Madeleine Hirsh, Class of 1999

We were thrilled to hear from Madeleine Hirsh and get the skinny on all the amazing things she has accomplished since her graduation from Brush in ’99.

Where did you attend college, what was your major, and what year did you graduate?

Duquesne University, Business/IT, 2003

What are you doing now and where do you live?

I’m a Project Controller for Benefitfocus which is a leading provider of benefits technology that supports more than 25 million consumers in the Benefitfocus Cloud.

I live and work in Charleston, SC which is part of the coastal Carolinas.

Prior to Benefitfocus, I spent about 10 years in the public and federal sectors of Deloitte where I worked as a Manager delivering award-winning IT solutions. I also worked for the U.S. State Department as an E2 Migration Specialist.

Highlights of my career so far:
* Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and twice-certified by Harvard University in Management and Leadership
* Served as the Application Manager for the Federal PCIP program
* Had the pleasure of working for clients all over the country including a month I spent living and working in Mumbai, India
* Implemented successful State Exchanges for the nation’s 2013 Health Care Reform as part of my work on the Deloitte Health Insurance Exchanges. Kentucky’s Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) system was featured in Time Magazine and specifically acknowledged by the President of the United States in his 2014 State of the Union address
* Certified by the U.S. CEBS / Wharton School in Group Benefit Design

What activities were you involved in while at SEL Schools?

Drama Club, Thespian Troupe #583, Student Congress, Orchestra, Key Club, Bible Study, SADD, Chorale, Computer Club, AV Aide

In what ways do you feel that SEL Schools prepared you for your future endeavors?

Drama Club and Thespian Troupe #583 (advised by Mrs. Jean Wall) shaped my high school experience – Mrs. Wall is an amazing person and I thank her to this day.

Brush also had a fantastic English Department which left me well-equipped for college and beyond

AP Computer Science opened doors for a career in IT

There were other experiences at Brush- such as learning Japanese, that were unique and exciting.

What are some of your favorite memories, teachers, or classes from SEL Schools?

Mrs. Jean Wall and Mr. Norm Rogozin were my favorite teachers at Brush – really, the entire English department was fantastic but they were my favorite teachers.

If there was one thing you wish people knew about SEL Schools, what would it be?

I would want people to know about the great opportunities in the public school system. I’d also want them to know about the great teachers and friends I made.Madeleine Hirsh

Catch up with Ashley Berman, Class of 2007

Thank you Ashley for taking the time to update us on your life since graduation!

Where did you attend college, what was your major, and what year did you graduate?

Bowling Green State University, Communication Sciences and Disorders, BS 2011
The University of Akron, Masters of Art in Special Education 2015
Florida Institute of Technology, Board Certified Behavior Analyst course sequence 2015
What are you doing now and where do you live?
I am wrapping up my work at Bellefaire JCB at the Monarch Center for Autism and am heading to Baltimore to work in the NeuroBehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. I work as a behaviorist.

I own a home in South Euclid with my fiancé.

What activities were you involved in while at SEL Schools?

Almost every extracurricular activity, but primarily Soundsation showchoir, President of Thespian Troupe #583, and Marching Band!

In what ways do you feel that SEL Schools prepared you for your future endeavors?

SEL schools prepared me in ways that I began noticing right when I got to college. First, the diverse group of students I learned along side shaped who I am today. The learning opportunities at Brush were, and are excellent. Not only could I take fascinating coursework such as African-American History and Creative Writing, but I was privileged to learn from some of the most dedicated teachers. I remember sitting in writing 102 (thanks to Brush I didn’t even have to take the introduction course) and being astounded that no one knew how to write a thesis statement-Mrs. Falkenburg would have never let that slide in her classes! Thanks to my wonderful teachers I was able to flourish in college having the confidence to tackle even the most challenging coursework. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, being an SEL student afforded me opportunities to develop and express my love of music and theater. Our involvement with the International Thespian Society shaped me immensely into the person I am today.

What are some of your favorite memories, teachers, or classes from SEL Schools?

Ashley Berman 1

All of them? Advanced creative writing with Mrs. Kaprosy was definitely one of my favorite classes. Band camp, being in all-ohio musicals, directing shows, hanging out with Mr. Bubnow in the AV department, everything that happened with Mrs. Falkenburg…

If there was one thing you wish people knew about SEL Schools, what would it be?

Currently, one of my best friends is the vocal music director for Brush which keeps me involved  with the school. I wish people knew that it hasn’t truly changed. Fundamentally, all of the aspects that made my experience so great are still there; the teachers, the classes, and the extracurriculars are all still thriving. Education is what you make of it, and the SEL school district puts it all on the table, but it’s up to parents to instill the drive in their kids to take full advantage of what is being offered.