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October 2011 Edition



Don't Miss: Urban's Alumni Reunion Weekend
October 21 - 22, 2011

Friday, October 21

Classes Without Quizzes    5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Hora de Clase!!” If you ever heard Joana Bryar-Matons bellow these words from the platform outside her classroom door, you know the gravity of the call. At 5:30 punto on Friday, October 21, it’s class time for all Urban alumni. Classes Without Quizzes gives you the chance to reconnect with the school today. You’ll see what’s changed, but also those key elements that have stayed the same. First, you’ll have to make the tough choice of which class you’ll take. Geoff Ruth, Science Chair, is planning a captivating class on energy and electricity. There’s also a history class with LeRoy Votto where you’re sure to get swept up in the stories of the past thanks to the charm and warmth of this beloved longtime Urban teacher.

Reception & Open House    6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Classes are followed by a grown-up reception: wine and hors d’oeuvres in the old library accompanied by the sound of a present day Urban musician. It promises to be a relaxed and fun evening in which you can reconnect with your former classmates and teachers and meet fellow Urban alumni from other eras. Past participants have remarked that it’s interesting to see the school as it is today and also discover a shared bond to the school and common values with alumni of all years.

Saturday, October 22
BBQ at Urban    12:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Urban will open up the beautifully landscaped back garden for a family-friendly barbeque. Stop by with your significant others and kids, with a friend, or just by your wonderful self. Food and drink provided free of charge, and members of Urban’s Alumni Council will be on hand to swap stories and answer questions. Most importantly, the barbeque is a chance to chat with current and former teachers, classmates and Urban graduates and catch up on all the interesting things they are doing in the world.

10-, 20-, 30- and 40-Year Celebrations
Special "1's" evening celebrations have been planned for the classes of '01, '91 (and special guests from '90 and '92!) '81 and '71. Contact Marianne Evans or 415 593 9540 for more information.

If you're planning to attend any of the events during the Alumni Reunion weekend, please RSVP online or by emailing if you haven't done so already. For questions, contact Marianne!


Jordan Kivelstadt (’00) is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Free Flow Wines, an innovative company dedicated to producing high quality wines on tap. Jordan is also the owner and winemaker of Qualia Wines (including Qualia, Pavo and Dog Daze) a small high-end Sonoma County wine label. We sat down with Jordan to talk about his untraditional career path and the life lessons he has learned since his freshman year at Urban.

What's one of your most memorable Urban experiences?
To be honest, my best memory was our senior prank! We had an actor come in to the all-school meeting as a model UN speaker and he gave an absolutely hysterical speech to the entire school. People could not tell what was going on – was he a real diplomat? Was this a joke? And while that was happening we took a car apart and put it back together – in the Gumption Theater!

Our class had a great dynamic and our prank illustrated how much respect we had for the school and the cohesion of the class. We didn’t leave a path of destruction; we like to think it was clever and it made lots of people laugh.

Is there a nugget of wisdom that you learned at Urban that continues to hold value for you?
The simple thing that comes to mind is the core philosophy that Urban has always had to follow your passion. Most people I know had a more regimented high school experience. Urban’s philosophy has always been learn the things you need to and if there is something else you love, go figure out how to learn that too, and we’ll support you through it, whether it’s art or music or English or science. In my current position, I have to work hard at raising money and changing people’s preconceived notions (about the wine industry). Coming from a place where I was encouraged to follow my passion and push the envelope has been crucial.

Who or what influenced you most at Urban?
Three people immediately come to mind. Scott Nelson never let me get ahead of myself in math. Every time I thought I nailed something he came upwith a problem that was tougher and told me to keep going and keep trying. He pushed me really hard. The others were chemistry teacher David Katzev and biology teacher Joanne McLean.

Did any of your experiences at Urban prepare you for the career you have today?
Being engaged in what I am doing keeps me going, as does trying to follow my heart and passion. At Urban I learned that if you love something and work really hard, you will succeed at it. It’s the idea that success is not defined by monetary value, rather it’s defined by the happiness you find doing what you love. That’s always been Urban’s thing: it’s not about the score, it’s about whether or not you are doing something well, enjoying it, and doing something positive.

Tell us about your career path and what inspired you to make the jump from Tufts and studying electrical engineering to working in management consulting to your current role in the wine industry.
Anyone who knew me in high school knew I was interested in medicine. I worked in ambulances in high school – that was my senior project and there was always an assumption that I would go to medical school. Engineering was a way for me to do something that I loved and not have to take language classes, which I never enjoyed. Going into management consulting was the result of a couple of different things. I started studying entrepreneurial leadership, which was a program offered at Tufts. The management consulting was a perfect blend of business and science because it was working in the biotechnical arena. The wine industry was a change in lifestyle and opportunity to make something more tangible.

Defining moments of your career so far?
I don’t have any yet! Though the moment we decided we were going to go out and start our own company – that is certainly one of them. Obviously when we raised our first round of capital, that was a pretty amazing experience. Getting a vote of confidence from people and the caliber and quality of investors was spectacular. When we took over the house wine program at the Coliseum at Caesars Palace in Vegas – that was also was pretty amazing. And when we started getting scores and recognition for my own wines, that was nice. I’m not a big score geek but it was a nice validation of the characterization of the wines we are making.

