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Anova Matters Blog    

Where you'll find the ACE wonders of the world...

Each month, we will travel to an extraordinary corner of Anova's world. We will be highlighting Anova students, parents, staff, and alumnus that represent some of the special people that emulate the true heart and spirit of Anova.

This month, Anova wonders ...


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Who's got the 411 on ACE Sonoma?

Laura and Dean Szanyi



Want the inside scoop on ACE Sonoma? Just ask Laura Szanyi, the ACE Sonoma school parent that should have a title like “Chief School Correspondent” or “Parent Team Leader.” She is THE go-to person for parent communication, advice, events, fundraising, organizing, and all-around ACE Sonoma cheerleading. Her son Dean just started his fifth year here at ACE Sonoma and he loves school and life!

Before he started at ACE in the 2nd grade, Laura felt like her family had been left wounded from Dean’s struggles with school.  Her story may sound familiar to other ACE parents. Dean, who is a smart boy with an IQ of 144 had become labeled as a “problem child.” Because of his severe social and emotional challenges Dean would write down pages and pages of his thoughts to help himself deal with his anxiety about school. When he started at ACE, Laura immediately saw a change in Dean as he began to see that the staff understood how he viewed the world and could help him cognitively and socially. Laura said, “It was a uniform team effort working with him from all sides in the best way possible.” Everybody got it. Dean soon began “thinking of others” and exercising flexible thinking. For her, the trek all the way from their home in Sonoma to the Santa Rosa campus every day is well worth it because Dean has grown into a happy teenager who was very excited to start middle school this year.

As Dean’s social world blossomed at ACE, so did his ideas for implementing some fun student activities. Dean enthusiastically approached his mom about two years ago saying he wanted to start a monthly school newspaper. He wrote a letter to School Director Heidi Adler and with her blessing the first edition of the “Dragon Chronicles” was soon hot off the presses! It was a fun collaboration of student submissions with Laura as the moderator. Although Dean decided to retire the Dragon Chronicles last year, it will live on at the helm of other creative students. We can also thank Dean for the idea of showcasing the vast talent among our students at the wildly entertaining ACE Factor Talent Show. This annual talent show has now expanded to our other campuses and is one of the favorite events of the year!

Laura has also had her share of great contributions to our ACE community such as school dances and fundraising events. You'll always see her helping out at every school function with a smile. We appreciate Laura's top-notch talent at organizing, coordinating, and communicating with all of our ACE Sonoma families. She wants parents to feel like they’re on a team here at ACE because as she said, “If your kid is going to ACE, chances are you’ve been through a lot… so we should all support each other.”

As Laura is always thinking of ways to help the school and bring the parent community together, she is now planning a fun bowling event for January. The fundraiser will be held at the AMF Boulevard Bowling Alley in Petaluma on Saturday, January 31, 2015, from 12:45 – 3:00pm. Tickets are on sale now at $25 per person for two hours of bowling including shoes. All three ACE campuses will receive about $16 per person which isn’t too shabby! It will be a fun activity for students and families while raising money at the same time. Please make sure to reserve your spot by September 30th. Download the sign-up sheet from the Anova website and email to Laura at  

Thank you Laura and Dean for your many wonderful contributions to our ACE school program. Your caring, positive enthusiasm, and creativity have greatly enriched our school, parents, and students alike!  

Posted by jackie on Thursday September, 25, 2014 at 09:32AM


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