Our First Graduate: Colin Maginnis '93

Assets High School's First Graduate: A Journey With Colin Maginnis '93

We caught up with Colin Maginnis ‘93, Assets High School’s first graduate, to see what he has been up to lately. Colin’s present career path has him traveling the world to find manufacturers to make products for a company in California. 

When did you graduate from Assets School?

How long did you attend Assets School?
1.5 years.

You were the first graduate of Assets High School. What was your senior year and graduation like? What do you remember?
It was in the summer, a very, very small (of course) on-site event with the teachers, faculty and my parents.

Looking back, what does being the first graduate of Assets High School mean to you?
I think Assets School was of vital importance in terms of me completing high school and being able to go on to college. On reflection, I was certainly not on track to achieve these goals prior. I benefited greatly from the individualized learning program I found at Assets School. My academic problem-solving skills and self-confidence grew tremendously. I also loved the mentorship program.

After Assets, what school(s) did you attend?
California State University Sacramento. I majored in Economics.

Colin lives with his wife and two daughters in San Francisco.

Since graduating from Assets School, what have you been up to?
I live in San Francisco. I’m married and have two daughters, one in High School and the other in Elementary. I work for a company that designs recreational consumer products and works with factories to get new things manufactured. It is lots of fun.

What is the most surprising thing that happened to you recently?
I went to dinner on a business trip this month and was served an entire plate of squirming octopus tentacles. I didn’t know this was on the menu and it was certainly a surprise that I will remember (I did eat a few). It was a good reminder that it is a very big and interesting world. I’m very thankful to have lived in an exciting and diverse place like Hawaii, otherwise, I might have completely freaked out.

Where do you work now, and what do you do?
I work for a company that designs recreational consumer products, mainly Photography-related gear. I help get new designs manufactured. I have been working there for four years now. I have been in this field for the last 15 or so years.

What inspired you to get into your current job/path?
I wanted to do something that was a mix of creative hands-on work with traditional business admin functions. I had an interest in graphic design but was working a day job in a financial-related role. About 15 years ago, an opportunity came up via a friend who worked in consumer product design, and they needed help. I took it.

What interests you the most about your work?
The same things as when I started. I enjoy being involved with tangible things, but also enjoy planning and administration work. I enjoy working on things that require attention to detail andfacilitating relationships with diverse teams of people.

How did Assets prepare you for your future and your career? What are some of the lessons you learned at Assets School that you still use to this day?
I think what I learned primarily at Assets is that I was capable of solving the kinds of academic problems that I would encounter in college. This was a big revelation for me. But I remember having a few projects where I received the right amount of guidance so that I could stay on track, work through a process, and seek help when needed it.

Colin Maginnis photo from 1993 yearbook

What are some of your favorite memories of Assets School?
I remember going rappelling down a 40-50 ft wall head first with the mentorship program with the Marines. That was cool.

I distinctly remember getting some Algebra problems right doing a big presentation on the Civil War and feeling good about doing something well in high school for the first time.

I remember having some good friends, especially in the second year when the school moved to the current location. I felt normal there. I remember this kid named Peter Brown who went there for part of the year before moving back to the mainland, he was really cool and got me into some bands that I still listen to.

What kind of mentorships did you have at Assets School? How did it help you after high school?
I did the mentorship with the Marines. We got to go repelling down a tower wall, go on big hikes, and do land navigation. It made me love doing outdoor stuff, which I’m still into.

What kinds of activities were you involved in with Assets?

There were not many formal activities then, as far as I can remember.

What are some of the things you like to do for fun? You mentioned you enjoy cycling, backpacking, camping, and music. How often do you get to do those things, and what happened during one of your most fun times? 
I love cycling. I ride 1-2 days a week. My wife and I love to do hikes together, and we love the outdoors. I have been trying to improve at playing guitar for 20 years, and recently, I started todabble in photography with my older daughter, who is into birding.

What’s next for you, personally or professionally?
I’m happy where I’m at professionally. Personally, I could always use a few more hours in the day to spend with my family and put more time toward learning a foreign language.