Our Alumni

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Eric Friedman (Monte Vista 89)

In 1988, while a 5th grader in Steve Bergdahl’s class at Monte Vista, Eric Friedman’s father, the late UCSB professor Frank McConnell, received a Fulbright Grant to teach in East Berlin, a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  For the six months that Eric and his family were in East Berlin, Mr. B used the unique opportunity to engage his students in world affairs and culture by instilling a broad perspective and creative lessons for his students. In 2014, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, Eric and his mother, Celeste McConnell Barber published a joint memoir “Ghosts of East Berlin” which features letters from Mr. B and the 5th graders of Monte Vista that Eric had managed to keep for 25 years. 

After returning from Berlin and graduating from Monte Vista in 1989, Eric and his family moved to Lompoc.  Although he was no longer at Monte Vista, the high quality education and values of public and community service that were a part of his experience continued to shape and influence him in his new community, eventually leading him to attend the University of Notre Dame where he received a B.A. in History.

 

Upon graduating from Notre Dame and the unexpected passing of his father Frank, Eric and his mom moved back to Santa Barbara, where Eric met his wife Julie a UCSB graduate, and pursued a career in public service.  From 2002 to the present he has worked as a District Representative for the First District County Supervisor’s office under Supervisors Naomi Schwartz and Salud Carbajal.  In addition he has volunteered and served on the Boards of a number of local non-profits including Child Abuse Listening and Mediation (CALM), Surfrider Foundation, Fighting Back Youth Mentor Program Advisory Board, St. Barbara Parish Pastoral Council and the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation where he currently serves as Board President, where he was part of the effort to raise the funding to build the new Santa Barbara Children’s library and $1M endowment. 

Although he traveled the world, Eric realized there is no place like Santa Barbara and no school quite like Monte Vista.  In 2010 his family moved back into the Hope School District and now his two sons Henry (4th grade) and Charlie (2nd) grade are attending Monte Vista where they are happily exploring the same hallways, playgrounds and classrooms as their father. 

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Sonja Crawford

Sonja attended Vieja Valley K-6. She continued her schooling in Santa Barbara through her first 2 years of college before heading on to California State University, Fresno. Sonja graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology

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Scott Hempy (Vieja Valley)

Scott Hempy was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 of 2016 in the realm of Energy. He is the co-founder of Filld, an on-demand fuel delivery company. Filld is the Uber of on-demand fuel delivery. Out of gas? No problem! Just pull up the Filld app on your phone and mark your location. A FIlld truck will come and fill you up!   Scott attended K-6 at Vieja Valley from 1997 - 2004. He went on to La Colina Junior High and San Marcos High School. Scott is a graduate from Westmont College.

Alumni Making News
David Peri (Hope Elementary School)
 

Nonprofits
 David Peri Inspired by His Heritage to Help Create a Brighter Future for Other
Goleta native and 2008 Man of the Year guided by a belief that those 'who can should give back'

By Suzanne Farwell for the Santa Barbara Foundation | September 28, 2013 | 5:20 p.m.

David Peri grew up surrounded by acres of lemon trees in Goleta, learning about the environment and the quality of compassion from his father. One of many Italian stonemasons who came to build mansions in Montecito in the 1930s, his father was generous to the farm workers he employed and provided them with food and other necessities. He respected everyone regardless of social status.

Peri was raised to appreciate his heritage and to use his skills for others. His volunteer career began at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and continued at Marymount of Santa Barbara where he and his wife, Kitty, established the now famous annual auction.

As his children grew up, Peri focused on social justice and service to those in greatest need. Being a partner in a private accounting business allowed him to take the time he needed for volunteering. The late Naomi Schwartz, three-term Santa Barbara County supervisor, described him as someone “who has always been aware of the safety net of this community and the importance of keeping it strong.”

In the 1990s, when homelessness began to escalate in Santa Barbara, Peri became part of a growing coalition to tackle the problem. He was a founding member of Casa Esperanza, a public shelter and day center established in 1999, and helped to raise funds for the project. He was also a founding member of The Fund for Santa Barbara, a nonprofit community foundation that funds grassroots projects working for social justice, affordable housing, accessible education, economic renewal and a healthy environment.

Peri remembers when lemon groves began at Las Positas Road and extended the length of Goleta. As he grew up, development in the area began to grow rapidly. In 1995, he became a staunch supporter of the Pearl Chase Society to help preserve the rich history of his youth and the unspoiled beauty of the local environment. He currently serves on the board of the More Mesa Preservation Coalition, Gildea Foundation, Casa Esperanza, the Italian American Foundation and the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara.

He is currently raising money for the California Missions Foundation, which is working to save historical treasures. He is particularly interested in a more recent historical treasure: Arnoldi’s, a restaurant established in 1937 and the hub of Italian culture in Santa Barbara. Peri and other partners purchased the restaurant at 600 Olive St. and re-created the place down to the floor tiles.

Although Peri was named Santa Barbara's Man of the Year in 2008, he has not stopped volunteering.

“I believe that those of us who can should give back, as it is now more important than it has ever been,” he said.

He continues his support for the social safety net through the St. Francis Foundation, which awards grants for health needs, and supports a parish nursing program, which sends nurses to homeless centers and poorer parishes and clinics.