Category Archives: Stories

Kyra White

Where are you now?

The big scoop is that I’ve been accepted to Southern Methodist University and Case Western Reserve University! These are my top two schools, both excelling in engineering and the fine arts. My plan is to receive two degrees: a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in Music (specializing in vocal performance).

So far, I’m leaning towards SMU, however, I’ll make my final decision in mid-April.

Piper Tilton

Where are you now?

Piper is upstairs in Dr. Hans’s class now. She was recently featured in The Express News! Watch the video of her latest video at The Express News.

Young ukulele player wowing crowds with her own songs

By Vincent T. Davis, Express News Staff Writer
January 1, 2018 Updated: January 3, 2018 10:34am

Piper Tilton’s interest in the ukulele began at the tender age of 6, after hearing a cousin play the instrument that’s grown in popularity among all ages in recent years.

Cousin Allison showed her how to play two chords, and as Piper practiced, lyrics came tumbling out about everything she’d encountered in her young life.

Since then, Piper’s love for songwriting and playing the ukulele have made her a mainstay at open mic night at The Cove restaurant.

Recently, when host Niko Laven called the night’s first performer, Piper ambled to the worn, carpeted stage awash in red neon light.

Her low-top, classic Chuck Taylor sneakers faded into the shadows as she walked past a speaker, topped with a signature-filled notebook and plastic water jug, with the words “band tips” written in black marker up the side. The end of a knit scarf draped around her shoulders disappeared behind the ukulele, which means “jumping flea,” in Hawaiian.
“Hello, my name is Piper Tilton,” she said, “and I’m 11 years old.”

Cheers rang out from the small crowd that included her mother, father and brother as she strummed the four-stringed ukulele and belted out original songs about a pocketful of stamps and showing the way to those who are lost.

Sitting on bar stools, Monica Rodriguez, 43, and Rudy Ortiz, 51, watched Piper close out her three-song set as the crowd yelled for one more song. The duo gave a nod of approval as the young singer obliged the guests’ request with her version of “Let It Snow.”

“She was actually pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “If I had any advice for her, it would be to just follow her dreams.”

For the past four years, Piper’s name has been on the sign-in sheet at open mic nights at The Cove, located at 606 W. Cypress.

The sixth-grader’s playing and seasoned vocals have captivated guests at the eatery that’s featured a wide range of acts including bluesman Ruben V, The Lavens family band and John Magaldi’s Prime Time Jazz Orchestra. She has performed three times on KSAT-12’s “SA Live” television show and at local art shows and private dinners.

She said some older listeners find it hard to believe that she writes the lyrics to her songs.
“What I see out in the world is all my inspiration,” Piper said. “It’s just what I see every day and my experience.”

Her “gigs” began after her mother, Marye Saunders, who was a private party coordinator at The Cove, asked Piper if she’d like to play at open mic night. The youngster said she’d like to try, but Saunders had one stipulation: She’d have to play early so they could get home before her bedtime.

“This was the perfect venue for her to start out,” Saunders said. “They loved her and she was very comfortable. She amazes me and touches me with her music every day. We’re extremely proud of her.”

Young ukeleleist writes songs of comfort…
Piper Tilton, 11, writes her own songs and plays ukulele at The Cove on Dec. 19, 2017.

Javier Jaimes

Where are you now?

My wife and I are raising a family in Dallas with plans to relocate to Amarillo in order for my wife to open her chiropractic practice. We have a 3-year-old daughter and a son due any day. As I type this I’m looking sideways at my cell phone, awaiting the alert that it’s time! I’m working for UPS now but my enthusiasm remains for drawing, painting, and sculpting (thank you, Ms. Jane and Dr. Hans!).

How did your experience in Montessori School prepare you for the life you have now?

This cannot be overstated: Montessori education is absolutely invaluable. Clearly there is a vast difference between awakening a child’s mind to discover and learn vs. expecting the child to adhere to a state-mandated learning process, and I simply cannot imagine navigating the life I have now without the essential instruction and education I received from age 5 to age 14. In the simplest terms, becoming a father and witnessing my daughter’s young mind blossom, and being able to apply even the vaguest remembrances of my early Montessori education, is truly exhilarating. It makes me feel as though I’m a small part of a grand tradition and I plan to enroll our kids in a Montessori school as soon as possible. It’s not an option, it’s a necessity. Whatever the stage of life in which we are currently operating, there is always more to discover and more to learn. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Hans for impressing upon me that learning should never be only surface-level, and that I must keep digging deeper and marveling at what I’ve discovered.

