Page 1

Fall 2013

Today at Breck

SETTING THE STAGE A home for research in every grade PG. 18


Winter 2014

THE ART OF TEACHING Faculty Artists Balance Dual Careers / PG. 25


You make Breck Breck with your support of the Annual Fund.

Thank you.

Breck students go off into the world as perpetual learners ready to realize their ambitions, effect meaningful change, and find lasting fulfillment. This philosophy of perpetually learning is what makes Breck uniquely Breck. The continual growth and evolution you see at Breck requires strong commitment and a great deal of resources. It requires that we as a community live our ideals. Thank you for making such amazing outcomes possible through your tax-deductible gift to the Annual Fund.

Visit to make a secure gift online. Questions? Please contact Laura McCarty Tufano at 763.381.8296 or


Winter 2014

Today at Breck

FEATURES 16 / This Group Means Business Upper School students form the Breck Business Club. Learn about what’s brewing as a result.

22 / A Standing Ovation for 25 Years We’ll be celebrating a quarter century of fun and fundraising at Applause 25.0 on May 2.

25 / True Artistry COVER STORY Breck’s visual arts faculty have all learned to balance careers as


teachers as well as professional artists themselves. A balancing act? Maybe. But they wouldn’t have it any other way.

30 / Alumni in the Arts Catch up with five alumni who are building on their art education at Breck by working as artists today.


On the cover: Ceramics instructor Jil Franke works with sophomore Sina Hakim-Hashemi. Photo by Sara Rubinstein



Today at Breck Winter 2014 Today at Breck is a publication of

Breck School, 123 Ottawa Avenue North, Golden Valley, MN 55422 email: communications@




DEPARTMENTS 4 / 20 Questions

34 / Alumni News

We asked, and they answered: Nath

Holiday party, Distinguished

Samaratunga ’14, Oscar Diaz and

Alumni award nominations and

Melisa Wallack ’86


upcoming events

7 / 123


Activities, accomplishments, awards,

38 / Class Notes

Edward Kim

Meredith Cook VanDuyne



Brenda Janisch-Hoban

WRITERS Sally Horstman, Michelle Geo Olmstead, Laura McCarty Tufano


Billy Howard, Lauren Kiesel, Michelle Geo Olmstead. Matthias Orfield, Karyl Rice, Sara Rubinstein

announcements: here are some items

Alumni share recent news.

from winter at Breck.

46 / Sports News

7 / Who Knew?

We’ve got all the highlights of a

Fun facts, both current and historical (no, there won’t be a quiz!)

12 / Ten Things You Didn’t Know About… Our three libraries serve up a lot more than books.

fabulous fall season for the Mustangs.

48 / In Their Own Words Lottery winner Luke LeBlanc ’14 delivers a heartwarming senior speech.


Bolger Vision Beyond Print


Breck is an Episcopal, coeducational, college-preparatory day school enrolling students of diverse backgrounds in grades preschool through twelve. Breck’s Mission is to:

Prepare each student for a college whose culture is compatible with the individual’s needs, interests and abilities. Help develop each student’s unique talents and potential to excel by nurturing independence and self-worth. Instill in each student a deep sense of social responsibility.

Breck School is committed to environmental stewardship. This publication is printed on paper manufactured with electricity in the form of renewable energy (wind, hydro, biogas) and a minimum of 30% postconsumer recovered fiber.

/3 As you may know, Breck School is accredited by ISACS, the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, a regional group under the aegis of NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools. To retain our accreditation, we periodically host a team of administrators and teachers from other ISACS schools. The visiting team spends several days on campus conducting interviews, observing classes, measuring our progress against the goals established in the previous visit, and generally reflecting upon our strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. We look forward to these visits but not only for the external validation of accreditation or as a measure of accountability. Just as important, preparing for an ISACS evaluation generates great conversations and gives us an opportunity to think about our goals and objectives for the future during the self-evaluation phase that precedes each visit. In November we welcomed an ISACS team to campus for something known as a “mini-visit,” which serves as a sort of interim checkup between major evaluations. As always, it made for some productive, stimulating and reassuring discussions. It is a chance to ask deep questions, even those we cannot yet answer. The timing of our current evaluation cycle is especially good. We are beginning to think about formulating Breck’s next strategic plan. Aligning that process with our evaluation will be an excellent way to assure that everything – and everyone – is working toward our common goals. Some of our most innovative programs have come from previous ISACS self-evaluation processes. Recent examples include the Advanced Mathematics Research program, the Lower School’s six-day schedule, our rebranding campaign and the realignment of our Advancement efforts. I have begun telling people that the counter to “perpetually learning” is that we have to become comfortable with the notion that we’re never done. Thank you for coming along for the ride and joining me in anticipation of whatever the future will bring.


Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Questions 4/

Nath Samaratunga ’14: BRECK SENIOR 1

What’s on your iPod?

Songs by The Beatles, Beyoncé, and everything in between. There are songs from musicals I’ve been in, lots of indie rock, covers, medleys, and even some classical. 2

What’s one of the last books

you read? Wonder by R. J. Palacio. It’s such a sweet story, and I would definitely recommend it. 3

What’s your favorite time

of year? Springtime because everything seems so alive and cheerful 4

What’s the most thrilling/

adventurous thing you’ve ever done?


