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.
Do you have a story you’d like to share?
Written by Lisa Gaumnitz
David Aguayo learned to value education from his mother, a daughter of migrant workers, who earned her teaching degree while raising a family.
He learned hard work and dependability from his father, an Ecuadorian immigrant.
And from Susie Hobart, his fourth and fifth-grade teacher at Lake View Elementary on Madison’s North Side, he learned he could do great things.Read more
By Tatiana Dennis
From an early age Alex Booker knew the importance of having hands in the soil. Booker’s grandparents were farmers in Mississippi, a skill that turned out to be generational. Booker started gardening when he was just 10 years old by caring for plants around the house. His mother saw not only the passion but the skills that Booker had for gardening and encouraged him to embrace it and provided him with the tools he needed to garden more extensively at home.Read more
By Lisa Gaumnitz
Daniel Kigeya’s graduation from West High School in 1997 was one of the loneliest days of his life.
“I remember walking across the stage and then leaving there and going home and not celebrating,” says Kigeya, (pronounced Key-gay-ya) who returns to West this fall as its new principal.Read more
By Tatiana Dennis
Justin Cruz and his family recently returned from a trip across the country. Cruz, his wife Wendy, and two daughters Emma (Madison East High Class of ‘18) and Maya (La Follette Class of ‘25) drove through the Badlands, explored Yellowstone National Park, and made it all the way to San Francisco. The trip was long and full, Cruz shared when we spoke in June, and he was happy to be back home in Madison.Read more
By Tatiana Dennis
The early morning practices and countless laps Emmie Mirus churned out at Madison West High School’s aging pool has paid off for the Madison native.
"I never thought I would be that fast" says Emmie, recounting her lap time and 5th place finish in the state championship meet her senior year of high school that got her noticed by recruiters. Now Emmie crossed the final finish line of her swimming career at Kenyon College by setting three NCAA Division III records in relays with her teammates. Mirus also won the 100 yard freestyle.Read more
Mrs. Murray’s third-grade classroom at Shorewood Elementary School was unlike any other Evan Marwell had been in before.
“For math, she let me play cribbage with other students,” recalls Marwell, a 1983 West High School alum Zooming from his San Francisco home. “I never understood why I was allowed to play during school, but I realized later in life it helped me with my quick math thinking and strategy.
“Her classroom was set up in a way for every student to pursue their own individual interests and I think that created a spark for my creativity.”Read more
Walking the stands of Breese Stevens Fields, Omar Anguiano fist bumped and chatted his way through the deafening chants. At Forward Madison’s match against the Greenville Triumph last Saturday, the crowd was raucous, a constant rumble at the end of the field. “I haven’t seen the stands this hyped up in a long time,” Anguiano remarked.Read more
Madison East alumni and UW-Madison senior Lydia Nyachieo is the winner of a prestigious Marshall Scholarship, which gives high achieving U.S. students the opportunity to study at the graduate level at any university in the United Kingdom. The UW announced on Monday that she is among the 41 winners selected from nearly 1,000 applicants from public and private colleges and universities across the United States.Read more