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Welcome, Pegasus Alumni! This page is your one stop place to check out news about featured alumni, matriculation updates, and ways you can connect with us.

Virtual Wings of Honor Award Ceremony

The 2021 Wings of Honor Award recipient is Grant Frazier ('08)

Alumni Spotlight

Raquel Makler '11, Sommelier

Raquel Makler ’11 has spent the last two years as a Sommelier in New York City; however, her path to wine didn’t come naturally.

She left Pegasus at the end of her sixth-grade year to attend Orange County School of the Arts, where she explored singing, amongst other mediums. Her gift in music earned her acceptance at Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts), a premiere music college and performing arts conservatory, where she studied to become a jazz vocalist. During her two-year time at Berklee, Raquel grew to love the east coast and knew New York was next on her list of places to explore.

Raquel worked in restaurants as an after school job during her high school and college years. She gained insight on hospitality, humility, and a strong work ethic. She worked her way up to managing a molecular gastronomy restaurant in West Hollywood at only 20 years old, and hasn’t looked back since. The art of wine, however, was a career she discovered unexpectedly after landing a job at a wine bar in Culver City, without any prior knowledge about wines. She uncovered the essence of wine — its history, science, taste, feeling, geography, poetry, etc. 

Before long, Raquel found herself working as one of the city’s youngest Sommeliers within the highest echelon of NYC’s dining. The wine world runs rampant with mostly men and people that do not look like her; Raquel’s goal is to change that narrative. 

Prior to the COVID-19 closures, Raquel was scouted for her dream job: running a wine bar in the basement of a popular restaurant in the city. Her work centers around natural wine, wine without additives made in small production by the hands of an artist. Natural wine rebels against the typical commercial farming and large scale production, connecting the drinker to the purest form of wine, an aspect of the industry that made Raquel dedicate her career to it. 

Raquel has spent the last year reflecting on her next career move. Shifting from wine service to wine education, she is about to start her first venture as a business owner in NYC. She has partnered with three other industry veterans and is launching a two-pronged concept that aligns wine retail and education with food distribution, mutual aid, and a pop-up space for young chefs to showcase their work. Raquel noticed a trend of the NYC food scene: it lacks the voices of young artists, especially those of marginalized groups. 

AMIGXS, the gender neutral word for “amigas,” is the wine concept. It’s an LLC that will host free wine education for marginalized groups, along with selling wine to those in the community. AUXILIO, the non-profit, will host a CSA program for those on WIC/SNAP to provide fresh produce to the underserved and will have a small café menu for take-out. AUXILIO will also be a dining room for chefs denied space in the food industry. They will be able to run pop-up dinners for recipe R&D and have access to a kitchen incubator that they can afford. A portion of the AMIGXS proceeds will be donated to AUXILIO monthly, and wine from AMIGXS will be used in wine pairings for the pop- up dinners spearheaded by Raquel (her favorite wine activity!).

As a young force fully immersed in the food and beverage world, Raquel is gunning for Forbes 30 under 30 and is looking forward to a projected opening date of December/January 2020 for both concepts.

Past Alumni Spotlight Features

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  • Jessica Harris '12

    Jessica Harris ’12 experienced an unusual spring semester as she completed her senior year at Princeton University during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, she remained positive and persevered as she completed an impressive workload, including a 100-page senior thesis, all from the confines of her home.

    Harris wrote her thesis on domestic counterterrorism spending in the United States. It was titled “The Truth Behind the Terror: Analyzing the Cost and Effectiveness of Post 9/11 Homeland Security Spending.” She concluded that many of the most notable counterterrorism policies and measures do not pass the common cost-benefit analyses and risk assessments used to evaluate the proper response for other threats posed to Americans, such as traffic accidents and gun violence.
    Harris reports that it was a challenge to complete her thesis, let alone her senior year, at Princeton from home. She emphasizes that it was important to establish a routine every morning to get her day started and be productive each week.
    With extracurricular activities like Princeton volleyball missing from her schedule, Harris had to find new ways to spend her time while social distancing. Harris started cooking and baking a lot, which she has always loved, but never got to do at school because students typically eat at social clubs and don’t have their own kitchens. Harris loves trying out new recipes and attempting to make old recipes healthier by using alternative ingredients and substitutes. To maintain physical activity she has also been working out a lot, creating HIIT workouts and taking up long distance running. Since her college athletics career ended, Harris began training for a half marathon. When the actual event was cancelled, she decided to run it herself in her hometown. 
    Harris reports, “One of the biggest silver linings of this whole experience was how close my class at Princeton became in the week that we found out we would be getting our spring cancelled. Everyone lives on campus at my university, which made it extra hard because we were quarantined all over the country, far apart from all our friends, but we made sure to have Zoom happy hours and birthday celebrations throughout the course of the last 3 months. It has also been great to be around family and enjoy time at home for the first time in a few years. Especially before I move to New York City to start my job, it is great to be home and relax for a bit.”
    Harris continues looking forward to a bright future. She will be starting at Barclays this summer as an investment banking analyst.
  • Hawken Miller '11

