Ferndale Schools : Outstanding Ferndale Alumni

Ferndale Schools : Outstanding Ferndale Alumni

AMANDA OSORIO: Class of 2000

WHEN AMANDA OSORIO WAS ATTENDING FERNDALE SCHOOLS, she had no idea what an impact her time spent in the District would have on her later life. As a self-described academic, Amanda excelled in all of her classes and took advantage of every opportunity Ferndale offered to further her academic career. When she graduated in 2000, she left high school with 40 college credits from AP courses, having earned a Gates Millennium Scholarship and acceptance to Smith College. All of these things are outstanding accomplishments, but it was her involvement outside of the classroom that truly shaped the person she has become today.

During her time at Ferndale High School, Amanda truly found her voice in choir under the guidance of longtime chorale teacher Ms. Brown. “Mrs. Brown heard the potential in my voice and arranged for me to have private voice lessons. It was good for the choir to have stronger singers, but it was such a gift to me as it helped fulfill a desire I held but was afraid to articulate. Guess she was right, as I ended up singing at the Metropolitan Opera House!” Longtime Ferndale patron of the arts Lori Christensen coached talented FHS vocalists for years, but Amanda was perhaps her greatest success story. Amanda went on to not only be a singer for the Metropolitan Opera, but she also won a Grammy during her residency at the MET for her work in the live broadcast of The Tempest.

Amanda’s academic excellence led her parents to enroll her at Cranbrook-Kingswood after middle school. While this was an incredible experience, Amanda never felt at home at Cranbrook and constantly felt like something was missing. “I was miserable there. I came back to Ferndale and with the care that came with being in my home community, the freedom to explore who I was and wanted to be, and of course an amazing vocal music and theatre program, I blossomed.”

Now living halfway around the world in South Africa, Amanda is the mother of two and owner of her own arts company, Africa Arts. She says Ferndale will always be home, and Ferndale Schools will hold a special place in her heart: “It is a rare district that spans the socio-economic diversity of Ferndale and yet still manages to cater to the needs of a great majority of its students.” Ferndale gave Amanda the opportunity to explore not only her academic potential but her artistic calling as well. As one of the longstanding staples in the district, every year Ferndale High School puts on a large scale musical production. During her time at FHS Amanda even had the opportunity to be the student director for the musical Carousel.

Looking back now, Amanda attributes much of her positive experiences and success to Ferndale as a community as well as Ferndale Schools and the incredible teachers the district has employed over the years. “Being able to direct a musical, take university classes, meet students from other districts at CASA, experience diverse friendships, find teachers who were advocates, and not be judged for the process of growing up—these are the incredible gifts that Ferndale gave to me. That kind of support is priceless; it allowed me to take risks and it helped me become the successful person I am today.”