Spectrum Newspaper September 2020

Page 1


the blakespectrum.org

“Your Voice in Print”

Wednesday | September 30 | 2020

Issue I

The Blake School

Melody Lee

How the Administration Planned for School, Ensured Students’ Safety The unseen challenges of planning for HTLP Noor Naseer | Managing Editor


lake’s COVID-19 response team, consisting of Head of School Anne Stavney, Associate Head of School Anne Graybeal, Director of Transportation, Safety, & Security Mike Feinberg, Chief Financial & Operating Officer Dan Kelley, Director of Counseling Erin Adams, Director of Human Resources Laurel McMullen, Sunita (Ta) Vongharath-Evenson, Director of Buildings & Grounds Lisa Uhler, and PK-12 School Nurse Carissa Osterud, spent the past summer workHow social media activism can be impactful when it’s action orientated, not performative. Page 9

ing on a plan to get students back into the building safely and smoothly. Planning began with the Summer at Blake program. According to Feinberg, this planning allowed the team to implement protocols, such as the daily health screenings, and gauge what the best way was to get students and adults in the building safely. Feinberg explains, “[during Summer at Blake], we had those programs, coaches, or teachers screening their own pod of students [and] athletes. What I learned was that wouldn’t work for the broader community in the fall, so we had to hire additional screeners in the protocol that we set up.”

This daytime scanning crew also required additional support as Graybeal explains, “we are successfully screening everyone’s temperatures every day and there are some members of the COVID response team who speak English as a second language. And so we’ve really needed to support them maximally in feeling comfortable asking these screening questions to families as they arise.” For guidance, the COVID-19 planning team looked to international schools in Germany, Denmark, and Japan that had already re-opened. Graybeal describes, “[Blake] is part of a benchmarking organization called Index Blake Girls’ Swim and Dive Team adapts to new rules and changes as they continue to work hard and race. Page 16

and that’s a group of 50 schools,[...] and what Index did was to facilitate in depth interviews with some of those international schools so we could really dive deep into what their processes have been.” As these plans began to take shape, Osterud joined the team in July. She shares that her role in the planning process “was really to just help make sure that what [the COVID-19 Response team] had worked on over the summer aligned with the Department of Health and CDC guidelines.” Betsy Cawood began working at Blake on September 14 2020 to assist Osterud in answering COVID-19 related

questions, tracking symptoms of potential COVID-19 cases, and answering questions about symptom management, quarantine, and isolation protocols. In addition to planning for in-person school, the COVID-19 Response Team adjusted the RTLP, Remote Teaching and Learning Plan, from the spring based on the community’s response. Graybeal explains, “We did two community surveys last spring, so we had a whole lot of data about people’s experiences. And then in late June, we had a group of over 60 teachers and administrators who dug deep into those surveys and then from a diIf the seat in the Supreme Court is filled, hope is not lost for Democrats, as the upcoming election could change things. Page 12

visional perspective made recommendations to evolve RTLP.” The majority of these changes were implemented to maintain a sense of community and create a more structured, challenging workload. After all these months of planning and preparation, Osterud shares that they were guided by the fact that “the most important thing is keeping everybody safe, …[and] We know that the best way for people to learn is in person, so we had to come up with a plan that we felt could keep as many students in school as possible so that they could get the Blake education that they’re expecting and deserving.”



Coronavirus Cases Spike as College’s Return to Campus Schools need to backtrack due to outbreak Bernadette Whitely | Arts & Culture Editor

The Blake School 511 Kenwood Pkwy Issue 1 September 30, 2020 Co-Editors-In-Chief: Emma Martinez Sutton | Jack Prince Managing Editors: Noor Naseer | Sara Richardson Creative Director: Sage Marmet Online Editor: Jack Prince Multimedia Editor: Will Rosenblum Photo Editor: Betsy Fries Front Page Editor: Sara Richardson News Editor: Emily Rotenberg Student Life Editor: Dylan Gainsley Arts & Culture Editor: Bernadette Whitely


fter a disappointing end to the 20192020 school year and a summer of social distancing and many other limitations, students feel eager to return to their everyday lives. However, the coronavirus continues to alter day to day interactions and endanger everyone’s health drastically. As our simple routines have been disrupted and seeing friends and loved ones have become more challenging to conduct safely, universities are forced to reconsider this

fall’s return. Colleges are employing three main methods when planning the return to campus. Jim Mahoney, Associate Director of College Counseling and English teacher, describes the

meaning there is no one on campus, all classes are online, and there is no housing. Another group of schools are doing remote classes but providing a range of residential experiences. These

lege in Vermont is on campus, and they are being tested twice a week. Using a variety of methods, they have tried to keep students as safe as possible. Despite their efforts, keeping students

“There is the perception that younger people are immune” -Jim Mahoney various techniques and states, “Colleges are either doing full remote, remote with residential, or hybrid.” Mahoney explains that a third of institutions are fully remote,

universities are limiting group gatherings and social events as much as possible. Lastly, there is a final third of colleges employing the hybrid system. Middlebury Col-

safe from infection has proved to be more difficult than expected. The amount of coronavirus cases continue to surge as students, faculty, and staff return to campus across the country.

While colleges use various strategies to keep everyone safe, many students are not following these safety restrictions. Some continue to hold large parties and gatherings while completely ignoring the safety guidelines imposed by the school. A New York Times survey of more than 1,600 American colleges and universities revealed that there has been at least 88,000 cases and 60 deaths since the pandemic began. The risk to the health of students, faculty, and families are immense. During this time, it is important to follow all restrictions. Although we may lose some experiences, the biggest priority is our health and safety.

Food Editor: Jackie Weyerhaeuser Features Editor: Will Rosenblum | Nora Fox InDepth Editor: Emma Martinez Sutton Games Editor: Maggie Seidel | Christina Chekerdjieva Opinions Editors: Sage Marmet | Noor Naseer Perspectives Editor: Maggie Seidel | Christina Chekerdjieva Science, Technology, and Health Editor: Catherine Barry Sports Editor: Jack Prince | Theo Liu Business Managers: Maggie Seidel | James Prince Adviser: Anna Reid

STAFF WRITERS: Shira Aronow, Anna Johns, Jenna Thrasher, Kendall Phillips, Amaka Nwokocha, Ben Lim, Ava Pihlstrom, Emily Anderson, Nya Manneh, Kate Rekas, Shagun Sinha

Students Reflect on Social Distancing in Hybrid System Is it possible to social distance in common areas? Sophie Herron | Contributing Writer


his year is unlike any other in history. The coronavirus has sparked a need for worldwide adaptation, including changes to school safety protocols. Blake has adjusted to these unprecedented circumstances by taking several health precautions including the hybrid learn-

ing plan, mask policies, plexiglass in the lunchrooms, and especially social distancing. According to the Center for Disease Control, “Social distancing is an essential step in preventing the spread of COVID-19.” This begs the question, how well is Blake handling such an important part of school safety? After interviewing thirteen students, the consensus is that the Blake community has done a good job of enforcing all social distancing policies within the school. Additionally, they have made

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS: Elena Gill STAFF ARTISTS: Melody Lee, Zoe Florida BECOME A STAFF MEMBER: Contribute to the paper three times consecutively to be promoted to a staff writer! JOIN SPECTRUM: To promote social distancing, Spectrum will be meeting in the Otis Courtyard and on Zoom during TASC on Fridays. Please come if you are interested in writing, drawing, designing, or taking pictures for the newspaper.

Emma Martinez Sutton

Eliot Mitchell ‘21 and other seniors working in the Senior Lounge. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Disagree with something that’s in the paper? Have an opinion you want to share? Like to draw editorial cartoons? Take a stand and speak out. E-mail letters or editorial cartoons to spectrum@blakeschool.org or deliver them anonymously in room 351. Please limit letters to 400 words. MISSION STATEMENT: The primary purpose of the Blake School Spectrum is to report news and to explain its meaning and significance to our readers and the community. We hope to inform, entertain and provide a school forum for the unrestricted exchange of ideas and opinions. STYLE STATEMENT: Spectrum uses Associated Press (AP) Styles as of the February 2020 issue.

Emma Martinez Sutton

Students hard at work, while social distancing, in the library during TASC.

it possible for students to safely use all common areas such as the library, lounges, and hallways. However, there are a few areas of concern among the student body including the inconvenience of staircases. Fifi Tierney ‘24 shares, “it’s really hard for me as a freshman because I don’t even know my way around yet and so it’s just even harder with having like the staircases be different.” Having up and down staircases in different places around the school makes it difficult for students who don’t know their way around to

find them. On the other hand, Julia Zhang ‘23 says, “I think they’re really effective because although it’s really inconvenient, it controls the flow and it could also be really good for viruses because you’re not actually interfering with each other, with the direction.” Another area in which students expressed concern with social distancing was at lunch. Alex Dopp ‘24 says, “Pretty much all of the time students will be packed shoulder to shoulder in stairwells waiting to get to lunch

rather than being able to properly socially distance.” This could offer an opportunity for the coronavirus to spread, as large quantities of students are packed very close together, which would undermine the other efforts to social distance that have been taken in the lunchroom. Overall the attitude of students towards Blake protocols is relatively positive, with comments of constructive criticism rather than frustration. As Sally Countryman ‘23 explains, “I think you just have to look at it in a good way that we’re in school.”

Students Elect Both Student Body President and Class Presidents Forum adds additional representatives Theo Liu | Sports Editor


ntering the unusual school year, Forum is attempting to bring normalcy back to Blake. Typically, Forum elections are in the spring, but with the shutdown of school, they decided to push elections back. Although this has de-

layed the start of Forum’s planning, they still plan to take on their regular duties, and more. New Student Body President, Sonia Baig ‘21, has big plans for the community and wants to emphasize transparency with the student body. Baig stated that her main goals are to “increase efficiency” and make Forum “more receptive with the student body.” She plans to have students’ voices heard through town halls

where students will “stop in and share what they would like to see Forum do or work on this year.” In addition, Forum charters all the clubs at Blake and did everything they could to make the recent virtual club fair “feel as real or as close to the original as possible.” Forum Faculty Leader Ben Cady stated that he is very proud of students who are “working to make things better.” Cady, along with other members of the

administration, felt that during the online period last spring, “it became a challenge to relay messages from Forum to the entire student body,” so freshman and sophomore class presidents were newly added this year. Cady states that the role is “still developing” and the “responsibilities for the roles are still undetermined.” Regardless, Forum envisions this addition of what is called the “executive committee” to be beneficial for the student body as a

whole. Cady is proud of Forum’s small accomplishments to create a better student life. Some examples he gave include, feminine products in all the bathrooms, larger cups in the lunchroom, and higher quality tissues in all the classrooms, Lastly, Cady admits that Forum “sometimes has a bad wrap” but he believes that it can be changed within the next few years with the group of student representatives.


Hybrid School System Creates Mixed Emotions Format creates problems for students Annabella Rozin | Contributing Writer


t would be an understatement to say that the start of the school year hasn’t been normal. This year we are starting the school year with a Hybrid System, where students attend school in person 2-3 days a week.

