Making the Most of School: Meet SCVi Alum Paige Guarino

Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi) student Paige Guarino in blue graduation cap and gown poses with SCVi School Director Matt Watson wearing black gown with turquoise accents and candy lei.

A Renaissance Era model built to scale? Young Entrepreneurs programs that teach about real-life permits and licenses? Helping to form the Ambassadors program? Meet Paige Guarino. 

During her time at our tuition-free TK-12th grade school, Paige gained a thoughtful awareness of how she learned.  She also had the personalized support of SCVi to guide her both with social interactions (we love learning with others in a team!) and with the academics she wanted to strengthen. Here Paige shares her SCVi experience and what she has been doing since graduation! It’s way cool. 

Who was your strongest SCVi influence and/or what’s your best memory of your time at SCVi? 

Some of my favorite and most influential memories involve the formation and participation in the Ambassadors program. With reference to staff and facilitators, I cannot limit the impact to one person; I credit Cheryl Sena, Christy Zimmerman, Kim Adam, and Matt Watson all as having an immeasurable impact on my life and development in various ways. 

What were some of the events you enjoyed at SCVi?

Most definitely the Arts Festival! Also, the Winter Show and Ambassadors program. Mr. Faulkner and Dustin Lengning started the Renaissance Fair after my time, but I had the opportunity to attend once in high school and thought this was an incredible event.

Were you involved in other activities at SCVi? 

I appreciated my experience with the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, the Ambassadors program, serving as a student representative on the board, and the cross country and soccer teams. 

Also, I did an after-school program with Malaka Donavan, where we learned about finances and taxes. At the end of the program, we went to this event where we got fake life scenarios, calculated our finances, and did our taxes. Honestly, I still use some of the mnemonic devices when doing my finances to this day. (Paige also recommends The Best One Yet daily financial podcast. No mnemonics required!) 

As you know, we’re all about project-based learning at SCVi. What’s a favorite project you worked on here? 

For my IB project I tried to get a bus route relocated off of a residential street to the public road behind it (for safety and a few other reasons). While I was ultimately unsuccessful, I learned some valuable lessons about the bureaucratic process and how many various elements and considerations go into the simplest change in, or request for, city plans. 

I also did a cross-subject project in the 7th grade between history and math (my teachers were the amazing Mr. Molik and Mr. Pennay) that will always stick out to me. We were tasked with building a 3-D model of a historically significant event during the Renaissance Era, built to scale. 

I think the Renaissance Era model has always stuck out to me because (i) this is when I started to learn I could be overly controlling when working in teams and needed to work to reel it in; and (ii) the project inadvertently forced and incentivized me to grapple with and seek help for my weakness in math when I got frustrated that it was affecting my love for history. This has been impactful for me as I consider it a catalyst for a shift in my thinking, really planting the seed for the importance of recognizing my weakness on topics I’m struggling to address independently– to be able to develop personal work-arounds and incentives that help me overcome them. 

How did SCVi prepare you for your life today?

I would have to say that SCVi prepared me for the real world by exposing me to it. Instead of learning in a vacuum, we were constantly being asked to consider and/or pursue real-life applications for various skills and knowledge. (Even the young entrepreneur programs taught about requisite licenses and permits.) Therefore, whether cognizant of it or not, we had already faced the types of obstacles and/or at least had a better idea of what obstacles and processes we would likely face after graduation.

Tell us about yourself now. 

After high school graduation I attended a small liberal arts school in Maryland by the name of Washington College. I received a bachelor of arts in political science, with a minor in religion and concentration in peace and conflict in 2018.  My theory is you can’t understand a country’s politics or conflicts without understanding its history or culture, which is most often rooted in religion.

After my undergraduate studies, I attended law school and received my JD at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in New York. Currently I am a transactional attorney, barred to practice in New York and New Jersey. I work as an associate at Armstrong Teasdale, out of our Times Square New York City office. 

Thank you, Paige, for sharing your SCVi experience with us – we love hearing from our learners both while they’re here and once they’re gone! Not a student yet? Learn more about our tuition-free school that supports your academic and social growth in a small, committed community. Enrolling now!


About SCVi:

Santa Clarita Valley International School (SCVi) is a free public charter school empowering TK-12th graders to become conscientious, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world. We use project-based and social-emotional learning concepts to inspire and motivate lifelong learners with the skills they need to lead in the 21st century. We incorporate technology into every component of our curriculum, and we value and encourage development of leadership skills by inspiring confidence and character in each of our unique learners. Join our innovative school today!