Dream job?

I’d love to be a doctor of some sort. 8

Best decision?

Joining the Breck theater program in fifth grade 9

What advice would you give to

yourself 10 years ago? Speak up! It doesn’t hurt to share what you think. 10

What do you remember from

kindergarten? Playing “cootie tag,” growing lollipops


Favorite website?

Soundcloud. It’s a great way to discover new singers and share songs you’ve made.


Three people, living or dead, you’d invite for dinner? Ellen DeGeneres, Mr. Nicholson and Nelson Mandela 17

Best trophy/award you ever won?

at the playground and always being

Probably the effort award in eighth

the last kid to wake up after naptime

grade because I didn’t see that coming


What’s your favorite place on the

Breck campus?

at all! 18

If you could travel anywhere,

Definitely the Chapel green because

where would you go?

it’s one of the few places where the

I’ve always wanted to go to Greece.

entire school comes to enjoy both big

The food, sights and culture all seem

Hands down grilled cheese and

events like graduation and small ones

so cool!

tomato soup

like all-school cookout

Spelunking in Cuba 5


What’s your favorite Breck lunch?

Who is your personal hero

(and why)? Besides, of course, my amazing parents, I’d have to say my sisters. They’re compassionate, clever, outgoing, and always fun to be around, and they inspire me to live it up every day.


Favorite comfort food?

Chocolate-chip banana bread 13

If you had a theme song, what

would it be? “Go the Distance” from Hercules 14

Favorite line from a movie?

“Yoo hoo! Big summer blowout!” from Frozen


Pet peeve?

Fishing for compliments. It’s just so annoying that people don’t accept how amazing they really are and feel someone has to remind them all the time. 20

Unfulfilled wish?

To learn to play the ukulele, so I can serenade people

Questions /5


What’s on your iPod?


What advice would you give to


Three people, living or dead,

Spanish and English music,

yourself 10 years ago?

you’d have over to dinner?

instrumental music, especially

Continue painting and creating, and

Frida Kahlo, Elena Poniatowska

violin, Mozart, David Guetta, Lila

don’t listen to criticism

(Mexican writer) and Bill Gates

Downs, Katy Perry, Bossanova, Regueton, alternative – very diverse! 2

What’s one of the last books


What do you remember from

whose would it be?

My teachers presenting a play for us,

My mother’s

and the annual dance that we used to

The Ornament of the World. (How

do for our parents

a culture of tolerance in medieval Spain) 3

What’s the most thrilling/

adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Coming to Minnesota. I was lucky to have such good opportunities here. 4

What’s your favorite Breck lunch?

Steak pepper soup and New Mexican pulled pork 5

Who is your personal hero

(and why)? My father, who died when I was 14 and really cared about education. He inspired me to get a degree even


What is the most important

room in your home? My living room because it’s cozy 10

Breck campus? My classroom with my big window 11

Favorite comfort food?

Cazuela (Mexican beef soup with vegetables and garbanzo beans) with lime juice 12

If you had a theme song, what

would it be? Express Yourself 13

Favorite line from a movie?

When the judge asks Billy Elliott,


“What do you feel like when you’re

Dream job?

Working in education, which lets me be creative and adventurous

dancing?” 14


If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Tel Aviv and Greece

What’s your favorite place on the

though he didn’t have the opportunity 6

If you could read anyone’s mind,


you read? Muslims, Jews and Christians created


Favorite website?

El Universal news from Mexico and the New York Times


Pet peeve?

Stereotyping people and bullying 19

Unfulfilled wish?

To take my mother to Israel or Italy and to have my own art studio 20

What keeps you up at night?

Watching international news, calling family and friends in Mexico, vanilla ice cream and, sometimes, cranberry dark chocolates

Today at Breck

Winter 2014

Questions 6/

Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP

Melisa Wallack ’86: ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE 1

What’s on your iPod?

I honestly don’t have an iPod. 2

What’s one of the last books

you read?


What advice would you give to


If you could travel anywhere,

yourself 10 years ago?

where would you go?

Let go. Most of it won’t matter soon.

The South Pole. The solitude must be


What is the most important

beautiful. 18

Pet peeve?

Beyond the Hole in the Wall by

room in your home?

Sugata Mitra

Our kitchen. We spend all of our time

Today it’s lying. Yesterday it was my


kid’s Legos left where I will step on


What’s your favorite time of year? Fall. I like the impending quiet of winter.


What’s your favorite place on the

Breck campus? The science lab. I would spend time learning there again if I could. 12

Favorite comfort food?

Sushi 4

What’s the most thrilling/


If you had a theme song, what

adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

would it be?

Giving birth

Change by Blind Melon: “When life is


What’s your favorite Breck lunch?

I can’t remember! 6

Who is your personal hero

(and why)?

hard, you have to change.” 14

Favorite website? 16

Three people, living or dead,

Matt Taibbi. Possibly journalism’s

you’d have over to dinner?

last hope.

Matt Taibbi, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie


Dream job?

I have my dream job. 8

Best decision?

Having my children.

Dimon and…Tyler Durden (I’m pretty sure he’s real.) I’d like to discuss our monetary system. 16

If you could read anyone’s mind,

whose would it be? Janet Yellen

them. Tomorrow it will be dirty dishes left in the sink. 19

Unfulfilled wish?

