Jennifer Gray '01 is a Partner with Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman in Los Angeles, CA. She has been named one of the next generations Hollywood's Rising Executives 35 and Under. Jennifer represents a fellow Alum, Manish Dayal (Patel) '01, star in The Resident as well as many other rising talents.
Madelyn Smith '09 was recognized in the Midlandsbiz newsletter announcing her new dual role as Home Works Operations Officer and Health Works Director. She will be working in partnership with Palmetto Health to facilitate home repairs linked to health factors and oversee day to day ministry efforts throughout the state.
Heathwood graduate, Catherine Savoca '15, was featured in The Columns, Washington and Lee's Magazine. The Columns ran an interview with Catherine highlighting her work exploring the real estate development industry this summer as a sales and marketing intern in Lisbon, Portugal.
On May 26, 2017, Heathwood Hall held its 40th Commencement ceremony at Trinity Cathedral and welcomed the Class of 2017 to the ranks of our alumni.
The members of the Class of 2017 will long be remembered at Heathwood for their accomplishments in the classroom, on our playing fields, in the fine arts, and more. As Head of School Chris Hinchey put it in his Commencement remarks to the graduates, "I can tell you with certainty that you have left an imprint on us. I am saddened to see you go because your energy and hopes for the future are uplifting. You have come so far and you have so many challenges and opportunities ahead of you. You are a talented, caring, self-aware, and energetic group. While I am excited for you, I will miss you."
As they move on to colleges in 12 states and the District of Columbia, we wish our 2017 graduates all the best and ask them please to stay in touch!
More pictures from graduation are available at https://www.heathwood.org/graduation2017
Sanchit Kapur, ’11, just graduated from college in 2016 but has already built an impressive career in financial services. In addition to earning a B.S. in Economics and a minor in Political Science from the University of South Carolina’s Honors College, Sanchit completed internships in investment analysis and investment banking. Now he’s a Financial Services Consultant in Charlotte.
Here Sanchit talks about how his time at Heathwood helped him discover his vocation and develop the work ethic that has accelerated his career, and shares his advice for current Heathwood students who want to take the right steps now to jump-start their own future careers.
How do you feel your Heathwood experience prepared you for college and/or your career?
Heathwood challenged you to grow outside of the classroom through experiences like Winterim and Model UN. I felt Heathwood helped me develop into a well-rounded person.
What Heathwood teacher made the biggest impression on you?
I took Mrs. Norman’s Honors Biology in 10th grade and her AP Environmental Science class in 12th grade. Science was- and still isn’t- my strong suit. I feel like I can look back and credit Mrs. Norman and her class for helping me develop a strong work ethic because I wanted to get a good grade in her class and gain her respect.
What Heathwood classmates had an impact on you?
Thad Moore (class of 2011) and I have remained very close friends since our Heathwood days. We roomed together at USC for over 4 years and have travelled quite a bit together. I’ll speak for him as well, but I believe a good part of our friendship is challenging each other to grow and improve in our professional and personal lives.
What are you doing now? Tell us a little about your career path.
I am a financial services consultant based in Charlotte. During school, I fell in love with Economics as a subject due to its real-world applications. I started reading about the financial crisis and interned with a couple of banks and asset managers. I was fortunate enough to intern in different areas of finance- from digital strategy to asset-backed securities to portfolio management.
I enjoyed learning new areas of the financial world so I became a consultant due to its variety of projects that touched all levels of banks. I also really wanted to travel for work and consultants are typically on the road weekly.
What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most rewarding about it?
Consulting is dynamic because we have projects that require a steep learning curve and quick deadlines, so you are continuously on your toes with new subjects, new clients and new goals- almost on a daily basis. I enjoy the unpredictably of my job because it’s never boring and you cannot be complacent.
What advice do you have for current Heathwood students who might be interested in following in your professional footsteps?
Focus on what you can control and read continuously to gain expertise in your field. If you combine those two, you will gain the self-awareness to grow and gain a passion and work ethic that will set you apart from your peers.
Like mother, like son … the Draffins are making a family tradition out of coming through for Heathwood in the clutch.
