Santa Clara University

Santa Clara Magazine

Bronco Profiles

Tell me no lies

Just listen: Erahm Christopher
Just listen! Erahm Christopher.
Photos courtesy J.C. Pohl
Teen Truth

Erahm Christopher ’98 and J.C. Pohl ’98 watched the media reaction to the tragic Columbine High School shootings in 1999 and were left wondering why reporters weren’t asking teens themselves about the cause of the violence inside the school.

There was a story that wasn’t being told, Christopher and Pohl saw. And the aspiring filmmakers quickly found that students were the ones to tell it.

Many teens shared a common sentiment: No one was listening to them, and they felt enormous pressures, from worrying about school and their future to their physical appearances and even learning to drive. Coupled with bullying— a broad term that encompasses physical violence and intimidation as well as gossip and hurtful teasing—teens could easily develop problems that lead to violent behavior. Told right, Christopher and Pohl saw, this was a story that could educate and inspire.

They distributed camcorders to a diverse group of five teens with the direction that, over the course of a year, the students would film anything they thought would reveal who they were and what they were experiencing. From the footage, Christopher and Pohl created “Teen Truth: An Inside Look at Bullying and School Violence.”

“The film gets to the core of the issue,” Christopher says. “We want teens to understand how they’re affecting each other and challenge them to be positive influences.”

At SCU, Christopher studied theatre and communication and Pohl earned a degree in marketing. HRM Film picked up their film in 2006 and promoted it at high schools. Christopher and Pohl developed a curriculum around the film as well as a motivational speaking tour. Tens of thousands have seen it, including over 50 California legislators in the State Capitol at a showing last summer. A prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award in December brought further attention.

The life-changing response they’ve seen among teens has led Christopher and Pohl to their next project: “Teen Truth: An Inside Look at Drugs and Alcohol Abuse”—which was released last fall. Read more about it at —Emily Elrod

The fifth degree

Last spring, a column in this magazine about the first family to have three generations of women attend SCU prompted one alumna to drop us a friendly note: to set the record straight, and to share a story about a mother with five children at home who never finished elementary or high school but, thanks to a scholarship and support from a couple Santa Clara faculty in particular—Jo Ann Vasquez and Kenneth E. Blaker in education—she completed two degrees. Meet Jessie Garibaldi ’74, M.A. ’77.

Three generations of Garibaldi women: Jessie '74, M.A. '77, Diane '77, and Katrina '04, J.D. '08
Three generations of Garibaldi women: Jessie '74, M.A. '77, Diane '77, and Katrina '04, J.D. '08
Photo: Charles Barry

As an older student, Garibaldi says her studies at SCU were no stroll beneath the palms: “A difficult but exciting time” is how she puts it. She was involved with the Chicano movement and served as a community liaison for Project 50, an outreach program for minority students. She also had the distinction of attending Santa Clara at the same time as her daughter Diane Garibaldi, who completed her bachelor’s degree in 1977. (Jessie says she avoided dropping by Diane’s dorm room unannounced. But at commencement, Diane was there in the crowd shouting, “Yeah, Mom!”)

Jessie put her master’s to use in her work at DeAnza College. Diane went on to medical school and now serves as a pediatrician at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. And granddaughter Katrina Garibaldi ’04 just completed her J.D. at SCU this spring. This year she served as a technical editor for the Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal. —JC

Long-distance dedication

Like father, like daughter: Alexandra Taddeucci, left, and friends
Like father, like daughter: Alexandra Taddeucci, left, and friends
Photo: Charles Barry

In 1984, when Dominic Taddeucci ’85 was a junior at SCU, he spent the year studying in Italy, but he was still with the Broncos in spirit, especially when the football team went up against St. Mary’s. To show it, he created two large paper banners—large, as in three stories tall—emblazoned with “Go Broncos” and “Beat St. Mary’s”—and hung them from the Roman Coliseum. Then, after capturing the moment on film, he bundled up his artwork and shipped it home to San Rafael.
When in Rome: John Taddeucci '85 and banner at the Coliseum
When in Rome: Dominic Taddeucci '85 and banner at the Coliseum
Photo: Courtesy Dominic Taddeucci

The banners lay dormant in Taddeucci’s garage for some 23 years, until last fall, when daughter Alexandra Taddeucci entered SCU as a freshman and a fourth-generation Bronco. (Her grandfather is John Taddeucci ’58 and her great-grandfather is Ed Malley ’29; her great-great-grandfather, Ferdinando Taddeucci, worked as a gardener on campus in the 1880s.) Alexandra literally took up the family’s Bronco banner and, just before the SCU-St. Mary’s men’s basketball game in February, unfurled her father’s masterpieces down one side of the tallest building on campus: Swig Hall.

Alexandra said her father was delighted with the tribute. “He still stops by SCU every chance he gets,” she says; naturally, he was there for the game this year. Which, alas, the Gaels won.—DK

All happy families

When the play "Sweet, the Breath of Children" ran in Seattle’s Odd Duck Studio last September, the Seattle Times named it a Critics’ Pick, praising the “wonderfully written” riffs and dialogue and dubbing it an “auspicious beginning” for “promising young playwright” Neil Ferron ’05. With a title taken from Euripides’ tragedy "Medea," Ferron’s play is a dark comedy about a pair of sisters raised in an opulent and oversexed home (think Tennessee Williams) in West Hollywood. It was inspired by Ferron’s participation in a DISCOVER internship working with homeless and troubled teens in the U.S. and a fellowship assisting at an orphanage in Calcutta. While a student at SCU, Ferron said he began writing the play as a way to answer lingering questions these experiences posed, such as, “How do you move forward with respect, dignity, and practicality?”—EE

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