That I have ten kids 20

What keeps you up at night?

I just watched Black Fish, which reminds me that we live in a world where people do unimaginably cruel things for monetary gain.


Barbara Jacobs-Smith, left, and Alexis Kent, right, have exciting plans for 2014-15.

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

JACOBS-SMITH, KENT AWARDED 2014-15 SABBATICALS Head of School Edward Kim has announced that two faculty members have received sabbaticals for next school year. Barbara Jacobs-Smith will build upon her experience

Alexis Kent’s main objective for her sabbatical is to gain an

teaching science research to third graders by delving deeper

understanding of the world’s major religions through the lens

into her own bird research and working on curriculum in

of a holiday or festival. As a firm believer in the Breck

association with the Cornell University Ornithology Lab in

approach that there are “many paths to God,” Kent plans

Ithaca, New York. She will work in the lab, help organize and

to immerse herself in a number of religious traditions and

participate in a major teacher workshop and take a field

travels including some if not all of the following: Rosh

ornithology course. Jacobs-Smith will also travel to Peru to

Hashanah and Yom Kippur in Israel, Eid-ul-Adha in Palestine,

attend a 10-day educator academy in the Amazon Rainforest,

Day of the Dead in Mexico, Carnival in Brazil or Portugal, Holy

and to Chicago for the National Science Teachers Association

Week in Rome, Eastern Orthodox Easter in Greece, and

conference along with other Cornell lab staff. She looks

Ramadan in Indonesia, Morocco or Turkey. She will produce

forward to gaining skills and knowledge as both a researcher

photographs and narratives about each ritual and religion to

herself and a developer of curriculum for her students that

share with her students when she gets back.

she will bring back to Breck upon her return.

Who Knew?

70,000 pounds

Through the end of February in this brutal winter, our amazing buildings and grounds crew had used double the typical amount of salt/sand mixture to keep the campus clear for drivers. They also had used 9,600 pounds of ice melt salt on the sidewalks.

Today at Breck

Winter 2014

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

Claire Simpson


Elisa Villafaña

TWO SENIORS NAMED INTEL SEMIFINALISTS Claire Simpson and Elisa Villafaña were named semifinal-

Edina High School, one from St. Paul Academy and three


from Wayzata High School.

Artists from Breck had a fine showing at the 2014 Minnesota

ists in the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search, two of just 300 students nationwide to be so named. They will go on to compete for one of the 40 finalist slots in March. Claire and Elisa join five other Minnesotans as semifinalists: one from

Scholastic Art Awards competition. In all, Breck students won 14 Gold Keys, 15 Silver Keys and 18 honorable mentions. • Gold Key awards went to Claire Drysdale (art portfolio, 10 awards for drawing, painting) and Katie Jundt (drawing, mixed media). • Silver Key awards went to Madisen Diehl (sculpture), Claire Drysdale (painting and 4 awards for drawing), Adria Duncan (sculpture), Peter Fadlovich (printmaking), Tressa Fallon (ceramics), Katie Jundt (2 awards for drawing), Uma Oswald (painting), Kylie Spangler (printmaking) and Maddi Youngdale (2 awards for sculpture). • Honorable mention went to Tiara Burton (drawing),


Marisol Childs (drawing), Madisen Diehl (art portfolio, ceramics), Claire Drysdale (painting), Adria Duncan (art portfolio, 2 awards for sculpture), Carlie Gustafson

The Parents Association sponsored three very successful events over the winter. In our 28th collaboration with Special Olympics of Minnesota, we hosted more than 900 athletes, families and volunteers for a weekend poly hockey state tournament. A

(2 awards for painting), Maya Jackson (ceramics), Katie Jundt (art portfolio, painting), Evie Mackenzie (painting), Sarah Prentice (ceramics), Alyssa Quast (sculpture), Kennedy Schwiebert (printmaking), Kaitlyn Stanton (ceramics) and Lexie Wanninger (ceramics).

nice-sized group attended the annual Multicultural Film

The artists were honored at a ceremony on February 22.

Festival. And the fourth annual Pancake BreckFest, a celebra-

Gold and Silver Key winning pieces were on display at an

tion of both community and community service, took place

exhibit at the Perpich Center for Arts Education between

on March 1.

February 5-22.

Who Knew?

Perpetually Freezing Cold-weather suggestion for a new Breck motto by Reilly Patrick ’15

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS The Lower School raised $12,000 at the annual Jump Rope for Heart event benefiting the American Heart Association. Third grader Will Newkirk led the way, raising $635. Junior Madi Lommen was selected as a recipient of a 2014 Global Citizen Scholarship. She will join 14 other high school students from the U.S. at the 2014 Global Student Leaders Summit in China in the spring. Six Upper School students attended this year’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference sponsored by NAIS and held this year in National Harbor, Maryland. Now in its 20th year,

Left to right: Lorelei Lange, Duncan Phelps, Lydia Moran, Judge John Tunheim, David Caruso, Foley Simons, Tim Rosenfield and Nick DeMaris at Breck in January

