Meet Our Amazing Graduates
Confident Communicators — Self-Motivated Learners — Compassionate Leaders
Beth Ann Less (Class of 2009)
I was given so many opportunities to learn communication skills at West Side through projects such as Invention Convention and the Island Project in Upper Elementary and the weekly team-based research presentations in Middle School. I also honed my communication skills every day in the classroom by interacting with and learning from students in grades above me and teaching the students in lower grades. These skills have helped me in interviews, team projects, professional presentations, and, most recently, in teaching an introductory engineering class.
Throughout my 13 years at West Side, I was encouraged to pursue topics that interested me, utilize my network of peers, define my personality, and learn by doing. These fundamental characteristics and skills stick with me today. The Montessori focus on independent learning taught me problem-solving skills and confidence when completing projects, which I utilize both in school and at my internships.
The curiosity-driven lesson plan taught me the important fact that I am more motivated, happy, and successful when I am studying something that interests me. This realization has been beneficial as I mold my Mechanical Engineering degree and pursue the minors in International Engineering and Sustainability. Most importantly, I credit my creativity and curiosity to West Side's theme of fostering a lifelong love of learning. As I work through my last two years of college, complete summer internships, and look toward employment after college, I'm confident in the foundation that Montessori education built in my life.
My West Side experiences gave me a respect for diversity and an interest in global issues. I am grateful to have studied Spanish at West Side from a young age, and have continued my study of the language through college, both at the University of Michigan and in Madrid, Spain. One of my ultimate career goals is to live and work abroad.
Christian Tylinski (Class of 2008)
Christian credits his middle school internship as a pivotal point in his education. Because West Side Montessori requires each middle school student to spend a week as an intern, Christian was able to accept a position with BRC Imagination Arts in Burbank, California. The experience, network, and skills he gained have provided numerous benefits. Staying connected with BRC through high school allowed him to attend multiple conferences in Orlando, Florida and in spring of 2015, he will return as a Show Set Design intern. This middle school internship program truly set him on an amazing career path.
After graduating WSM, Christian attended Toledo School for the Arts and is currently a junior at the College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP) located at the University of Cincinnati. His current path has taken him to Houston, Texas. He is working as an architectural designer with Gensler, the second largest architecture firm in the world. Upon completion of his work there, he will return to DAAP to complete his schooling as well as an additional semester of experiential learning.
“Growing up and learning in classrooms with mixed-age students was a critical aspect in shaping how I work today. In both higher education and professional work environments, diversity of coworkers and peers is an indispensable component for success," said Christian.
"By grouping peers together in similar ages, I grew accustomed to and learned from being around students at all different levels of work, from different backgrounds, and different work methods. The student-teacher relationship at WSM was another paramount factor in understanding who I am today. Learning how to speak with adults in a non-lecture based classroom, but as a peer conversation, learning and exchanging ideas back and forth brings a greater understanding to the work. This has allowed me to engage in more efficient conversations and network at a younger age in professional environments.” said Christian.
Christian values the philosophy of Montessori education which emphasizes exploration of new ideas. Each student is responsible not only for their own education, but for the success of the classroom as a whole. The environment provides opportunities for students to realize their full potential. It allowed him to pursue and understand what he was passionate, about which inspired him to leverage the power of knowledge and education to create a better community.
Christian enjoys travel and has experienced the beauty of Beijing, Shanghai, Galapagos Island, Machu Picchu, Java, Bali, and Lombok to study art and culture. He is the son of Michael Tylinski and Laura DeBenedetti.