    Hawken Miller '11, Journalist and 2019 Wings of Honor Award Recipient

    Congratulations to Hawken Miller ‘11, who was selected as the 2019 Wings of Honor Award recipient. From attending Pegasus to interning at the Washington Post, Miller exemplifies what it means to be a Pegasus graduate.

    During his years at Pegasus, Miller was a member of the Pegasus Boy Scout Troop 911. Soon, he earned the highest level of Eagle Scout. For his Eagle Scout project, Miller refurbished the painted map of the United States on the Pegasus campus. His academic accomplishments and desire to give back to his community did not end at Pegasus. In high school, he served as editor in chief of The Bolt, an online news website at Sage Hill School. His talent in writing soon landed him a role as the deputy news director for the Daily Trojan student newspaper at USC. Miller graduated with honors from USC with a B.A. in Journalism. Also at USC, Miller was involved in a reporting project that told stories of people who have been deported using virtual reality in spring of 2018. He recently won an LA Press Club award for that project.

    Miller volunteered for Kairos Technologies, a service learning group which refurbishes and donates old, used computers to local elementary schools like El Sol. Miller was a managing editor at USC Annenberg Media. He is currently continuing to follow his passion, interning at the Emerging News Products Desk at the Washington Post.

    As a survivor of a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Duchenne or DMD, Miller has worked for a non-profit, CureDuchenne, to raise awareness and empower others with the same illness. To date, CureDuchenne has raised over $30,000,000 for research about this form of muscular dystrophy. Their mission is to “fund groundbreaking research, early diagnosis and treatment access. With pioneering education and support programs, [their] organization drives real change for those with Duchenne muscular Dystrophy and their loved ones.” In an interview with the OC Register, “He appreciates the hard work to find a cure, but knows whatever they find is not likely to benefit him. The process of getting new drugs approved takes too long.” However, he states, “I don’t care much about the outcome. God has placed me here for a reason. I need to bring the light I have to other people.”
  • Alexandra Hsu '03

    Alexandra Hsu ‘03, Filmmaker

    Alexandra Hsu ‘03 is a Chinese American filmmaker, born and raised in Orange County, CA. She was first inspired to go into film when she was in high school, at Sage Hill School, and decided to attend the USC Summer Film Program. A career in film seemed to be the perfect fit for Alexandra — a combination of her parents’ careers; father was an engineer and businessman, mother is an artist and fashion designer. Her parents always loved exploring the world, so Alexandra has been able to travel and experience different cultures. This exposure has had an impact on her international film experience.

    Alexandra received her B.A. from Scripps College, double majoring in Media Studies / Asian Studies. While attending Scripps and the Claremont Colleges, she focused on documentary filmmaking. Her undergraduate thesis was a documentary film, "Women: Cultural Revolution to Capitalist Revolution,” which received the Payton Watkins '09 Media Studies Award and also the Pomona College "China Insights" Exhibit Grant in 2011. She gained experience working on four documentaries: the Official Beijing Olympics Film: The Everlasting Flame; Brett Morgen's Crossfire Hurricane about the Rolling Stones; renowned photographer, John Rowe's Omo Child: The River and the Bush, and ping-pong documentary, Top Spin, directed by Mina T Son and Sara Newens.