Due to the fact that this has never been experienced before, nearly everyone has a reaction. Yolanda Pauly ‘21 said, “I personally like the Hybrid System, it’s working really well!” For some people the appeal of being in school outweighs the obvious downfalls of all the COVID-19 protocall. “It feels like you’re getting a lot less class time overall, and maybe even going completely online would have had more class time with

individual teacher’s,” explained an anonymous student. This system has caused major disagreement amongst the students, causing debate on whether or not the school should continue with a hybrid system, or switch completely to an alternative. Another place of disagreement is when student’s think the school will switch to a fully online version of what is currently happening. All of the interviewed students believe that a

hybrid school system would not last long. Siena Pradhan ‘24 believes, “Less than three weeks, or a month from the start of school,” where as Yolanda Pauly, says, “I’m hoping that we’ll at least make it to December, and then maybe then we’ll go completely remote.” Although a majority of students would agree that a hybrid system is better than any alternative, there have been exceptions. One student

states, “I would actually prefer completely online. I think that when you’re completely online you get more time with your teachers, and I think it would have been way less expensive and way safer if Blake had gone completely online.” Due to the fact that there are many factors that contribute to whether or not we remain in a hybrid school format, only time will tell for what the future holds.

Shagun Sinha | Contributing Writer


lthough most of this pandemic has been a surprise, the 2020 school year students got to choose

whether they wanted to proceed throughout the year with remote learning or hybrid learning. The majority of Blake’s students chose hybrid but for Eva Stegic ‘23 remote learning seemed like the best option. Stegic chose remote learning because her “dad is a high-risk person for Covid-19” as well as she

“didn’t want to get sick”. While students have experimented with remote learning last year, Stegic claims that this year’s version is “definitely better than last year. Last year there wasn’t much time to plan. It of course was hard at first because everyone is getting used to it, but I do really like it. I’m able to really

engage while still being at home.” With the new technology Blake has installed in each classroom, along with the expectations for how remote learning is going to work, remote learning seems to be going much better for students. With these positive afflictions in mind, remote learning still has some is-

sues and still needs to be improved. One issue that seems to be persistent is due dates, specifically. Although there are some issues left to work out with remote learning as a whole, the issues from last year have been resolved and remote learning is going much better for students this year.

through the types of masks they wear. In some ways wearing a mask has just become another part of our daily routine during this “new normal”. As we get deeper into the Coronavirus pandemic, masks have become a crucial accessory in our everyday outfits and lives. Similar to deciding what you want to wear everyday, students pick their masks based on your mood, the weather, and other deciding factors. While talking about whether she spends more time picking out a mask

everyday Kiana Poul ’24 says, “I try to pick a cute mask that goes with my outfit. That can make wearing a mask a little bit more fun.” While many students can relate, others decide to choose simpler masks that happen to work well with everything. Maya Hardy ’21 notes, “I don’t really try to match [my mask]. I have two masks that I kind of rotate between.” Your choice of mask can actually say a lot about you. Choosing to wear a reusable mask over

a disposable one suggests you care about the environment and how you are impacting it. Masks with patterns such as tie dye or cheetah print show you are in tune with the latest fashion trends. Masks with a thinner and more sporty material may indicate that you are headed to a sports event after class. Although wearing a mask can prove to be a challenge, it is necessary due to the pandemic, so why not express yourself!

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n dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are forced to follow strict safety protocols in order to maintain a healthy distance and stay safe. One of the biggest changes we’ve had to implement into our everyday lives is wearing masks. While masks make communicating more difficult, they also give us another way to express ourselves and our individuality. With so many different types and styles of masks on the market, students are able to show their personality

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Mackenzie Higgin s|C ont ribu ting W rite r

Students Gain New Form of Style Expression


Masks Prove to be More Than Just Protection Simple masks are now being used to make fashion statements Molly Seidel | Contributing Writer


ask fashion is one of the trends of 2020 no one saw coming. Masks are

first and foremost a way to protect others and yourself from the COVID-19 virus, but having a mask you love can add some fun to a new fashion item that will be around for a while. Masks are a new hot commodity, and as time passes there will be more variation to the standard mask. Masks range from designer to disposable and anywhere in between. De-

Elena Gill

signer masks are a hot topic right now and many people have varying opinions. Will Eckes ‘24 says, “I haven’t seen any really good looking designer masks yet but I would buy one if I saw a really cool one.” The best type of mask has many aspects to it. The comfort, cut, and pattern are all noticeable features in a mask. Sophia Sznewajs ‘22 speaks on her favorite

type of mask. She says, “I like wearing the disposable [masks] but I think it’s cute when people match their masks to their outfits.” Matching masks to outfits is becoming one of the newest trends and neutral colors such as black and white are very common. Another mask trend is adjustable straps. These are particularly helpful as they can fit anyone. Sznewajs

Students show off their mask designs

Many events that take place in the summer needed to make drastic changes Ben Lim | Staff Writer


Students See Improvment to Fully Online Learning Online school faces massive development

Summer Activities Take a Hit

says, “I think they’re great because then anyone can wear them and it can adjust to their face and fit them how it needs to.” Other common mask trends are having sports teams, schools, floral, bright colored, or tye dye masks. Although there isn’t an end to the mask trend in sight, these variations have added a twist to many people’s daily lives.

ummer is one of the most important times for highschoolers. Not only because it gives them three months to relax, but also because oftentimes they spend their time getting ready for college and or working summer jobs. But this year, the world had to contend with COVID-19 and everything that changed with it. One student Sebastian Pliego ‘22 talks about what it was like working at Taco Bell. He would either prepare the food or work the drive thru. According to Sebastain, “the drive thru people weren’t allowed to touch any of the product, so if they needed a straw they would have to ask someone else to get it.” He also explains that everytime he changed positions he would have to wash his hand and put on a fresh pair of gloves, but that this was standard procedure before the pandemic. Overall he had to be more careful about being sanitary. Jobs were not the only activity affected, sports also faced big changes since so many sports start tryouts and captains in the summer. Nana Vang ‘24, a player for the girls varsity tennis team, explains, “we didn’t have captains practice this year. Usually we would have it before tryouts.” She also says spectators aren’t allowed either. This is a big change for tennis and possibly other sports because captains provide a time for players to practice with the entire team.


Zoe Florida

Supporting Small and Local Black-Owned Businesses in Minneapolis Restoring blackowned businesses Sofia Perlman | Contributing Writer


community that has been hit incredibly hard during the pandemic is black-owned businesses. Mass layoffs, closures, and reduced revenue have all been factors in this. Additionally, recent protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd

and many other instances of police brutality have also has a significant impact on black-owned businesses in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities. Black-owned businesses need your help to rebuild and restore. There are many black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities that you can support. Restaurants like Afro Deli & Grill and Soul Bowl are great places to eat. Clothing stores like

Queen Anna House of Fashion, Captain Rebel, and Arway Bags offer a variety of styles. Small businesses are also extremely important in our economy, creating jobs and helping to build up wealth. Supporting blackowned businesses helps close the racial wealth gap. The racial wealth gap is deeply rooted in segregation, job discrimination, and Jim Crow-era laws that forced African-

American families into lower-paying jobs. According to Green America, the average white family is almost 12 times wealthier than the average black family. In Minneapolis, a study done by The Washington Post shows that black household income is only 44% of the median white household income. This shows the great disparity between black and white families in terms of wealth. In an interview with

NPR, Gene Demby, an American journalist, states that “...the vast wealth gap between white people and Black people is the result of centuries of racist public policy. It wasn’t created by consumer spending. And so fixing this deep-seated problem is also a question of policy, not pocketbooks” showing how we also need to make changes to our government and policies. Demby says that “Black people, then and now, have

been cut off from the avenues that created wealth for white people because of things like segregation, because of things like institutional racism.” Demonstrating how these issues have been around for a very long time. By supporting black businesses, you are acknowledging the systemic racism in our country, helping black families build generational wealth, and improving our economy.

Art Becomes Outlet for Activisim in Minneapolis after Racial Injustice Creativity shows social justice Reina Ackerberg | Contributing Writer


ania Bruguera, an artist who founded the Institute of Activism which intends to bring political change through art, defines activism through art as “a term used to describe art that is grounded in the act of ‘doing’ and addresses political or social issues.” Art is an extremely power-

ful tool in which artists are able to express emotions through creativity. Now, activists have been using this same method to demonstrate social issues. Bill Colburn, Upper School Art teacher, explains the power that art holds and states, “art creates a focus and a reminder, art is part of the solution, not the entire solution, but without [art pieces] it’s easier to forget what happened.” Minneapolis’s city is covered in murals and

posters, serving as a constant visual reminder of what happened earlier this year to George Floyd and what is continuing to happen to our fellow citizens. Jim Spector, Upper School Ceramics teacher, believes that “art is made to educate in order to create change, to change people’s behaviors on future actions.” We are now surrounded by art that serves as a constant reminder of the injustices that are being faced by many communities.

Submitted by: Reina Ackerberg

George Floyd mural on Chicago and 38th Street painted by Greta McLain, Xena Goldman, and Cadex Herrera.

Fall Fashion Trends Away from Lougewear as School is Back in Session School provides fashion opportunities Jenna Thrasher | Staff Writer


fter embracing a spring full of pajamas and loungewear behind the computer, students are ready to break out their style again for in-person classes. However, fall fashion has drastically changed this year, as a result of the ongoing pandemic. People are more excited than ever to store away their sweatpants and slippers and

are eager to strut their style o n c e again. “One of the things I was super e x cited

about [ w h e n coming back to school was getting to put on real clothes and come up with some sort of full outfit and

attire for the day,” says Maggie B o w man, Upper

School social studies teacher. During quarantine, most of us resorted to loungewear, so the

ability to dress up for school again makes fall fashion this season even more exciting. Additionally, lots of our favorite fashion pieces have been in storage for a while, so the chance to break them out again is very refreshing. The piece that both students and teachers seemed to miss the most was shoes, especially for Alana FosterSmith ‘22. “I got these black Tory Burch boots, which are really great for fall because they are a nice base. I also just got a pair of Golden Goose sneakers, which I got off of Farfetch,” said Foster-Smith, excited to wear her new

purchases. As for favorite fall pieces, the classics are still in style. Bowman is excited to wear some of her cozier clothing once the weather gets a little cooler, such as oversized wool sweaters. However, there is a new accessory this fall that is hard to ignore: the mask. The question now becomes whether students and teachers will try to tie the mask into their outfits. Bowman said, “I do try to match my mask to my outfit, but it is always like a neutral color. So, it’s either like black or grey or navy blue, so I match them,

but it’s still a little bit generic so that it’s not a distraction.” Some, on the other hand, are not as concerned. Foster-Smith said that masks are more about “staying safe than fashion. I appreciate the people who [match them with their outfits], though.” Taking the chance to experience fall as a fresh start for dressing will make going back to school a bit more exciting. If we have learned anything during the past six months, it’s that even the little things that bring us joy are essential – especially fashion.


