his or her senior year.”


 

UAAA:

Please describe your college / career experiences.

Anthony:

College was wonderful and exhausting. I graduated with my BA in Theatre from The Ohio State University (Main Campus), after completing my general education classes at OSU Newark and Columbus State. At CSCC I took construction classes in framing, electrical work, and welding.

After graduation I lived in Chicago, where I worked for an event company setting up and operating technical equipment for proms, weddings, fashion shows, and corporate events. I was a stagehand for the Goodman Theater, working on shows such as Brigadoon, The Jungle Book, The White Snake and many others. When The White Snake, (dir. by Mary Zimmerman) toured to a theatre festival in China, I traveled with the show, and had the chance to meet and work with theatre artists internationally. Now I live in Columbus, where in addition to supervising the use of UAHS’s Auditorium, I consult for stages, design lights, and design and build sets.


 

UAAA:

How did UA Schools prepare you for success?

Anthony:

The UA Schools’ theater program helped me understand that technical theater can be a career path, guided me to mentors, and gave me the opportunity to learn from hands-on experience. I started in middle school where I discovered that tech crew combined a lot of my interests: lighting, computers, building—and climbing ladders. I stuck with it through high school where I focused on lighting for the stage. 





David Beach

UAHS Class of 1982

UAAA:

How were you involved in the UAHS Musical this year?

David:

As a member of the Broadway cast of SOMETHING ROTTEN!, I was eager to zoom with the talented UAHS cast and was blown away by their production when I was able to view it online. As someone who has experienced the opportunity of doing musicals on the Broadway stage, an equal thrill is the opportunity to view a well-executed and talent-filled production of a fully-engaged  cast at the high school level (especially at UAHS!).  I am genuinely envious of everyone who has  benefited from working with the extraordinary Lydia Smith-Lockwood and the talented team she has assembled to create such a robust musical theater program.

 

UAAA:

Please describe your notable achievements at Upper Arlington High School.

David:

UAHS provided a great launching pad for me as well as my three siblings.  I am grateful for the expertise and encouragement of Jack Woodruff in the music department and doing two musicals, doing countless plays, being given the chance to write and direct the talent show, and Betsy Miller's confidence in allowing me to be co-editor of the Norwester.

 

UAAA:

Please describe your college / career experiences.

 

David:

After UAHS, I attended Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum Laude in English Literature) and then received a Reynolds Fellowship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. 

 

Upon moving to NYC, I began my career as a professional actor.  I made my Broadway debut opposite the legendary Carol Burnett as part of the original company of MOON OVER BUFFALO.  Other Broadway credits include URINETOWN (original cast),  MAMMA MIA! (in which I played Harry Bright for over 1,500 performances),  IT'S ONLY A PLAY (playing opposite Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Martin Short, Stockard Channing and F. Murray Abraham), FISH IN THE DARK (with Jason Alexander), and SOMETHING ROTTEN! in which I played Brother Jeremiah for the second half of that show's Broadway run. In addition to my Broadway credits, I have been fortunate to work extensively off-Broadway, in some of the country's best regional theaters, as well as onTV and Film.

 

Currently, I split my time between New York City and the Hudson Valley where I reside with my husband Russell Granet and our 12 year old daughter Sadie Granet-Beach.

 

UAAA:

How did UA Schools prepare you for success?

 

David:

I am deeply indebted to teachers such as Jean Guddat for sharing her love of dramatic literature and choosing me for her annual Shakespeare Shawl (a hand-crocheted blanket that is still one of my most prized possessions), James Allen for teaching in ways that still inform how I think about literature, and Principal Dave Shelby for doing something as simple as sharing his interest in Gilbert & Sullivan with me during lunch in the cafeteria. I have remained close with many members of the great class of 1982 as well as many other graduates from my time at UAHS.

 

 

 

 

Keeley McCormick

UAHS Class of 2011

UAAA:

How were you involved in the UAHS Musical this year?

Keeley:

I wish that I could have come home to help more with the musical (unfortunate that COVID prevented that), but I'm glad Lydia reached out to me to do a little Zoom Q&A with the kids so that we were able to have that time to chat about all things Rotten! They asked very insightful questions, and I hope that I was able to answer them well enough to give them some insight!