You are a very busy guy, yet you find time to stay engaged and involved at Urban - why spend the time and energy giving back to your high school?
It’s fun to stay involved to help Urban build a strong alumni program like some of our peer schools have. I look at it this way: some of the fundamental skill sets I was taught at Urban and the approach of how I was taught still stays with me today. I can’t say enough about how important education is; it’s the crux of everything.

Any sage advice for young Urban grads looking to find their passion?
To find your passion you have to try to follow your heart, do you want to do and success will follow – work on cars if that’s what you want to do, paint, be a lawyer. Whatever it is that you think you want to do, follow it – it’s the passion that leads to success.

Let's end with something fun. Where’s your favorite spot for a bite to eat on Haight Street?
Mine was always All You Knead. That was my go-to spot that I loved. If you asked me today it would be the Pork Store because I go there for brunch all the time.

Thanks, Jordan, we look forward to seeing you at the Alumni Reunion Weekend and drinking some of your fabulous wines at the Friday night reception!


Alumni vs. Varsity Basketball Games
Saturday, November 26, 2011
St. Agnes Gym (across from Urban)

* Women's Alumni vs. Girls' Varsity Basketball Game: 4:30 p.m.
* Men's Alumni vs. Boys' Varsity Basketball Game: 6 p.m.

Calling all basketball players! Come out and participate in this year's Alumni vs. Varsity Basketball Games on Saturday, November 26, 2011. There will be both a men's and woman's game taking place and all Urban alums are invited to play – no matter how long it's been since you've been out on the court.The gym will be open for warming up starting at 3:45 p.m. A pizza party for all players and fans will follow immediately after the men's game, so please help spread the word and encourage your family and Urban friends to come cheer you on.

Go Blues!


Inaugural Urban Film Festival Followed by “Wrap Party”
Friday, December 9
, 2011
Tickets: $10
Gumption Theater

Lights! Camera! Action! Urban is launching its first-ever Urban Film Festival on Friday, December 9. Mark your calendar for a fun evening of Urban student and alumni films, followed by a “Wrap Party” at a local bar organized by the Alumni Council. Hope to see you there! Stay tuned for more details.

Feature Film: Synesthesia by Ian Kibbey ('98)
Ian, along with his partner, Corey Creasy, started Terri Timely Productions, a video and film production company. Their video Synesthesia was selected as one of the 25 top videos of the year for 2010 at You Tube Play - A Biennial of Creative Video, at the Guggenheim in New York. Ian now lives in Oakland with his wife and new baby.


Urban Recent Grad Reunion
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Classes of 2007 – 2011
3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
The Old Library

Mark your calendar: Urban’s Recent Grad Reunion for the classes of '07, '08, '09, '10 and '11 will be held Wednesday, January 4, from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Come hang out in the Old Library and enjoy refreshments while  catching up with your Urban friends and teachers.




Urban alum Maggie Nelson’s (’90) critically acclaimed work of art and cultural criticism, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (Norton, 2011) was reviewed by Laura Kippins in the Sunday NY Times Book Review on July 14, 2011. Click here to read the full article. Congratulations Maggie!



Congratulations to Urban alum Cris Beam ('90). Cris' young adult novel I am J (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) about a runaway transgender boy in New York City was nominated by the American Library Association as one of the 2011 best books for young readers. Well done Cris!


Urban alum and National Park Ranger Peter Kasin ('71) leads a public sing-along of sea chanteys and sailor songs aboard a historic ship at San Francisco's Maritime Historic Park the first Saturday of every month. In a recent article, the San Francisco Chronicle said that the monthly sea chanteys "may be the most authentic and organic San Francisco-specific thing going on a Saturday night." Click here to read the full article. Peter encourages any Urban alums who are interested in reserving a space in one of the monthly sings to send him an email at or call 415 561 7171. Thank you Peter!


Thank you!
Thank You!
A very special thanks to all our alumni donors who participated in the 2010-11 100 for $100 v1.5 campaign. Our goal was for 150 alums to give $100 or more, and with your help, nearly 170 alums contributed a total of more than $36,000 to the school’s Annual Fund, setting new records in the school’s history! We are particularly grateful to the group of alums who pooled their resources for the challenge grant, which doubled the dollars we received from our alumni. Thanks again!


Please welcome Marianne Evans, Urban's new Assistant Director of Develpment. Marianne has two children both at Children's Day School in San Francisco where she is a member of the Board of Trustees and has served as Parent Association President. Prior to joining Urban last May, Marianne worked at Babcock & Brown, a global investment firm, for 17 years. Marianne is looking forward to getting to know more members of our alumni community,



Have you started a new job or business venture? Did your family grow (i.e. new baby, wife, husband, pet, etc.)? Have you been traveling to interesting places? Bumped into a fellow alum or old teacher? Let us know what you've been up to by submitting your class notes via email at or in the Online Alumni Community (password required to access your profile). Accompanying photos are always welcome and encouraged too.

Online Urban Community Mag


Alumni Night at the
San Francisco Giants!

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