Hybrid Learning Cooks Up Problems, Frustration in Cafeteria Lunch changes lead to safety concerns, complaints Sara Richardson | Managing Editor


lthough the new lunchroom changes are to ensure safety and social distancing, students miss socializing with friends. Bailey Abraham ‘21 says, “[the new protocols] take out an aspect of school, like a social

aspect of school that is really important to have fun. It’s weird having to sit behind dividers when you’re trying to talk to someone because you can barely hear them.” Ryoya Yamada ‘23 adds “Because of the plexiglass [...] it’s making it harder for us to socialize with everyone. And, I’m new here, so for me it’s even harder to make more friends than I would normally.” In addition to students finding it more difficult to communicate with

each other, they don’t see the social distancing necessary to ensure safety. While students understand the need for these rules, they aren’t seeing other necessary precautions around the lunchroom. David Carlson ‘23 describes how “everyone is cramped into that staircase and they only enforce social distance when we are [in the lunchroom.] We need to change to have one of the larger staircases to be the down stairs.”

Many students are starting to eat at different times during the lunch period so they can stay safe. However, students in the gym continue to feel like they should be allowed to leave early or go to other areas. Shreya Mohan ‘22 says, “this might be different if I was in the cafeteria, but I think maybe letting us out to one other spot might be better, especially because the gym is so cold.” Many students miss having choices of making

their own sandwich or salad, and trying a bit of everything. Charlie Weyerhaeuser ‘23 states, “They should have more options. We are getting like one or two options, and it’s like a hot meal and a sandwich.” Furthermore, students wish that they could bring their own food. Abraham feels as though “allowing students to bring their own meals” would fix a lot of the lunch problems. Although students wish lunches could go back to

normal, they’re finding different ways to adapt. Mohan says, “I have to plan ahead with a friend what lunch we have and where to meet [...] depending on when your class gets out, even if you’re let out five minutes late, you’re stuck in the line for so long and it’s super hard to find a spot with your friend.” Along with all the other new protocols, students continue to try to find solutions for these problems as the need for social distancing continues.

photographer credit here

Sara Richardson

Juniors sit in the gym as they eat their lunch. Bingo games once a week provide a form of entertainment and excitement since students are not allowed to leave until the lunch block is over. Students often do homework, converse with friends, and play the iMessage game, Crazy Eights.

Seniors enjoy their lunch in the lunchroom. Unlike juniors and sophomores, seniors are allowed to eat in the courtyard or go to the senior lounge when they’re finished. They find this time helps them stay on top of their schoolwork and college applications.

New Lunch Style Leads to Lack of Vegetarian Options Few options leave vegetarians wanting more Cleo Kilpatrick | Contributing Writer


unch is a time of the day where students shouldn’t have to worry about class or school work. It’s a time when students can relax. In true

2020 fashion, lunch is different and a little more stressful this year especially for vegans and vegetarians. The lines are longer and it takes more time to get your food. Without a salad or sandwich bar and fewer options overall vegans and vegetarians can feel extra stress when going through the lunch line. Lindsey Reese ‘24 says, “There were vegetar-

ian meals in middle school; I knew what to expect.” Now vegans and vegetarians have to ask specifically for the alternate option. Sometimes the option isn’t at the ready which can hold up the line because the lunch staff have to go in the back to get it. The extra time requesting the vegetarian option can take away from the peacefulness of eating. When the lines are

already long and students then have to take extra time to wait for their meal, they’re left with very little time to eat. Lorna Kruesel ‘21 says, “Standing in line asking for the vegan option is stressful. […] I bring my own lunch. I can cut the line and go eat in the courtyard, which has been nice, but I don’t know what I’m going to do as it gets colder.”

With the elimination of the self-serve salad and sandwich bar and most meals containing meat, vegans and vegetarians have found that their meals have become redundant. Reese described the lunches as “good, but sometimes I feel they repeat the same thing a couple times.” Since we’re only in school for a few days each week this can be frustrating.

On a positive note, not all vegans and vegetarians think obtaining a healthy and filling school lunch is so difficult. Eloise Walsh ‘24 says, “[The] first day I was hesitant on if there would be good [vegetarian] options. So far this year hasn’t been that bad.” Hopefully as we adjust to our new normal vegans and vegetarians will find lunch easier to adjust to.

School Morning Breakfast Ideas Quick, easy recipes to start your morning Maggie Seidel | Co-Business Manager


pples and Granola Fall Breakfast

Ingredients: Serving of Granola: I use Pumpkin Cinnamon Purely Elizabeth granola. 1 apple: I prefer Fuji apples. 3-4 Medjool dates This recipe can be modified very easily to accommodate personal preferences. I begin by pouring the granola into my bowl as a base. Then, I slice

my apple and add several dates. The combination of these flavors tastes like an autumnal dessert, namely an apple crisp or apple pie. Lastly, I will decorate the top of my bowl with more granola and enjoy! Egg English Muffin Ingredients: English Breakfast Muffin: I like the english breakfast muffins from Trader Joe’s. 2-3 Eggs Cheese: I prefer mozzarella or white cheddar cheese. Fruit: My favorite berries at the moment have been strawberries. This recipe takes inspiration from Starbucks’ own breakfast sandwiches. To start,

I will cook my eggs and season them with salt and pepper. Then, I will place the egg and cheese in the English breakfast muffin and put it in the microwave for 45 seconds. It is easy to customize this recipe with your favorite ways to cook eggs and toppings. To finish, I will cut s o m e s t r a wberries for a sweet addition to a savory breakfast sandwich, perfect for onthe-go mornings.

Top: Apples and Granola Fall Breakfast Bottom: Egg English Muffin Photos by Maggie Seidel


Students, Teachers, Staff Welcome CJ as the new Senior Grade Dean Jones Eckhardt excited to take on new position in Upper School Nya Manneh | Staff Writer

Submitted by: CJ Jones Eckhardt

Nya Manneh

Submitted by: CJ Jones Eckhardt

Jones Eckhardt volunteered as a chaperone for the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jones Eckhardt says that she would describe herself as someone who is “welcoming, engaging, funny, but stern if I have to be approachable, empathetic, and just somebody you’d be comfortable talking with!”

Jones Eckhardt enjoyed her time in admissions but is excited for this new chapter.

“She’ll continue to bring a positive energy to the grade... I think she’ll be a great support for the kids, and I think it’s who she is to the core that she wants what’s best for the kids, so I think that will come through in whatever she does” - Adriana Matzke


e have all experienced so many changes in the past six months, from COVID-19 to widespread Black Lives Matter movements, so it’s understandable that any more change could throw some of us off the deep end. Luckily, the addition of CJ Jones Eckhardt as the new Senior Dean might just turn the Senior Class’ year around. Jones Eckhardt has been at Blake for 4 years, starting as the Associate Director of Admissions and Upper School Coordinator in 2017. During her time in admissions, students may have witnessed her amazingly warm and welcoming spirit as she roamed the halls to say hello. Students may have also known her as an active participant in the affinity group, SHADES, as the lead faculty for Admissions Ambassadors, or as the JV Softball Head Coach. Although Jones Eckhardt was great at her job in admissions, when the opportunity arose to become the Senior Dean, she knew she wanted more: “I could have stayed in admissions, things would have been just fine, as far as I know, Blake wasn’t trying to get rid of me. But this was an intentional job. Right now we’re two weeks in, al-

ready, and I have never felt so connected. I’ve never felt so... this is natural. It just fits. It’s exhausting, it’s exhilarating, it’s fun, but I’m happy now. Y’all [the class of 2021] want to drive me CRAZY, but it’s definitely worth it.” Many members of the Blake community wish her well in her new position. When asked about how she felt after learning Jones Eckhardt was becoming her new grade dean, Lorna Kruesel ‘21

she’s honest, which I appreciate, and her energy that she brings to work and her willingness to listen to other people’s ideas, she’s a good collaborator… she’s a wonderful, supportive, positive, upbeat colleague.” Librarian Lizz Buchanan said something similar: “I like that she checks in with people. I like that, at least once a day, she comes by to just say hey, and to see what’s going on.” Physics teacher Steve Kaback and Class of 2023

ence, teen approach, all of those things, like knowledge of institutions–all those things.” Jones Eckhardt states that her hope is to “get to know as many of [the Seniors] as I can. The ones that maybe I said hi to, I want to understand who they are, I want to understand how they work, I want to understand how I can make their experience [in their last year] at Blake the most memorable and as smooth as possible. That’s

job of getting to know everybody, and advocating for all of us,” says Vavrichek. Similarly, Kruesel states, “I think she’s going to make us nicer...she’s going to help keep us hopeful and bright. It sucks that this is senior year, but…I think she’s helping get the energy more happy and hopeful.” Billy Dunlap ’21 believes that she’ll prevail in “bringing us all together, helping us be aware of what’s going on in the world.” Kaback explains that Jones

said, “She’s really cool and she brings a lot of positive energy, which I think all of us need right now.” Most students are drawn to Jones Eckhardt’s personality. Kenna Vavrichek ‘21 explains, “She’s hilarious and knows a lot about many things and gives me great advice, and she’s a really fun person to talk to.” Even for faculty, Jones Eckhardt is such a positive influence. For Adriana Matzke, who worked with her in admissions, “She’s a truth teller,

Dean Mike Canfield, who were on the panel of interviewers for her job in admissions and the dean position respectively, knew she’d be a great fit. Kaback adoringly states, “I know that she has a wonderful personality, she’s incredibly articulate, caring, and she has such a great background to help out the class of 2021.” Similarly, Canfield explains that he values “her overall personality, approach, depth of experience of different things, her athletic experi-

my goal…What I’m excited about is those relationships. I’m excited to, hopefully, though COVID-19 exists, make sure that you can say, ‘Wow! That was a really cool senior year! Oh my gosh, we had so much fun.’ My hope is to make sure that you all still feel confident in your experience at Blake, and excited and prepared for college.” Luckily, both the faculty and students seem to have total faith in her. “I think that she’ll do a great

Eckhardt’s greatest accomplishment and hardest task will be ushering the seniors to graduation during these unprecedented times: “I’ve found that she’s been very proactive talking with the advisors of the senior homerooms, and the lines of communication are really healthy, and so I think all of those things will add up.” Canfield likewise commended her, assuring she would excel in guiding the seniors to graduation: “She’ll respond and help students

“I want to understand who they are, I want to understand how they work, I want to understand how I can make their experience [in their last year] at Blake the most memorable and as smooth as possible. That’s my goal”

from all different perspectives get through this year, and I think that’s the sort of the strength of her character and personality that will allow her to do that.” Finally, equally as enthusiastic Buchanan says, “The first year at a job is always weird and hard, and I think that CJ has got a little bit of a jump because she has the institutional knowledge. I think that she’s going to make this year as great as she can for seniors given everything that’s going on, and I think that within a few months, it’s going to feel like she was always your dean. And I think that that’s going to be her biggest accomplishment, making you all feel like she’s always been there as your dean!” From the moment Blake welcomed her into our community, Jones Eckhardt has been positive, social, comedic, and conversational with everyone she interacts with. Many students look to her as the person who they can trust and confide in, whether it be hanging out in her office or venting to her in between classes. She has affected everyone around her in the best way, and it’s clear to say that the students and teachers alike are excited to see her shine in her new position.