UAAA:

Please describe your notable achievements at Upper Arlington High School.

Keeley: 

During my time at UAHS, I was very active in the Vocal Music and Theatre departments - I participated in Women's Glee all 4 years, Concert Chorale, Symphonic Choir for 2 years, and was dance captain of the Vocal Ensemble both my junior and senior years. The musical was also a highlight for me every year! Performing in Jekyll and Hyde my freshman year was the spark that lit the theatre bug for me, and I went on to dance in Damn Yankees and West Side Story, and then play Judy Haynes in White Christmas my senior year.

 

UAAA:

Please describe your college / career experiences.

Keeley:

I graduated from the University of Utah in 2015 with my BFA in Musical Theatre Performance, performing both in school shows and local professional theatres while there. My senior year, I studied Shakespeare while abroad in London, and was also accepted into the Open Jar Institute summer program in NYC, where I saw Something Rotten! for the first time (major foreshadowing!). Once I moved to the City, I started auditioning and hopped around the country performing in various regional productions such as Spamalot and The Producers, and in 2018, booked the National Tour of Something Rotten! It was a dream come true - when I had seen it on Broadway the first time, I was at a major crossroads with my career, having just graduated and trying to decide whether to move to New York for theatre, or stay out west and pursue the TV/Film route. SR! is such a bright, sparkly love-letter to theatre, and sitting up in the top balcony of the St. James theatre, when the curtain came up during the opening number, I thought "this is it, this is what I have to do!"; lo and behold, two and a half years later, I had permanently moved to NYC, booked my dream show, and was lucky enough to help spread that energetic joy to audiences all over the country and the world! (That moment at the St. James was the second time I had had that feeling - in 2011 I was able to go on the Symphonic Choir trip to NYC where I saw my first show on Broadway - Kathleen Marshall's revival of Anything Goes with Sutton Foster, Joel Gray, Laura Osnes, etc. - it was a life-changing moment! I had never seen theatre at that level and it was a truly magical 2 and a half hours. I will forever be grateful for that trip; between that moment and singing with the choir at St. Patrick's Cathedral... I don't know if I would be on the path that I'm on if that trip hadn't happened!).

 

UAAA:

How did UA Schools prepare you for success?

Keeley:

For me, it was a game-changer entering college with the level of music theory and collaboration skills I had gained at UAHS. The emphasis on sight reading, theory, and singing in an ensemble setting were huge assets in college, and are still an essential foundation for me today! Not only did it give me a leg up in college classes, but it's very common in the real world to receive sides for an audition the night before you have to perform for casting, and it's so, so important to be able to learn them on your own without having to find a coach at the last minute. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity, and when you've got the preparation part covered, it's only a matter of time :) I'm incredibly thankful that the teachers at UAHS taught us at and raised us to the level that they did, not only in technical skills, but in passion and drive for the craft. Choir at UA is where I learned to be flexible but still a leader, be passionate but humble, and give 110% but still have fun!

To read more about Something Rotten in the news visit THIS link.

 

 
 

Cindy Tang (she/her)

UAHS Class of 2018

 

The UAAA was so excited to connect with Cindy and ask her a few important questions.

 

UAAA:

Please describe your notable achievements at Upper Arlington High School.

 

Cindy:

As a proud member of the Class of 2018, I was heavily involved in many projects and student organizations while at UAHS. Beginning my sophomore year, I joined Culture & Diversity club and discovered an opportunity and an imperative for change within the district. Going on to become a student leader of UAHS’ annual Culture Fair, supporting the district’s Cultural Competency Professional Development, and, today, serving as a member of the district’s inaugural Equity Advisory Board, I have found continued purpose and drive to do what I may to foster belonging for all students in UA.

 

During my junior year, I had the privilege of joining two incredibly formative communities: Upper Arlington Idea Day (UAID) and Speech & Debate. As a member of UAID’s inaugural team, I worked closely with a dedicated and entrepreneurial group of students and mentors to put on UA’s first iteration of Idea Day. This team and I still connect often to this day. On the Speech & Debate team, I had the privilege of learning from and training with a group of incredible peers and coaches, making it to the State Tournament twice in my two years of competition.

