By Morgan Apostle
“Brandon’s too weird to be awkward,” says Irma Spars of her husband, Brandon. The Spars family is undoubtedly a huge part of Sonoma Academy life.
With both parents working and their daughter Clara a freshman this year, almost the entire family goes to Sonoma Academy every morning – and Byron Spars will be a freshman when Clara is a senior.
Some people might not enjoy seeing their family every day, but Irma does. “It’s great getting to see them every day! Sometimes we eat lunch together!” she enthuses.
The Spars family didn’t always plan on attending school together. Brandon started out as a humanities teacher here, and later Irma joined him working in the office.
When asked about awkward moments, Brandon explained that, “You can’t just pop through the hallway without saying hello. If you do that, your spouse will assume you’re mad at them.” He also states that, “Going to Sonoma Academy has given our family such focus! We can’t wait for Byron to go here!”
Another well-known SA family is the married couple Jamie and Kerry (occasionally known by their celebrity name, Jerry.)
When asked what the best part was about working with Jamie, Kerry just laughed. “Well, he’s kind of my boss. If I ever have a problem or anything, he can just go and talk to Ellie about it…also, eating lunch with him is really fun.”
The question we all want to know is, whose idea was the Murray-Hanlon intersession (“Keeping Up With the Murray-Hanlons,” in which students will join Jamie and Kerry surfing, rock-climbing, and participating in a number of other activities)? Kerry says, “Well, it was both of our ideas. Jamie was all, I want to do this, and this, and this! And I said, I want to do all of these…with you!”
Kerry’s only concern is that their personalities will clash over intersession. “Well, I’ll get really stressed out, and he’ll respond by being really relaxed, and that might make me even more stressed…but we don’t really fight ever.”
Will the Murray-Hanlons ever be like the Spars family, with their children attending SA? “It’s a little far in the future, but we really hope they can come here,” says Kerry.
Lisa Zavieh and her two children, Ian and Azalea Martin, have become a huge familial force at Sonoma Academy. “It’s a great way to get to know my kids better, but sometimes I feel like I know too much about their lives,” laughs Lisa.
Azalea agrees on this. “One time my mom ran into me and my boyfriend sophomore year. That was bad. Like, really bad. But it’s nice having her at home because it’s like having your own personal live-in tutor!” (Azalea is in two of Lisa’s classes this year.)
When asked about her brother, Azalea replies that, “It’s weird seeing him around campus. He is so different than me! But it’s nice knowing a lot about each other’s lives now.”
Lisa says, “Sometimes it feels like my husband should be here, especially on Fridays when I have my two kids AND Freckles in the car!” (Freckles is their adorable family dog.) Well, never say never, Lisa.
We all know SA is a great community, and it’s great seeing smaller family communities interact every day, reminding us of our own families.