Emilio and Diego Navaira

Where are you now?

Former students and founding members of the Last Bandoleros, Emilio and Diego Navaira are touring as Sting’s opening act on the American and European legs of his latest tour. The stopped in to visit Mr. Andreas and recorded the video below!

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30: (Exclusive Coverage) Sting performs with The Last Bandoleros at Rockwood Music Hall on April 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

How did your experience in Montessori School prepare you for the life you have now?

Montessori School gave us the chance to explore what our interests. When you let a child blossom and go after their own interests, they just end up learning so much more!

The Sons Also Rise



In early November, Diego Navaira was sitting a few feet away from Sting on the set of the Today Show, singing background vocals as the former Police front man played his latest single and an old hit, “Next to You.” Navaira and fellow San Antonio native Jerry Fuentes were there because Sting, who was in the midst of a promotional blitz for his new album, is a big fan of their band, the Last Bandoleros. Sting likes their songs, he likes their vibe, and, apparently, he likes the way their voices sound behind his.

The gig went fine, though on the video you can see Navaira struggling a bit with the eternal question of backup singers everywhere: What do I do with my hands? A few minutes later, after the show ended and the band was saying its goodbyes, Sting gave Navaira something more meaningful to think about. “He says, ‘Give my love to your dad’s spirit,’ ” Navaira remembers. “His spirit. Wow. It was such a beautiful thing for me to have rattling around in my head flying back to Texas.”

Read the whole article online.


Kyra White

Where are you now?

As of July 2017, I’m preparing to enter my senior year at Incarnate Word High School. I’m proud to say that I have been a leader in my robotics team and my Latin club since freshman year. In addition to robotics and Latin, Theater Company, volunteer work, and academic work have absorbed my attention. I’m currently spearheading a robotics camp at MVM for all age levels.

How did your experience in Montessori School prepare you for the life you have now?

Applying for colleges is in the very, very near future and I’m aiming high – Carnegie Mellon, Vanderbilt, and Case Western Reserve University are my goals. I am pushing for a dual degree in college: a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (specialization in robotics) and a B.M. in Vocal Performance.

Being raised in a Montessori curriculum was a life-changer. My time here gave me a broad learning foundation and encouraged me to pursue my passions. Unfortunately, it has become uncommon to find a child with such a pure love for school and for learning. I believe Montessori really does break this cycle. Reflecting on my personal growth, I’ve come to realize that my love for diversity, community, and cooperation all stem from this curriculum.

In short, I obtained a love for school and an ardent passion for discovering more and more. I wasn’t confined and I was able to determine my strengths and weaknesses freely. Without Montessori, I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Paulina Rodriguez

Paulina Rodriguez, who graduated MVM in 2016, constructed a nearly perfect chalkboard figure of Euclid’s Book IV, Proposition 11.

“In a given circle to construct an equilateral and equiangular pentagon.”

WTG, Paulina!

Paulina Rodriguez

David Webb

David Webb at 12 years old devised an algebraic expression  for Euclid’s Book II, Proposition 5, and proved it to be true.

“If a straight line be cut into equal and unequal segments, the rectangle contained by the unequal segments of the whole together with the square on the straight line between the points of section is equal to the square on the half.”

WTG, David!

Louis A. Davenport, MD

Where are you now?

Louis A. Davenport is a Medical Doctor (Internal Medicine & Aerospace Medicine), Master of Public Health, Senior USAF instructor pilot of the F-16, and Business Entrepreneur.

How did your experience in Montessori School prepare you for the life you have now?

Montessori education readied me for my life now by nourishing two fundamental characteristics into my personality: 1) a true enjoyment for learning, and 2) drive, motivation, and the “know how” to go educate myself when there’s something I need to better understand.