New Faculty Provides a Fresh Set of Skills, Personalities Trey Muraoka T Reporting and Photos by Catherine Barry, Jackie Weyerhaeuser, Emily Rotenberg, & Emma Martinez Sutton | Sci-Tech Editor, Food Editor, News Editor, & Co-Editor-In-Chief

rey Muraoka came to Blake from a charter school in Richfield. He says that one of the biggest changes is that “I taught middle schoolers, so working with high schoolers every day, the content is completely different. In a way I’m allowed to work on more advanced stuff which is

fun. It’s challenging for me just to keep my Latin abilities up and running. It’s just a different atmosphere I think.” Outside of school, Muraoka is a sports fanatic. “I’m a coach for SMB Wolfpack. I coach basketball. I watch a lot of sports” he says. Muraoka also picked up cooking

during quarantine: “It’s really fun. Frustrating at times. It’s a different way to be creative and experience that creative drive and push.” Muraoka says “to continue to get to know people here and continue to build relationships, I think that’s one of the things I like most about teach-

ing. That’s why I wanted to be a teacher more than anything else.” He’s also very excited about the community at Blake. “The amount of people who have come up – teachers, admin, students – have all been really great, really welcoming and accommodating.”


rian Lukkasson, the new band and orchestra teacher, is very excited for his first year at Blake. After teaching for 17 years at Spring Lake Park high school, he’s most looking forward to “these smaller classes to really get to know students. [Previously]

my first hour band was 71 students.” Another change he’s excited for is the lack of bells and the culture surrounding it. He says, “It does feel more laid back here just in the hallways without bells always going off. We had two minute warning bells and people

would run across the building -- it was chaos.” One aspect of Lukkasson’s job that has certainly changed since coming here from Spring Lake Park is that only string instruments are allowed to play because of COVID-19. He says “I think it has been

[...] reaffirming that all of the students I’ve interacted with have just been so open to being creative and open to trying new things and new directions since we can’t play.” In his free time, Lukkasson likes to run. “I’m a runner; I coached cross

country at Spring Lake Park for 5 or 6 years,” he says. Although Covid has made many parts of Lukkasson’s new job challenging, he is still training for his “10th maraton which just got turned virtual.”

Jason Lonstien

Christiana Howell

Elizabeth Lehtola

Taous Khazem

Justin Kolb



Brian Lukkasson

Lindsay McDowell

Submitted by: Justin Kolb

Submitted by: Jason Lonstien


indsay McDowell is the newest addition to the Math Department. She’s “incredibly grateful for the time Blake gives to teachers to do all of the things they expect of us.” McDowell says that “Blake is completely different” from the previous school she worked at. She says, “I used to work in San Jose, California at a large comprehensive Title-I urban school. It is different in every possible way. I had a lot of English language learners there and it’s kind of an adjustment. It’s probably not a bad thing to overlanguage everything you do but it is an adjustment.” McDowell likes to try new hobbies. Currently she’s building furniture. She says, “It’s fun. I’m one of those people who likes learning; I learn something for a long time and I kind of move on to the next thing.”


ason Lonstein is a reserve teacher working at Blake this year. He has a wide variety of career accomplishments including teaching social studies at Saint Paul Academy, being a professor at William Mitchell Law School, working in baseball, as well as working within the Dakota County Courts System as a staff attorney for a judge. Lonstein is looking forward to all of the many milestones students at Blake get to experience even if this year looks a bit different. Additionally, throughout his time as an educator, Lonstein has enjoyed “watching the students grow up and helping to guide them through their high school career.” In his free time, Lonstein enjoys watching sports, especially baseball, as well as gardening and traveling with his family.

espite the significant challenges to teaching choir during a pandemic, new Choir Director Christiana Howell is excited to “be creative and think about ways we can still enjoy music-making and enjoy each other’s company.” Before Blake, Howell lived in England for two years and then returned to Pennsylvania during the pandemic. Outside of school and her passion for music, Howell enjoys the outdoors and is training for her first half-marathon.

efore coming to Blake, Elizabeth Lehtola taught at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis. Lehtola says that she is excited to get to know the traditions at Blake and its culture. Her favorite part of teaching is getting to know the students as well as “creating activities that let students run with the math, generating questions and ideas.” Outside of the classroom, Lehtola says she loves “to coach figure skating and also skate myself. I also enjoy hiking and birdwatching.”

Mee Oh

Victor Cuicahua

efore Blake, Taous Khazem worked as a freelance theater artist, helped as the assistant director at the Guthrie and ran an in school theatre residence at the French Immersion school in Saint Paul. Khazem is very excited to “make theater with Blake students, learn about all of the students’ artistic talents and choose plays that are challenging, fun and surprising for the students.” Khazem loves to read, hike, waterski as well as visit construction sites with her two-year-old son.



Maren Anderson

Tamera Studniski



ustin Kolb is very glad to be back teaching in a classroom and is “trying to make the best of this strange hybrid schedule and social distancing measures.” Before Blake, Kolb worked as an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at American University in Cairo Egypt until last year when he moved to Saint Paul and taught part time at Saint Paul Academy. Outside of Blake, Kolb likes to cook and ride his bike usually with his daughter in the trailer behind him.

Justin Karels

Justin Karels is the newest member to the Blake IT department. Before Blake, he worked as an Apple genius in the Apple Rosedale store. In his free time, Karels like to do animation, hang out with his kids, and watch horror movies.

Submitted by: Victor Cuicahua

Submitted by: Mee Oh



ictor Cuicahua is thrilled to be teaching social studies in person this fall. Cuicahua says, “Having finished a semester of asynchronous teaching, it is good to simply be back in the classroom once more.” Before Blake, Cuicahua taught World History, coached soccer, and worked with multiple nonprofits on immigrant rights at the national and state levels. Cuicahua loves to “travel to new places and learn more about how others live in different parts of the country.” He also likes to read and run, which he finds are a great way to relax after a long day.

efore teaching Honors Algebra at the middle school last year, Mee Oh taught math for many years at other schools, including Saint Paul Public schools. Her favorite part of teaching is to “watch students grow and learn to enjoy and love math.” She also loves being able to help each student reach their fullest potential and getting to know every student, which is very easy to do at such a small school such as Blake. Outside of school, Oh likes to run or walk outside, play tennis, golf and cook with her family.

cience Department Chair Maren Anderson comes to Blake from the Drew School in San Francisco where she attended high school and taught for 13 years. She says, “I started a marine science program, which is what my background is in. I study whales and I study coral. Outside of school, Anderson enjoys “everything ocean... I used to surf a lot and scuba-dive,” which she did often when working on coral restoration projects in the U.S. Virgin Island St. Croix. She says, “I’m really excited for all the outdoorsy stuff you can do on lakes and rivers... and I spend most weekends baking.”

amara Studniski is a reserve teacher for the remainder of the 2020 semester. Before Blake, Studniski was an IB English, language, and literature teacher at a school in Xiamen, China. She has been teaching for over 20 years. Studniski enjoys “when students have moments of new understanding which makes a profound impact on how they understand both the content and themselves.” Studniski enjoys cooking new vegan recipes, running, traveling, as well as reading and writing.


More than a Moment

Evan Vezmar | Contributing Writer his summer, the country went through underwent immense changes as the COVID-19 pandemic upended lives and calls for racial justice and police reform echoed across the nation. Protests and marches were commonplace as people stood up to the racial inequalities that occur daily in the United States. On May 25, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck and didn’t get off until Floyd died eight minutes and 46 seconds later. Under suspicion of buying a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill, Chauvin and fellow officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng were called to arrest Floyd. The entire encounter was recorded by security cameras of nearby businesses as well as by people in the crowd surrounding Floyd. A video of George Floyd begging for his life went viral and, through social media, grabbed the attention of millions of people. Weeks of protest followed throughout Minnesota and around the country. The day after Floyd’s murder, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey reported on Facebook that the Minneapolis Police Department had fired all four officers involved in the murder. However, people demanded more action. That evening, thousands protested accross Minneapolis and in front of the Third Precinct. The protests turned violent quickly, as vandalists broke the windows of the precinct and spray painted the door. In response, police officers threw tear gas and flash-bang devices into the crowds. In the days following, protests began to explode all over the nation. Pent-up anger seemed to spill out as millions of people across the United States marched in the streets pushing for police reformation and justice for Floyd.

Protests were mainly peaceful, but looting and instances of violence also occured, causing a clash with police officers in riot gear and National Gaurd members. These protests did not only occur in the United States, though. All over the world, people marched in the streets for Floyd. In almost all professional sports games in the U.S. and even in other countries, players knelt before their game in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Even more recently, after the shooting of Jacob Blake, the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team refused to play at all, becoming the first NBA team in history to boycott a playoff game. The NBA responded by postponing all games and other major sports such as the MLB came to a temporary halt as well. The Black Lives Matter movement has only grown since its creation in 2013. After hundreds of shootings of African Americans by police officers, people in this country–and around the world–have finally reached a tipping point. The four former police officers involved in George Floyd’s death may have been charged for the murder but there is still a long way to go. Until the issues of systemic racism and police brutality against African Americans are resolved, there will continue to be people making their voices heard, clamoring for change.

Reading Reccomendations for Self-Education, Anti-Racism, and Empathy From baby books to essay collections, senior reccomends tools for education Eliot Mitchell | Contributing Writer


ne of the most powerful tools to fight racism is education. People in places of privelege must take it upon themselves to educate themselves and become anti-racist instead of complacent. Here are five of my top reccomendations for books that will leave you feeling educated and empowered.

Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider is a collection of essays and speeches from 1976 to 1984 that challenge traditional ideas of class, sexuality, and race. She gives a perspective as a Black, lesbian parent and a partner in an interracial relationship. Lorde believes that differences between people are empowering, and can be used to create change in the world.

Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, shares his sensational story of growing up in South Africa with a Black South African mother and a white European father during apartheid. Trevor used his wit and humor to navigate life under a racist government. This genuine and moving memoir shows how he transcended to create an inspiring future for himself.

Yes, this is a baby picture book. However, Antiracist Baby, written by Ibram X. Kendi and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky, is still moving and empowers people of any ange to uproot racism in society and themself. It’s a great way to take your first steps–figuratively or perhaps even literally–to building a more equitable world.

How We Get Free is a collection of essays and interviews edited by activist and scholar KeeangaYamahtta Taylor. It reflects on the legacy of The Combahee River Collective, a pathbreaking group of radical black feminists, and their contributions to Black feminism. It will educate you on a part of U.S. history often left out of the textbooks.

If you’re looking for a more casual read, Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth is for you. Part memoir, part comedy, Stallworth writes about his undercover investigation into the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. The humorous story is a great read and provides meaningful knowledge into law enforcement agencies and civil rights groups.