Nicole Lee, Evalyn Mackenzie, Parsa Najmaie, Shivani


Nookla and Lesharo Subendran. They were accompanied by

Under the direction of advisor Tim Rosenfield, this year’s

the SDLC encourages students to apply the leadership principles they develop within their own communities after the conference. This year’s attendees were Bryce Johnson,

faculty members Rob Johnson ’90 and Kim Peeples. BATO BATO! were featured performers at a January 25 gala

Advanced History Research students enhanced their study of the JFK assassination with a trip to Dallas for the 50th

event for Best Prep,

anniversary of the event in November.

a local education-

They visited Dealey Plaza, the Texas School Book Depository

focused nonprofit. The event, held at International Market Square, drew more than 600 people. Karyl Rice of the Communications office plays the oboe with Exultate Chamber Choir and Orchestra, whose 2013 recording of Mozart’s Grand Mass in C Minor (K. 427) was under

and the Grassy Knoll and even saw Oliver Stone’s movie JFK at the Texas Theatre, the cinema where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. Excerpts from the students’ reflections: • “Having studied these places for such a long time and

analyzing how they played into the assassination, it was

really valuable to see them in person.” (Nick DeMaris)

consideration for a Grammy and made it through the first

• “A fantastic experience. Dealey Plaza was not what I

round of voting.

One of Jil Franke’s wood fired sushi sets will be exhibited

• “Absolutely fascinating how this small part of Dallas is

at the National Council On Education for The Ceramic Art

like a Mecca to which all who devote their lives to the

conference in Milwaukee in March, and her work is featured

assassination must make a sort of pilgrimage at least

in an exhibition of contemporary ceramic art jointly held

once.” (Lydia Moran)

by the Northern Clay Center and the Plains Art Museum in Fargo.

• “A great weaving of both fun and education.”

Michal Sagar’s encaustic work, “Roots,” is part of an exhibit at the Linus Gallery in Los Angeles. This year’s National Geographic Bee winners were Maya Czeneszew (first place), Jack Weinstein (second place) and Ethan Boyer and Dante Baza (third place).

Fight song Breck parent and Jayhawks founder Gary Louris is writing one for the school.

thought it would be like at all.” (David Caruso)

(Foley Simons)

• “It was nice to be able to go to the places where major

events that we have been learning about took place.”

(Duncan Phelps)

• “Seeing the places I have only read about and seen in

pictures really put the assassination in perspective.”

(Lorelei Lange)

Fish Now appearing in the Breck dining room two times a month


Today at Breck

Winter 2014

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT EARNS A COLD WEATHER SHOUT-OUT Breck was open during several extremely cold days in January, unlike many other schools in the state. So what made our situation different from the rest? Head of School Edward Kim says Transportation Director Mark Ryks and his staff had a lot to do with it. “The transportation team should take great pride,” he explains, 10 /

adding that none of our bus routes even ran late during the coldest weather. So what’s Breck’s advantage? • Two full-time bus mechanics on staff • The newest fleet in the Twin Cities, with buses only 5-6 years old

Kim also points out that extreme cold is a different situation from precipitation when it comes to transportation planning. “Snow and ice affect road conditions in a

• Engine blocks that perform well in temperatures as low as -40 degrees F

way that cold temperatures don’t.” And while some in the community expressed concern for

• Breck-employed drivers with a deep commitment

students’ safety, Kim received a great deal of support for

to safety

the decision to keep the school open. “We weathered the conditions together,” he says – “sometimes grumpy but together.”

FROM THE FACULTY BOOKSHELF Baby Talk: Reflections on a Blessed Event by Tom Hegg (Tristan Publishing). Available on and at bookstores.

Several publications from Upper School

English instructor Dallas Crow: “Letter to Fitz

From Big Sky,” featured piece in The Flyfish

Journal. In addition, his article on the Zoom!

Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon in Northfield,


“Start, Turn, Finish: 26.2 Miles, 600 Turns,”

Breck’s mock trial team qualified for the state tournament

appeared in the November/December issue of Marathon &

with a nail-biting one-point win over Wayzata, 242-241, in

Beyond. He covered that event as part of his sabbatical. In

the regional finals in late February.

March, Dartmouth College Press will publish Obsession:

At press time, they were headed to Duluth to compete at state.

Sestinas in the 21st Century, a poetry anthology that includes his poem, “Diamond From Mud.”

Who Knew?

In addition to the varsity team (Breck Blue), a jv team (Breck Gold) competed in scrimmages and meets this year as well.

Holographic Winning Spelling Bee

word for seventh grader Jack Weinstein

GRADS RETURN TO BRECK FOR ANNUAL MLK GLOBAL ALUMNI DAY Breck’s annual global alumni event honoring the legacy of Dr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., took place on Wednesday, January 22. Alumni participants and their session topics were as follows: • Keynote address by Sarah Bellamy ’97, recently named artistic director of Penumbra Theatre Company • Afternoon concert by singer Nyasia Arradondo ’13 • Foreign Policy and the Military in the Middle East with

/ 11

Joshua Simer ’93, Meredith Benson Doran ’02 and Rob Nelson ’03 • Race, Justice, and Crime with Shawn Renee Kennon ’77, Dr. Jan Tyson-Roberts ’83 and J.C. Cannon ’03

Sarah Bellamy ’97

• What’s YOUR Story? Broadcasting your personal narrative with with Alison Hitzeman-Hardy ’93 and Kent Rees ’93