    Alexandra’s very first internship was with Spyglass Entertainment. One of her most rewarding experiences was working with Ellen Sandler, writer and Executive Producer on the very successful late 90s TV program: Everybody Loves Raymond. This was Ms. Sandler's directorial debut, web series “Marisa Rules.”

    Alexandra was the second assistant director and casting associate on the production. She’s also built a relationship with the Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) over the last several years — as a volunteer, reviewer, features programmer, and filmmaker. NBFF is where her first USC film premiered in its Youth Division and where her film “Sophie” was an Official Selection, 10 years later. 

    Alexandra graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts Singapore, with an MFA in Film Directing and Production. She realized her strengths as a director and producer. Due to her love for travel and seeing the world, going to another country for graduate school felt natural. Alexandra directed five short films in Singapore, Hong Kong, France, Orange County, and New York, respectively, and has directed a spec commercial, Dove Real Beauty Sketches Asia. Her Hong Kong short, “Sophie,” has screened at over fifteen film festivals, including Oscar Qualifying festivals: Austin Film Festival (World Premiere, nominated for Best Student Short Film) and the Foyle Film Festival in Northern Ireland (International Premiere, nominated for the Light in Motion Film Award). Her NYU thesis film, “POP!” starred Emmy-nominated actress, Michelle Ang. Most recently, she made “Our Way Home” in Long Island, New York, set in the 1960s, with characters based on her father and his sister. The film was inspired by a black and white photograph taken of the two in the early 1960s. “Our Way Home” had its World Premiere at Oscar-Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival. It was screened at the Women in Film Shorts Night on January 14, 2019 at the West Hollywood Library. Alexandra has recently been invited to become a resident with the San Francisco Film Society (SFFILM) FilmHouse Residency, an artist-filmmakers residency. Within this program, she will be taking her feature film, QUEENS, from writing-development to production.
  • Daniel Anastos '08

    Daniel Anastos '08, Entrepreneur
    2018 Wings of Honor recipient

    FreshBox Team (L-R): John, Daniel ’08 and Forest in Nairobi, Kenya  City Park Market

    Daniel Anastos works at Komaza, a micro-forestry company that is supporting smallholder farmers in Kenya. Komaza is headquartered in Kilifi, Kenya, and supports thousands of smallholder farmers to grow trees to help address the massive shortage of wood through out the area and to provide an additional long-term means of income. Anastos was hired as a Fellow in Operations in February 2017 to work in the Harvest Department as the farmers were beginning the harvest of trees. He was promoted to Associate in Operations and is responsible for the planning and implementation of all harvesting operations.
    In addition, Anastos is a co-founder of FreshBox, a start-up headquartered in Nairobi with a mission to address the startling statistics that up to 40% of food in East Africa is lost or wasted. A key factor in this situation is the lack of refrigeration, especially as it affects small farmers with few resources.
    FreshBox's flagship product is a large commercial cooling unit that fits conveniently in a vendor space at fruit and vegetable markets across Kenya. Through our inviting customer experience, we are supporting the economic future of merchants across Kenya by allowing them to sell a higher percentage of their produce. Our revolutionary solar-powered refrigeration technology will take us off the grid and help us reach the last mile of poverty eradication in Africa.
    A key component of making FreshBox successful is having access to capital and experienced people. Anastos and his co-founders competed to earn a spot in an “accelerator.” They are now involved in a six month program where they are being sponsored to learn about strategy, financing, operations, and other functions and topics to help them be successful.
    Anastos found his way to Kenya after spending six months as the strategic Initiatives Intern at Kiva, a nonprofit in San Francisco. Here he learned about financial inclusion and the power of micro-lending to individuals throughout the world. A key initiative that Anastos worked on was designing a "crowd vetting" platform where MBA candidates and financial professionals could perform due diligence and contribute to the overall investment decision, democratizing the investment.
    Before Kiva, Anastos attended Vanderbilt University and studied Engineering Science. He graduated in 2016. During his time there, he was an assistant for a PhD candidate, conducting research on lithium batteries. He held many leadership positions during his college years and was involved as a volunteer in a number of organizations (Teach Twice and Engineers without Borders). Anastos spent a summer on Kodiak Island, Alaska as a set net fisherman where he learned much about the local nature and the lives of people who live remotely.
    While at Corona del Mar high school, Anastos earned his Eagle Scout rank and participated in a number of volunteer organizations including tutoring at Pomona Elementary.
  • Stuart Palley '03

