Alumni Spotlight

Graduates provide an important measure of a school's success. Our alumni attend leading high schools and universities in the US and abroad, and they hold positions in the top of their fields. Enjoy the following alumni success stories.

ALEXANDRA LADD '06

HIGH SCHOOL
Suncoast Community High School '10
Math, Science, and Engineering Program
International Baccalaureate Program

COLLEGE
Johns Hopkins University ’14
B.S. Molecular and Cellular Biology
Minor: Spanish for the Professions

Alexandra Ladd currently attends the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She completed her first year of medical school and will conduct diabetes research on the medical campus prior to starting her second year this fall. She also volunteers at the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP).

» Q&A with Alexandra

Q. What are you up to now?
A: I am currently attending the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. I have completed my first year of medical school and will conduct diabetes research on the medical campus prior to starting my second year. I also volunteer at the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP), which is Mount Sinai’s student-run free clinic, and work with medical students and attending physicians to provide basic health care services to uninsured patients living in East Harlem. In addition, I serve as a Spanish interpreter at EHHOP to aid communication between Spanish-speaking patients and health care providers. Furthermore, I am the coordinator for the EHHOP Spanish Interpreter Program, and recruit and train medical and graduate students to serve as Spanish interpreters in the clinic. Additionally, I am part of the Internal Medicine Interest Group at Mount Sinai.

Q. How did your academic experience at St. Mark’s prepare you for the future?
A: The academic rigor along with a strong value system at St. Mark’s prepared me very well for high school, college and beyond. The curriculum at St. Mark’s helped shape my future education. For example, I took Spanish in 8th grade for high school credit which helped me to excel throughout four years of Spanish in the International Baccalaureate program at Suncoast High School. Since I enjoyed learning Spanish, I decided to pursue a Spanish minor from Johns Hopkins University. I also took Algebra I and Geometry for high school credit during middle school. These math classes prepared me for the advanced math offered in the Math, Science, and Engineering magnet program at Suncoast. The teachers and academic curriculum at St. Mark’s provided the foundation I needed to excel in all future educational endeavors.

Q. What is your fondest memory of St. Mark’s?
A: I look back fondly on all of my academic and extracurricular experiences at St. Mark’s. Some of my fondest memories come from musical plays, band concerts, class field trips, and after school sports. Every extracurricular activity served to supplement my core classroom education and enforce the qualities of determination, perseverance, and hard work. Every year, my class would put on a play led by our music teacher. I still remember our Christmas play from kindergarten which told the story of the birth of Jesus. In middle school, I participated in band concerts every winter and spring. I gained a greater appreciation for music and enjoyed the self-satisfaction I felt when all of our commitment and hard work paid off. Our band received superior ratings, the highest grade possible, at the Florida Bandmasters Association band competition. I also remember all of our class trips. For example, we went to the Kennedy Space Center in fourth grade and St. Augustine in fifth grade. Some of my fondest memories come from our 8th grade class trip to Washington, D.C. We not only learned a lot about American history during our visit, but also had the opportunity to see the Capitol, White House, Supreme Court, and various famous monuments and memorials. It was a very educational and memorable trip. I also played basketball, soccer, and golf as a student at St. Mark’s. Athletics provided a great opportunity to get exercise, interact with classmates, and build teamwork skills.

Q. What teacher or subject influenced you the most at St. Mark’s?
A. Mr. Masterson, my 7th and 8th grade history teacher, was one of the most influential teachers I had at St. Mark’s. His immense passion for history was evident in his teaching, and he always made class interesting and engaging. I will always remember his advice to our class. He stressed the importance of choosing a career that we found fascinating and would make us happy. He also told us never to lose sight of the bigger picture. What we work on at a given moment in time helps us to achieve our bigger goals in life.

Q. What life lessons did you learn at St. Mark’s?
A. The valuable lessons and memorable experiences that I gained from St. Mark’s have helped shape who I am today. From PK to 8th grade, I received an outstanding education in a nurturing, caring environment. My teachers were great mentors who taught the values of honesty, respect, responsibility, and hard work. I learned to be accountable for my own actions, and that success is possible through hard work and perseverance.

Q. What advice would you offer to today’s graduates of St. Mark’s?
A. You have received an outstanding education at St. Mark’s which has built the foundation for your future success. Move forward into the next phase of your life with confidence, and never doubt yourself or your abilities. With hard work and perseverance, you can achieve your academic and professional goals in life. St. Mark’s has provided you with the knowledge, skills, morals, and values to succeed in whatever you choose to pursue.

LUKE WALDRON '09

HIGH SCHOOL
Cardinal Newman High School '13
International Baccalaureate Program
Valedictorian

COLLEGE
University of Florida Honors Program
Political Science

Luke Waldron is spending his summer in Washington, D.C., where he will be interning in Congress. In late August 2015, Luke begins his third year in the Honors Program at the University of Florida, where he is majoring in political science. He also serves as the president of Honors Without Borders, where he uses his skills, talents, and ambitions and applies them towards humanitarian efforts locally and abroad.

» Q&A with Luke

Q. What are you up to now?
A: I am getting ready to leave for Washington, D.C. in July, where I will be interning in Congress. I will be starting back in late August for my third year at the University of Florida.

Q. How did your academic experience at St. Mark’s prepare you for the future?
A: I felt not only prepared for high school and college due to my St. Mark’s education, but also ahead of the game. Leaving middle school, I had already developed sound study, organizational, and time management skills due to the rigor of the academic curriculum. Moreover, I took with me a love of learning thanks to the St. Mark’s faculty, who were great teachers and compassionate individuals dedicated to the success of students. Small class sizes allowing for better student-teacher interaction, the opportunity to take a foreign language starting in kindergarten, and the ability to grow in the arts such as band, painting, and performance were just a few of the many strong aspects of the academic experience.

Q. What is your fondest memory of St. Mark’s?
A: Being able to start off the school day with my mom, a St. Mark’s faculty member, and continue it with classmates and staff who I had known my whole childhood was a special experience, which I look back on with great appreciation and happiness.

Q. What teacher or subject influenced you the most at St. Mark’s?
A. I had so many wonderful teachers during my ten years at St. Mark’s, but Mr. Masterson, my 7th and 8th grade history teacher, had the greatest impact on my academic life. Although he always maintained his reputation as a tough, no-nonsense teacher, he had a deep care for the personal development of students and succeeded in engaging every student in his class. His passion for the subject of history flowed over to me, providing me with a love of learning about this country and world, which has only grown since.

Q. What life lessons did you learn at St. Mark’s?
A. I learned just how important school is to personal development. Academically, the St. Mark’s education was superb as I realized in high school and now in college. Having a great academic foundation was vital. However, I think it is also important to recognize how school can shape a person beyond the textbooks and quizzes. Spending a decade of my early life in a caring and faith-based environment helped me to develop the social skills and values which are just as important as the academic ones.

Q. What advice would you offer to today’s graduates of St. Mark’s?
A. Work hard and make the most of every opportunity. A St. Mark’s education is a blessing and provides a great foundation for success in high school, college, and life in general. Remember to thank everyone who has helped you along the way, especially your parents.