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Alumni Hall of Fame

Alumni Hall of Fame

Alumni Hall of Fa

Grace Govan, Class of 2014

On August 23rd, 2019, our Senior class enjoyed our first Alumni Speaker of the year. Grace Govan (Class of 2014) visited us from Italy where she is working for MyTata Inglese. The driving quote for Grace's message was "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" (Naele Donald Walsch). 

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Grace first left her comfort zone when she attended Johnson and Wales University, Rhode Island, after graduating from MCHS. She majored in  Sports, Entertainment, Event Management after being inspired by her father's career choices. Her program typically sends students to Australia to study abroad and continue with their major but she stepped out side her comfort zone and instead chose to study abroad in Florence, Italy. Once there, she completely fell in love.

Class of 2014 Induction

After graduation, she returned to Italy to live full time. She is now working on her Italian citizenship which will allow her to stay indefinitely. 


Grace works for MyTata Inglese which is a English Language Orga

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nization with programs ranging from nannies to summer camps. Grace is using her event management skills to plan their programs that help children learn English through play and action.


Grace hopefully inspired the next set of Carrillo grads to step outside their comfort zone and experience the world (even if it is just a small step).

Kevin Jorgeson, Class of 2003 (Repeat Speaker!)

On Friday May 3rd, 2019, we welcomed back former PUMA, Kevin Jorgeson, Class of 2003. The

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gym was filled with with students eager to hear Kevin’s story of perseverance, fortitude, and eventual success. From December 2014 to January 2015, Kevin and climbing partner, Tommy Caldwell, confronted the Dawn Wall of El Capitan and became the first climbers to successfully free climb its granite face. While recounting his story, Kevin shared video

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clips, photos, and his personal journey, of the six years he spent training for his eventual successful climb. After the presentation many students stayed to ask questions and meet Kevin, who graciously signed autographs and took many pictures with students. We are fortunate that Kevin volunteered his time to inspire our students to greater heights.


If you would like to hear more about his thrilling adventure, check out the award winning movie The Dawn Wall, available on Amazon and Netflix. To follow along with Kevin’s adventures, follow him on Facebook and Instagram.



Kristine Guerra, Class of 2000

Kristine (Holley) Guerra spoke with our current Pumas in January of 2019. Kristine was part of the second graduating class of Carrillo and participated in our first travel abroad spring break trip to Spain. 

This trip sparked

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a love of language in Kristine and she went on to major in Spanish. After graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and shared what the Peace Crops process was, how she ended up with her assignment, and all about her amazing work with women in the Dominican Republic.

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Kristine talked about creating a project to give poor women a way of earning money while continuing to do what they would normally do by making household cleaners. 


This work spurred Kristine into becoming a lawyer to represent Spanish only speakers during their immigration proceedings. She has never represented a client that spoke English and spent much of her time in court translating for her clients. 

Kristine is truly a Universal Citizen and a forever PUMA!

Forest Podva, Class of 2007

Forest Podva, Clark Construction, spoke with our current Pumas in October of 2018. Forest was on the championship football team at

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MCHS and was team captain in 2006 before he went on to study at SRJC and Sac State. His message was to focus on "WIN" (What's Important Now"). He asked student to make a goal and figure out what they need to do now to accomplish that goal. 



Forest talked about seeing a rendering of the Trans Bay Tower just after he graduated high school and always loving high raises. Keeping both of

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those things in mind as he worked through college keep the reason present and increased his success. After graduation, he was able to get a job with the company making the Trans Bay Tower, but not only that, he was able to get assigned to that project and help with its build and completion. A dream come true! 


Doug Hofmann, Class of 1999

Doug Hofmann spoke with the current Pumas in September of 2018. His message for the st

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udents was to not take themselves too seriously and enjoy this time before responsibilities really begin.


Doug was a founding student of Carrillo and shared stories about the first days and year of the school. He talked about winning the first pennant for MCHS.

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His journey to becoming a founding member of the Materials lab at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and emphasis on trusting science and being science literate resonated with our current students.

Proud of Our ALumni

Kyla Neumann, Class of 2005


Kyle Neumann

Kyle Neumann inspired current Pumas when he came to talk in March of 2018. Kyle is working on his PhD in Marine Sciences through the University of California, Santa Barbara and works with the Ocean Exploration Trust as their lead video engineer. 



