Alumni Stories that Inspire

One of Madison Public Schools' greatest assets is the diversity of our students and their experiences, a strength exemplified by the variety of our alumni stories. We hope you find inspiration in these stories, featured with great pride.

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Alumni: Paige Decent

 

Madison Memorial class of 2013 alumna Paige Decent grew up on the west side of Madison, attending Huegel and Akira Toki for elementary and middle school, respectively. Her early education within the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) laid a strong foundation for her academic and personal growth, setting her on a path toward future success.

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Alumni: Anthony Kiefer

Rooted in Madison: Anthony Kiefer’s Journey from MMSD Student to Community Advocate

Anthony Kiefer grew up on the east side of Madison, attending Elvehjem Elementary and Sennett Middle before graduating from La Follette High School in 2006. Sill rooted in Madison, Anthony currently manages an R&D team at IFF, focusing on the physiology of probiotic bacteria—a role that merges his passion for science with a commitment to innovation. He is heavily involved in the community outreach efforts at IFF, spearheading the Adopt-a-School partnership with Sennett Middle School, where he relishes the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of young scholars, paying forward the support and guidance he received during his formative years in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD).

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Alumni: Hannah Altwegg (La Follette, ’14)

Unexpected Path, Fulfilling Destination

From navigating through the uncertainties of post-grad life to finding her calling at Summit Credit Union, Hannah Altwegg's journey came full circle to empower others and shape futures.

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Dr. Ramon Ortiz (East, ’91)

Dr. Ramon Ortiz Jr.’s Journey of Achievement

Dr. Ramon Ortiz’s journey from Madison East High (Class of ’91) to his current esteemed position as dean of continuing education at Madison Area Technical College is a testament to the transformative power of education.

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Roots of Learning: The Richard Sisters Reflect on their Strong Foundation from Madison Public Schools

Meet Marty Richard Meek (center), Carol Richard (left), and Laura Richard Thomson (right), three sisters who share not only a bond of sisterhood but also a deep connection to Madison public schools. All three began their educational journey at Glendale Elementary (renamed Dr. Virginia Henderson Elementary in 2020), eventually graduating from La Follette High School in 1970, 1972, and 1977, respectively. They are three of six siblings in their tightly-knit family.

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Coding Continuum: Alonso Del Rio’s Journey from Student to Mentor

Madison West High class of 2016 alum Alonso Del Rio is a software developer on the MyChart team at Epic, a career that allows him to embrace his passion for technology. His venture into the world of computer science (CS) took root during fifth grade as a participant in the inaugural Scratch Club at Shorewood Elementary School. Scratch, a free programming language designed to make coding enjoyable and accessible for children, captivated Alonso. Reflecting on those early days, he fondly recalls “I just had so much fun with Scratch—I loved having the ability to make my own games and goofy animations and learning about cool tricks to use in my projects. I didn’t fully realize that these tricks were tied to the foundations of programming until years later!” 

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Memorial Alum Now Associate Superintendent of High Schools

In mid-October of 2023, MMSD announced that Jay Affeldt, former district administrator and high school principal, has been named Associate Superintendent of High Schools. In this role, he will provide instructional leadership and coaching to the district’s six high school principals to ensure strong school cultures as well as provide oversight to the district’s secondary athletics programs.

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Shana Dall’Osto

Making a Direct Impact on Other Families Who Need It Most

Madison West High School class of 1997 alumna Shana Dall’Osto is the executive director of Roots & Wings, a family foundation created in late 2019 with a special interest in funding nonprofits across four key categories: family safety, health, early learning, and basic needs. For Dall’Osto, it’s her dream job. Not only is the family behind Roots & Wings her very own – her mom is Judy Faulkner, founder of the Verona-based, multibillion-dollar health tech software company Epic Systems – but Dall’Osto also has an extensive background in nonprofits, and a passion for service work focused on early childhood.

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Paul Hendricks

The Art of the Pivot: From IBM Exec to Investment Advisor

West High class of 1974 alumnus Paul Hendricks is the managing director for a small, completely independent registered investment advisory business. Based in Charlottesville, VA, his firm uses state-of-the-art information processing technology to provide portfolio management services at a surprisingly modest cost to high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) and small institutions. Simply put, and in his own words, he’s “just a humble guy helping a few of [his] friends amass more money.”

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West High Alum Reflects on the Value of Sports

Written by Lisa Gaumnitz

Jeff Mack Jr. strides into Starbucks on a wintry February day, looking much like the 240-pound outside linebacker who made 298 tackles for the University of Wisconsin football team 20 years earlier, but sounding very much like the banker he is today. 

Park Bank’s first vice president for business development is talking on his cell phone and holds up his index finger to indicate he’ll be a few minutes longer. When he wraps up and sits down for an interview, he is still crunching numbers in his head and mulling over possible returns for the client who just hung up. 

“Do you follow interest rates?” he asks and launches into an explanation of cap rates for real estate and how current high-interest rates are affecting his client’s decision-making about buying an investment property. 

Sports and math have helped Mack succeed since he graduated from West High School in 1999. These intertwined loves are why he’s helping promote Madison Public School Foundation’s Play Every Day initiative to make sure students have what they need to succeed individually and to work toward the common good. 

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