Ryan Harmon was part of the first graduating class of Chatsworth Hills Academy. He recently posted a letter on the alumni Facebook page about his time at CHA.
Being on campus as often as we are, we may take for granted what a special school we have. This letter reminds us of how unique and precious this time is, and the lasting impression it makes on all who are a part of our community.
Ryan shared the following after a CHA class reunion:
Thirty years disappeared, albeit briefly, yesterday as many of us returned to a place that was our home away from home so long ago.
Deja vu barely describes the visual of Mrs. Shibel swinging her key ring, walking up the ramp and unlocking her classroom door. For a moment I actually feared that I hadn’t completed my homework assignment, that a pop quiz was imminent or that I’d be called on to describe some scientific theory I wasn’t prepared to discuss.
So many synapses sparked for the first time in decades — memories of the guys whose opinions once dictated what I wore and what music I listened to, girls whose affections I sought (though I wasn’t yet sure why!), teachers who I wanted to impress and a campus that is such the antithesis of the word “school,” with its massive rocks, swimming pools and distance from the nearest fast food joint.
Ours was a story worthy of a documentary for Mrs. Jackman to direct — of parents who banded together in the face of government to provide their children with a quality education — and experience; administrators and teachers who broke new ground and brought their talents and passions to hungry minds — ultimately making lifetime impressions; and students who knew they were part of something unique, something special, resulting in friendships that continue to this day.
As I opened the car door for my wife and strapped my son into his carseat after hugging everyone goodbye, I realized that I had just achieved the impossible. I had traveled through time. I was 14 and 44 in the same day. And I hope to return — with more of you there— to tap into that special sometime we all share.
I know I plan to study — just in case.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the current CHA families?
CHA was an important and wonderful part of my life that I look back on with great pride. Little did I recognize at the time that I was in my formative years and that the education I received and experiences I had would affect me for the rest of my life. CHA gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself — and to excel. I graduated ninth grade as Student Body President and Valedictorian. I’m still trying to achieve that level of accomplishment in the real world!
Ryan is a creative director, show producer and writer in the “experience” industry, which means he conceptualizes and creates location based or themed entertainment for theme parks, museums, corporations, events, the internet and much more.
Ryan, thank you for sharing your story with us.