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Kyle was introduced by his favorite English teacher, Ms. Pamela Devlin (now retired).

Kyle talked about all the amazing discoveries he has been a part of with his work in the ocean but then focused on the winding path that made his current passions into career possibilities. Kyle did not find success at college his first round and talked with students about finding your way and the benefit of trying new and different things until one of those things finally sticks. He would not be able to be were he is without his experience as a jumbo-tron operator or audio engineer.

Pamela Lind Peschken Devlin, Founding Principal of Maria Carrillo High School


Pam Devlin

Maria Carrillo High School's founding principal and English teacher, Pam Devlin returned in May of 2017 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Maria Carrillo High School. She recounted the many moments that led to the creation of the school and its values as we know them today. Check out the video below.


Maria Carrillo Teacher Alumni Robert Chandler (2004), Jonathan Florence (2005), Scott Wallach (2008) and Kyla BradyLong (2008)



Maria Carrillo High School has attracted back many of its alumni teachers to join its workforce. In fact, 7 different alumni have worked


at the school they once attended: Joe Sims (03)-English/Social Science, Rob Chandler (04)-Social Science, Rachel Riccioli Wittenberg (04)-Math, Jonathan Florence (05)-English, Scott Wallach (08)-Social Science, Kyla BradyLong (08)-Science and Jolene Johnson-Dance. 


4 of these alumni spoke about the process of becoming a teacher and working at their alma mater. 

Dominique Moshier, Class of 2006


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Dominique Moshier stopped by in February of 2017 to share how she went from Carrillo to Chico State and on to law school. Dominique shared tips about scholarships and making law school worthwhile and more affordable. She also discussed her work as a deputy public defender (attorney) for pro-bono clients (those that cannot afford their own representation).

Josh Montgomery, Class of 1999

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mery graduated from Maria Carrillo High School and was part of the inaugural class. He returned to MCHS to speak to students about defining one's priorities and purpose, and how to tie personal interests to incentives as they relate to scholastic performance and preparation for life's next stage. During his talk, he recalled that when he and his classmates first arrived at Maria Carrillo, the campus was as much a construction site as it was a new high school with tractors and jackhammers running outside of some classrooms. After graduating, Josh attended CSU, Chico, and has built a career in online travel, technology, startups, and e-commerce. He is co-founder and COO at Drive Direct Media and leads marketing and U.S. growth strategy at, a German-based startup that has reshaped the global tours and activities space.


Aaron Sherman, Class of 2006

Aaron Sherman relives his story of how he went from a reporter for Carrillo's The Puma Prensa to speechwriting for established politicians in Washington, including for Barack Obama's reelection campaign and for Obama's Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter. 

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Marissa Rosenberg, Class of 2005

Marissa Rosenberg is a researcher for NASA who hopes to one day accomplish her goal of becoming an astronaut. 

Marissa Rosenberg

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Tristan Harris, Class of 2002

Tristan Harris swung by on October 11th 2016 to discuss his work in the tech field, having founded a start-up and working as a Google philosopher. Tristan's work now focuses on ethics in the tech field. He most recently began a movement called Time Well Spent to align technology with our humanity. Visit for more information. 

Tristan's Tedtalk:

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Veronica VanCleave, Honorary Puma

Veronica VanCleave attended Maria Carrillo through sophomore year when she acknowledged that it wasn't working for her so she moved on to an alternative route and attended Ridgeway High School. After graduating early, Veronica transferred to the Santa Rosa Junior College where she enrolled in the psych tech program. After 4 years working with mentally disabled adults, Veronica recognized her passion for nutrition; she is currently working toward becoming a registered dietician. In addition, Veronica is an organic farmer and runs the food lab at Chico State University, where she works with autistic teenagers. Veronica's story demonstrates that the cookie-cutter model for continuing education is not the only route to success. 

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Michal Slate, Class of 2000

Michal Slate returned to Maria Carrillo to share her inspirational journey from struggling high school student to financial planner. 

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Dr. Bonnie Ferrara, Class of 2006

Dr.Bonnie Ferrara practices family medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno. Bonnie shared with students what it took for her to become a doctor and some exciting anecdotes that prove that being doctor can be just as stressful and exciting in the office as it is in the ER. 

