Catching Up with Alexis Magnan-Callaway – Class of 2008

Academy at the Lakes graduated our first class of seniors in 2002, and now has more than 240 alumni who keep in touch with the school throughout their blossoming careers. This series turns back the hands of time and asks Academy Alumni about their school experiences, memories and advice for current students. Learn more about our preporatory program here. Are you an Academy alumnus? Contact Bri Dold if you would like to share your Academy experiences with us!

What is your first and last name?

Alexis Magnan-Callaway

What is your current job title?

Founder – Pax Cult

Where are you located?

New York, NY

What did you love about Academy while you were here?

Academy allowed me to take a hands-on approach to my education. I was able to build a schedule that worked best for my learning style and custom build my curriculum with the help of my instructors and advisors. AATL fostered an intimate experience with my own academic development.

How has Academy changed since you attended?

It has only grown! As far as I can tell, its fundamental ideals have remained.

What has Academy done for your college experience and/or career?

Academy showed me that everyone has a different set of skills and learning styles, and each of them is equally valuable. Academy values each student as the individual that they are and created a place where they can all flourish. I now strive to create a similar environment in my own office.

What clubs/activities/sports were you involved in at Academy?

Student council, City of Tampa Mayor’s Youth Corps, softball.

What is some advice you would give to current/prospective Academy students?

Dare to fail.

Steve Jobs said it well, “Success is not a very good teacher.” Trust your ideas whole-heartedly and build them relentlessly. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. Don’t be afraid to get out there and try something new. We all worry about looking stupid when we work hard for something and it doesn’t work. What separates the good from the best is that the best don’t let that fear stop them. When you try things that are new and different, you are living progressively. When they don’t work out, the lessons you learn from that hiccup will be invaluable. Live progressively, and you’ll think progressively. You will march bravely into the future with fresh ideas and contribute to humanity’s future with the wisdom of your experiences.

Also, there’s a lot of pressure out there to chose a career or area of study at an early age. Work backwards. You probably don’t really know at 17 what you want to do. So, try on a lot of different hats, and you’ll know when one fits. Wear it for a while until it doesn’t fit anymore. Life is exciting because there’s so much to learn and accomplish, and you really never know where your brains and talents are going to take you. Embrace possibility.

Who were your favorite teachers at Academy and why?

Dr. Jordan – She taught me that you can be smart, respectful, and have authority all at once. She also taught me how to do organic research. She never told me an answer, she always guided me to it by asking the right questions as I tried to figure things out. She taught me the difference between knowing a formula and understanding a formula.

Mr. Griffin – He showed me that education is more than knowing dates and having a big vocabulary. It’s about understanding what all of these things mean to us as people. He showed me that we will never be able to get where we should be going without a true understanding of where we’ve been. Knowledge is a means to understanding everything we’ve figured out up until now so that we can keep figuring things out and move forward as a civilization.

Mr. Hagenau – no explanation necessary.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Drink lots of water.

Dr. Seuss is one of the greatest philosophers of all time (Seriously, read “Oh! The places you’ll go.”)

 Are you an Academy alumnus? Contact Bri Dold if you would like to share your Academy experiences with us!


Our alumni are attending many of the finest colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. They are attractive candidates because they have had the opportunities to lead and discover their true potential.

They are confident and accomplished young adults who are ready to take on the world.

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