• The New Jim Crow with Alexis Mansfield ’96 • Now that We’re Married…Navigating Embedded Biases

• “American?” “American Indian?” with Hannah Lussier ’05

And Assumptions with Emily (Nimmer) Gerhardt ’09

and Addie Gorlin ’07

and Rachel (Grandstrand) Gerhardt ’09

• Doing Business in a “Post Racial” America with Tarnika

• Coming out of the Closet Was Only the Beginning with

McDaniel ’99 and Raslyn Wooten ’97

Nick Kleidon ’12 and Michael Vargas ’04

• Teaching and the Achievement Gap with Chenelle

• Being Conscious with Marge Riazi ’08 and Jason

Boatswain ’00, Maggie Borman ’07, Kenyari Wright ’03,

Ilstrup ’95

Stephen Simrill ’07 and Eli Kramer ’97 • Criminal Defense with Catherine Turner ’98

• Justice Beyond Borders: Human Rights and Health with Gia Mejia Naranjo (Naranjo-Rivera) ’04

MUSICIANS RECEIVE HONORS Ten singers were selected for honors choirs by the Minnesota chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. Congratulations to sixth graders Jessica Detor, Ellie Holt and Hope Wang, seventh/eighth grade girls Eva Breitinger, Lucia Miller, Melinda Samaratunga and Reed Two Bulls, and seventh/eighth-grade boys Holden Felton, Jacob Johnson and Brett Schoppert. Sophomores Atlas Finch and Ramaud Bowman were accepted into the MBDA (Minnesota Band Directors Association) 9-10 Jazz Honor Band after submitting rigorous audition tapes. They performed at the Minnesota Music Educators Association’s Midwinter Clinic in February. Several piano students from Breck performed over the weekend at the Minnesota Music Teachers’ Association contest. From Lower School: first graders Amilia Hinck and Kristian Baker, second grader Piper Crosby, third graders Isabella Brama, Elinor Olson, Lileia Olson, Harrison Schwiebert and Ava Roh, and fourth grader Ella Fullerton; and from Middle School: fifth grader Peyton Schwieberg and sixth grader Abigail Roh. All of the students above, along with first grader Ballard Breazeale, third grader Madry Breazeale and sixth grader Annika Schoenborn, played for the national Federation Festival on February 22. And the Breck chamber players were featured on MPR on December 10.


Amount raised for the American Heart Association at the Lower School’s annual Jump Rope for Heart event

10 Today at Breck

Winter 2014

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…


12 /


Our librarians are continuously integrating

traditional collections with technology in support

of student research, and e-books are becoming more widely available.


The reference collection is now entirely online…no more non-circulating reference books

that can’t leave the room.


Breck’s collections are constantly reviewed to be sure that they are up-to-date. Books that are

no longer needed are donated to Little Free Libraries and other schools.

The new Upper School library, in addition to serving as a beautiful space for the collection, also serves as a gallery for student artwork and a location for presentations, thanks to its


giant projection screen.


Library/Media Department Head Emily Jones ’94

says that as best practices for citations and bibliographies evolve, students are encouraged to think more about why they’ve chosen particular sources and less about how the list is formatted.


Each divisional library has a website that includes a wide range of reference material,

instructions for accessing subscription databases, and the complete online catalog of books and media. Access is via the library section on Moodle.


More than 75% of Lower School families donate materials to the Lower School library

for the ever-popular Birthday Book program.

Professional development activities for Breck’s librarians include conferences, seminars on reading and technology, and active


participation in a cohort group of Twin Cities independent school media specialists.


Breck students have annual opportunities to connect with authors, both in person and

virtually, through author visits coordinated by the librarians.


The Lower School library has summer hours! Families are encouraged to visit on Wednesday

afternoons in June and August.

13 / 13



Today at Breck

parents’ D nd ra



14 /

Winter 2014


Today at Breck

Winter 2014

16 /

photos by Sara Rubinstein Business Club members Powell Simons ’15, left, and Eileen Bayer ’14, right, make plans.

BUILDING BUSINESS SAVVY BRECK STYLE By Sally Horstman How does a business evolve from an idea to a business

Working with Dean of Students Chris Ohm, as all Breck clubs

proposal to a dream fulfilled? Most adults realize that it is

do, Eileen connected with the Advancement office’s Michelle

hard work. Some of us cannot imagine doing it; others do it

Geo Olmstead, who was assigned to be the club’s advisor.

for a living. Yet, we all can agree that the road from “idea to

With the support of Olmstead, who at that time was Breck’s

reality” is likely long, arduous and filled with potential

campaign director, several Breck alums and parents from the

potholes that can derail it at any turn. Imagine then what

surrounding business community were invited to talk to

traveling this road might be like for students who are 15 to

Business Club students, rather like a speakers bureau.

18 years old? How could they possibly know what starting a business might be like? Where would they generate ideas and passion? Who might they turn to for help? Who also might prepare them for the endurance needed to travel all the way down that road? The answer for Breck can be found in the genesis of the Breck Business Club.

