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Alumni Interview: Andrew Lam ’01 and the Gift of Nueva
Shannon Lyons
 Andrew Lam and his parents in a city

When Andrew Lam (eighth grade,’01) visited the Upper School with his father last year, he was thrilled to see learning in progress. “There was stuff all over the floor,” he said. “An intentional mess of art and science projects where kids were learning and exploring.” He was happy to see that the culture of exploration and the freedom to make and learn from mistakes were still part of the school he loved so much.

Nueva’s focus on collaborative and self-directed learning drew Andrew’s parents to choose Nueva for him as a fifth-grade student, and Andrew’s time at Nueva ended up being a transformative experience. As for many families, Nueva is not only a second home for the students, but also for their parents. Andrew’s mother, Alice, was a beloved and active volunteer and member of the Nueva community. As a former preschool assistant teacher, she was a kind and loving volunteer in the classroom. Alice had a passion for cooking and great food, and she enjoyed volunteering with the hot lunch program and for the auction.  

Nueva lost a dear friend when Alice Lam passed away on March 12, 2016. Her four years (1997–2001) as a Nueva parent were deeply meaningful to her. When Andrew and his father, Harry, put a memorial fund together to honor Alice’s life, they felt that Nueva was close to their family, a place where their memorial gift could have an impact.

The Lam family gave the first gift that kicked off the “Realize the Potential” capital campaign. “By starting with this contribution, my family and I are showing that, even though we don’t have any kids at Nueva now, we’re still contributing. We are creating something new. We would really love to see the community come together and make this happen,” Andrew said. Andrew reiterated his belief that the entire community will invest in Nueva, writing: “we hope to encourage full participation, whether it is by donating just a small amount or by volunteering time to make the campaign, and the school, a success.” The Lam family was at Nueva for four years nearly two decades ago, but Andrew’s passion for learning began and evolved during his experience at Nueva, and that love of learning is something that Andrew says stayed with him through high school, college, and beyond.



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Alumni Lee Holtzman poses with a lemur

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Judee Brasesco and her two grandsons

Judee Brasesco has the unique perspective of seeing how Nueva shaped two generations of students in her family. When she learned about the Nueva School in the 1970s, she had two school-aged children, Jill Brasesco Thomsen (’77 sixth-grade graduate) and J.D. Brasesco (’80 sixth-grade graduate). Last spring, Judee’s oldest grandsons, Scott Brasesco ’18 and Chip Thomsen ’18, graduated from Nueva, and her youngest grandson, Jack B., is now an eleventh grader at Nueva.  

 Andrew Lam and his parents in a city

When Andrew Lam (eighth grade,’01) visited the Upper School with his father last year, he was thrilled to see learning in progress. “There was stuff all over the floor,” he said. “An intentional mess of art and science projects where kids were learning and exploring.” He was happy to see that the culture of exploration and the freedom to make and learn from mistakes were still part of the school he loved so much.

Fun graphic, "May the task force be with you"

The Bridge Experience Task Force

Mission

1) To explore the idea of a Nueva Gap Year Program.

2) The task force determined that Nueva is well positioned to provide graduates with a unique gap year experience, and the task force was charged with defining and launching the program.

Three students from the Class of 2018 meet with Diane Rosenberg

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Lee Holtzman — upper school history of science teacher and Nueva alum — shared these opening remarks as she welcomed the Class of 2018 at their first official alumni gathering earlier this month. Just two days after graduates flipped their tassels and tossed their caps, they gathered at the upper school for a brunch to embrace their new official status as Nueva alums.