In 1997, the first 8th grade graduating class of Greensboro Montessori School was comprised of three students. Sarah Coates (now Whittemore) was one of the three proud students who received her GMS diploma that June. They are now our oldest Montessori alumni.
Sarah’s younger sister, Emily, graduated from GMS two years later and then their brother, Ethan, graduated in 2006.
Both Sarah and Emily matriculated to Grimsley High School from GMS and then went on to study at UNCG. Sarah received her BA in Psychology in 2005, and Emily received a BA in Spanish in 2007.
Music has been a major influence in their lives since they were very young. They participated and traveled with the Greensboro Youth Chorus and then with the Grimsley Madrigal Singers. But even before that they took on lead roles in GMS musicals during Middle School. They fondly recall a performance of “Persephone” which was an intensive week long children’s opera production, and from time to time they still catch themselves humming the tunes.
Where are they now?
Sarah moved to Orlando, FL seven years ago to pursue a full-time career with Disney World. Sarah works at Epcot Center as a featured vocalist in the world-renowned Voices of Liberty, a premiere a cappello group. She performs seven shows per day. Outside of her full-time job, she also enjoys doing solo and session recordings for television and radio jingles. Sarah’s husband, Scott, is also an entertainer/actor at Disney and stars in the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue in Pioneer Hall at the Magic Kingdom.
After finishing her first bachelor’s at UNCG in Spanish and traveling abroad to Cuervanaca, Mexico and Medellin, Colombia, Emily worked as a paralegal for a local law firm that specializes in immigration law. She then decided to pursue a career in health services and returned to UNCG to obtain BS in Nursing. Upon graduation in 2011, she joined Cone Health System and works as an RN on the Cardiac Progressive Care Unit. Emily recently married her college sweetheart Josué Monge and they are expecting their first child in September. She is already looking forward to being a new GMS parent!
When recalling her days as a student at GMS, Emily says “Montessori education has given me an appreciation for nature and for taking time to explore the outdoors.”
Sarah credits GMS with encouraging her to have a “life-long love of learning, and to be confident in [her] own unique abilities and to follow [her] passion.”
“We both still keep in contact with many of our classmates from GMS. When we see them, it seems like we just pick up right where we left off.”
At GMS, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to the Coates family for being the pioneers who laid those first foundational blocks for what has become an exceptional Montessori Middle School that embodies the best elements of a progressive, creative, and process-driven program designed for and by adolescents. Thank you Paul Coates and Cindy van Laar!!