News Notes 2000-2009

CLASS OF 2000

Brandy McMahon – Hello everyone! I am currently in the Caribbean, enjoying Grenada while I begin Medical School. I just recently finished acquiring a Masters of Public Health down here, and am now on to medicine! Its a little overwhelming, but definitely fascinating. And I love the island…who else gets to swim with dolphins and see Leatherback Turtles lay their eggs and play in waterfalls? When I’m not here in Grenada, I live in Arizona, but do have a tendancy to travel during my time off from school. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to our 10 year reunion, but I hope you all have a wonderful time and I expect some pictures!

CLASS OF 2001

Melinda Fletcher – Hi everyone! I am in my 4th year of teaching kindergarten in San Jose and am loving it. I have a great class this year, a nice mix of boys and girls and very sweet. In my spare time I like to read, knit, hike or scrapbook and in the summer I am kept busy working on my M.Ed, which is about halfway done. God has blessed me and there is never time to be bored! (1/10)

Allison Harrington – In May I graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.A. in Studio Art and a minor in Art History. I am now working full time as a Multimedia Coordinator with Plaza Design, a locally-owned home furnishings store. I manage the gallery spaces between three stores, handle dealings with our consignment vendors and run the behind the scenes aspects of our web catalog. I also started Samba dancing lessons and am generally enjoying this post-college period in my life.

Julie Ireland – I finally graduated from Western State College of Colorado in Dec. 08, with two BA degrees; Accounting and Business Administration. I am now working for a great Accounting firm in Glenwood Springs, CO. Tyler will be in Kindergarten this fall and Joey is a “terrible two”. All in all things are going well and I am very blessed. Keep in touch.

CLASS OF 2002

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Sam John – “Sam the Pakman here my fellow class of ’02 and Rio-mates, and wishing sweet blessings upon all of YOU from here in Honolulu! Am still vibing strong with the music and pursuing it whole-heartedly, though at the same time I am now continuing my education with a Pharmacy Technician Program at Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu, as music alone is just not able to cover life expenses at present, unless you sell out, which I have no intention of doing 😉 The Peace of Mind Crew and I continue to be extremely blessed with show opportunities and receive warm receptions wherever and whenever we perform, which is awesome. At the same time, I am beginning a new part-time position at Castle Adventist Medical Center here in Kailua to help fund life adventures. Also, my family is doing well, by God’s grace, back at home in California, while my girl Joey and I continue to be blessed by one another’s loving presence here in Hawaii, the end of October marking our two-year anniversary as a couple 😀 Hehe, life is good, music is good, and most definitely, God is good! Also! Watch for our new hip hop album to drop soon at peaceofmindcrew.com, as well as a West Coast tour, coming soon! God bless you all! Peace.” (2/11)

CLASS OF 2003

Chip Dillon – Hi everyone, Long time no see! I am still flight instructing at Pacific Union College and working as the assistant Director of the Angwin airport and aviation program. My wife (Michelle) and I just moved across Angwin and are enjoying the first few weeks of the new school year. If any of my old class mates or teachers are in the area I’d love to see you, just stop by the Angwin airport. Take care. (10/10)

Justina (Woodman) Harris – Hello Rio Friends!! I hope the beginning of the new decade is treating you well! A little about us…. well, my husband and I bought our first home together in April, 2009 in Sacramento. It’s small but it’s home for now! We have both been attending University of Phoenix since August of 2008. I will be receiving my AS in Criminal Justice in April, 2010 with plans to pursue my BS, and my husband will be getting his AS in July. We still camp whenever we get the chance, but that’s taking a back burner to other priorities lately. However, we are looking forward to the summer when we can get back out on the trail! We hope everyone is doing well and in the best of health! (1/10)

Diana Gallego – In 2007, I graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Art Studio and a minor in Education. Now I work as a full-time art instructor for adults with developmental disabilities. It’s usually fun! And as for general status, I am neither married, dating, pregnant, or have kids…yet.” (1/10)

