Alumni - The Children's House

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Our alumni are forever a part of our community. In an effort to stay connected with our alumni community, we have created an Alumni Newsletter with updates and events geared toward our past students and their families. 

Alumni Newsletter 2023-24  Alumni Newsletter 2022-23

You Are a Part of Our legacy
We would love to stay connected with you! Please fill out our Alumni Contact Form to let us know what you're up to. 

With a history dating back to 1984, our alumni community has grown … and grown up! Each year we feature our alumni as they graduate from high school and later as their career takes shape. Meet some of our recent alumni below! 

2023 Graduating High School Seniors


These former students graduated our Junior High in 2019. We are proud of our alumni and the independence they are exhibiting through the choices they are making, their confidence in knowing who they are, and what inspires them to keep learning and growing. 

ivery_libby_compass_junior_high_alumni_2023.pngIvery Libby is attending Warren Wilson College for Conservation Biology with a minor in Visual Arts. They are interested in environmental policy and hopes to work in an animal rescue or species conservation field, helping save critical and endangered species. “The Children's House made me realize how much I value hands-on and interest-based learning. When choosing a college, my main priority was that I would be able to work hands-on and in the outdoors to prepare myself for the conservation field I am pursuing.”

josh_klug_compass_junior_high_alumni_2023.jpgJosh Klug is playing collegiate baseball at the University of Louisville. Josh is working toward a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a focus on entrepreneurship. He credits his time at The Children’s House with learning “people” skills. “We presented a lot in class and even at the Veteran’s Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. I took a public speaking class this summer at the U of L and was glad to have already had experience talking in front of people prior to that class.”

mack_shane_compass_junior_high_alumni_2023.jpgMack Shane is currently a student at Michigan State University and plans to apply to the Broad College of Business at the beginning of his sophomore year. “The Children’s House prepared me for my future by instilling curiosity. Curiosity is such an important trait to have throughout life because I believe that in order to be successful in any aspect of life, you must be curious to find new opportunities.”

mateo_thelen_compass_junior_high_alumni_2023.jpgMateo Thelen is living in Denmark and attending Roskilde University. Mateo is currently studying social sciences and international business. He plans to do entrepreneurial internships and eventually earn a Masters degree. “In Montessori, I was able to pursue my interests like political science and geography, which will help me in my future career in international business. Also, I’ve developed a strong independence and I love living overseas.”

mia_smyka_compass_junior_high_alumni_2023.jpgSince graduating high school, Mia Smyka has completed 120 hours of coursework toward a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate. She is currently working at Pathways Preschool as a resource teacher in addition to attending Northwestern Michigan College. In the future, she plans to earn a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. “The Children’s House gave me the confidence to explore what the world has to offer without judgment or the fear of making mistakes.” 

mles_neidorfler_compass_junior_high_alumni_2023.jpgMiles Neidorfler is attending the University of The Arts as a film major and is currently pursuing a BFA  with the hope of working in the industry as a Director of Photography and Steadicam operator. “The Children's House prepared me for my future by fostering my creative endeavors and allowing me to try new things.”

sterling_wade_compass_junior_high_alumni_2023.jpgSterling Wade, recipient of the 2023 Braiden Voss Memorial Scholarship, is studying criminal justice and psychology at Northern Michigan University. “The Children’s House has taught me how to be independent from just choosing what I want to do throughout my day to planning week-long trips. Without The Children's House, I would not have been as prepared for college as I am now.”

Featured Alumni: 

madison_compass_junior_high_featured_alumni_2023.jpg Madison Duensing attended The Children's House from 1998 through 2006 and graduated from Michigan Technological University with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in December 2017. We recently heard she was doing innovative work and decided to reach out to share her story. 

What do you currently do for work? I work as a Senior Medical Application Engineer for Stratasys. I get to work with Surgeons and Engineers within hospitals across the US to provide patient-specific solutions by utilizing 3D printing. Stratasys has five printing technologies and we can take DICOM images (these come from CT or MRI scans) from a patient and segment them into a 3D model. The model can then be printed and used for surgical preparation. We even have a technology that prints tissue-like and bone-like materials which allows the surgeons to physically practice the procedure beforehand on their patients' anatomy. 

madison_compass_junior_high_alumni_2023.jpgWhat are your favorite memories of being a student at The Children’s House? One of my favorite memories is when I got banned from using scotch tape because I over-used it and ironically, eventually worked at 3M for 4.5 years. It was meant to be, I guess. Another favorite memory I have is of my upper elementary teacher, Patty Anton. She was incredible in the way she understood each student and their learning styles. She once took us on a camping trip near Sleeping Bear Dunes and we had to do a walk on a trail by OURSELVES at night. At the time, this seemed so scary but she and my classmates were waiting at the end and I had conquered one of my worst fears, darkness. It seemed like every activity she provided was a lesson, this one being that: there will always be a light at the end of every dark tunnel.

How did our school prepare you for life? Honestly, I don't think I would have become an engineer if I didn't attend TCH. Being an engineer requires a lot of 3D visualization and hands-on work. You can't be afraid to pick up a wrench or get dirty as an engineer. The hands-on lessons are the most real-world experience a kid can have (up until an internship). The school fosters creativity and never puts a child in a "box," which I believe is essential for a child and their thought process. No student is the same and TCH does exactly what a kid needs to thrive at their current level of education and it also prepares them for the real world. 

What is the best part of your work? The best part of my job is I get to work with the most cutting-edge technology and impact lives. I get to travel a lot and work with some of the most amazing minds in the world.

Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Follow your heart, and passions, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. There will always be someone who will try to put you in a box but we all know, no individual is the same. You are good enough. You are smart enough. You are capable enough to do anything you want. Don't be afraid to be creative and break the status quo. 

What does your life look like now outside of work? I live west of Minneapolis, MN near Lake Minnetonka. I have two dogs, Nala (pitbull) and Laddi (yellow lab). I play volleyball in the summertime and curl in the wintertime at the Saint Paul Curling Club. I love to run, bike, and go to CrossFit. I have a boyfriend of 2.5 years who is very supportive and truly a great partner. My parents and sister still live in Traverse City and I love to visit (mostly in the summertime, ha!). 

Braiden Voss Memorial Scholarship For High School Seniors
In memory of Braiden Voss, The Children's House proudly awards a $2,000 scholarship to a graduating high school senior who attended The Children's House and completed the Junior High program. 

Scholarship Application Guidelines