Twenty-five years ago, as a sophomore on the Heathwood Girls Varsity Basketball team, Katherine Juk Draffin (’94) got fouled shooting a 3-pointer against Ashley Hall. The game was almost over and the Highlanders were down by three, so the three free throws Katherine was awarded were obviously going to be decisive: make all three and the game would likely go to overtime; miss just one and Heathwood would lose. No pressure, right?
Katherine stepped up to the line and made the first shot … and then the second … and then—as every spectator held their breath—the third. The game was tied, and in the few seconds remaining, Ashley Hall failed to convert. Thanks to Katherine, the game went to overtime.
Flash forward to January 19, 2017, and the Heathwood Middle School Boys Basketball team is down by two points to a much bigger Camden Military squad. With under a minute to play and the clock winding down fast, point guard Walker Draffin (’22) launches a three-point shot, and is fouled in the process. Once again, no pressure, right? Make two shots and you can force overtime, make three and you’ll probably win the game. Anything less, and the Highlanders will almost certainly lose.
Walker stepped to the line and squared up to shoot. In the stands, his father Stephen (’90) said, almost in a whisper, “Oh, he practiced this a lot this weekend.” As calmly as if he were still taking those routine practice shots, Walker released his first free throw—and it sailed right through the net. He took the second, and once again, it hit nothing but net. In the stands, all the Heathwood fans held their breath … and Walker shot his third … and it too swished right in. With just seconds left, Camden Military hustled up court but couldn’t convert—and after being down by almost double digits at the half, Heathwood went on to win the game.
Parents in attendance who heard Stephen Draffin mention that Walker had recently put a lot of time in at the free throw line might have been tempted to point out to their sons that the Highlanders won the game thanks to Walker’s work ethic, and specifically his willingness to work hard in practice to improve his game. But Katherine Draffin says learning what it takes to come through in the clutch was just one of many takeaways from her own Heathwood basketball career: “Basketball was by far my favorite sport that I played at Heathwood,” she recalls. “It taught me a lot, on and off the court.”
Allie Wall Mood’s Heathwood connections run deep. A 2002 alum, she’s married to 1999 alum Drew Mood, and is the mom of Poppy Mood, ’28, and two younger children, Henry and Edith. Her father, Hank Wall, started Heathwood’s wrestling team, and her husband is the nephew of former Lower School librarian Milly Hart.
Allie’s time at Heathwood was also predictive of her future career. The classmates who awarded her the “Best Dressed” senior superlative might not be surprised to learn that Allie is now a noted stylist and owns her own children’s clothing line, Poppy & Hen. Her work as a stylist has also earned her a ton of followers on Instagram—in fact, she was named a top Instagram mom to follow by Lonny Magazine, which said she “produces images that elevate mere cuteness into something more: a snapshot of the fleeting wonders of childhood.”
After graduating from Heathwood, Allie attended Auburn, USC, College of Charleston, Vanguard University and Columbia College, from which she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Social Work. We asked her what it’s like to be a social media influencer, and how she became both a stylist and a designer.
You have a very 21st-century career, the way you’ve carved out your own path, pulling different threads together, and especially the way you’ve become so prominent on social media. How did all of that come about?
My job as a children’s stylist, creative director, and media influencer really came about by chance. When Poppy was born, I struggled to find lovely, well-made, and funky clothing in stores. I began hunting for unique and inspirational brands, or vintage and hard-to-find pieces, and I was hooked. I quickly began to see that each piece of clothing tells a story. I would see a dress and instantly be taken to a location in my mind; I would imagine props, and accessories, and the perfect shoes. It was like I was dreaming in photographs. Little by little companies would notice my photos and reach out. I started small, blogging for fashion blogs and begging my friends to use their children as models. When I couldn’t take my own photos and was busy styling, I called on my cousin and Heathwood alum Mary Royall Wilgis (Class of 2016) to shoot for me. It has been a long road of working really hard to prove my vision, and I loved (and still love) every minute of it.
So how did your hunt for unique children’s clothing lead to Poppy & Hen?