CLASS OF 2004

’04 Brian Brodie – I am currently in Groton, CT at the U.S Naval Submarine Base.  I am still in sub school training in the submarine electronics computer field and expected to graduate 12-18-14.  I have been assigned to the USS CALIFORNIA based here in Groton.  This will be my duty station until Jan 2019.  Take care. (Posted January, 2015)

Annalisa Castillo – Hey everybody, I graduated from La Sierra University with a B.S in Exercise Science: Wellness Management. I am currently working as a lifeguard and a WSI instructor at the La Sierra University. I plan to start graduate school this fall and receive a Masters degree in Hospital Administration. My best friends are still Jakeline Sanchez (who is still in Puerto Rico and excited for her to graduate this year! GO JACK JACK) and Amy who I cant wait to see more of her around southern California. I am looking forward to talking to and celebrating my 10 years with Julie Meyer, Emily Griswold, Amy Eaton, and sorta Krista Benson (Not technically 10, but it feels like it:) of knowing each other and being awesome friends. I do my best to check in with Mr. and Mrs. Riddle, Ashley and Jonathan (GO SENIORS 2010), they are all still a huge part of my life and am very grateful for them. I am not married or have children YET…, but I am engaged to an alum from La Sierra named Blaine Smith. He is currently finishing up his Masters in Sports Management at the University of San Francisco. In the last couple of years there have been a lot of rough bumps in the road, but I have been able to ride them out being able to grow and mature from them, keeping the most important part of me still intact which is my crazy sense of humor:)

Jackie Li (Xu Li) –  Hello Rio friends. I am doing well getting busy with my business. My son is 8 months now, you can see from my pic in the magazine, also me and my wife. (Updated January, 2015)

Stephanie McNeil – Dear ’04 Classmates, I can’t believe it’s been 5 years! I have been studying for all of them and will graduate this December with three degrees (yay!!!!). I will be so happy to go to graduation and accept my diplomas. I’m going to take a year and a half off before going to Grad School. I’m looking into various Law Schools but if I decide not to go that route, I’ll probably get a masters in Art History. Things are a bit up in the air right now. Until then, I keep trying to find various ways to return to France. For part of my time off, I’d like to return and teach English to adorable little French kids. Lucky for me, France offers a great program that would allow me to do that. This is a really exciting part of my life and I am so scared to jump off the ledge and enjoy it; yet I’m loving the freedom and openness to choose just about any path. I wish I could join you at Rio. I would love to reconnect. It’s been 4 years since I’ve been in California and I’m dying to return to ‘my roots.’ I’ll be in SF for a week in March but can’t make it for our reunion in April. I’m on Facebook and would love to hear from you.

CLASS OF 2005

Chris & Laura (Bhatacharjee) Beagle – we were married December 20th of 2009, can’t remember if we sent that in last time. Also, we are working for a year in Taiwan teaching English at English Camps. They are basically summer camps, but the point is teaching English for the week. It’s a blast, although some of the kids are not as easy to handle as others. We will be here until August next year, at which point we are planning to return to the states to begin working on our masters. Our program is in need of teachers if anyone back home might be interested 🙂 We get to live on the beach which is very nice, and there’s a lot more American food than we expected! (Food has become increasingly important to us the longer we have been here). That’s about it for us. God Bless. (11/10)

Michael Sedlacek – Things are going good, and I’m busy as usual. I’m still working as a firefighter/paramedic in Madison, which is a upscale suburb of Huntsville Alabama. Our baby boy was born in March and he is growing like a weed! His name is Michael Caiden, but we just call him Caiden. Makenzi is in first grade now and is smart…just like me! God is blessing!! Hope to see some of you soon! (10/10)