    Stuart Palley '03, Award Winning Photographer

    Stuart Palley '03 is a photographer in Southern California who focuses on environmental documentary work. During the summer and increasingly into the fall and spring, he photographs wildfires as part of his ongoing Terra Flamma project, examining wildfire as an acute effect of climate change in the West.
    Palley's other photographic interests include: water issues and drought, the night sky and light pollution, general wilderness conservation, and an increasing focus on aerial photography with drones. His work has been recognized by the prestigious Pictures of the Year International Competition in the Environmental Vision category and most recently, the Natural Disaster category for his work documenting wildfires. His images from Terra Flamma recently appeared in National Geographic's February 2018 issue in the cover story article entitled, “We Are Watching You.”
    Born and raised in Southern California, Palley has photographed for National GeographicThe New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalLos Angeles TimesThe Washington Post, and many other publications. His work has appeared in TIME magazine, WIREDNew York magazine, and The Washington Post.
    Palley received his B.B.A. and B.A. in History and Finance from Southern Methodist University. He also minored in photography and human rights. He holds an M.A. in Photojournalism from the University of Missouri. 

    When not photographing wildfires, Palley can be found on road trips throughout the Southwest photographing the Milky Way.

    Update 9/10/18: Palley and his breathtaking photography were featured in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Click here to read the news.

    Stuart Palley ‘03 stands with his graduate school professors after receiving the 3rd place award in the Natural Disaster category in the Pictures of the Year International photography competition for his wildfire work. The award ceremony was held in Washington DC and the contest is sponsored by the University of Missouri, where Palley received an M.A. in Photojournalism. 

    Dustin Bridges, Stuart Palley, and Chrissy Bridges at the Newseum in April. Palley was attending a photography exhibition and ran into Mr. Bridges getting lunch. Mr. And Mrs. Bridges and the Pegasus students had just arrived in Washington, D.C. when the chance encounter happened.
  • Stewart Hagestad ’05

    Rising with the Masters

    Stewart Hagestad ’05
    , a finance professional and talented amateur golfer, won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in September. This victory earned him an invitation to The Masters at Augusta National, one of the most prestigious tournaments in professional golf where he had a very strong showing, placing T36.

    Photography by David J. Phillip, OC Register

    Hagestad began playing golf around age four. He grew up on a golf course, which was integral in his development with the game. His role models have transitioned from professionals like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to players who have made careers out of amateur golf and have balanced playing competitive amateur golf and also established long standing successful business careers and personal lives.

    Hagestad had the opportunity to play at USC and reflects that the experience was amazing, “Coach Zambri helped develop my maturity as a player and assisted me with the efficiency of practicing the right way.” Winning the Mid-Amateur was a huge success for Hagestad, both from the sense of confidence and achievement. “I had always dreamed of winning a USGA event, but until that dream became a reality, it was difficult to fathom. When the official letter from Augusta National came around Christmastime, it finally hit me that I was going to play in the Masters.” From that time until the Masters, Hagestad made a commitment to himself to make every sacrifice possible to give himself the opportunity to play well at Augusta National.

    Hagestad felt a wave of emotion and anticipation leading up to the first tee of the Masters, “Everything in my golf career had lead to that point, and I knew that I had prepared as well as I knew how. While there was a mixture of excitement, adrenaline, and anticipation, I made an effort to pause and appreciate just how special that moment was for my parents, friends, and myself. I had reached one of the ultimate goals of amateur golf, and I wanted to make sure that I embraced that accomplishment.”

    Hagestad put on an incredible performance at the Masters. “It was far from the best I had ever played, but under the circumstances with nerves and emotions and crowds, I am very proud of how I handled the moment.” His goal leading into the week was to test his game against the world's best. He set a personal goal of finishing in the top 12. “Unfortunately, while I came up a little short of my goal (tied for 36th), I still came away with the understanding that I can compete with the best in the world.” While Hagestad has no ambition to turn professional, he knows that when he prepares the right way, and executes properly, he can play great on any stage. Recently, he had the chance to compete in the US Open, and after the experience at the Masters, was far less intimidated by the stage of playing in his second major championship.