Teachers Engage in Anti-Racist Teaching, Grapple with How to Improve Curriculum

Reading, discussions aid progress Noor Naseer | Managing Editor

ecent racial injustice and political unrest has led teachers to change their perspectives on educating and emphasized conversations about police brutality, equity, and race among faculty and staff. Tyneeta Canonge, Director of the Office of Equity and Community Engagement (OECE), shares the emotional aspect of what she went through over the summer: “I went into a really dark place because of my personal experience with police violence and because I was just afraid for my family...And then the protests took a turn and people were coming in and infiltrating our city and trying to wreak

havoc and that was again means for students of color small group discussions us- the readings or sometimes another to process and deal and how we can do a bet- ing Cards on Race. it’s listening to a podcast, Last year, Spanish teach- or sometimes it’s reading with. Are you safe even in ter job of creating equity in your own house?” the space and fostering an er JJ Kahle started leading something and then you Division directors as- educational environment for BARWE meetings, a non- have essential questions that profit that stands for Build- you answer and you have signed summer reading to all students to thrive.” faculty to begin this work. When faculty returned in ing Anti-Racist White Edu- discussion around it.” Upper and Despite m i d d l e “The police brutality against black and brown the work that school fac- bodies is not new or a surprise to me. It is teachers like ulty read Kahle are Stamped by not shocking, new information, and I look putting in, Ibram X. forward to having more allies be thinking they recogKendi Janize that the son Reyn- about what it means to do the work beyond power is not olds. Lower cosmetic fixes to curriculum or practice” solely in their school fachands. Phys- Anne Rubin ics teacher ulty read We Want to Do Steve Kathe summer for professional cators. Kahle reflected on More than Survive by Betback says, “I really look development, they participat- the group’s first meeting a tina L. Love. to the students to take huge ed in activities outlined by year ago: “Everybody was Canonge, says that the leadership in ushering old Canonge and Pk-12 Depart- kind of tense but we just goal of this reading was people to this point because ment Chair for Equity and started doing it, we followed “trying to understand what you’re so much better at Instruction Lora McManus. the protocol that BARWE it means to be in a space These activities centered has set up. They supply where whiteness is centered. around a presentation and What that means for white students and what that

sharing your experiences and understanding them in a really immediate way.” Canonge says, “There is no institutional change without individual change. We all have a part to play in making sure that Blake is an antiracist institution. School administrators can say ‘here is how we want everyone to be thinking about this,’ but unless each person in the community decides that they’re going to make a commitment on their personal journey towards antiracism, it doesn’t matter because the needle won’t move, and we’ll still be in a space that is inequitable and where people are marginalized.”

e fit into k a l B s e o W her e d stice? u j l a i c a r fo r the fight

Students Aid Protests Social Media Activism Spreads, Ignites Change Students raise money, awareness Will Rosenblum | Multi-Media Editor


s Minneapolis became the center of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Blake students aided in the fight for racial justice in a variety of ways. Nikki Stabno ’21, Rachel Winkey ’21, Kate Willoughby ’21, Cate Moe ’21, Sonia Baig ’21, and Sara Richardson ‘21 saw a rising need for basic neccessities like hygiene products and food due to store closures after protests and suffering inflicted by

Lives Matter movement.” Stabno urges students to “educate yourself...listen to stories, use your privilege and your voice...that’s the number one thing.” In late June, Jay Bowles ’23 and Karn Kaura ’23 also got involved, initially trying to raise $1,000 for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a civil rights organization and law firm fighting for racial justice. They also hoped to “raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement and not stay silent and show that we could make a change...I felt like staying silent wasn’t an option.” The two were motivated by the deaths of

Pandemic fuels online activism Clara Lee Molina | Contributing Writer


n the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the world collectively erupted in justified protest. One of the most popular mediums of protest was (and still is) social media—particularly Instagram. As with any means of demonstration, social media activism encounters praise as well as harsh criticism, although the latter occurs much more frequently. Nonetheless, the successes of the Instagram account Black@ Blake exemplifies the success of online activism. In our modern, technologydriven, and interconnected world, online activism plays a significant role in the movements of today and should not be disregarded as a tool of protest. During

the 2011 Arab Spring, online networks facilitated the creation and organizations of civilian groups and served as platforms to exercise free speech and to inform and mobilize protesters. Occupy Wall Street, a 2011 movement denouncing the influence of corporate lobbying and money in politics, also used social media to organize and encourage protest. This summer, social media was mainly a form of activism and raising awareness rather than mobilizing physical protests due to the constraints of COVID-19 and social distancing. One fault of online activism is that it can enable performative behavior that may be ultimately harmful or counterproductive. Since social media and online platforms as a whole feel so intangible and detached from reality, it often seems as if reposting an aesthetic

“BLM” or black square to one’s feed qualifies as a day’s work of activism. Instead, social media should be used as a tool to promote or facilitate other means of activism and protest: the change accomplished by reposting petitions, fundraisers, and informative images. Accounts like Black @ Blake, which anonymously posted unedited stories from students of color, illustrate the potential of social media to be a catalyst of change. The success of Black@ Blake is not due to Blake itself. Rather, Blake should learn from the triumphs of the account and use it to inform its equity and inclusivity initiatives, as Black@ Blake typifies the role of a true ally to the BIPOC community. The account was popular because so many students had an experience to retell, an encounter to share, or a hurtful general-

ization spewed by countless ignorant mouths. As a result of its success, the Blake administration committed itself to fostering a safe, inclusive environment for students of color and started taking actionable steps. True allyship is using one’s platform or privilege to empower people in marginalized communities by sharing their stories, and this allyship has power; Blake’s response to the account and the racism it recounts, although long overdue, demonstrates the impact of activism online. So keep sharing those petitions, GoFundMes, and informative articles. Keep fighting in any way possible for intersectional equality, for the black lives so brutally taken by the police, and for justice in our little Blake community and in the world as a whole—even if your activism is online.

Sara Richardson Food and household supply donations at Greater Mount Vernon Church.

the pandemic. In order to curb these needs, the seniors created a fundraiser so they could purchase items to donate to Greater Mount Vernon Church for distribution. In total, they raised $1,000. Stabno says, “it’s really important [to get involved] especially when the community is in need... especially when I am so privileged and I already have so much...when you see people in need, it is good to lend a hand and get involved especially with the Black

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and the outcries for justice that ensued. Their project exceeded any expectations they held and quickly surpassed the $1,000 goal. Bowles says, “People told us to put the goal lower... people didn’t really believe we could raise $3,500,” but by now they have raised over $14,000. Kaura says, “it makes me happy that so many members of the [Blake] community were willing to help the cause.”

Emma Martinez Sutton


may CHALLENGES bring waves of COURAGE a message from Spectrum photographed by Betsy Fries

BACK TO SCHOOL CROSSWORD Maia Schifman | Contributing Artist


Asian-American Experience Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic Anti-Asian sentiments rise due to COVID-19 pandemic Betsy Fries | Photography Editor


n the wake of a global pandemic, civil justice movement, and upcoming presidential election, I find it hard to fathom the obscene insensitivity and nativism that staggering numbers of Americans continue to display. With George Floyd’s death this past summer and ongoing racial discrimination against Black people in America, it has become even more apparent how

deeply rooted hatred is in our society. It’s damaging to our society that our leaders are blatantly racist and fail to acknowledge racial movements happening in our country. Our president has been referring to the COVID-19 as the “Kungflu” and the “Chinese virus”, continuing to fuel racism and resulting in anti-Asian American hate crimes surging. This level of ignorance is appalling: viruses do not have an ethnicity. East Asians have become targets for verbal abuse, physical assault, wrongly profiled diseasecarriers, and property damage during the pandemic; this is not only limited to Chinese-Americans.

I’m Asian-American, and, ever since the rise of COVID-19 cases, day to day activities bring me more anxiety and awareness about my race. Simply walking into a grocery store I’m bombarded with hostile stares. I cannot help but think if they are staring at me because I am wearing a mask or if they think that I single-handedly brought COVID-19 to the United States. I feel petrified–my heart pounds in my chest as I fear being confronted or shunned for the way that I look. I began to see and hear about an alarming number of Asian-Americans posting and writing about experiences similar to my

own. This treatment toward Asian-Americans perpetuates the idea that Asians are foreigners. This problem is not new: hostile anti-Asian sentiments and scapegoating AsianAmericans are not new. Asians are people of color too; a lot of the time many Americans have a generalized characterization of what being Asian looks like, failing to recognize the existence of Asians with all skin colors. Often, Asians are shot down when speaking up about their experiences with racism. They have been told that as one of the most successful minority groups in America, others have it worse. By no means am I

Online Students Combat Disconnection, Fatigue Remote learning widens gap between in person and online students Christina Chekerdjieva | Perspectives Editor


hile the whole community prepared for the Hybrid Teaching and Learning Plan, a few students chose to stay inside and learn through Zoom remotely. My decision to stay online was quite obvious because I live with my grandma, who is in the high risk category. While other remote students I talked to stated

similar reasons for staying home, Nora Cornell ‘21 explained, “the less people there are in the building, the safer we are.” Not only is this respectful and considerate, but also logical to the issue we are trying to resolve. When I went full online, I understood that the majority would be excited to get back to school, but I wasn’t expecting to be the only distanced person in most of my classes. On the first day of school, the total number of distanced students across all four Upper School grades was just under 40. I was surprised that more didn’t make the same decision as Cornell, but I understood

why. Being online comes with added responsibility– communicating with teachers, catching up on work you could not learn during class due to technical difficulties, and trying to stay attentive when you’ve been staring at a live stream all day are just a few examples. While the disconnect is a challenge, I’ve also felt that teachers have put an immense amount of effort and care into making us feel included. Technical difficulties are out of their control, and they are always trying their best to have us participate and feel heard by the class. In my Inter-

national Relations class, I am the only remote student, but everyone logs into a Zoom call so I can be a part of class discussions. The school’s standard of accommodation for online students of just a live stream is simply not enough, so I appreciate it when teachers go the extra mile and involve me as much as possible. I know I can complain about sitting in my room all day, but I do not want to because it would undermine the hard work of the faculty to make our experience feel as normal as possible in a time when the circumstances are completely out of anyone’s control.

Christina Chekerdjieva

A tidy workspace is very important to remote learner Chekerdjieva as she juggles return to school amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

!"#$%&"'& ()%&*(+'' Emma Martinez Sutton | Co-Editor-In-Chief


hile the semblance of normalcy that hybrid learning delivers is exciting, the system is complicated and not without flaws. Now a month into the new system, students have passed the initial shock and have a better idea of what is and isn’t working. In general, the dissemination of information needs improvement. Students currently rely on everything from email to Canvas to Google documents to what they hear

saying Asians have experienced the same oppression and racism as other minority groups, we do have privileges, but I think the difference is that our racism is normalized. Everyone deserves acknowledgement for the struggles they face; American minorities as a whole need to support each other and work together to tackle this issue head-on. We need to stop putting down and dismissing the issues that minority groups face–right now unity in our country is imperative. We need to work together to redefine what it means to be an American and create a better America for everybody.