Background, Year One

Breck parent Becky O’Grady, president, Yoplait Division of General Mills, gave a club kick-off presentation about what it means to be “in business,” conveying that we are all in a business of some kind, whether we realize it or not. Eileen recalls that the speech was “empowering” in encouraging her pursuit of business as a career. At the same time, Eileen pursued research into DECA, a high school and collegiate

In 2012, then Breck junior Eileen Bayer ’14 was taking AP

international business club that holds conventions and case

Statistics, looking ahead to the upcoming college application

study competitions all over the country. As it turned out,

process and contemplating applications to business schools.

however, DECA works mostly with schools that have a

She also had an idea to start a Business Club at Breck.

standard business curriculum and Breck just wasn’t a school

supply a pool of funds that would serve as a place where Breck students can apply for and receive grants for anything service-related.” Wow! That bears repeating. This theoretical, Breck studentrun business would give students the hands-on experience of running a business, and all that it entails (Eileen’s vision). Then, it would generate “profits” that would be administered by a student-run advisory board and be allocated back to Breck students for service projects (Madi’s vision). Re-enter the picture Chris Ohm, who, as everyone knows around Breck, is someone who can really make things happen. When asked now, Ohm demurs on the subject of his role in how the coffee shop plan really got off of the ground. Instead he insists that things “get talked about and talked about and then it just melded into how to answer the question of ’What happens if this Breck Business Club starts building some steam?’ ” He implies that the adults plant seeds, but it is the magic, dedication, and drive of the Bayer/ Lommen team that propels the initiative forward. Whatever the case, late last summer, the idea of “business project coffee shop” married with the idea of “coffee shop plus service,” and Year Two of the Breck Business club began. The Breck Bean will be perpetually brewing. that fit their model. Undeterred, Eileen continued working with Olmstead on bringing in speakers and began thinking about the next evolution of the Business Club.

Fall 2013, Year Two Fall club sign-ups occur in the Upper School and students sign up to join the Breck Business Club; lots of them – about 40, to put a number on it. That is roughly 10% of the Upper School student body. The students, under the visibly enthusiastic support and tutelage of Olmstead, divide themselves

By late summer 2013, Eileen was about to embark on her

into three functional groups, each with club member

senior year and she had a May Program internship at General

leadership: Finance, Marketing, and Operations. They meet

Mills under her belt; she knew for sure she had a passion for

weekly and decide to do some market research.

business. Considering her ambitions for the Business Club’s second year, she thought it would be more fun and would perhaps garner a little more attention from students if the club could do an actual project. “It’s definitely been around the school for a long time now, the idea of a student-run coffee shop, because of how many people come in with their Starbucks cups.” Olmstead, with a work history in business and fundraising, had a new role at Breck as director of alumni and parent relations; most important, she had a deep interest to work even more closely with Breck students.

The Marketing Team develops a survey considering such issues as willingness to purchase coffee at school, types of coffee shop-style drinks consumed, and times of day paying customers might be present. The survey goes out to all Upper School students and faculty. According to Eileen, “We wanted to let the students have input into it.” The survey even asks for name suggestions for the coffee shop. To the club’s amazement, the survey generates an incredible response; over 300 are filled out and returned! Eileen believes that when students saw the questions about a coffee shop, they proved

Enter the picture junior Madi Lommen ’15, who already has

they were really interested in the idea. Even more surprising,

her own venture, Madibanani Bread Company, and who

half the responses come back with a singular name for the

possesses a heart for service. Madi had her own vision for a

shop: The Breck Bean (Perpetually Brewing).

coffee shop – the same one that has been afloat for a while, but as she states, “Not just a coffee shop, but really a social venture that would allow students to not only learn about business and the problems of running it, but would also

Armed with their marketing research and their creation of a “coffee buzz” awareness among the student body, the Business Club gets down to the tough work: creating a solid

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Today at Breck

Winter 2014

18 /

A beverage machine gets a thorough test. business plan. The Operations Team ponders how to run the operation and seeks advice from the formidable team of Paul Blesi and Bob Miles. Clearly, Blesi has a say in the location, since he is charge of the building and Miles is equally in charge of what students eat and drink on campus. As Ohm puts it, “If they aren’t behind it (the plan), it isn’t going to fly.” Both Blesi and Miles are happy to help. In fact, it is because of Miles’ connections within the food service industry that the Operations Team identifies and explores potential partners for service, stock, and machinery. “We are lucky to have him on board,” states Eileen.

than they think at first.”

January 2014, Still Year Two, Still Hard Work Ahead! The plodding and necessarily meticulous work continues on the business plan. The students grapple with issues such as renting versus owning equipment, staffing decisions, and pricing. Breck alum and entrepreneur Michael Proman ’99 arrives on campus in late January to give what Olmstead refers to as a “pep talk” to Business Club members. He listens to their problems and reassures them about the seemingly endless list of questions that need to be thought through,

Meanwhile, the Finance Team begins to explore questions

answered, written down, then thought through, answered,

such as, how are we going to obtain funding to start this? Do

and written down again. Proman, a veteran of startup

we have to incorporate in the State of Minnesota? How will

successes and failures, constructively reminds them, “Fund-

the shop be staffed? How do we create a budget? The

ing doesn’t just go out to great idea all by itself.”