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Ben Mclain, Class of 2001

Ben Mclain is a Carrillo choir legend. Along with fellow Carrillo graduate, Paul Pegler, Ben has worked in multiple bands including Sonos, Arora, and the music/comedy duo, Dakaboom. Most recently, Ben made news for being selected from scores of applicants to travel to Mars with the MarsOne program. 

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Whitney Pollett, Class of 2003

Whitney Pollett has been drawing Disney characters since she was a kid so it is only natural that she became an artist for Disney and many other brands. Whitney attended Otis Art School, which helped launch her career. She has since worked for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Nickelodeon with a specialty in toy and fashion design. She is currently the vice president of new content and design at Just Play. 

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Wendy Lieu Hassan, Class of 2000

Master chocolatier Wendy Lieu Hassan began her gourmet chocolate truffle business Socola Chocolatier in high school with her sister Susan. Since then her business has grown and she receives orders from some of the largest businesses in the Bay Area. 

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Dr. Eric Crosbie, Class of 2002

Dr. Eric Crosbie currently teaches at San Francisco State University in the Department of International Relations. In addition, his work in tobacco research has gained attention as his combines elements of law, political science, public health to study domestic and international tobacco regulations. Eric took his time at Carrillo to also talk to students about paying for college and applying for scholarships. 

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Maya DiRado, Class of 2010

Maya DiRado graced us with her presence in August 2016, right after her trip back from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she won 4 Olympic medals including 2 golds, 1 silver, and 1 bronze in swimming events. Maya is a graduate of Stanford University where she majored in engineering and management science. During her competitive swimming days at Stanford, Maya won NCAA titles in the 200 and 400 yard swim medleys. Maya has stated that 2016 is her last Olympic Games. She is now a business analyst at McKinsey & Company, a worldwide management consulting firm. 

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Susan Lieu, Class of 2003

Susan Lieu has had an incredible journey; in high school she balanced the founding of a ch

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ocolate company with her sister, AP classes, clubs, and the role of ASB president. She also became the first graduate of MCHS to attend Harvard. Since high school, Susan has continued an eclectic and rewarding path. She has helped grow the gourmet chocolate business, Socola Chocolatier, graduated with ivy-league degrees, worked in a refugee camp in Zambia as an HIV educator, worked in international development in Cuba and India, founded an ultimate Frisbee apparel company in Vietnam, climbed mountains, did stand-up comedy, and worked for a tech start-up. Whew! 


When Susan visited us in May of 2016, she took a few students that were interested in business with her to lunch to answer questions and give advice. 

Austin Meyer, Class of 2010

Austin Meyer bec

Austin Meyer

ame our second inductee into the MCHS Alumni Hall of Fame when he stopped by on April 1st of 2016. He had just returned from a whirlwind trip with the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof. Austin won Kristof's win-a-trip contest to work alongside the journalist as he traveled to Baltimore, where he wrote about heroin use, and later to rural India and Nepal, where he wrote about malnutrition and cataract surgery. 


Austin graduated from Stanford where he studied journalism, improvisational acting, and played men's varsity soccer.

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Kevin Jorgeson, Class of 2003

Kevin Jorgeson visited us in November of 2015 to become the first inductee into Maria Carrillo High School's Alumni Hall of Fame, nearly a year after becoming one of two climbers to be the first to successfully free climb The Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The Dawn Wall is one of the most difficult big climbs in the world. Kevin and Tommy's climb received national coverage and shortly after, Kevin received several endorsements and appeared in advertisements for Duracell and Adidas. In addition to Kevin's incredible climbing career, he is also a motivational speaker and works with charities. In 2016, he and his wife embarked on a humanitarian trip to help refugees fleeing from Syria to Greece. 

Kevin and Tommy's climb is covered in the upcoming documentary: The Dawn Wall.

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National Geographic Video:


Be directed to and join The Maria Carrillo Alumni Association Facebook group by clicking on the icon above to get caught up on all Carrillo-related news, and alumni celebrations.


Contact Kyla Bradylong if you are interested in being an alumni speaker at Maria Carrillo or if you would like to nominate someone for the hall of fame.

The Maria Carrillo High School Alumni Hall of Fame

Roaring alumni that have inspired past, present, and future Pumas

Whitney Pollett Plaque



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