Masks Create Preferences Discussions rise from new mask requirements while on campus Anna Johns & Shira Aronow | Staff Writers


e’ve all experienced the annoyances of our new, required uniform, that is, facemasks. The friendly, Minnesotan smile underneath a mask comes across as an awkward stare. Taking a sip of water is a hassle. Ill fitting straps leave ears aching after a long day. So why put up with it? We endure and embrace this nuisance because masks are more than required accessories: they save lives. Studies have shown that wearing masks decreases the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask is actively respecting fellow community members’ safety, health and comfort even if it means sacrificing a little bit of individual comfort. From masks falling down in class to styles that are just plain scratchy, we have had our fair

share of unfortunate mask wearing experiences. With masks as our new normal, however, we have quickly developed our personal mask preferences. The Blake mask, as provided in the Parent Association’s student swag bag, offers a delightful breathability factor while ensuring, with the adjustable ear pieces, that we never have to worry about constantly pulling our masks up. Moreover, the reusable masks ensure much less harm to the environment, as opposed to the disposable masks, and they have a remarkable fit that seems to form to our faces. Not to mention, we can never go wrong with Blake regalia. Our only qualms about the Blake mask is that we were unable to select a certain size, but this has far from halted our excitement towards sporting our Bear Wear. Finding your favorite mask allows students to enjoy maximum comfort and style while crucially protecting all those around us and increasing our chances of staying in school.

Spectrum Staff Offers Advice to Hybrid Teachers, Administrators in the hallway to understand their schedule; information needs to be centralized and standardized to avoid confusion. Assembly links should be put on Veracross consistently and students should be notified that this is the permanent location of assembly information. Furthermore, the schedule on Veracross should denote whether it is tutorial, TASC, assembly, or advisory on any given day. In order to uphold the guidelines laid out for hybrid learning, teachers must not make assignments due on days (athome or in-person) when their class is not on the schedule. One of the

greatest problems among students is the amount of time it takes to figure out what homework they have assigned, when it’s due, and how to not miss assignments. Please, no more homework hide-and-seek (i.e. using multiple locations to list homework). Sometimes it feels like teachers are playing a cruel joke by hiding assignments deep in the modules or on an obscure Google document. All assignments should be put on the Canvas calendar for the day they’re due. This means not just things that need to be submitted through Canvas but also other types of home-

work such as readings or handouts. In a complex hybrid plan, this is the easiest way for students to keep track of their work. For teachers on a “playlist” plan, where all work is due on a certain day of the 6-day cycle, it is imperative that they tell students the actual date it is due. For example, say it is due on October 3, not the end of the fourth cycle because the 6-day cycle is much less apparent to students. Most students prefer to be given a list of homework that needs to be completed by their next in-person class meeting, rather than assignments due on asynchronous days.

That way students can use the system they’re used to in a normal school year and have flexibility to manage their time as they see fit. So, no more 8 a.m. or 3 p.m. due dates. This makes it incredibly difficult for students to keep track of assignments. All assignments should be made due by the next class meeting or the end of the day (11:59 p.m.). Finally, it is crucial that Friday TASC is brought back. While all students miss advisory time, TASC is necessary for clubs to meet and function properly. Getting rid of TASC will likely force clubs to start meeting during tutorial which

is meant to be reserved for students to meet with teachers, a crucial aspect of school that was lost in the spring and should be protected in the hybrid plan. The only other time to meet during the school day is x-block which will become overrun with club meetings and students will have to sacrifice their involvement in activities they care about. Everyone in the Blake community has done an incredible job creating a functional hybrid system. However, this does not mean it’s perfect or the work is over. The hybrid plan should continue to develop and improve as problems arise.


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US Response to COVID-19 Disappoints Amaka’s Songs of the Summer Politics cause inadequate COVID-19 preparedness Mallika Malaviya | Contributing Writer


merica has built a reputation for being a nation that is successful in times of hardship and takes a leading role in recovering from crisis, so why is it that when the United States is faced with COVID-19, that it’s response has been one of the worst? This issue stems from three different reasons: extreme political polarization, a fundamental distrust in government, and the dismissal of scientific research and knowledge. In today’s political climate, a “fact” is filtered through the political affiliation a person is associated with. As an overall trend, knowledge has be-

Zoe Florida

come disputable depending on the source’s political association. The debate on masks illustrates these issues in today’s America. It is scientifically proven that wearing a mask helps to prevent the spread of this virus. At the same time, many are accusing the government of infringing upon their rights when they implement regula-

tions regarding wearing a mask. Although this information about masks stands to be true, the information that masks are not useful tools and that the government does not have the right to require them is spreading. This highlights how each political inclination references their own information that differs from the other making it difficult to understand what precautions to take during this time.

Because America has become so polarized in this last election, people have begun to adhere to the information that their party associates with, making it harder to come together. These problems of polarization and individualism have always been ingrained within this nation, but the onset of this pandemic has both surfaced and deepened these issues that are preventing us from making any progress. When each party is more focused on being right, rather than moving forward, progress comes to a standstill. American exceptionalism has always stemmed from a sense of unity that surfaces during troubled times, but this pandemic has surfaced a new individualism instead, in which every person is for themselves. Will America continue to be the superpower that it is or does COVID-19 mark the end of an era?

The R&B/Pop sister duo came back in June with their sophomore alDo It – bum, Ungodly Hour. The Chloe x Halle lead single, “Do It,” is a fun and flirty song about getting ready and going to party at night. Though we can’t exactly go out right now, the song a perfectly good substitute. Their voices blend and weave beautifully over a beat that makes you want to get up and dance. When their tour got canceled due to COVID-19, the Korean boy Dynamite – band, BTS, did the next BTS best thing: they released a retro themed disco-pop track for the summer. “Dynamite,” their very first English-language single, sold over 250 thousand copies in the first week alone, and shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making them the first Asian act in history to debut at number one. Amaka Nwokocha | Staff Writer

Initially, “WAP” went viral due to the controversy WAP – around the lyrics and the Cardi B, Megan star-studded music video, but it turned out to be Thee Stallion a massive hit. The song debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and stayed there for two weeks, making it the first song in 2020 to achieve this. It also prompted discussion about the double standards between women, men, and explicitly sexual rap lyrics.

Passing of Justice Ginsburg Creates Political Uncertainty Ginsburg’s death not as dire for Democrats as public believes Keaton Rannow | Contributing Writer


o the American Left, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was perceived as a catastrophe of massive proportions. The appointment of a new conservative justice under the Trump administration could skew the court to the right for decades to come. But before we proclaim “the death of American democracy” or the immi-

nent overturn of Roe vs. Wade, there are some important considerations that need to be made, and if November goes the way it’s projected, the passing of Ginsburg could prove a blessing in disguise for Democrats and a serious pain in the Republican Party’s already aching side. First, the successful appointment of a new justice is not a forgone conclusion. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, may have said he’ll fill the position, but that doesn’t guarantee he’ll get the votes. Republicans hold a narrow 53-47 majority in the Senate and it’s not

inconceivable that Democrats could get 4 Republican senators to flip. Both Lisa Murkowski (AL) and Susan Collins (ME) support abortion rights in a bid to win their tightly contested battles and a slew of other senators could join them. Cory Gardner (CO) is facing a diff i-

cult re-election in a blue state and Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN) and Pat Roberts (KN) are both retiring and might prefer to protect the Senate as an institution as opposed to voting along partisan lines. Is it likely? No, but

there’s a chance. Second, and perhaps more consequentially, if McConnell forces the hand of Republicans in the Senate and pushes a nomination through, the voter backlash could be immense. In an election year that already doesn’t look promising for Republicans, the appointment of a new justice could swing the Senate farther into the Democrats’ favor. If Biden wins the presidency and Democrats win the Senate like is predicted by most polls, including the Economist, the outcome could be worse for Republicans by way of court-packing. Put simply, court-packing Emma Martinez Sutton

would enable Democrats to increase the size of the Supreme Court to 11, 13, even 15 justices, all of which would be liberal. If Biden loses, nothing will matter. There will be no court-packing if the justice is already appointed and if not, Trump will do so. Provided the polls are correct, Republicans would’ve missed a huge opportunity by waiting or have their work negated in a few weeks. Ultimately, if a replacement for Ginsburg is made before the election, it will be symbolic of Republicans cutting their losses, not gaining the upper hand in American politics.

Hybrid School Proves Far Superior than Remote Learning After quarantining, student is more grateful for hybrid learning Kate Rekas | Staff Writer


eturning to school with only the demanding academics and none of the fun stuff was unappealing to all of us. However, after experiencing both fully remote and hybrid learning, I decided being in the hybrid is far better than being at home. My first day back in the building was a whirlwind; without any of my

closest friends in my color group, I scrambled to reconnect with friends in previous classes and was disappointed by the lack of energy and excitement present in the small classes. I was also unknowingly exposed to COVID-19. The morning after the school notified me of my exposure, I got a COVID-19 test. Even though the test came back negative, I wasn’t allowed on campus for two weeks. So, I was thrown back into Zoom. While it was nice to wake up later on some days, or have more time to relax, doing all online school due to exposure was absolutely dismal.

After slogging through Zoom lectures without the stimulation of in class

Staring at a computer screen rather than being physically in class

day. Sitting sedentary in one spot for an hour alone, mindlessly listening

“My mind automatically went into Netflix mode and my brain checked out like I was watching The Office” discussions, I found that online learning is far less beneficial and enriching than being in school.

is far less engaging, and more mentally and physically draining than moving around school each

and watching a Zoom lecture practically feels like watching TV. I felt like my mind automatically

went into Netflix mode and my brain checked out like I was watching “The Office.” It was also more difficult to feel motivated at home and the lack of structure during my days didn’t help. Even though I was working out everyday outside of my house, and seeing friends out of school, there was a missing social connection that couldn’t be reproduced through a screen. The social aspect of school, being in classes, being around my peers, having conversations and discussions, and eating lunch together, motivated me to learn in a way that Zoom classes failed to do.


Living by Faith in a Secular School: Religion in the Lives of Students Audrey reflects on her Catholic school experience and Catholicism’s intersections with politics Audrey Ronan | Contributing Writer


would say that I am not a hardcore atheist or closed off to any possibility of a higher power, and I’m also not against religion in general; I’m just using it as a stepping stone, and if I find another belief system that resonates with me, I will glad-

ly change my views. But for now, the way I happen to think aligns the most with atheism. I grew up in a mixed household, religion-wise. My dad is an atheist and my mom raised us Catholic. She’s Filipina, and Catholicism was an intense presence in her life when she was growing up. My aunt even has the Hail Mary as her ringtone. I went to Catholic school for all of elementary school and some of

middle school. My experience at the Catholic school was terrible. It was an underfunded private school in rural Wisconsin, and I was the only girl in my grade who wasn’t white- off to a great start. Very quickly I realized that my beliefs and the way I looked at the world just didn’t align with my friends or teachers. I am a very inquisitive and curious person, but I constantly received side eyes and grumbles for my questions, specifically in

religion class. I distinctly remember in fourth grade, my religion teacher rolled her eyes when I asked a question about the passage that allegedly pertains to samesex marriage in the Bible. Catholicism is all about trusting the Church, and I think that contributed to the class’s overall pushback on my constant skepticism. It took me a while to realize that I’m not a bad Catholic and therefore, a bad person–I’m just not a Catholic.

