Alumni: Bulldogs for Life!

Our alumni define our success. In the last thirty-four years, we have enjoyed watching over 750 students successfully transition out of Chartwell and enter the schools of their choice. We celebrate all of their many achievements!

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Nolan Dost (Class of '15), made an unexpected visit to Chartwell. He was ecstatic to be back on campus and reconnect with the friends and teachers that provided him comfort, understanding, and inspiration. After attending Chartwell for 4 years, Nolan enrolled at DigiPen Institute of Technology near Seattle. Before leaving the campus that day, Nolan shared with us a powerful message of appreciation: "Chartwell changed my life. I'm achieving amazing things at University that I never would have dreamed of attaining if not for Chartwell. I learned skills at this school that I couldn't have learned in any other school... I learned about myself, and Chartwell taught me I could achieve my dreams."

Nolan's message tells the story many families experience in the transformative years of school; "Chartwell changed my life." This statement is the ultimate compliment for those who see the value in providing the most thoughtful and purposeful future for students whose needs and talents are often not recognized or meet successfully.

Nick Lombardi arrived at Chartwell’s doors as a struggling fourth grade student reading at a first grade level. Nick remembers that, as a result of his struggles, he was constantly being pulled out of classes to work in special programs and, consequently, “the kids picked on me and called me all sorts of names.” Nick credits his parents with their determination to help their son and after researching the available options, Nick was enrolled at Chartwell.

Nick writes, “In Chartwell I found a place to breathe and mature. I learned new strategies to cope with my learning differences…I learned to advocate for myself.” He recognizes that all of these small steps accumulated; that he gained confidence and learned communication skills. Ready for a greater challenge, Nick transitioned to public middle school for Grade 8 and from there to high school. Relying on the skills and foundation that Chartwell provided, Nick worked hard—very, very hard—to achieve his dream of graduating from high school and going on to college.

Along the way, Nick discovered high jumping and, with the same grit and determination that he applied to his studies, Nick trained and achieved fourth place among all sophomores in the nation! This 5’10” young man, who thought he would never learn to read, jumped 6’6” and earned a 75% athletic and academic scholarship to the college of his dreams.

Mia Michael’s story is her own but reminds us again of the devastating toll language-based learning differences exact on young minds. As early as fifth grade Mia “knew” that she would never go to college; after all, she could barely write her name much less sound out words. Mia continued to struggle, staying up all night to read assignments which she did not understand and which convinced her that she was “dumb.”

Mia’s mother found Chartwell School and told her daughter that the school “teaches special people like you.” And so, for the next two-and-a-half years Mia attended Chartwell. She writes, “Before Chartwell, I truly thought I was so stupid that I could only write my first name. But Chartwell changed that for me and gave me hope that there was a chance for me to succeed in life. I learned that dyslexia was what I had … I’m so grateful that I had the chance to go Chartwell. It makes me feel really good that I could finally fit it and make friends there.”

Mia also went on to attend public high school where she learned that she enjoyed reading, especially about art history. Mia discovered that she had a talent for drawing and after high school graduation went on to Sage College of Albany where she majors in Graphic and Media Design. Mia’s mother proudly wrote that Mia has made the Dean’s List each semester and this most recent semester, she achieved High Honors.