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Student Profiles - Alex & Christian, Graduating Seniors

Hanna Academy Graduating Senior - Alex

Alex came to Hanna from Central California less than two years ago, having no idea what to expect.

“I was super nervous,” he says. “I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in here and just wanted to stay home. That seems like a long time ago. Now, I have a totally different perspective.”

Today, the graduating senior “feels really good” about his experience at Hanna. “I’ve made friends and had some great teachers I will miss. I get along with everybody here. The time went by so fast.”

Alex’s most memorable and enjoyable class was Woodshop, where he learned the basics of sheet metal design, wiring, wood building, welding, plumbing, and more. The instructor, Mr. Snowden, is also his favorite teacher. “I really enjoyed learning from him,” says Alex. “He helped me identify work that I could see making a career out of.” Alex is taking his love of welding and furthering his education in the field at Santa Rose Junior College this fall.

Alex is a familiar face to everyone on campus, as he worked on the lunch line with Chefs Eric and Jorma all year. Helping the chefs prepare meals and organize the kitchen was not only educational but also provided a part-time job wage. He learned the important lesson of showing up on time, doing what he was supposed to do, and having a good attitude.

Alex advises incoming freshmen, “Just listen and do what you have to do – and don’t be rude to staff.”

Aside from school, Alex discovered a love for billiards, specifically 9-ball, a game he picked up when the Recreation Hall was recently renovated. “Alex displayed a remarkable commitment and dedication to learning the game of pool,” says Joe Petersen, Recreation Manager. “He regularly asked his peers and staff members to play so he could enhance his skills and continuously improve.”

“I just want to thank everyone who helped me,” Alex says, “Because without this place, I probably wouldn’t have earned a diploma. I don’t know what I would be doing, honestly. I appreciate all the people here at Hanna who supported me in getting this far.”

Hanna Academy Graduating Senior - Christian

Christian originally hails from Sacramento, where he is ‘somewhere in the middle’ of three sisters and one brother. As his time at Hanna is coming to an end, he has four years of campus life to reflect on. Christian is a very familiar face to most staff, as he has often worked on his entrepreneurial skills over the past few years by making the office rounds to sell handmade items to employees. He has been driven to make and save money and has held down part-time jobs helping in Hanna’s kitchen and Ledson Winery.

As a junior last year, Christian participated in the Culinary class offered through the Career Technical Education (CTE) program at the Academy, leading the group of students that sold, baked, and then delivered dozens of mini-cheesecakes to staff. As a senior, Christian enrolled in the Woodshop class at the Academy, also a wheel on the CTE program, providing him with new welding and wood-making skills to create and sell various handmade items that have thrilled the staff.

One of his favorite accomplishments last year was raising, showing, and selling sheep at the Sonoma County Fair last summer, a project through the Academy’s Agriculture program. He has loved the many class excursions, including a sailing lesson where he learned to tighten the sail, steer, etc., and a day trip to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. He’ll miss spending time with his friends at the Academy’s large gym, which is a favorite spot for weightlifting and playing hoops after dinner.

Christian discovered a passion and talent for all-things Woodshop, immersing himself in every class project practicing skills in plumbing, wiring, welding, woodworking and sheet metal. Mr. Snowden has supported many of his artisan creations, including a massive Valentine’s Day heart hung on campus, handmade lit Christmas stars, and metal-painted roses individually welded for Mother’s Day gifts. He is taking with him the amazing wood burning stove he built and customized.

Christian will be attending Santa Rosa Junior College in the fall.