    Hagestad is a devout strategic time oriented goal setter in golf, his professional life, and his personal life. “I firmly believe that your goals dictate your thoughts, and your thoughts then dictate your actions. I have made a tremendous amount of sacrifice in different phases of my life, but it has all been in an effort to achieve goals that were important to me. Time management is obviously critical. The most important thing impressed upon me by my parents, mentors, and other role models, is to set achievable short and long term goals for yourself.”

    Hagestad will finish the summer amateur schedule through the end of October, after which time he plans to apply to a few business schools around the country in an effort to achieve an MBA. He anticipates to return to Southern California after graduation, however, things are subject to change. Until then, Hagestad will continue to pursue his dreams.
  • Jack Makler '16

    You're Creative Enough with NOAP Clothing

    Jack Makler '16
     (shown on left in photo) attends Huntington Beach High School and plays on the Varsity Water Polo team. Aside from being a student, Jack is an entrepreneur. That’s right, he runs a clothing business with his close friend, Chase Hall, who is also a high school student.

    During the spring of 2016, Hall approached Makler with the idea of starting a clothing company. They created the name, “Noap,” and from that moment on, went to work to expand their creativity.

    Noap originates from the two words, “nope” and “soap.” Their central motto is “Stay Clean,” which essentially means to live a healthier and cleaner lifestyle by having good hygiene, staying drug-free and drinking more water.

    “We aren’t trying to force people to stay away from substances,” says Makler. “Rather, we want them to be aware of the dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol. Stay true to yourself, and don’t make excuses.”

    On June 11, 2016, Makler attended a fashion show in Los Angeles wearing a Noap hat. “Immediately people came up to us saying, ‘Woah, that’s a sick hat! Where’d you get that?,’” says Makler. When he told them that it was his clothing brand, they were shocked. A videographer from Vogue Magazine also was intrigued with his product and included Makler and Hall in the event’s fashion show video.

    Since June, Makler and his team moved on to drop their first Noap collection in July, followed by two showcase events in Hollywood on November 13, 2016 and April 21, 2017 at Weird N Awful LA. Noap sold out all their merchandise during both events! “Not only did we sell a lot of merchandise, but also we met so many cool people,” says Makler.

    Makler continues to spread the message of staying clean to whomever he can, and to grow his company. Check out Noap on Instagram and visit their website, New styles are coming out soon!
  • Gabriela Leichnitz ’08 and Kendra Hennegen ’08

    Exploring New Places and Building Connections

    Gabriela Leichnitz ’08
    and fellow alumna Kendra Hennegen ’08 have recently been on quite an adventure together. The two demonstrate the strong connections they built at Pegasus, things they learned and lasting friendships they developed.

    Leichnitz graduated from Princeton University in May of 2016 with a B.S.E. in Computer Science. She spent a few summers in software engineering before working at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) doing management consulting in San Francisco. It was at BCG that she found her passion and decided to join full-time. However, before she headed back to work, she was lucky enough to get a stipend to live in South America and practice Spanish. Her long time friend Kendra decided to join, and they embarked on their trip south.

    In the first week of their trip, Leichnitz and Hennegen traveled to Machu Picchu with two other alumnas, Alexandra Stimpson '08 and Alayna Lewis '08.

    After their trip to Peru, Leichnitz and Hennegen traveled to Chile where they lived for four months, learning Spanish, absorbing the culture and “practicing the songs Sra. Botts taught [them]!” Then, reminiscing of their rainforest chit chats in Mrs. Sarkin’s third grade class, they were inspired to plan a trip through the Amazon Rain Forest of Ecuador. Leichnitz explained, “when we first contemplated booking the trip, we were unsure, but as soon as we thought of you and all that you taught us about the rainforest, we were sold! Memories of dressing up as proboscis monkeys and capybaras (the class's least cute animals, by the way) have been running rampant through our minds while we eagerly anticipate the real rainforest experience.”


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The Pegasus School

19692 Lexington Lane, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Tel: 714-964-1224 |  Fax: 714- 962-6047
The Pegasus School is a coed, non-profit, nonsectarian day school in Huntington Beach, California, that serves students in pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8. A Pegasus education equips bright, motivated students to achieve future academic success and make a positive impact on society.