Where Our Pilots Are Flying Now, Spring 2014 | Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School


Where Our Pilots Are Flying Now, Spring 2014


All alumni should receive Update magazine twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. Each issue, we include a feature, "Where Our Pilots are Flying Now," with updates and news about graduates of SJND. Here are the notes from the Spring 2014 issue of Update.

Click here and post a note about what you've been doing! To receive Update magazine, please contact Mollie McFarland, alumni director, at mmcfarland@sjnd.org.




Robert B. Thompson ’53, of Yountville, is a successful visual artist who shows his work throughout the Bay Area. Most recently his work has been featured at the Napa County Library and at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco. He taught at SJND in 1964 and for several years lived in Alameda, showing his work at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts. Between 1986 and 2010, Robert’s work was also displayed at the California State Fair and the Allied Artists’ show in New York.



Nancy Lawson ’64, of Loudon, Tenn., and her husband, Joseph, retired and moved from California in 2005  to Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains and live on 4.5 acres, where they built their retirement home on the Tennessee River. They have 13 grandchildren, a dog and a cat.  They travel a lot, especially cruises with a great group of folks from their church.



Antonio LaRosa ’74, of Oakland, is a retired automotive and equipment worker for the Bay Area Transit Angency, as well as a heavy duty diesel mechanic and 31 Army Reserve Warrant Officer.

Loretta Ferro Gravelle ’78, of Alameda, celebrated her 21st wedding anniversary to her husband Allen Gravelle. They met when they were ages 9 and 11, through Eagle Scouts in Alameda, where Loretta’s brother, Mark Ferro ’73, was also an Eagle Scout. Loretta and Allen’s son Travis, 18, recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with Troop 2, the oldest scout troop in Alameda. They also have two daughters, Amanda, 16, and Brandy, 14, and are proud of all their children and their accomplishments.

Ana Ruiz Lail ’79, of Fairfield, and her husband David Lail are retired and currently live in Angola, Africa.



Vanessa Jackson ’94, of Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from UC Berkeley and went on to pursue her master’s in social work at Washington University in St. Louis. After five years of intensive postgraduate training to become a psychoanalyst, Vanessa opened her private practice in New York City. She worked in psychiatric settings and on staff at NYU as a psychotherapist with students for a number of years prior to opening her practice. “I have positive memories of my time at SJND and see that some of my former teachers are still there (including Mr. Ritter and Mr. Fong).”

Robert Jang ’99, of Hayward, and his wife, Anna Hernandez, have been happily married for five years and have been traveling the world. They’ve been to Europe twice, gone zip-lining in Costa Rica, and travelled to the Hawaiian Islands four times. Robert has been working in IT at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco for the past eight years.



Christopher Aria ’08, of Alameda, attended UC Davis on a four-year tennis scholarship and, upon graduation, competed on the U.S. Tennis Association’s NorCal Men’s Open Circuit. He achieved the No. 1 ranking on the circuit in March 2013, having reached the finals of nine tournaments, winning four, and earning nearly $2,000 in prize money. Chris took a break from tennis to take the LSAT in October and he plans to go to law school.

Christopher L. Aldous ’09, of Lafayette, works in San Leandro as a warehouse worker.  He finished school at Diablo Valley College and has an associate’s degree in Geographic Information Systems. Chris also volunteered for the East Bay Regional Park District in the Redwood forest, Mount Diablo State Park and the Martinez Wildlife Preserve.

Angelica Alleyne ’09, of Oakland, is a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. She is a graduate of Dominican University and attended the Air Born School. Angelica is one of the first female officers assigned to the field artillery as an Intelligence Officer.

Jomar Martinez '09, of San Jose, is a senior at San Jose State University, pursuing a degree in musical theater. This past November and December he performed in the production of "The Snow Queen," adapted as a rock musical, at San Jose Repertory Theater. 

Joseph Vacca ’09, of San Leandro, graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last year with a degree in biochemistry. He is now working toward a graduate degree in biology with a stem cell specialization. In July, he will begin a nine-month internship in San Diego.


Casey Greer ’12,
of Union City, is currently a biology major at Ohlone College and will be continuing on to medical school to pursue a career as a pediatric surgeon. Casey was an MVP on the SJND’s cheer squad her senior year, and she took part in cheering on the Pilots with other alumni at the Alumni Homecoming games in November.

Crystal Lee '12, of Oakland, is having an active sophomore year at UC Berkeley. She is a chemistry tutor and is two belts away from earning her first-degree black belt in tae kwan do, and she also works for the University of California Martial Arts Program.

Phoebe Grunt ’13, of Alameda, was selected as an All-Big West Honorable Mention for her outstanding play on the UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball team, which was a co-winner of the Big West conference and went on to the NCAA playoffs. She was also named All-Freshman in the Big West.