Grady alums reflect on aspirations, achievements

The Southerner

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Rachel Sandman, class of 2002
Rachel Sandman is doing exactly what she hoped she’d be doing 10 years after graduation: dancing. As a principal dancer for the Minnesota Ballet, Sandman wakes up every morning at 5:30 a.m. to go to a Pilates class, followed by a two-hour company dance class and then an afternoon of rehearsals. After a full day of physical activity, Sandman and her coworkers head to the gym for cross-training, or back to the studio to teach or rehearse for shows with students.
“Our lives are consumed so much by our jobs that it’s kind of hard not to be close,” Sandman said. “It’s just like family. You have your disagreements and your arguments, but it’s very collaborative.”
Amy Ard, class of 1992
Girls soccer is among Grady’s most successful sports teams, but it didn’t even exist until 1989.

“[During] our freshman year, if you were a girl and wanted to play soccer, you had to join the boys team,” 1992 graduate Amy Ard said. “Our sophomore or junior year we got a girls soccer team together. It was very ragtag and we lost some games 16 to nothing, but I think it was the start of something.”

Ard began friendships at Grady that have lasted a lifetime. After graduating from Denison University in Ohio in 1996, Ard worked at an advertising agency in Chicago for several years. On the same day [doublecheck year with Dana Powell], Ard, Dana Powell and Marie Martin (Grady class of 1991) quit their jobs and set out for a four-month-long adventure in southeast Asia, an experience Ard recalls as among the most valuable she’s had.

Ard received a master’s of theology from Vanderbilt in 2002, and married her Vanderbilt classmate, Michael Waller, in 2004.

Today, Ard and Waller have two children and live in Silver Spring, Md. Ard works as a birth doula, a counselor who provides emotional and physical support to women during childbirth, and teaches childbirth classes privately and at George Washington University.

Molly Chase, class of 1992
Molly Chase tried track, cross country, soccer and softball while at Grady, but insists she wasn’t very good at any of them. In her professional life, Chase has proved just as versatile but much more successful.

After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1996, Chase had the rare and marketable skill of being able to design and program web pages. She founded two web page design companies before selling them and moving on to a job at Turner Broadcasting. Chase was promoted to vice president of new media at Cartoon Network—before she quit in 2009 to garden, start a nonprofit dedicated to helping artists write grant proposals and teach and perform improv at the HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis.

“Being a vice president at Cartoon Network was this huge goal I had set for myself,” Chase said. “But once I achieved it, it didn’t mean as much to me anymore. I knew that I could do it, and I wanted to try something new.”

Julia Boardeaux Webster
If in May of 1997 you had asked Julia Bordeaux, valedictorian of the class of 1997, what she’d be doing in 15 years, she would have said “anything but teaching.”
Fifteen years later, Julia Bordeaux Webster is a math teacher living in Asheville, N.C.
Webster played soccer, ran cross country and served as news editor of The Southerner while at Grady.

Webster said she thought her teachers at Grady had one of the hardest jobs in the world.

“I just thought, ‘Who would do that?’ but it turns out I really wanted to,” Webster said.
After college, Webster moved to Asheville and worked at a food bank for five years while she pursued her master’s degree in mathematics education. Webster has two sons, ages 4 and 1. She’s still in touch with a number of her Grady classmates, including several who live in the Asheville area.
“I think there’s something unique about Grady,” Webster said. “There’s something about Grady that keeps that close bond with friends well beyond their high school time.”


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