I find that in the few times I’ve gone to Mass in recent years, mainly due to Catholic guilt, I’ve enjoyed the pretty music and the readings. Christianity is a beautiful religion! But I step outside into the real world and I really hesitate to associate myself with followers of the faith, especially white Christian America. Too many times the Catholic doctrine has been used to justify homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, etc. Because of my subpar

personal experiences with Catholics, I know for a fact that I’ve grown more resilient in my inquisitiveness, and I’ve become more comfortable with having a different opinion from everyone else. I also have a healthier relationship with myself and my actions since distancing myself from that community, because I’ve learned to define my own moral code rather than adopting one that I was only ever motivated to follow due to fear.

Nora describes transition into a secular school and the role of Judaism in her daily life

Jewish person in the classroom. Suddenly, instead of every aspect of academic life being influenced by Jewish values and traditions, it was completely up to me how much I wanted to bring Judaism into my daily life. Spoiler: it was a lot. Learning about Europe in the 1400s? Cool, let’s talk about the Inquisition. Moral issues in the modern world? Yep, I’ve got a whole system of ethics to back me up. Global religions, unit three? Easy. I know how

much I talk about being Jewish, and not just because people constantly point it out to me. But what I think I don’t often communicate well is how hard it is to not talk about it–I spent a decade almost completely immersed in Jewish studies, and I love to show it off, but being Jewish is also a huge part of who I am. Judaism touches every aspect of my life, and to bring it up less often would be to consciously erase a core aspect of my identity.

me because my religion taught me to love everyone the same, no matter who they are and what they believe. What makes me a believer in my faith is that I agree with what Islam stands for. I stand with how anyone who wants to join can, and how mistakes are human and serve as lessons to learn from. My favorite part of taking part in my religion is the community. Every year (pre-

COVID), we would celebrate Eid and pray together as a Minnesota community. Eid is about family, and this is important to me because I’ve learned that family will always be there. But the one thing I love the most about Islam is how everyday, I learn something new about it. I am passionate about religion, and I’m excited to learn more about mine as well as others.

Nora Cornell | Contributing Writer


Sage Marmet

Pictured above is a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl that is traditionally worn when reading the Torah or praying in synagogue.

The treatment of the LBTQ+ community influences Ximena’s relationship her religion Ximena Uribe | Contributing Writier


y whole family is Christian and very religious, so I was always taught that the right thing was whatever the Bible and the Church said. When I turned twelve, I was obligated to question my religion when my family stopped attending church. I grew up around homophobic, transphobic and even sexist behavior and commentary from

that community. I was taught to respect my elders even if their comments were offensive towards me. This behavior is why the LGBTQ+ community is a very underground culture in Guatemala. Christianity taught us from a very young age that being a part of the community was a psychological disease and that they would not be accepted by the church. For a long time I thought this was true, until I got older and realized how contradicting this was to what the Bible said- that you should love everyone as they are.

They do not practice that themselves. This confused my relationship with my religious values. I think religion is subjective because everyone has a different experience with it. Religion is not political, and it needs to stop being an excuse for harmful behavior towards others. I choose to be religious, but I practice my religion in a way that feels right to me. Going to church feels very hypocritical to me, so I don’t. I also do not identify as a Christian because my values don’t match the Christianity that I have been taught.

ecular high school was a drastic change in my life. I spent kindergarten through eighth grade at a Jewish day school, and until I graduated and transferred to Blake, I had no idea what it felt like to be the only

“Judaism touches every aspect of my life, and to bring it up less oftenwouldbetoconsciouslyerase a core aspect of my identity”

The morals taught in Islam are a defining part of Habon’s life at home, school Habon Samatar | Contributing Writier


hroughout my time at Blake, religion has been a big part of who I am- it is not only wearing the hijab on my head, but also a guide for what my morals are. Religion guides who I am and how I interact with those around


COVID-19 Vaccines: Would You Get One? Hybrid School Increases Technology Usage Many long for normal life to resume, making taking a vaccine sound appealing Sara Richardson | Managing Editor


ccording to the Mayo Clinic, “A vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is perhaps the best hope for ending the pandemic.” However, creating a vaccine is a very difficult process that usually takes upward to a few years. Coronavirus is a part of a family of viruses similar to the common cold or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

So, scientists are using past research on SARS to create a vaccine. There are still numerous challenges with producing a vaccine, including vaccine safety, long-term production, and protecting those with weaker immune systems. To ensure safety, vaccines go through a fivestep procedure. First, there are tests to ensure safety and find the right dosage, then expanded in safety trials, in large-scale tests, then approved for early usage, and lastly, approved for full use. As of the start of September, there are 40 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and 92 preclinical vaccines are being tested with animals. Though these statistics seem promising, vaccines still have to go through extensive testing. However, if everything goes to plan, vaccines could be ready during the summer of 2021. When asking students if they would take the vaccine, Samrat Pradhan ‘21, explains, “I obviously would take it. I don’t know why anyone

wouldn’t like I want this stuff to get done with. To be normal again.” Similarly, Zoe Edinburgh ‘23 states, “I would take it because I have my grandpa and I want to be able to see him, since I haven’t seen him in a couple months.” But, not all feel the same way. Morgan Ramsey ‘21 agrees, “I would take it because I want to start doing things without a mask on. I want to go to concerts, and I want to be able to travel for winter and spring break. I also would want it to be tested first, obviously.” According to the Wall Street Journal, a test conducted by the Gallup poll on August 7 showed that around 30% of Americans said “they were unlikely to take a vaccine, while half said they wouldn’t take a vaccine developed outside the U.S.” With high-levels of skepticism and time to produce a vaccine, all we can do is keep social distancing and wearing masks until there is a more permanent solution.

Students share how they combat excessive screen time Brooke Lee | Contributing Writer


veryone is spending that much more time online and in front of a screen whether for school, work or simply just to quickly check the news. The majority of time used to spend online for most students is to do homework, occasionally watching some Netflix or scrolling through social media. Because of hybrid learning, students are almost constantly online whether on Zoom calls, completing asynchronous learning plan, FaceTiming with family or friends, meeting with college counselors, as well as going on social media and Netflix. This new environment that has changed our schedules and everyone seems to be trying to figure out how to find a balance of on and off screen

time each day. Sally Countryman ‘23 says, “because school and sports were cancelled I wouldn’t spend time outside … but now in the fall I’ve been able to go outside much more with sports over t h e summ e r a n d fall sports a s well.” Being able t o balance t h e time you spend online with the time outside is a good way to improve how you are living during these quarantine times. Maddie Pekarek ‘21 finds ways to go outside by, “playing tennis, being a nanny and having to walk my dog everyday.” With the increased time we all have been spending on screens, some people

find blue light glasses to be very beneficial and help with the strain that is put on their eyes when they look at a screen for long periods of time. Countryman says, “I recently got blue l i g h t glasses. I would say they definitely do help –more at night because the screen d o e s n’ t hurt my head as m u c h and I Melody Lee don’t get headaches when I wear them. I have found them to be especially helpful when doing homework for a long time on my computer like an essay.” This year especially, it is imperative that people find ways to combat the increased time spent on a screen, so try to only be on a screen when absolutely necessary.

California Wildfires Cause Billion Dollar Damage, Electrical Shortages More problems arise that State isn’t ready for due to raging fires Christopher Chen | Contributing Writer


s the wildfires emblaze northern regions of California, firefighters continue to struggle to establish containment of the rapidly spreading fires in the past few weeks. It is estimated that almost 1.1 billion dollars worth of damage has

ensued. As the fires continue to wreak havoc, twenty six individuals have already died and thousands more have been displaced. Furthermore, alongside the fears of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet another immediate complication emerges: blackouts. As the fires consume power lines, solar panels, and generators, the electric networks within multiple regions of California are being destroyed, resulting in electrical shortages. These electrical shortages are causing many to experi-

Sara Richardon

In Minnesota, many saw this red sun a couple weeks ago, which occurred due to the raging fires in California.

ence blackouts and power outages. In order to preserve the remaining power grids, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has cut power to almost 721,000 Californians and the number is expected to only rise as the weeks pass by.

Power outages affect a wide scale of people and businesses further enforcing those who can, to stay put in their homes. Additionally, communication efforts are made increasingly more difficult due to the multitude of power outages. Fortunately,

California Independent System Operator (CAISO), a nonprofit organization, is striving to help people affected by the outages. As of last week, the organization has fought hard to maintain regulations regarding evacuation sites, water quality control, starting backup generators, and other actions to help those in need. For the rest of us watching on the sidelines, we can observe an upward trend of intensity of wildfires in the past few years. This raises many questions:

Is it possible to anticipate future wildfires? If so, are there preemptive measures to take? On a larger scale, the increasingly powerful wildfires in the past few years raise a familiar awareness of the effects of climate change. While California continues to fight the fires, the rest of the world awaits and anticipates their eventual recovery. CNN suggests that people should donate to the organizations that are heavily involved in helping the fires such as Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Teachers Adapt Teaching Styles to Accomodate Remote Learners Many found that using more technology helps students to stay engaged Nora Fox | Features Editor


echnology has played a new role in the classroom this year by integrating remote learners with those who are learning inperson, which has caused teachers to learn to adapt and grow their teaching styles in order to accommodate the new added use of technology inside and outside the classroom. Alita Shenk reveals that “learning to leverage the stuff [technology] so that it’s hopefully impactful” has been her biggest learning experience. “You

know, not everything works for every student… Trying to find different ways to get the most out of a program without spending 12 hours on it. You know, like a student would. How do I get the most out of my assignment and not over do it? So we are students again too.” David Graham has adapted his classroom setup by disconnecting his extra camera. Because the camera neither pointed at the front or back board, he realized that it wasn’t actually enhancing remote students’ learning. Graham explains, “I feel very much like I’m learning as I’m going. I don’t always know what’s working.” Not only have teachers had to adapt to the new technology, they have also had to adapt their teaching style. Maggie Bowman

Anna Reid’s set up in her classroom consists of three devices: her computer, her phone, and a monitor that all display different parts of the Zoom.

says, “I think collaborative work in the classroom has changed a lot because it’s hard to logistically make that work.” Social distancing makes small group work especially tricky when trying to have small discussions while still having to maintain a distance of six feet. As a result, a lot of teachers are using sites such as google slides or

even recorded Zoom conversations as a way for students to collaborate in smaller groups. Bowman tries to engage the remote learners by having them work over Zoom with an in-person student. She explains that by doing this,“that person [at home] still gets a chance to work with a partner, just like the rest of the class does.”

