Drew Thomsen

Year Graduated: 2009

College Attending: California State University Northridge

Major: Music

Dream job: Touring the world playing music. If that doesn’t happen, I want produce music for other artists or for businesses as part of an overall media strategy.

What skills did you develop at Bergamo Montessori that help you in school today?

I have confidence in my ability to learn anything. My experience as a Montessori student gave me the freedom to spend time figuring out creative solutions to all kinds of different problems. I wasn’t given the answers by my teachers and expected to memorize and repeat them for a test. Instead, I was encouraged to explore my interests and come up with the answers on my own.

This has been very helpful in college, especially in upper division classes, where professors don’t give explicit instructions on how to approach a project. I notice that many of my peers who didn’t go to a Montessori school are uncomfortable starting complex projects without a syllabus, or instructions on what to do. My professors give me positive feedback about my ability to come up with creative solutions when they ask broad questions. I know this will help me after college because most projects at work don’t come with an instruction manual.

This skill helps me as a musician as well. Over the last few years I developed a passion for the production of electronic music. My ability to learn new skills with both software and hardware is a direct result of my experience in Montessori, where I was given the freedom and time to tinker with new things to really figure them out.

What is your fondest memory of being a student at Bergamo Montessori?

I will never forget an experience I had as a ten-year-old with another student in my Montessori upper elementary class. We received a lesson about eurypterids – and extinct type of arthropod – while learning about anthropology. It was fascinating and our teacher encouraged us to continue learning more on our own. We quickly exhausted all of the resources about eurypterids in our classroom and then the local library.

We did some more digging and found a professor at UC Davis who could help us learn more. We contacted him by phone, set up an appointment and planned our visit to his office. He was amazed that two ten-year-old kids were so interested in this topic and spent time with us answering all of our questions in addition to giving us a private tour of the fossil collection of the university.

I’ll always remember the “aha moment” when I realized that how fascinating the world is and that, with a little bit of work, I could go find the answer to any questions I have.

What was your transition like to a conventional school when you graduated from Bergamo?

I left Montessori for a conventional middle school. My transition was easy because I could think conceptually. Compared to my peers, I had more life experience and was more confident in learning. Moving to middle school is a transition for everyone, but for me it was a breeze.

What is important to you in life?

It’s important for me to surround myself with positive people who will do good things for this world. I value others in my life who support and inspire me through the creative process, so I am selective about who I let into my life. So far, it is working out very well!