Colt Sherman – 2010 has been a truly wonderful year. Back in March I decided to get out of Thailand in anticipation of social unrest. I got the first flight out to Malaysia where I spent the weekend with friends and then flew into SFO. Within weeks Thailand had declared a State of Emergency and then shortly after enacted Martial Law. Back in the US I went on two road trips,, (10,000 miles) to see family and friends. Then in June Chris Beddoe told me he was going to cycle across the US and that I should join him. I bought a bike and all my gear on a Wednesday and left Florence OR. the following Sunday. The first week was tough, climbing the Cascades and all but it was great. 45 days- 3,156 miles later we arrived in Ocean City MD. I spent a week in DC- (Amazing City) The US actually has a little history out east. I spent a week in VA with an amazing family and then flew to MN to see the Grandmother, Uncle and Aunt, and then back to the good old Rio area. Nic Beddoe got me back on a dirt bike which was great fun; spent a week with the Younker family in Fairfield and have now been back in Asia for 3 weeks. Went to a live Jack Canfield seminar in Bangkok last Friday, it was amazing. Positive thinking is so powerful. If you want a change in your life, think positive thoughts and invest in Gold and Silver. (2/11)

Ashley Williams – No serious news, only hoping to transfer to a free Christian college in the Autumn 2015. Pray that they will accept me. I wish to study History and work in a historical museum, park, or teach internationally…. the other dream would be to be a financially independent missionary and work for GFA (Gospel for Asia). Pray! (Posted January, 2015)

CLASS OF 2006

Join the class of 2006 on facebook!

Sarah Dubose – 2010 is going to be a very busy, yet exciting year for me. I am graduating in June from Walla Walla University with my BS degree in Nursing. I am leaving for Alaska to go commercial salmon fishing a few days later. After I come back I am going to take my boards for my nursing license. Then, August 1 I am getting married!! I am hoping to get a job in Labor and Delivery, but that may be difficult because the economy has left nursing jobs to be very limited. I hope you’ll are doing great! Miss you class of 2006!:-)  (1/10)

Briana (Lanza) Toelke -This year my husband and I embarked on life’s greatest adventure – parenthood! Our son Fletcher joined us in January and we couldn’t be happier! (Posted January, 2015)

Alexa Villanueva – I spent a week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin attending the Pathfinder camporee. My family and I attended the camporee because my sister Haley is a Pathfinder was baptized during the week. My family and I are enjoying living in the Battle Ground/Meadow Glade area. I’m love my job at Meadow Glade Adventist Elementary School. I work with the 3rd and 4th graders there. My summer has been pretty busy, I worked a little bit at the school at the end of last school year, I helped our church with Vacation Bible School, went to my dad’s house in the Los Angeles area and finally the camporee. After returning home, to Washington State, I start working again getting ready for the school year.

Nancy De Witt – Thank you so much for all of your comments and messages. I am so blessed to have such a loving family praying for me back at home as I came into the loving arms of Ebeye SDA host family. Let’s start from the beginning. After my mom and dad dropped me off at the airport after a short day but beautiful day in San Francisco, I went through security and boarded the plane that took me to my first layover in Honolulu, Hawaii. The flight was fairly turbulent, but we got to Honolulu safely. When I got there I was then told that I was going to be picked up by a local SDA family by the name of David and Helen Escobar since I had a layover that night from 9pm to 7 pm. I had a hard time finding them, but after an hour of looking, I finally found them. They took me to their house, let me spend the night, and drove me to the airport the next morning. I didn’t sleep long, but at least it was better than spending the night at the airport. I am so grateful that they were willing to do that.

The next morning I boarded the plane and it took us to our first stop in Majuro were they let people off who were going to Majuro and did a safety inspection of the plane. We then flew to Kwajalein were I got off the plane, went through customs, got clearance (since it was a military base), got my luggage, and took a shuttle to the dock. Once I was there I waited about an hour and a half fending off flies and watching abc’s dancing with the stars and desperate house wives on the two tvs they had (not something I thought they would have) before someone from the school came. I got a little scared at first since there wasn’t any other foreigners there (just locals mostly) and I was by myself. Luckily the local women there were really nice. One came up to me to make sure that I had some people from the school came to pick me up. It was very motherly and something that a good number of the women share here. The lady from the school whose name is Cheryl was especially caring. She bought me something to eat and drink since I hadn’t eaten much all day. I was so moved by her generosity.

