Scott Hempy

6 years ago

​Scott Hempy was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 of 2016 in the realm of Energy. He is the co-founder of Filld, an on-demand fuel delivery company. 

Filld is the Uber of on-demand fuel delivery. Out of gas? No problem! Just pull up the Filld app on your phone and mark your location. A FIlld truck will come and fill you up!  

Scott attended K-6 at Vieja Valley from 1997 - 2004. He went on to La Colina Junior High and San Marcos High School. Scott is a graduate from Westment College.

Q&A with Scott

VV: What was your favorite subject as a young student? 
Scott: I really enjoyed the subjects of history & science as a young student. I enjoyed learning the process of what people had accomplished (and invented) in the past, and learning how "things" worked always intrigued me.  
VV: Which teacher at Vieja had a lasting impression?
Scott: I really enjoyed Mr. Nelson, who made learning cool, and Lynn Seigel-Boettner, who encouraged us to learn not just in the classroom, but (for me) through creativity and building things - something I still do today at Filld. 
VV: Do you have a fond Vieja Valley memory?
Scott: I really enjoyed how we were allowed to be creative and think outside the box. One particular example was when for our 6th grade play, a few friends and I decided we wanted to form a band to play music while people were seated before the show started. Our teachers were thrilled and willing to allow us to plan this ourselves and put it together - putting lots of trust in our abilities and ideas. 
VV: When and how did Filld evolve?
Scott: Filld was an idea that occurred when my wife and I were driving and I (creatively, I suppose) was talking about how Air Force 1 can refuel in-flight and how I wished that could happen for cars on the freeway. My wife laughed and said, "why don't you just have someone come fill your car up while you are at work". It seemed simple, and in the increasingly "on-demand" economy, like something that might already exist. After digging around and finding out it did not, I began to think about what it would take to start the business. I brought the idea to a friend and we decided that it might be worth giving it a try. A few months later, we had left our jobs, were working on Filld full time, and had our first delivery truck, an iPhone App, and a couple of hundred people using the service! It has just continued to grow from there. 
VV: Any special message you'd like for the kids of Vieja Valley to know? Or a quote or motto you live by?
Scott: The most important thing that has stuck with me from when I was at Vieja Valley to today is that crazy creative ideas can become reality if you stick with it. From a 6th grade band, to wanting to build my own boat, all the way to creating Filld are only possible if you are willing to take a risk, give it a try, and not worry about failing.

Interviewed 2015-16 school year


Caleigh Hernandez

6 years ago

​Founder and CEO of Best Foot Forward

Caleigh attended Vieja Valley from 1999 - 2002 (1st - 3rd grade). She moved away with her family to Park City, Utah but came back to Santa Barbara and attended San Marcos High School. Caleigh went on to Northwestern University and studied Political Science and International Studies with a focus on international development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Q & A with Caleigh

VV: What was your favorite subject as a young student?
Caleigh: I always loved reading; in fifth grade I was voted “Class Bookworm”, which goes to show how much time I spent with my nose in a book! I also loved math, until I got to Calculus.

​VV: Which teacher at Vieja had a lasting impression?
Caleigh: I absolutely loved my teachers Ms. Murray (now Mrs. Rickman) and Mrs. Busby. Mrs. Busby and I wore the same Halloween costume one year – she was the Queen Bee and I was a bumblebee. Ms. Murray was the first and only teacher to send me to the office! I’ll never forget that and I never did it again! But we are still in contact and she’s been a wonderful friend.

VV: Who has been your biggest role model in life?
Caleigh: I know it’s clique, but my mother is my biggest role model. She’s taught me perseverance and that there is a solution to everything! She’s been my biggest supporter as I’ve done things that aren’t typical like conducting independent research in Uganda, moving to Tanzania and Kenya for a year or starting my own business at 21. She raised three happy, healthy children on her own and continues to serve as an incredible mentor. She is Wonder Woman. 

VV: How did Best Foot Forward evolve?
Caleigh: The inspiration for Best Foot Forward started when I was living with a host family in rural Uganda. On the weekends, a few of us would explore larger towns where we would come across craft markets. Through these travels I kept coming across beautiful beaded leather sandals. I brought a pair back for my mom and she thought we could do something really special with them. 

