Dear Class of 1997,
Merry Christmas! We hope that this year has been a rewarding and renewing one for you and your loved ones.
For the December edition of our Class Newsletter, we'd like to share with you updates we have received from a couple of our classmates from Westmont. Kelly Orr Boyatt, Sean Serell, and Luke Sunukjian have graciously agreed to give us an update about thier lives since their time at Westmont. A huge thanks goes out to them and their families for their contribution!
Kelly (Orr) and Jared BoyattThe past twelve years since graduating from Westmont College have passed by so quickly and have been rich with so many changes and experiences. My four years at Westmont deepened my character and prepared me both professionally and personally for my life. After a summer of traveling through Europe with Tricia (Lloyd) Constantino, I entered my first year of medical school. While at Loma Linda University, I met my wonderful husband Jared. Amazingly, he stuck with me through the grueling hours of study and we were married in 2000. My time at Westmont fostered a love for medical missions both with a trip to Honduras and involvement with the medical-dental team on Potter's Clay. Since Loma Linda offers many missions opportunities, I was able to take a medical missions trip to Papua New Guinea after my first year and a second trip to Nepal during my fourth year of medical school. Both trips further impressed my heart to do medical missions in the future.
After graduating from medical school, I chose to specialize in family practice at Long Beach Memorial. I felt that family medicine was a good fit because it offered challenge, variety and the ability to establish relationships with my patients. This diversity of training also provides the perfect foundation for medical missions. During my three years at Long Beach, I trained with an ethnically, economically, and spiritually diverse patient population. In my final year of residency, I was blessed with the birth of my daughter, Sydney.
After residency, I joined a group of Christian family physicians in Temecula, CA who share similar values and allow me to work part-time so I can also focus on my family. The group takes frequent mission trips to Haiti and when my children are a little older I plan to join them. Since joining Rancho Family Medical Group, our first son Andrew was born in 2006 followed by our baby Connor in 2009. Although my career is fulfilling, nothing compares to being a mother. We also feel fortunate to belong to a wonderful church community which, like Westmont, values serving both the local community as well as the world. I dearly cherish the time I had at Westmont to establish life-long friendships, be challenged intellectually and spiritually and experience such a tight knit community. Hopefully someday my children will be so lucky to call Westmont College their alma mater.
Sean and Tiffany Serell
Since graduating from Westmont, I made a quick 4 year run through Georgetown School of Medicine where I was able to apply several concepts which were drilled into my head by the good Drs. Percival and Ayoub. These fun concepts, particularly related to physiology and biochemistry, were of further use during my residency training in anesthesiology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Since completing my training I have been working in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I have been practicing anesthesiology for the past 4 years. I find the opportunity to work with patients, treat their pain, and allow surgery to be performed safely is very rewarding. I am thankful to live in this century where anesthesia is available, while a mere 100 years ago if surgery wasn't lethal it was at the very least excruciatingly painful.
While work is great, I enjoy time with my family even more. I married Tiffany Butchko ('98) in 2001 after she completed her Masters degree as a physician assistant. She currently works as a dermatology PA and when she's not injecting some botox or cutting off some skin cancer she's chasing our two children, Zachary (5) and Alaire (3) around our house, through the garage and usually finds them in the backyard or playing video games in the basement. I am excited to be able to relive my childhood as Zachary is appreciating some of the finer toys of my childhood – Legos, Star Wars and Transformers, and some newer ones like Guitar Hero and possibly one of the best combinations ever – Lego Star Wars. We are also active in our local church where Tiffany teaches Sunday school, and we recently completed a 200 mile relay race from Fort Collins to Steamboat with a team from our church.
I've had some fun times staying in touch with friends from Westmont, and the G&H reunions are always interesting, especially when it's a white-trash costume party with a white elephant gift exchange. I also have had the chance to compete in some Red Bull Flugtag competitions flying an X-wing fighter and also a 1/3 scale replica of a Top Gun fighter 30 feet off a pier into the water. All in all I think the education I received at Westmont was invaluable in preparing me for my current profession, however it was the friendships and relationships that have had the most impact in my life today.
Luke and Melanie Sunukjian
Upon graduating with an Economics and Business Degree I moved to Orange County to continue my friendship with Seth Carey (1997) and Rod Reid (1997). I also had hopes of finding a job in Sports Marketing. Our covenant friendship grew strong but a business job never developed.
With my experience playing volleyball at Westmont I started coaching High School Volleyball and decided to substitute teach. I enjoyed working with students and became a full time math teacher. I also made a daring move (totally worth the risk) and married a beautiful Biola grad Melanie Edwards (Class of 1996).
In 2003 life got real interesting when Melanie and I moved to Washington, DC to live in community with Rod and Seth (and their lovely wives). Community was great initially but the challenges of living together in a four-story row house soon came. Not to mention we all had our first babies within an eight-month span. Through the experience we learned a lot about our human tendency to judge and God's incredible nature to forgive and offer grace. It was God's grace that kept our friendship going and allowed us to reconcile after three years of community.
My family has recently expanded to three children (Leah 5, John 3, and Noelle 7 months) and we have been living on Capitol Hill for a few years now. I teach 7th Grade Math in the District of Columbia Public School system (it's true, we are last in the country for test scores). While working for DCPS I completed a master's degree in professional studies for middle school mathematics at The George Washington University.
Currently I am content (but busy) with this season of life of raising a family and teaching students. I also really enjoy directing the Men's Ministry at our local church. To get more details about life in DC check out our family's blog: www.thechroniclesofsunukjia.blogspot.com.
Again, thank you Kelly, Sean, and Luke for your contributions! What beautiful families you each have!
Merry Christmas to all of you and your families. We hope to see or hear from you all soon.
Tom and Nicole Katona
P.S. Have you moved lately? Had a child? Changed jobs? Gotten married? Update your profile on Westmont's Alumni Directory and stay in touch with your classmates! Or if you'd like to be included in a future edition of our class newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with me.