Robin Williams went to Redwood High School and Tupac went to Tamalpais High School, but who went to Terra Linda High School? Have you ever wondered if anyone famous or important has gone to TL? This article will tell you some of TL’s most notable alumni, and why they’re important.
Terrorist on the FBI Most Wanted List
Daniel Andreas San Diego was born in Berkeley and grew up in San Rafael. He went to TL, took classes at College of Marin, and worked at SR’s student radio station. He gave up drugs, alcohol, and animal products, becoming straight edge and vegan. After high school, he lived in Scheville, California, and had plans to start a vegan marshmallow company. He was a San Francisco Bay Area animal activist and had ties to Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, and organization focused on stopping Huntingdon Life Sciences, the biggest animal experimentation facility in Europe.
On August 28, 2003, Chiron, a customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences, was bombed twice. It involved homemade bombs on a mechanical timer, the second designed to hurt first responders. On September 26, the Shaklee Corporation, also a customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences, was bombed. The bombs caused damage, but didn’t injure anyone.
A group called Revolutionary Cells – Animal Liberation Brigade claimed responsibility through an email after the bombings, and San Diego was described as having ties to them. The FBI had him under 24-hour surveillance afterwards. When San Diego found out, on October 6, 2003, he drove his car to San Francisco, walked away, and was never seen from again.
San Diego was profiled under America’s Most Wanted, and in 2009 became the first domestic terrorism suspect to be added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list.
Trombonist in the New York Philharmonic
Joseph Alessi graduated Terra Linda early at only age 16 after displaying notable proficiency in playing the trombone. He joined the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra right after graduation, as well as being a soloist for the San Francisco Symphony. He then went to study at the Curtis Institute of Music. During his studies, he won a few jobs for various seasons. After graduating, he made his debut in the New York Philharmonic in 1990 and participated in many concerts, one of which received the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Music. He later developed a solo career, performing internationally. In 2001, his recording ‘Starchild’ was voted Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Alessi joined the faculty of Juilliard in 1986. Several of his former students now occupy senior positions in orchestras internationally. Alessi is considered as one of the finest players of the trombone in history. He was awarded the 2002 ITA Award, the most prestigious award offered by the International Trombone Association.
HP Executive Involved with Spying Scandal
Patricia Dunn was best known for her role as a former board chairman of computer company Hewlett Packard (HP) during a spying scandal. She grew up in Las Vegas where her mother was a retired showgirl and her father was a Tropicana casino entertainment director. Upon her father’s death when she was only eleven, her mother moved her family to San Rafael where she attended Terra Linda and went to obtain a Journalism degree from UC Berkeley on a scholarship.
She went on to work at a variety of companies including a secretary at Wells Fargo, then a chief executive job at Barclay’s Global Investors. She was then recruited as the chairman of HP’s board.
During her time at HP, the company hired private investigators to locate the source of board-level leaks to the media. The investigators used a variety of illegal tactics, including prying into phone records of board members and some reporters. After these facts became public, Dunn noted in an official statement, “I accepted the responsibility to identify the sources of those leaks, but I did not propose the specific methods of the investigation… Unfortunately, the people HP relied upon to conduct this type of investigation let me and the company down. I continue to have the best interests of HP at heart and thus I have accepted the board’s request to resign.” Five years later, Dunn passed away because of ovarian cancer.
Quarterback with the Longest Paper Airplane Throw
Joe Ayoob is most famous for being a former quarterback in California, as well as holding the world record for throwing a John Collins designed paper airplane. After graduating from Terra Linda, Ayoob attended City College of San Francisco where he helped his team lead a record of 23-1 and was named the state’s community college Offensive Player of the Year. He then transferred to University of California, Berkeley, where he helped the Bears win many games. In February 2012, a video of Ayoob breaking the world record for the John Collins paper airplane distance went viral. The previous record was 207 feet, 4 inches, which Ayoob shattered by throwing it 226 feet and 10 inches. Designer of the paper airplane and origami expert John Collins claims that Ayoob has even thrown 240 feet in practice and estimates that possibly even 300 feet is possible. Ayoob mentioned, “In order to achieve the distances we were trying to reach, it took a pretty precise throw, and it took a lot of strength. … There’s a lot of finesse involved, so it’s kind of blending power, balance and control while you’re throwing this fragile, little paper airplane.” Today, Ayoob works as a sales representative for Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco.
Disqualified Olympic Swimmer
Rick DeMont was born in 1956 in San Francisco, and went to TL. He swam with the Marin Aquatic Club. When he was 16, he qualified to participate in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. In the men’s 400-meter freestyle, he won a gold medal with the time 4:00:26. But after the race, the International Olympic Committee stripped him of his medal after finding traces of a banned substance called ephedrine. This came from his asthma medication, which the United States Olympic Committee admits they mishandled by not reporting to the IOC. Either way, he lost the metal and was not allowed to participate in other Olympic events, including the 1,500-meter freestyle, which he had held the world record for at the time. At the 1973 World Aquatics Championships in Yugoslavia, he became the first man to swim the 400-meter freestyle in under four minutes.
He was a coach at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, and is now the head coach of the University of Arizona’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. He is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Creator of Hannah Montana
Barry O’Brien was born in San Francisco in 1949. He went to Terra Linda High School, then to Santa Clara University on a football scholarship for business and finance. After injuring his knee, he submitted his first script for the hit TV show Happy Days, and was accepted. He continued to script other popular shows from then on.
After watching Britney Spears guest star on the Disney channel’s show All That, he came up with the idea for Hannah Montana, along with Rich Corell and Michael Poryes. His idea was a teenage pop star that lived a secret double life as a normal high school student. He pitched the idea to Disney, and they made his dream a reality. Hannah Montana quickly became a popular kid’s show, and resonated with adolescents, gaining millions of watchers for the four seasons. He helped write the show, the movies, and the concert.
In 2010, O’Brien and Corell both filed a $5 million dollar lawsuit against Disney, claiming they were not given the correct share of the profits and pre-negotiated bonuses required for writers who have the title “created by.” They didn’t win, and the show finally ended in 2011.
Although Hannah Montana is done, O’Brien has moved on to other projects. He has been a writer and/or a producer for Castle, CSI: Miami, the Einstein Factor, Drake and Josh, Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Jetsons, the Ghostbusters TV show, and many others.
Many people from all walks of life have attended and graduated Terra Linda. Our students and faculty are extremely diverse and talented. We hope that our students will continue to follow in the footsteps of our successful alumni in their own passion, and make a name for themselves in their own unique and non-violent way.