My mother is an amazing seamstress and she taught all of us to sew (my sisters and I). As a new mother, if I couldn’t find that piece I was dreaming about, we would search out the pattern, pick out the fabric and get to sewing. My sisters, mother, and I ended up creating a company, Zippity Do Da, in 2010, and we sold one-of-a-kind vintage-inspired pieces via Facebook. We sewed them all by hand and found that the market and demand was huge. Our pieces would sell out within hours of a release. After I had my second child, and my sisters married and moved away (they both work in fashion too), we took a break from sewing. I guess I couldn’t fight the urge to create and design, because in 2016, I created Poppy & Hen.
Where has your work been featured?
I have worked on styling projects with various small companies like Pink Chicken, Vendue Inn Hotel, and Marysia Swim and larger companies like Gap Kids, Royal Caribbean, Toys R Us. And my work has been featured in Babiekins Magazine, Gurgle Magazine (UK), Mini Maven Magazine, and various magazines in South America.
You’ve accomplished so much across multiple platforms—has any of that been more challenging than you’ve made it look?
When it comes to my photos on Instagram and my job as an influencer, my life is definitely not as pretty or curated at the little squares you see. My job is to capture the "happy" though, so the photos people see are usually one shot I have taken out of 300 that happen to work. When collaborating with companies via social media, the pressure to get the best shot and represent the company to the best of my ability can be stressful. When the stress becomes too much, I lessen the load of collaborations and just focus on taking photographs of what I enjoy.
You were a Heathwood student and now you’re a Heathwood mom. Looking back, which Heathwood teacher would you say had the biggest influence on you?
Dr. Plowden. She was the first teacher to tell me, "You can really write." She urged me to use my writing abilities to create essays for college acceptance. Without those essays I would have never been admitted to college. I was a horrible standardized test taker, and my SAT scores were low because of it. Auburn University told me my essay was what got me into college, and that's all because of Dr. Plowden pushing me academically and creatively to use my writing. Because Dr. Plowden believed in my writing, I believed in it too. Many of the books we read in her class are still my favorites today.
What can we expect from you next?
Poppy & Hen will release a summer collection online, and while we focused on just girls' clothing before, we will be tapping into the world of little boys this time with some fun vintage-inspired pieces. I hope to continue my work as an influencer as long as I enjoy it, and as long as my children allow me to have a camera around. I look forward to collaborating with new companies and businesses. I would love to work with some local Columbia businesses, as I would love to help them grow their audience online. We have an amazing group of talented artists, makers, and shakers in Columbia and right here at Heathwood; I look forward to meeting them.
The Heathwood Class of 1995 had an absolutely fabulous reunion weekend in September! We began with a Friday afternoon/evening informal Happy Hour gathering at Tazza in Trenholm Plaza. We had between 15-20 people attend.
The next morning, we invited all of the families to come out and participate in thePEAK courses, led by Stan Wood and Brice Spires (’09). About 8-10 families were represented on that morning, and I also took some folks on a quick tour around campus to see all of the changes that had taken place since they were last here. The Plaid Peddler staff were also kind enough to come in and open the bookstore for an hour on Saturday morning so people could purchase Highlander attire. We were extremely grateful for that opportunity as well.
The “big event” kicked off at the home of Chris Alessandrini Carrington in King’s Grant. We had the most fun! Our classmates came into town from Charleston, Rock Hill, Charlotte, Georgia, Connecticut, Florida, and California!
There were some people who hadn’t been seen or heard from since we graduated. Throughout the night, we all talked about what an amazing experience we had at Heathwood and the influence that our Heathwood education has had on all of us throughout our lives. Of course, we couldn’t end the night without a toast to Mr. Gasque. We had somewhere between 40 and 45 people in attendance.
We are already planning a Christmas get-together because we can’t let another 5 years pass before we do this again. And we encourage other classes to do the same, because it was so great to catch up with so many classmates all at once.
If you want to plan a reunion for your class and need help tracking down contact information etc., Alumni Relations Coordinator Meredith Walker can help. You can reach her at Walkerm@heathwood.org or 803-321-7730.