For most teachers, working to serve the needs of remote and in-person students at the same time has been a challenging task. Bowman says, “I feel like I’m almost always doing a disservice to either the kids who are physically sitting in front of me or the kids who are using technology because of the fact that it’s really hard to teach both of them well at the same time.” Graham agrees, “I’m struggling [with] how to make them [remote students] feel comfortable and a part of the things and also knowing what they are hearing.” Both teachers also have concerns about how connected the remote students are, because the hybrid schedule requires these students to be more assertive and active, which can be challenging for qui-

eter students. Additionally, teachers are taking advantage of online resources, such as podcasts and videos, so no matter where students are sitting, whether they are at home or at school, their learning experience is universal. Teachers are also using programs like Flipgrid, where remote students can engage in the same way as in-person students. Graham also said that he tries to add a variety of activities and assignments into his lessons, so students aren’t constantly glued to their computer screens, especially on asynchronous days. Although getting used to new technology can be challenging, “We have to be patient, we have to be understanding, and lastly, we have to be empathetic,” says Bowman.


MSHSL Makes Changes to Guidelines, Allows Fall Seasons to Begin Football and volleyball finally back after long holdout Jasper Liu | Contributing Writer


efore Monday, September 21, Minnesota high school volleyball and football seasons were supposed to take place in the spring amid COVID-19 concerns. But throughout the morning of September 21, members of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) met to discuss their previous decisions of moving volleyball and football to the spring. After much debate and plenty of conversation prior to this long-awaited meeting, the members of the MSHSL decided to move the volleyball and football seasons to the fall, in doing so creating a modified sea-

Submitted by: Emily Carlisile

Pictured above is the 2019-2020 Blake Volleyball Team. They entered the fall expecting not to be able to play until the spring, but due to the new MSHSL guidelines, delivered September 21, they are now able to begin their fall 2020 season rather than waiting until spring.

son with fewer games and more restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19. For volleyball, because it is an indoor sport, there will be no fans allowed in the gym,

but for football, they are allowed to have a maximum of 250 fans in attendance. Sophomore SPAMinnehaha-Blake Offensive lineman Max Ramsey ‘23 says, “It

was a bit of a surprise with everything that is going on right now with COVID-19, but the SMB coaching staff and Minnesota High School Football League put together an extremely

responsible schedule and have put in place many restrictions to try and keep everyone safe. Although it feels a little rushed, myself and many others that I have talked to are excited for the restart.” Before September 21, Minnesota was one of the few states that were not going to allow football to take place this fall, but now football is coming back, and most players feel good about their safety, even if it is coming back a little sooner than was expected. SMB Wolfpack’s first game takes place on October 9 at 6 p.m. against Fridley at Fridley High School. Their first home game is on October 16 against the Mound Westonka White Hawks. The volleyball team will also be in action this fall, and although fans will be unable to watch the games in person, fans will have the

opportunity to watch the game through a live stream provided by Blake. Senior Captain Nikki Stabno ‘21 says, “I wasn’t expecting the volleyball season to come back, but I am so excited to have it back in the fall. Even though we won’t have fans and things will be very different this year, I am excited to be able to play again, especially with my other seniors. Now that it’s back in the fall we don’t have to worry about our spring sports and we can focus on volleyball. I’m really excited for the season to start.” The Blake girls volleyball team’s first game is at home against their rival Breck on October 9. Although many athletes across both sports thought the change was unexpected, they are excited to compete in their respective sports and feel safe doing so.

Blake Hosts First Ever Cross Country Meet Pandemic Impacts At Hopkins Campus, Limited due to COVID Professional Sports Despite COVID-19 related set backs, cross country team persists Kyra Reese & Carly Shoemate | Contributing Writers


rom the number of games or meets to COVID-19 protocols, this season is nothing like last years for any sports. Cross country, although not a contact sport, has been affected by these changes. According to Julia Nowak

‘23, there is “a limit of three teams per meet, a limit of how many kids can go to each meet, and a limit of how many people can be on the line at the same time as well.” Instead of a typical season where there would be around ten meets with around ten separate teams, this year there are only four. Alongside these changes to the schedule are social distancing and mask wearing protocols. Although social distancing can be difficult at times and other sports’ teams have had trouble, Nowak

says that the cross country team“[is] really good at social distancing.” Even though a lot has changed, Blake is still pushing through these difficult times; “so far Blake is one of the better teams in our section.” Cross country isn’t letting COVID-19 stop them from a season of positivity and winning. The cross country team posts updates on instagram @blakebearsxc, where they share fun pictures from races and practice, highlight athletes’ wins and recently shared the course for their home

meet against Benilde on September 17. These fun updates give members of the Blake community who don’t get the chance to be a part of the team or attend meets an insight into the exciting, supportive environment that is a trademark of cross country. Nowak shared that, despite the COVID-19 restrictions and abnormal season, she is “always excited to go to cross country after school.” Their next meet is Tuesday, October 6 at Battle Creek starting at 4 pm, go out and support your bears!

Submitted by: Jackie Weyerhaeuser

The Girls’ Cross Country Team takes off from the start line to begin the race against Benilde St. Margaret. The meet took place at the Blake Hopkins campus on September 17, their first home meet.

NFL takes precautions to create somewhat normal season James Prince | Contributing Writer


n 2020 many things have come and gone, but one thing that we can officially say that’s back is football (for now). Now that this unique season is in full stride, it is clear that the NFL has adopted many policies from other sports leagues while creating some of their own. The NFL is following the MLB’s risky, but time-tested strategy of not creating a single NBA-Esque bubble site and instead are following the normal pre-covid approach of jetting around to different cities. While traveling, however, they are following the COVID-19 protocols that all major sports leagues are adhering to this year. Furthermore, by implementing mass testing and limiting off-thefield contact, such as jersey swaps, they feel confident they can limit the spread of the virus. Although NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the players association backed all the procedures, the league and many teams do not appear to be on the same page. For ex-

ample, the Miami Dolphins offered an unprecedented 13,000 fans (6ft apart and masked) into their “renovated-for-covid” South Florida stadium. The Miami-Dade County officials, composed of all Republicans, signed off on this stadium deal. Henry Schmidt ‘23 agreed that there should be fans, but argued that “Fans should be limited, like to maybe 1,000 or so.” The talks in Miami differed from what is happening in Chicago. In the Democratically controlled city of Chicago, talks of allowing fans into the historic downtown football stadium came to an indefinite standstill. The Chicago Bears organization will not play games in front of fans indefinitely due to safety precautions. The city did not comment further on the topic, leaving fans wondering what needs to happen in order for them to be allowed back into the stadium. With politics creepin g into sports from attendance at games/events, to expressing racial injustice, and controlling COVID-19, this year will be one for the history books. Regardless, all the sports fans out there are rooting for the same outcome: that this year is a touchdown.


COVID-19 Rules Bring Change, Cardboard Faces to Sports Limited observers, masks, social distancing break old traditions, create new ones Lucy Wolfe | Staff Writer


s members of the Blake community begin the back to school transition, faculty, athletes, and students of all grade levels can attest to the fact that fall is seriously lacking without the fans in the stands at our beloved sports games. Sports games are the perfect social gathering and nothing gets Blake students riled up quite like a chant or a rival game against Breck. An eerie silence lingers in the halls without the excited chatter of students looking forward to tonight’s game or arguing about their favorite teams. As hard as this change has been for fans, athletes are also adjusting to playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tennis player Sally Countryman ‘23 says, “Wearing masks whenever we’re not playing has been the biggest change. We’re also wearing masks and pretty spread out whenever we come together for huddles or just in general as a team

Lucy Wolfe

which feels more disconnected than seasons in the past.” Countryman also emphasized looking at the bright side of returning to fall sports as an athlete, “It’s definitely not the worst because we still are able to play our sport, get outside, get some fresh air, we just have to look at the positive.” Safety is the most important aspect of this new and unique sports season but as said by Mason Charney ‘21, “We all

know it’s not completely safe but no one is really willing to give up their sport.” Who would want to give up their sport? Sports are essential, they give us something to look forward to and a bit of healthy competition makes everyone’s life a little more exciting. As much as we Blake fans are missing our sports games, the teams are similarly missing their cheering squads. Blake Boys’ Soccer Captain Keegan James

While COVID-19 limits sports spectators, cardboard cutouts featuring students, pets, and parents fill the stands for both boys’ soccer and girl’s soccer games.

‘21 says, “Momentum is huge, especially with soccer. The crowd’s momentum helps lift spirits and bring energy up and can easily sway a game in our favor. Bottom line, we love to see our fans and have that extra enthusiasm and encouragement.” Although things seem pretty glum for Blake’s fall sports, James’ mom, Julie Dornisch, has taken the phrase “modern prob-

lems require creative solutions” to a new level. Dornisch reached out to me in the early weeks of the soccer season with her innovative idea. The goal was to recreate what the MLB and NBA have been doing with their fans (cutouts and virtual fan live streams), but using Blake faculty, students, and families instead. Over the next few weeks we collected

around 100 photos of Blake community members which were printed and set up just in time for the Blake vs Minneapolis South game. These cutouts were a great moral boost for players and families alike and it’s a nice change from the sad empty stands of the past. If you’re interested in having a cutout of you in the stands, contact lewolfe21@blakeschool. org.

Girls’ Swim & Dive Team Swims on Despite New Restrictions New rules, changes won’t stop competition Amelia Bush | Contributing Writer


ike many other sports this year, Blake Girls’ Swim and Dive has had to make many adjustments and sacrifices in order to have a season. The team has been split into two different groups that practice during two different times. Along with this, they have to wear masks whenever they are not physically in the water. Captain Hannah Sweet ‘21 says, “[JV and Varsity practicing together] was something I personally loved about our team. We had a very good con-

nection between everyone from seventh grade to seniors, everyone knows each other really well.” With the new lane restrictions, the teams are no longer able to practice together. In addition, there are no spectators allowed at Blake, which means no cheering the on the swimmers. Mara Noel ‘24 says, “I appreciate [the new rules], but one thing that is kind of hard though is not having your teammates there to cheer you on.” Although there are so many new rules, the team seems to have found ways to still have fun and support each other. Sweet says, “We’ve done zoom team dinners where we send out the recipes the night before and everyone goes out and gets the ingredients and we make dinner together and eat it on zoom and talk.

We have an outdoor dance exercise class scheduled. We’re going to do an outdoor movie night.” From live streams of meets, to a plan of having their own mini sections, they seem to be making the most of it. While everyone is trying the best that they can, it can still be hard to follow the rules. While talking about the ability to follow Frida Illescas ‘22 says, “I think that there are good intentions, but I also think that because we are a semi-big sport, we can’t always be 6 feet apart no matter how hard we try.” Overall the season has been different, but it has also been filled with a lot of thought and care from the adults and captains that want this to happen. Illescas says, “I would not change anything about

Sara Richardson The Swim and DIve team practices laps in the pool, where social distancing measures limit the number of swimmers in each lane.

the rules because the coach worked hard with the athletics department to make this season happens in the safest way possible and I agree with them when

they say that they put in the most precautions they could.” No matter what is thrown their way, the team will continue to bring their

energy and enjoy the season. Sweet says, “We’re a very spirited team; if you ask anyone we’re probably the loudest team at least in our section.”

For sports scores and more info, visit www.blakespectrum.org

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