 

As a graduating senior in 2018, I was honored to speak as my class’s Cum Laude speaker. The opportunity to reflect, share, and connect with so many members of my class was truly an invaluable experience.

 

UAAA:

Please describe your college / career experiences.

 

Cindy:

Currently, I am a continuing third-year student at UC Berkeley pursuing a B.S. in Business Administration from Berkeley Haas, a B.A. in Sociology, and a minor in Human Rights. Over the past two years, I have had the privilege to serve as a Resident Assistant and, presently, as President of the Berkeley Forum, a non-partisan student organization that brings notable speakers to campus. Some of the most notable speakers I have had/will have the opportunity to hear from and meet are 88Rising founder Sean Miyashiro, Olympic gold-medalist Natalie Coughlin, and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

 

Continuing the pursuit of my passion in the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (EID) space, I have served as a member of the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Student Diversity Project’s Student Advisory Board and am presently the Internal DEI Lead within Berkeley Haas’ student government. In both of these roles, I continue to question the status quo of EID processes and operations as I seek to support the institutions and places I love in becoming spaces students of all communities can thrive in.

 

Career-wise, I have held a strong interest in the intersection between people and business and hope to continue this pursuit post-undergrad. I have held two previous internships within the Human Resources realm and am presently pursuing management consulting in my next steps forward. I eventually hope to obtain a graduate degree in Public Policy to further my potential impact in both the public and private sectors.

 

UAAA:

How did UA Schools prepare you for success?

 

Cindy:

As I continue to learn and grow with each year of college, I unceasingly value the relationships built and lessons learned while in high school. I continue to dream big and lead with both my heart and my mind and have become increasingly confident in my ability to incite positive change. Daily, I leverage my toolbox of skills such as public speaking, time management, empathy, and collaborative entrepreneurship that I gained throughout my various high school endeavors and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to grow so much in UA.

 

In mindset and in practice, I am drawn, again and again, to Madame Julia Voegt-Brooking’s words from my sophomore year: that ignorance is not bliss, and that when we see inequity around us, we must seek action to create change. In my go-forward, and I encourage any reader the same, I will continue to critically assess the status quo, seek new ways forward, and keep hope and joy top of mind in whatever I pursue.

 

Erik Yassenoff 

UAHS Class of 1999

 

Giving back has always been a part of Erik Yassenoff’s life growing up in Upper Arlington. During his time at UAHS, he was a proud Eagle Scout in Troop 417, he received the Youth Career Development Award, and he received the Tri-Village Rotary Youth Leadership Award. During his junior year, Erik was a Congressional Page, appointed by Congresswoman Deborah Pryce. When he was not involved in public service, he spent his time as part of the UAHS Marching Band and was a member of the UAHS Tennis Team.

 

Erik received his B.A. in Political Science and History at The George Washington University and is a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He continued on to The Ohio State University where he received his M.A. in Public Policy and Management. After graduation, Erik continued his passion for service as Special Assistant for Business and Industry under Governor Bob Taft, Assistant Director of Policy for Asset Management to Governor John Kasich, and Deputy Director for General Services at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. Erik is President and Owner of CPR Solutions, a public policy consulting firm, and Vice President of Rainbow Development, a commercial real estate firm. Local to Upper Arlington, he served two terms on the Upper Arlington City Council and was Vice Chair of the Upper Arlington Centennial Commission. He is a member of the Northwest Kiwanis Club and Upper Arlington Historical Society. Additionally, Erik has served on the Upper Arlington Commission of Aging and the Upper Arlington Community Improvement Committee, among other community organizations. He also proudly serves on the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is a 32nd Degree Mason. 

 

Erik recently moved to Granville, Ohio, with his wife, Elizabeth, and children, Ella Jane and Thomas. Elizabeth, a graduate of Denison University, has always wanted to live in Granville. Despite no longer living in Upper Arlington, both remain involved and committed to his hometown community.

 

Currently, Erik is the Chair of the Upper Arlington Centennial Veterans Committee. This committee has overseen the Veterans Plaza Project that is under construction on the Jones Mallway. The UAAA asked Erik how the Upper Arlington Schools prepared him for this important and impactful community project.

