Hear from our Alumni about the CDS difference

Our impact on students extends beyond their school years. Learn more about student outcomes and hear what our alumni have to say about the lasting value of a Countryside education.

Dante Calise

Class of 2009

Other Alumni

Maria Ullmann
Elsie Han
What are our graduates doing now?

Dante is currently in his final year at the University of Delaware from which he will earn an Honors Bachelor of Science with Distinction in Molecular and Cellular Biology. This past summer (2019), he earned the Bryant-Howard Summer Research Internship Award through which he got the opportunity to conduct biological research at Johns Hopkins University. Dante has been involved in many ways during his time at the University of Delaware, serving as a resident assistant, undergraduate researcher, and teaching assistant to name a few. Given his long-term goal of becoming a research scientist, he has recently accepted an offer to pursue a PhD in Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison beginning in the fall of this year.

What is important to CDS graduates?

I feel that school should include not only academics, but also social education that promotes mutual culture acceptance from all nations. I think people forget that when you go home or when you’re outside the school, I don’t think that the education of a child is confined only within the walls of a classroom, everything, the media, your home, everything impacts the individual that that person develops into. So I think it’s important that education should go beyond academics and not necessarily tell people how to act or call for conformity but to help the individual and at the same time to show an acceptance of other cultures, views and beliefs.

What habits, skills, and character qualities do graduates trace directly back to their time at CDS?

At CDS I gained a sort of an appreciation and respect for people and adults that give their time to do things. I don’t mean to slander anyone, but I found myself in situations among other students where someone would take time out of their day to contribute something to our community or to offer a presentation or give us a lecture on something, and I find that often students don’t even wait to leave the room to begin their complaints. It’s just, there’s a lack of appreciation for what we have. I have this attitude that, I mean, there is always something to thank someone for.

I think I call upon the community and myself to higher expectations I know we could meet, but in a positive light or aspect without pointing fingers. I just take a leadership role and ask people to step up to the plate and meet the higher expectations and hold themselves to a higher level that I know they can.

How does the CDS Mission (Respect, Responsibility and Resourcefulness) still guide its graduates?

At CDS, respect is really emphasized, when you walk through the halls or when a visitor was there it was polite to say hello or to ask how they were doing. At some schools it becomes too relaxed, and it’s important to remember that in life respect is important. There seems to be a sense of respect for your elders and everyone around you, and I think Countryside does a great job promoting it and ensuring that the respect is shown in the community.

Respect is important and has had as much of an impact as responsibility on me. I have the responsibility to be respectful. I feel that with responsibility you can go above and beyond, and then take more responsibility and then there is more you can give back to your community.

What defines the CDS experience?

I found being able to follow my own interests at CDS to be beneficial because the environment promoted an interest in learning and by having the option one day when I wanted to learn about the dinosaurs, I could spend a day or a few days just learning about them. Or if i wanted to do something with math then I would chose to do so when I was really engaged in it. It works out so that whenever I was doing the subject or most often, I was engaged in that subject because I had chosen to do it at that time.

Because we had mixed age classes, peers could help each other and it was good to be able to ask an older student to help me with math. It was just different than asking a teacher for help with something. I just appreciated more when a student took the time and tried to help me. Also, I enjoyed as an older student being able to share my knowledge and help a younger student to do better or to understand something. I think it’s very rewarding. The second thing beyond the academics is that mixed ages complimented the rules and leaders in the classroom. So in like first or second grade, it provided a role model, people you could connect with even if you weren’t really friends or even if you didn’t hang out or spend much time outside of school because they were so much older. They were people that you really looked up to and admired.

I feel like the teachers at CDS were really committed to their job and to the students and to their classrooms. They were just so ready to help all the time. There was never a time where I would ask a teacher and they wouldn’t seem upset or disinterested to help me. I appreciate their enthusiasm for what they did.


Countryside Programs

We offer a continuous program from 16 months through 8th grade — inculding an all year program option for Pre-K/K and elementary school. LEARN MORE

TODDLER — Ages 16 mos.-3yrs

PRE-K/K — Ages 3-6

LOWER ELEMENTARY — Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3

UPPER ELEMENTARY — Ages 9-12, Grades 4-6

MIDDLE SCHOOL — Ages 12-14, Grades 7-8

SUMMER PROGRAMS — Ages 16 mos.-12 yrs., Toddler-Grade 6

ALL YEAR FULL DAY — Ages 3-12, Grades Pre-K/K-Grade 6

Get the bigger picture. Come visit our beautiful campus.

Our admissions director Karen is ready to schedule your tour and a class observation. Countryside offers open enrollment. Families can apply for admission any time of year. LEARN MORE

Campus of countryside day school