Marketing Team has its own questions to answer. How do we spread awareness? What sorts of promotions will we offer? These are not easy questions to answer. Ms. Olmstead emphasizes, “The skills the kids are gaining from this are pretty incredible. Success in finding funding is hard. It doesn’t always succeed. Sometimes it is slow. It is great to see the kids go through all this, and sometimes they get a little frustrated because it takes much more time and more work

Yet amidst the tedium, a tangible and exciting event takes place late in February, during the pre-spring break, winter doldrums of campus life: through the combined labors of the Operations Group, Miles and a potential partner/vendor, a working coffee machine is delivered to campus for a three-day test run! The line snakes out the door of the Upper School dining room and through the Salas Commons, as

students, teachers, bus drivers and campus guests show up to

set of Business Club leaders need to be ready to take over.

taste and try out the products and equipment (for the

Proman states rather matter-of-factly, “It’s really about the

moment, free of charge). The scent of coffee, hot chocolate

people that are on board that are going to bring this to the

and French vanilla lattes wafts among the eager samplers

market and run with it and do it in a way that is successful

and it really is ALL anyone can talk about.

and sustainable.” Yet through the combined efforts of the

Two days later, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the club, there is no opening chitchat among these fledgling business

leaders and the greater Breck community, the team senses that this too can be achieved.

entrepreneurs. They get right to work discussing the new

The schedule is on time for a formal business plan to be

survey questions that must go out soon to solicit reactions to

presented to Breck leadership in the spring. And what a

the coffee machine. They are also knee-deep in planning the

profound plan it is! It is the summary of everything Breck

details of the physical space the coffee shop will occupy – the

stands for: academic rigor, the promotion of each student’s

proposal is to take over the Upper School Glass Balcony.

ability to pursue his or her dreams, supportive school faculty

According to Ohm, ever since the new Upper School building

and staff, the embracing and use of incredible talents of the

opened, discussion about what to do with this now seldom-

parent and alumni network, and a plan to invest profits back

used space has been on a lot of folks’ minds.

into the greater good for students who want to pursue their own dreams of community service. This last piece is from a

The Future, Near and Far When asked, both Eileen and Ohm look a tad dreamy-eyed when describing the potential transformation of the Glass Balcony. Words like warm, inviting, community spill out… space for study and conversation, a place to meet people…a place for students to perform their music, a place no one

school that just this year came to possess the only known high school effort to develop servant leadership into its curriculum and character. The proposal truly brings, full circle, the physical embodiment of the idea of “Breck community.”

wants to leave. Yes, there are big dreams for this space.

Good luck Breck Business Club on the Breck Bean! The Breck

According to Ohm, “I see it down the road as being a super

community is cheering you on and thirstily awaiting your

success.” When asked if there is anything she would change


about plans for the Breck Bean, soon-to-be-graduate Eileen

Sally Horstman, mother of Georgia ’12, Erik ’15 and Alan ’17, is

simply states, “I wish it could happen faster.” Yet, she

an active Breck volunteer who likes the daily dark brew with no

understands that great things happen through time and

cream (“full city, no room”).

efforts of a dedicated team. There are questions and issues still to be tackled, including an understanding that the next

June 16 to July 25 SUMMER PROGRAMS Register Online at er-programs

Camp Breck • Jr. Adventure Camp Adventure Camp • Camp à la Carte Sports Camp • Summer Academy Middle & Upper School


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Today at Breck

Winter 2014

20 /

s w y o r D Chaperone


a comedy in h it w l a ic s A mu

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photos by Karyl Rice

Today at Breck

Winter 2014


22 /

When this year’s Applause takes place on May 2, it will have a thoroughly modern feel. But there’s a quarter century of history—and some deeply appreciated support for Breck—behind it all. In its first three years, Applause was held at Breck, with

in the process,” says Walker. Adds Hanlon, “And it’s been a

auction tables lining the main floor hallway. Since then, it has

great opportunity to get to know more about Breck and feel

taken place in a variety of Twin Cities locations, including

involved at a deeper level.”

two memorable years in a tent pitched next to the American Legion parking lot.

Applause 25.0 will feature a sit-down dinner, a DJ, silent and live auctions, and lots of surprises. “It’s going to be a fun-filled

In 2000, Applause promised “One Fun Night” and an Or-

night,” say the chairs, who playfully suggest that attendees

pheum Theater concert with comedian Paula Poundstone.

should come with “deep pockets and their dancing shoes.”

In 2002 all eyes were on the screen for the debut of a film about Breck and the “Mustang International Film Festival.” There has been dancing, formal dining, informal dining, and a wide variety of entertainment.

“For 25 years, Applause has been a significant source of financial support for Breck,” says Director of Advancement Meredith VanDuyne. “In recent years, the event has contributed to all kinds of academic technology projects, including

The event has taken attendees around the world: Mexico,

iPads, servers, color printers, even the original voicemail for

France, China, Hawaii, Italy, a 1930s-era train station and

faculty and staff.”

even a northwoods cabin.

Money has been raised through various combinations of live,

And though there’s been an emphasis on throwing a

silent, and online auctions, raffles, the sale of student artwork

wonderful party that’s fun for volunteers and attendees alike,

and class projects, and specialty merchandise at a “Breck

there’s a very serious foundation beneath.


This year’s event will take place at Muse in downtown

Proceeds from Applause have also funded safety improve-

Minneapolis and has a technology theme to celebrate how

ments for the bleachers in McKnight Stadium and recording

much has changed for Breck students and faculty since the

equipment for the performing arts wing.

first Applause in 1990. Co-chairs Sarah Hanlon and Kim Walker say people should be ready to have a very good time.