 

“An important part of my experience at the Upper Arlington High School was the sense of community and responsibility to not only be an active member of the community, but also to give back to the community beyond Upper Arlington. We are all blessed to have been raised in Upper Arlington and to have received a high-quality education at the UA High School. It is a privilege to have had such enriching opportunities.

 

"Realizing this truth, there are two paths one can take: support the community that gave you such opportunities and foster future leaders there, or take your experiences and seek to improve the broader global community. My path went both directions. For twenty years, I have worked in public policy to improve the lives of people at the federal, state, and local levels. My local work was focused on Upper Arlington.

 

"The Upper Arlington Veterans Plaza project was a part of my local service to the community. Since September 2001, every community in Central Ohio had either upgraded their veterans’ memorial or created one, except for Upper Arlington. We had a veterans’ memorial that had not been enhanced since its creation in 1946. It was the sense of community and responsibility that my years at UAHS instilled in me that motivated me to lead the effort to create the new Upper Arlington Veterans Plaza. The Plaza will be a testament to the sacrifices made by so many UA residents for years to come.”

 

 

Darin Hadinger '93 and mustER

"One of the best things is being able to reach back into UA and find amazing friends and resources from different years to work on this project. It is great to see how our Golden Bears are coming together!" –Darin Hadinger, CEO mustER

 

Darin Hadinger is a firefighter, a disaster relief worker, a designer and engineer of pollution-control technology, a renewable energy entrepreneur, an advocate for veterans, and a warrior of restorative and social justice. Darin Hadinger is a class of ‘93 Upper Arlington alumnus. While in high school, he faced financial hardship and lived alone because of changing family circumstances. Though he had to work full time at Wendy’s to make ends meet, Darin managed to take AP classes, fondly remembering many teachers, including beloved English teacher, Dr. Allen. He says,

 

"I was fortunate to have some great teachers that I can still name. Some were more like mentors. I was an exchange student, twice with Herr Gill's class, to Germany, which changed my life. I had a good education. It wasn't easy though. I had a lot of external challenges beyond living. Learning how to handle stress and balance priorities while also recognizing that even in a great school with a lot of great resources, people still can struggle for lots of reasons. Learning how to adapt to that likely helped prepare me for what came after."

 

His path has never been easy nor straightforward, but it has made him uniquely positioned to respond to some of the challenges central to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has led him to the design and implementation of mustER. In military terms, to “muster” is to “assemble troops in preparation for battle.” mustER, similarly, is a company focused on assembly in preparation for  battle, though one of a different kind. Daren shares that,

 

"mustER is a company of disaster response, engineering, logistics, and governmental affairs professionals that serves the community needs during a time of crisis. We build and provide a proprietary mobile medical hospital and housing that is self powered and can be set up anywhere and deployed in under a day. These units accommodate approximately 80 people each and are engineered and built to CDC requirements. They can be reused and repurposed for any response or mobile resiliency situation."

 

The battle now, of course, is against the virus that has disrupted our well-being and economy. mustER units can be assembled anywhere within hours, using cleaner resources, creating less environmental impact, and costing a fraction of the price of a hospital ER. While it is a valuable answer to the needs of hospitals overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, its application extends well beyond. Whether it is in response to a blackout, a natural disaster, or a population of people who lack adequate access to healthcare, mustER units fulfill an important gap in medical care. This is why international companies are looking to move this not only across the U.S. but also into areas of Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, and beyond. The company is currently completing the patent process, and the first unit will go out within the month.

 

Darin attributes the success of mustER to his incredible team, which is diverse in specialty, background, and thought. This team includes other UA alumni, some of whom he had kept in touch with over the years. Some, he connected with through current teachers in the district as well as through Leadership UA and IDEA Day. One such alum is Tarik Yousof, class of 2001, who has developed an emergency ventilator. These ventilators will be a feature of the mustER unit.

 

Finally, mustER is intentional in its social impact, employing people, such as veterans, the formerly incarcerated, and underserved populations, to build the units. Darin says, “I truly hope that anyone who works with us will stay aligned with our company. At the end of the day, if they find their purpose in doing this for a while and then are inspired to drive impact elsewhere, that is a win.”  

 

Upper Arlington Alumni Association

1950 N. Mallway Drive • Upper Arlington, OH 43221 

614-487-5007 ext. 1120

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