In order to get to Ebeye, we had to wait another hour and a half to catch the next ferry. When we did board the ferry, it was a large wooden boat with a tarp over the top and an outboard motor. The ride from Kwajalein to Ebeye was really amazing. It was a bit stormy since it is the rainy season here. There were little islands along the way and the ocean was so blue. Then in the distance was the island of Ebeye, the place that I had been anticipated going to for only a couple weeks. Google Earth doesn’t really do it justice, there are a lot more trees than the satellite shows. So it is not nearly as much of a cement island as I had previously anticipated. I was greeted by the principal Ryan Ybanez and his secretary Miss Love with a red plastic lei and took me to my apartment. There I got to see my one room apartment with a bathroom and a vacant bed next to the microwave and fridge that would be my bed for the next 8.5 months. I then went to meet the 6 other Student Missionaries. They greeted me also with a paper link lei and wished that they would have had the chance to meet at the dock. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had found a very good group of friends. They were so welcoming and made sure that I was included in everything that they did. So now I have become a part of this close group. There are 4 girls and 2 guys, so including me, we are a group of 7. We do pretty much everything together, we go to school together, we eat together, we make lesson plans together, we go to church together; something I am very grateful for.

It wasn’t until that evening when I met my roommate Stephanie. She is a Filipino girl who works Ebeye SDA school as a non-Student Missionary. She is an interesting person. We don’t really hang out or talk at all. We seem to be simply roommates and that is it. I hope that she’ll warm up to me, but I have a feeling that is not exactly going to happen. I know she doesn’t hang out with the other Student Missionaries even though they have invited her to join them. She tends to keep to herself for the most part or hang out with the Filipino group here.

My first weekend here we went camping on the island of Carlos. It was an amazing. A lot of you have probably seen the pictures from that trip already. The sand was very white, there was coral and hermit crabs everywhere (I got a real kick out of playing with the hermit crabs =D), and the ocean was so warm. On the island of Carlos, we got to take some time to have fun and to recharge before going and teaching the next week. We ate fresh coconuts, went swimming and snorkeling (which was amazing), and got to soak in the quiet of nature. It rained quite a bit there, but we had a lot of fun. I also got to know two of the natives that work for the school who I call our angels, Edwin and Jonas. They are always so considerate making sure that we are doing all right and that we are safe.

That Monday I observed my classes for the most part, though I did end up unexpectedly teach 8th grade Bible. However, I did have something for them to do and even though I was nervous I think I did all right. The next day is when I got to start to fully experience the full exposure of teaching. I can understand how my dad must have felt teaching his students. My students aren’t rude, but there can be a definite sense of apathy there. Plus, a lot of cheating goes on and they will often ask if I can just write down the answer on the board, something that can be really frustrating. However, despite all that I really enjoy teaching them and sharing what I have to offer them. Though they don’t do as well as I would like, it feel worth it when at least one student does well or the light bulb goes on for them.

Something that I have also learned is appropriate discipline. I would prefer it if I didn’t have to discipline students, but the two weeks that I have been teaching so far, I have learned to have an iron fist. So far I have had to send four students to the principal’s office. I given four detentions (writing down word for word 3 chapters out of the bible; they really don’t like that one). I’ve had to make one class do pushups and another run laps. I’ve had to take away four quizzes from people who were talking during the quiz. And I’ve had some of my 8th graders stand in the corner holding a book over their heads. I’ve learned to be creative with discipline and to vary it once in a while since doing the same thing tends to lose it’s effect. Though I am being strict, I do make sure to do fun things with them too. I’ve played a Great Controversy version of Mophia, something that other teachers ended up playing with their kids as well after they heard I was playing it with my class. I have sung songs with my 8th graders, who actually sing really loud. They would probably blow 8th graders back at Redwood out of the water. I have also played Bible trivia with my 9th grade class and treated the winning group to ice cream (only 50 cents each here).

