The journalism career that allowed me to travel around the world writing all began at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, California. I can be very honest about that statement now that I face fifty years old, because I graduated in 1986, but this summer I returned for a heartfelt reunion with classmates that I had not seen since leaving Montgomery in 1986. The amazing math classes, computer classes, language classes, and the first AP writing class in Santa Rosa, they all began for the students at Montgomery. These teachers with their training allowed me to travel, study at universities nationwide and abroad. My friends from Prague, Ankara, Beijing, all the foreign countries I work in travel to California and visit Montgomery High School, because they want to learn how to build great schools in their country. What is more is that Montgomery keeps getting better every time I return with international visitors; From the journalism department with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign classes to theater near the student parking lot which is the envy of many colleges around the nation. I mean seriously, the Montgomery theater for actors is better than most university theaters for training students Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill, and David Mamet. The theater is better than those used by actors in Chicago and New York City’s Greenwich Village. Santa Rosa is a treasure – One of the most beautiful cities on the planet with lakes, beaches nearby, San Francisco, Avenue of the Giants, Napa’s wine country culture, yet Montgomery High School is the best high school in Sonoma County, and I know because I tour them all with international visitors. They return to Czech, New York City, and Istanbul, talking about the extraordinary school that prepares students for college. Then there is the shopping mall next door with bookstores, coffee houses, fine clothing boutiques and Boys & Girls Clubs makes Montgomery extra extraordinary. Real world casualness right next door to the school steps. This Summer 2016 when I returned to our high school reunion, Montgomery’s Senior Steps had Egyptian pyramids, French towers, Statue of Liberty, and languages; Chinese characters graced the walls. My visitors were overwhelmed by how brilliant the message of openness to the globe was for them. The hallways were filled with art. Desktop Publishing Classes taught students to publish better than publishing companies in Manhattan, New York City. Student worked together to clean the parking lot and paint murals. The sports fields look green with perfection as the mountains facing the lakes faced east with giant forest trees. No high school has refreshing views like that in Great Plains, Mojave Desert, or towns throughout the planet. Montgomery High is truly miraculous at preparing students for a future in the universe outside Sonoma County.

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