Tag archives: Dear Montecito

Finding a New Artistic Outlet
By Stella Haffner   |   September 21, 2021

This week, we’re hearing from a recent graduate of the Berklee College of Music, 23-year-old Jules Bartling. I’ll admit, it’s quite difficult for me to picture Jules as an adult. The last time we saw each other, we were probably nine and 12 years old, in the MUS auditorium, rehearsing for that season’s play — […]

Searching for Ladders to Climb
By Stella Haffner   |   September 7, 2021

Bringing my laptop downstairs to work in the few minutes I spend waiting for the kettle to boil is what my flat mates call the “American work ethic,” and they find it more than a little disgusting. For many Montecito kids, you would have to take a crowbar to separate the person from their ambitions, […]

Just Like Home: Scotland Obsessed with its Coast
By Stella Haffner   |   August 24, 2021

Dear Montecito, People will tell you that Scotland is divided into the highlands and the lowlands. Her capital city, Edinburgh, as well as the town I live in, are part of the lowlands, but when we think of Scotland, we’re apt to think of the highlands. We might conjure a swoosh of plaid or a […]

Filling in the Gap: Laguna Blanca Product Takes a Year Away
By Stella Haffner   |   August 12, 2021

I was a straight-A student through middle school and high school. That is, a straight-A student except for one class: physical education. How dastardly that my pristine GPA should be sullied by such a subject! Or so I thought then. What I had yet to learn was that academics are a balancing act between both […]

Inspired by Santa Barbara’s Beaches, Cassidy Drury-Pullen’s Bikini Business Thriving
By Stella Haffner   |   July 8, 2021

For many of us, the summer months means dusting off the good old Santa Barbara uniform: flip flops, sunblock, and a trusty swimsuit. Whether you’re sporting Ray-Bans or Billabongs, the mark of a local is their constant beach readiness.  Talking to us today about her time in Santa Barbara and her love of the beach […]

Concrete Changes Exciting for MUS alumna
By Stella Haffner   |   July 1, 2021

Summer is here and so is Dear Montecito’s one-year anniversary. To celebrate the column’s one-year run, I wanted to invite back some of my favorite people featured in Dear Montecito from the past year. Meredith Urschel was a natural first choice.  Since speaking to us last, the Montecito Union School alumna and concrete enthusiast has […]

Josh Chapman: From Dolphin Whisperer to Vegan Animal Rights Activist
By Stella Haffner   |   June 10, 2021

Having grown up in a house on Miramar Beach, Josh Chapman has more than a few tales from his time in Santa Barbara. Between building forts from driftwood and playing dolphin whisperer with his friends, it would’ve been difficult not to develop an appreciation for the surrounding wildlife. Today, Josh is a freshman at Griffith […]

Dear Montecito
By Stella Haffner   |   June 3, 2021

I entered my 20s in the pandemic. Ten years prior, you would’ve found me in Mr. D’Alfonso’s fourth-grade classroom at Montecito Union School. It was a good year. It was a big year. We started algebra and my friends taught me how to change the background image on a computer, so we could all have […]

Dear Montecito: Maiya Roddick
By Stella Haffner   |   May 20, 2021

Since starting this column, I’ve hoped to either feature a fellow student from my own university or another student of psychology. Today, we’ve got two for the price of one. I am happy to introduce Maiya Roddick: an alumna of the University of St. Andrews, a student of psychology, and a wonderfully thoughtful and accomplished […]

Dear Montecito: Kristen Trent
By Stella Haffner   |   April 29, 2021

It strikes me that our country has many euphemisms for bigotry. We can’t pull our eyes away from the screen – our media and its love affair with the transgressions of people my own age. I see others who are ready to excuse their “acting out,” reassuring the rest of us that they will “grow […]

Dear Montecito: Rowan Dowdall
By Stella Haffner   |   April 22, 2021

For the second week in a row, this column is hosting a letter from another talented young musician. Rowan Dowdall is a Connecticut-to-Santa Barbara transplant attending the Visual Arts & Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School. Between teaching himself to play the guitar and taking supplemental classes at City College, Rowan spends his downtime […]

Dear Montecito: Dawson Fuss
By Stella Haffner   |   April 15, 2021

For many, quarantine has meant an opportunity to indulge their creative side. I’ve been treated to pieces of art and writing from friends and family, but it’s always nice to be reminded of the ways in which our community has grown artistically. Although, while I must admit that most of us are just dabbling in […]

Dear Montecito: Corinne Yungling
By Stella Haffner   |   April 1, 2021

Welcome to the second half of our Olders-Youngers, Dear Montecito double-feature! Last week we heard from volleyball star and my former Older, Anika Wilson, and this week we’re hearing from my former Younger and current student at Lake Travis High School, Corinne Yungling. I am especially happy to share Corinne’s letter with you not only […]

Dear Montecito: Anika Wilson
By Stella Haffner   |   March 25, 2021

I was in Ms. Balch’s first grade class when Anika Wilson was my Older. Anyone who attended MUS remembers the Olders-Youngers system. This program paired up students from different years, introducing younger students to a new upperclassman friend every year and eventually becoming a mentor to the next generation. I loved this program and remember […]

Dear Montecito: Bella Venable
By Stella Haffner   |   March 18, 2021

If I know one fact about the Visual Arts and Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School, it’s that VADA is home to many talented students. If I know one fact about Santa Barbara in general, it’s that State Street has experienced a serious decline in quality since all the cool, independent shops have been […]

The Twilight Zone
By Stella Haffner   |   March 11, 2021

Dear Montecito, Did you know you’re not supposed to start a piece of writing with a rhetorical question? Yea, something about it being a cliché. How many English teachers are rolling their eyes right now? It’s okay. Trust me. I know what I’m doing. Or else, I’m a dedicated faker.  Let’s start again. How many […]

Dear Montecito: Jack Moller
By Stella Haffner   |   March 4, 2021

I’m excited to share today’s story with you for a couple of reasons. First, the author of this letter is Jack Moller, a kid with whom I’ve not only shared the same high school but also at the same preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Second, I can appreciate the fact that most of us […]

Dear Montecito: Frankie Fairweather
By Stella Haffner   |   February 25, 2021

Among the reasons I enjoy managing this column must be those moments when I read someone’s letter and think, “yes! I know exactly what you’re talking about.” From Walker Kemp and his desire for a change of scenery to Hope Saxon and her farm cake, I often get the feeling that our Montecito bubble affords […]

Dear Montecito: Shelagh Morphy
By Stella Haffner   |   February 18, 2021

The letters in this column often remind me how young we are when we’re asked to make big decisions. We’ve heard from so many people who had chosen their path before they even reached legal autonomy. Evidently, a third of students change their major at least once and as many as one in ten change […]

Dear Montecito: Hope Saxon
By Stella Haffner   |   February 11, 2021

It’s natural for students who move away from home to feel nostalgic about the place they left. I am reminded of this every week, reading letters about people’s experiences growing up in Montecito. Some speak to my own memories more than others. The letters about surfing and hiking… well, let’s just say I look like […]