Alumni Spotlight: Julian Bridges

Where do you live now? Los Angeles, CA

Where did you live when you were a student? Atlanta (Buford Highway)

Did you enjoy your time at Arbor? Very much so.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Kate Ramsey—she was simultaneously patient, stern, gentle, nurturing. Everything you could want in a teacher and more.

What was your most memorable moment as a student?
I spent the majority of my life at Arbor Montessori between the ages of 5 and 13, and the impact that the school and Montessori education made on me is indelible. That said, having the opportunity to give the student speech at my 8th Grade graduation from Middle School was a perfect capstone to my experience at Arbor.

What was your funniest moment as a student?
Though it was not funny in the moment, the ardor with which my 8th Grade class debated what our walk-in song would be at graduation is pretty hilarious in retrospect. Many tears were shed.

If you are in the working world, what are you doing and where are you working?
I am currently in graduate school at the University of Southern California, getting my MFA in Film Directing from the School of Cinematic Arts. After graduating, I’m planning on balancing my career between freelancing as a jazz and classical musician (which I trained in during undergraduate and pursued in New York City before going to graduate school) and film directing.

Do you think your time at Arbor helped you to pursue your career? If yes, how?
Absolutely—I feel that my connection with creativity is thanks, in large part, to my time at Arbor. Most of all, though, I think that the ability to teach myself skills that I’m interested in has allowed me to achieve everything that I have so far in life, and I attribute that to both my parents and to the independence that my Montessori education provided me.

Did you ever envision doing this while you were at Arbor?
I made my first film at Arbor’s Middle School (about a boy learning about the dangers of fast food by dueling Ronald McDonald and the Burger King—if there’s any chance the school still has a copy of that, I’d die to see it). That film planted the seeds for what would end up being my primary goal in life.

Are you still friends with anybody you met at Arbor?
I still keep in touch with a few people (Aaron Sulentic, Joey Ziegler).

Would you send your children to Arbor? Absolutely.

Describe Arbor in 3 words. Nurturing, Free, Passionate.

Do you still believe in the same principles as you did when you were a student? Absolutely.

What is your lasting impression of Arbor?
Arbor was a beautiful place to become immersed in the world. The experiences and memories that made me who I am are a result of Arbor, and I can’t thank the school and all of my incredible teachers (Arabelle & Miranda, Lynne Wepfer, Kate Ramsey, Carolyn Snead, Jacqui Miller, Barb Fox, Jan Deason and Annie Frazer) enough for the impact they had on my life.

Julian Bridges, Class of 2007, graduated from the University of Michigan in 2016, where he received a BFA in Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation and a BM in Percussion Performance. The first student to receive this double-degree in percussion at Michigan, Bridges was the recipient of the Britton and Arnold Scholarships, the Presser Undergraduate Award, and was a James B. Angell Scholar. He also studied extensively at the National Conservatory of Paris, where he was a student in the Jazz Department. His performing career includes performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and the Detroit Jazz Festival, and with ensembles and musicians including Benny Golson, Benny Green, and The Texas Music Festival Orchestra. Julian is currently a graduate student at USC’s storied School of Cinematic Arts, where he is working towards his MFA in Film Directing.

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