We also have a lot of church events that happen here. We have prayer meeting on Wednesday nights, vespers on Friday Nights, of course Sabbath school and church on Saturday mornings, singing at the local hospital on Saturday afternoons, and AY (Adventist Youth) meetings on Saturday nights. Since Ebeye doesn’t actually have a church, we do all of our church events at the school up in the chapel. The hospital here looks a lot better than a lot of other buildings. Sure it is not as sophisticated as the ones in the United States, but it isn’t too shabby of a hospital.

During this experience I have also experienced my first feelings of culture shock. Ebeye is definitely not home and it is a very different world. I have been able to deal with the trash in the streets, the cockroaches and mouse in my apartment, numerous stray dogs and cats, and the hot and humid weather. I have always found something positive about Ebeye such as the friendly people, the fact we have air conditioning in our apartments, the beautiful ocean, and the fact I can watch the sun rise and set in the ocean since the island is so small. I knew that culture shock was bound to happen to me sooner or later, but I just wasn’t exactly sure how. However, it wasn’t until yesterday night when it first happened to me. The school staff all went to a dinner party where we waited 2 ½ hours before we could eat. It wasn’t until later that I learned that we were waiting on the queen to come. Apparently isn’t very typical for the royals to be about 3 hours late to parties and events. That was a bit annoying, but it wasn’t nearly as strange as what we had to do next. The other Student Missionaries who have been here longer than me informed me that it is impolite to refuse food. We had to put lots of food on our plate to show our appreciation to the hosts even if we weren’t going to eat it. This was especially difficult for me and the other vegetarians in our group, since the only dish they had that didn’t have meat in it was the rice and the desert. So over half of our plates ended up getting thrown away. I was really hard for me to do. I was always taught that wasting food was a very bad thing, but this isn’t the United States. It is a very different world here. It just baffled me the amount of food that is wasted here. Also, it baffles me how the common meal for a person in Ebeye is rice, chicken, white bread, and soda or cool-aid. There are not a lot of fresh vegetables here and they certainly don’t have any wheat bread. They only have white bread and rolls. I guess the nutrition here is what bothers me the most and apparently something that has been really bothering the pastor here in Ebeye as well.

In any case, this has been what has been going on so far. Hope that all of you are doing well.

God Bless! (10/10)

CLASS OF 2007

Jasmine Kelley – I have had a wonderful summer here in Angwin. I am now a Senior at Pacific Union College (puc) I love it and am still happy I attended here. I am working on my Photography Thesis. I am still double majoring also in Graphic Design, so far so good. I will be a super senior and graduate in 2012 instead of 2011 (no rush). But all is well and I am glad to see Rio Lindo, my high school is doing well too. (10/10)

Xylina CervantesOn September 19th, a beautiful baby girl with dark eyes and long eyelashes was born to Xylina Cervantes. Jaxlyn Seraphina Cervantes welcomed the Sabbath with her mewling cries and her family could not be more thrilled. Jax is healthy, perfect, and growing well. (Posted January, 2015)

CLASS OF 2009

Stephanie Moningka – I’m in the army and stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. I’ve been deployed out here in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait since the 21st of August, about 3 months ago. Will be back in the states sometime between Aug-Dec. of 2011. We pull missions out to Iraq and back, transporting equipment. I enjoy the adventure, it’s pretty fun. I start my online college courses on the 25th of this Oct. so I can continue with my schooling and get my associates in Psychology. I’m still working to become a Psychiatrist. Well, I hope to visit Rio again soon. (10/10)

Matt White – I am attending Los Medanos College and am studying for an Adminstrative Justice Degree.