The following summer I returned to East Africa to find our manufacturer. That’s when I came across Lydia, a Kenyan entrepreneur making the best quality sandals I could find. We developed a friendship and a business relationship. She shipped me samples and I took the idea to a conference where I received funding and mentorship for the idea. That’s how Best Foot Forward was born. We import the highest quality beaded leather sandals made in Kenya and sell them through home shows, festivals and women’s boutiques. We now have ten adult styles in our line as well as two children’s styles. 

Best Foot Forward’s goal is to be as impactful as possible, so our giving model has evolved significantly over time! We originally wanted to create a trade school for marginalized groups in Kenya, but the more time I spent where the shoes are made I realized that wasn’t the most effective use of resources. Unemployment rates are upwards of 40% due to terrorist threats and a declining tourism industry. Several organizations are offering trainings on a variety of skills, but there still aren’t jobs. 

We’re now focusing on the growth and development of our artisans. We’re ensuring they have the skills and resources they need to thrive. As we expand, we can hire additional artisans who can support themselves and their families. We’ve also allocated a community development fund that our artisans can choose to allocate how they see fit – scholarships, sources of capital, etc. We want to give back to the community and have realized our artisans know most about the area and its needs. 

As we move forward, we’re looking at other products we can import from Africa that are ethically sourced. We’re looking into scarves, jewelry, etc. I foresee Best Foot Forward developing into an ethical fashion hub, but who knows? Everyday is different. It’s been quite a journey!

VV: What has been your most cherished moment to date?
Caleigh: That’s too hard a question without weeks of contemplation! I will say this though, waking up everyday loving what I’m doing and don’t take that for granted. 

​VV: What inspiring message would like the students of Vieja Valley to carry with them throughout their academic years?
Caleigh: I would say just go for it! There’s never a time I tried something that scared me and I regretted it. Even if I didn’t make a team or failed at what I tried, the process of challenging myself was the most important part. 

To read more about Caleigh and Best Foot Forward, click here.

Interviewed 2016-17 school year


2010 VV Alumni with Mrs. Lauderdale and Mrs. Seigel-Boettner

2010 VV Alumni
with Mrs. Lauderdale and Mrs. Seigel-Boettner

Sonja Crawford

4 years ago

sonia crawford

Sonja attended Vieja Valley K-6. She continued her schooling in Santa Barbara through her first 2 years of college before heading on to California State University, Fresno. Sonja graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology.

Q & A with Sonja

VV: What was your favorite memory from Vieja Valley?
Sonja: My favorite memory from Vieja Valley was playing handball at lunch and going on the 6th grade trip to Toyon Bay. 

VV: Is there a teacher that stood out the most to you and you looked up to? 
Sonja: There were three teachers who stood out to me while I went to Vieja Valley: Mrs. Seigel-Boettner, Ms. Johnson. and Mrs. Carter.

VV: Did you always know you wanted to be a police officer?
Sonja: Yes, I always knew I wanted to be a police officer. My grandfather is a retired sergeant with the Santa Barbara Police Department. He was a role model to me. One week, it was my turn to be the Superstar of the Week in Mrs. Siegel-Boettner's class. I had to write out my favorite subject, sport and what I wanted to be when I grew up. This is what is wrote:


sonia crawford

VV: Were there any challenges you faced while attending the academy?
Sonja: I faced a lot of challenges. The academy is very difficult. It tests you both mentally and physically. Our class started off with 36 recruits and graduated 31 officers. We started with 5 females and graduated 3. 

VV: What advice would you give to a young, female Charger who has aspirations of joining the ranks of any male-dominated field?
Sonja: My advise to any Charger, female or not, is to follow your dreams. Any career you want to pursue you can achieve it.

​I always wanted to become a police officer. I applied in 2013 and failed the physical portion of the test. Instead of giving up, I worked very hard. I worked out, watched what I ate, and hired a personal trainer. The physical ability I failed was the 6 foot wall. I was having a hard time finding a wall to train on so I decided to build my own. I bought the materials, nails, wood, built my wall and trained on it everyday until I was proficient. Then I re-applied and shortly thereafter passed the physical test.
Don't ever let failures get in your way of your dreams. Learn from them and keep going. My favorite quote that helped get me through the academy: "Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure" - Jack Lemmon. Too often we hold ourselves back because we are scared to apply ourselves because we think we may fail. That alone is what will prevent you from achieving your goals. Each day, show up and apply yourself. Put yourself in positions where you can fail. Learn from it and keep going. The only person who can prevent you from achieving your goals is you. 

(Interviewed 2015-16 school year)