This interview with Arthur Hicks was conducted over a decade ago, but it feels more inspiring, relevant, and necessary than ever. Dr. Hicks grew up in the segregated South, served his country as a Tuskegee Airman during World War II, and went on to become an educator and a human rights activist.

In 2001, Stephen Chiapella visited the students at Dunn Middle School, and shared the colorful story of his family’s adventures in Mexico and the United States. It's a classic California saga about ethnic diversity and the need to accept and embrace change, told with his characteristic humor and modesty. He passed away in 2014 at the age of eighty-eight. 

For Emmanuel Nana Akyen, soccer has been a pathway to a wider world. Born in Ghana, and by the age of five an orphan, he was recruited for the Right to Dream Academy, where he honed his athletic and academic talents. This led to an opportunity to attend Dunn School in California, and eventually a scholarship to Westmont College, from which he graduated in 2014. He is now coaching soccer and developing a bigger plan for helping to change the lives of others.  Nana's warmth, intelligence, and humor are evident in this interview. Read on, and meet a truly inspiring young man.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rancho Mission Viejo, Tony Moiso is one of Orange County's most influential citizens, a man with a proud California heritage. This interview was arranged by Tony's 25-year-old nephew, Richard Avery. It became a very special intergenerational conversation between two family members. We met Tony at the Rancho Mission Viejo Headquarters on June 15, 2017. 

 

 

Born in a South Sudanese village in 1991, and currently the Inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Dunn School in Los Olivos, California, the journey of Nyuol Lueth Tong has been remarkable in every way. He shares some of his reflections here with stunning eloquence, insight, and honesty. 

I interviewed Aris Alexander at his Hollister Ranch home in Gaviota, California on November 15, 2016.  A retired professor of psychiatry, Aris is erudite and thoughtful. He spoke candidly about life, priorities, and happenstance.

On a recent October morning, John Hollister Wheelwright (son of Jane Hollister Wheelwright and Joe Wheelwright) visited the ranch house in Gaviota where he had spent a portion of his childhood living with his grandparents. He reminisced and reflected with sensitivity and humor about the ranch life he knew, the changes he's seen, and feeling like a 19th century person in today's different world. 

 

 

Sean Herzig has lived and worked at the Hollister Ranch for more than twenty years. Kind, perceptive, and capable, he’s one of those people you just feel glad to see, someone humble and decent, quietly contributing.  Here he shares some thoughts about the importance of family, work, and community. 

 

In this 2003 interview, Ray Valdez talked about the hard life he knew as a migrant worker and the kind of poverty and struggle that might have defeated a lesser spirit. While his grandkids were students at Dunn, he helped out with everything from camping trips to archeological digs, and on Friday afternoons he worked in the garden on campus. He became Grandpa Ray to all of us, and his kindness, resilience, and optimism are inspiring.

 

The Living Stories Collective is pleased to be able to share audio excerpts from a 1998 conversation with Jane Hollister Wheelwright and Joe Hollister, both then in their nineties and looking back on their extraordinary lives with humor and candor. 

Kathryn Holcomb Dole was born into a pioneering family and had a pioneering way of living life. Married to the artist William Dole, Kate energetically managed his career and finances as well as their travel and social life while raising seven children. For nearly a decade in the 1950s and 1960s, the family lived in the old Hollister ranch house, filling it with life and laughter. She came back to visit in 1999 and shared memories from those wonderful years.

 

From the Hollister Ranch to the world and the cosmos, Lincoln Hollister's life has been one of discovery and exploration. In this interview he speaks enthusiastically about his work as a geologist and reminisces with love and insight about his roots.

A natural builder and a teacher of natural building techniques, Betty Seaman shares her ideas with clarity and enthusiasm.  She spoke to us about her sense of place, her love of family, getting off the treadmill of always needing more, and the amazing network of natural builders of which she is a part. “There’s just so much good stuff going on out there,” she told us. “But it's not the sort of thing you'll see on television.”

Our students interviewed J.J. Hollister in 1997 when he and his wife Barbara were living in the old adobe at Arroyo Hondo. He talked about the history of the area, his family, and his childhood years at the Ranch. “In your daily routine you were one with nature and one with places where few people were.”

In this 1998 visit with the students of Vista de las Cruces, Cresensio Lopez spoke proudly of his Chumash heritage, which he believed was best expressed with kindness and generosity toward people and respect for the land. "We don't live alone on this earth," he told us. "We share."