Worthington News

Linworth Alternative Program

Alumni return to share career success stories

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Caroline Petitti, who graduated from Linworth Alternative Program in 2001, speaks to students during the Linworth forum March 20. Former students returned for the day and spoke to the current students about their experiences since graduating from the school.

Sam Clanton is a former NASA engineer who operated a technology consulting firm in Equador before returning to school to pursue a Ph.D. in robotics and a medical degree.

He now researches systems that allow disabled patients to control robots with their brains and will start work as a resident physician this year.

Peter Bierman built a computer network in high school, was kicked out of college, worked for Apple for 11 years and then retired to play hockey.

He now researches computer vision and takes Zamboni lessons.

Caroline Petitti has spent the past four years designing children's museums, science centers and theme parks all over the world.

All three are graduates of Worthington's Linworth Alternative Program who spoke at the Linworth forum March 20.

Twenty-four young adults who graduated between 1992 and 2008 spoke to current students about how to succeed in life after Linworth.

Classes were canceled for the day so that students could meet with the graduates, either in person or through Skype.

Chris Hasebrook, in his first year as the alternative program's director, brought the project back after recalling how impressive it was in 1998, the last year it was offered.

With help from staff and the alumni association, he lined up graduates who have achieved success in a variety of fields, from music and writing to medicine and law.

All have in common a beginning at Linworth, where they were part of the alternative school that fosters independent thinking and experiential learning.

The Walkabout program allows students to go into the world to learn in his or her senior year. Some take part in local internships; others travel to far reaches of the world to follow their interests.

Some of the returning alumni talked about how Walkabout has led to their careers or has sent them looking in another direction.

Rebecca Rabb, class of 1994, is a judicial attorney at the Supreme Court of Ohio, but she took a circuitous route to that position.

After her Linworth Walkabout as a children's-rights lobbyist, she studied sociology in college, spent six years job hopping around the world and enlisted in the Navy.

"Fortunately, the Navy kicked her out, and law school seemed like a neat alternative," the Linworth Forum pamphlet reads. Blurbs were written by the alumni themselves.

She spoke to the students about how to prepare for a career despite not knowing what to do with life.

Current Linworth students benefited from the tales from life after high school, and Hasebrook and the staff received some valuable perspectives as well, he said.

A teacher at Linworth for most of his career, he was pleased to see former students who clearly benefited from their days there, he said.

"It is a funny phenomenon thinking the presenters sat in these chairs as students 10 or 20 years ago," Hasebrook said.

Likewise, today's students someday might return to share their postgraduates stories.

"It's cool to see the kids now and think they could get their Ph.D.s and medical degrees at some time," he said. 'We definitely will do this again."