I take on something new nearly every single day, whether it’s finally learning to solve the Rubik’s cube (its popularity seems to be on the return with kids again), learning to integrate social media as I update the website I’ve built for my own business, or learning new capabilities of high-performance military fighter jets. It’s never ending! Because learning is fundamentally integrated into human growth, I hate to imagine what life would be without having been shown how to embrace and foster education. Thank you, Montessori!

Kristie Chiscano

Where are you now?

Dr. Kristie Chiscano, MD is a San Antonio surgeon, specializing in colon, rectal, and general surgery.

How did your experience in Montessori School prepare you for the life you have now?

My early education and elementary education were all done with the people of this Montessori school. I credit my education here with my love for learning and my advancement in my high school and college. Learning was fun, and I was encouraged to advance at my own pace. This allowed me to start high school math two grades ahead of my peers and to complete all honors and accelerated classes in high school.  I strongly believe Maria Montessori‘s method allows kids to experience what they learn and therefore to obtain and to retain their knowledge in a manner that promotes their future education.
– Kristie Chiscano, M.D. 

Natalie Curran

Where are you now?

I’m currently at Trinity University studying a wide variety of subjects and… of course, music and theater. Looking back at my MVM years, analyzing and understanding Shakespeare was one of my favorite things we did in class. Any word or phrase we didn’t understand, we highlighted and Dr. Hans explained. Thanks to those hours of getting into The Bard’s head, I have a much deeper and insightful connection to his works than my peers, even in college.

How did your experience in Montessori School prepare you for the life you have now?

Throughout my years of Montessori experience, one of the greatest skills I learned has been independence. This applies to how I search for knowledge and how I keep myself on track with my work. Many people around me were concerned about my transition from Monte Vista Montessori to Saint Mary’s Hall high school, thinking that I would be at a disadvantage because of lack of experience with homework and traditional evaluations. However, as I quickly found out, I was better prepared than many who had been in private traditional schools all their life, because Montessori teaches skills of self-guidance and self-discipline.

Because I grew up in a Montessori environment, grades do not control my academic motivations. Instead, developing personal interests and harnessing the power of curiosity are what really fuel my pursuit of knowledge. I am extremely thankful that Monte Vista Montessori has taught me that the number grade on a page does not define my abilities or who I am.

My middle school years with Dr. Hans gave me a well-rounded education that was not limited to discrete 45-minute blocks where learning happens on some one else’s schedule, with no connections formed between subjects. I was free to pursue what I wanted, but there were also parameters such as daily Euclidean geometry, analysis and close reading of a Shakespeare play, and group writing times. Taking dictation of a proposition, constructing the figures, and writing the proofs taught me to think critically about math. We involved all of the senses in learning geometry (except maybe scent), which made the information more meaningful and understandable. Analyzing and understanding Shakespeare was one of my favorite things we did in class. Any word or phrase we didn’t understand, we highlighted and Dr. Hans explained. Thanks to those hours of getting into The Bard’s head, I have a much deeper and insightful connection to his works than my peers, even in college. The group writing sessions gave me a deep and solid foundation in editing, writing, and research. To research for essays about art and art history (interests that Dr. Hans fostered, and which continue now in my first year at Trinity University), I read Dr. Hans’s large coffee table books of the Louvre’s collection and other masterpiece anthologies.

When it came time to edit our essays in the group, rather than making us memorize dry grammar structures from textbooks, Dr. Hans taught us the craft through careful listening to and reading of other people’s writing. When a grammatical issue came up, he explained why it was incorrect and then we wrote in the proper form. Thanks to those experiences, I developed an ear for what is grammatically correct—learning nominal grammar rules in high school felt like an afterthought since I knew how they were applied.

The availability of an impressively varied library was a huge benefit as well. Good writing simply cannot happen without a large amount of good reading. I developed my own writer’s voice with the help of extensive reading of fiction and nonfiction from Dr. Hans’s collection and from the local libraries. Weekly walking field trips to the library were excellent gifts to my reading and writing abilities.

I am immensely grateful to my parents for trusting in the Montessori system from my infancy to eighth-grade graduation. Monte Vista Montessori is a treasure that formed my intellect and personality in a unique, exceptional, and nurturing way. The community of teachers still feels like a family to me now, almost five years after my graduation. I will never forget their influence, since I owe so much to their dedication and mentorship.