“We couldn’t do any of it without the generosity of the people who buy tickets, donate merchandise for the auction

They volunteered to chair Applause because they love the

and bid on items at the event,” says VanDuyne. “And we

school and wanted to do something to show how much they

certainly couldn’t do it without the generosity of our

appreciate Breck as a learning environment for their children

volunteers.” JF

– but the work has its advantages. “We’re having a lot of fun

25 YEARS OF APPLAUSE 1990 Applause Auction

2005 Vive Breck

Judi Bloomquist and Sue Macdonald, chairs

Colleen Simons, chair

1991 Applause Auction Olé

2006 From the Heart – That’s Amore

Becky Pohlad and Linda Schimberg, chairs

Adrienne Oesterle, chair

1992 Viva Applause

2007 See America: Route 66

Mahogany Eller-Sharon and

Anastasia Hoeft, chair

/ 23

Barbara Lupient, chairs 2008 The Light of a Child 1993 The Phantom of the Auction

Peggy Oppenheimer, chair

Mary Cederberg and Mary Kay Jans, chairs 2009 Get on Board 1994 Another Round of Applause

Marcia McLean, chair

Stephanie Prudden and 2010 The Spirit of Aloha

Janice Wilkinson, chairs


$7 Million

2011 Feeling Lucky (Kentucky Derby)


Molly Engelsma, Candace Randle, Missy Swiller, chairs

Bert and Suzie Colianni, chairs 2012 With U iShine Lynn Casey and Robin Larkin, chairs

Swiller, chairs

1998 What a Wonderful World

2013 The World Is Yours

Karen Braun, chair

Trissa Garvis and Rhonda O’Neill, chairs

Patti and Robbie Soskin, chairs 2004 Con Muchas Manos Cheryl Besse and Amy Meyer, chairs

Kim Walker and Sarah Hanlon, chairs




2014 Applause 25.0


2003 Our Good Fortune


Jane Brattain and Chelle Stoner, chairs

limited ve your spot today

2002 Mustang International Film Festival

t Spo r u

Re ited! serveTO m Yo i L

Karen Braun and Jill Field, chairs


2001 The Great Winter Warm-up

Re ited! serve Y m i o L

Kris (Thomson) MacDonald, chairs

25 YEARS of technology

Sarah Dodge and


2000 One Fun Night

t Spo r u

Spac ei s

Karen Braun, chair

Spac ei s

1999 The Top Ten

Applause_25.0 Celebrating 25 YEARS of technology

Molly Engelsma, Candace Randle, Missy


1997 Applause on Broadway


1996 All That Jazz

potseats today available

Geri Bloomer and Susan Hoffman, chairs

TO DATE: 2014

Cindy Schmoker, chair 1995 An Evening of Applause

Today at Breck

Winter 2014

24 /

Kat Corrigan

Carol Grams

Michal Sagar


important part of her life for as long as she can remember. “People talk about growing up as gym rats,” she smiles. “I was an art room rat.” All of them have accomplished a great deal as professional artists in a variety of media. Their work is shown in galleries all over the U.S., is part of juried shows, has been featured in books and films, and livens up walls (or streets, in the case of

By Jill Field

Corrigan’s “art cars”) across the Twin Cities. And yet they’re

Photos by Sara Rubinstein

practicing their own craft.

all just as deeply committed to teaching as they are to

Franke, who has an education degree and wanted to be an art Visual Arts Department Head Michal Sagar laughs as she

teacher since she was five years old, says she gets a great deal

recalls the time one of her advisees asked her, “Do you do art

of inspiration from her students. “You share everything you

anymore?” When she responded affirmatively, the student

know and then move up with them,” she remarks. “It’s just

followed up with, “How do you do that?” It’s not always easy,

wonderful to watch them come into my room and get

but, she says, “I work hard at having the energy. And by the

comfortable with trying things.”

time I walk up the stairs [to her home studio] I have my other brain working.”

For Grams, who works with young children, “creativity and play in the art room is a way to reach kids wherever they are.

Her colleague Jil Franke agrees. As much as she loves teach-

And it’s good for me, too. I can be so serious. But fun and silly

ing, Franke says that doing her own work is crucial to

are really very enjoyable!”

maintaining her balance. “Nights, weekends, summers – I need to get to my studio and create.”

Sagar says that when she began teaching high school students after a stint teaching college, she found that the

Carol Grams is a member of a drawing coop that hires models

experience was extremely valuable to her in her own work.

and works together on weekends, and she’s never without

“When I was working through how to teach beginning

her sketchbook. “I like to draw wherever I go,” she explains.

composition, it really made me take a closer look at what I

“Whether it’s a bike ride, a restaurant or any other spot in the

was doing and brought me back to some very basic ele-

Twin Cities, I’m inspired by what I see in life.”

ments,” she explains. “Teaching keeps me honest and fresh.”

For Tobie Dicker, the balance can be difficult. She says, “I

Corrigan observes that she really needs to have students in

remember when my children were younger and I literally

her life as well. “Every June I’m so excited to have so much

had to steal time to do my own art. I’d get to my studio and

time to work on my own projects,” she says. “But by the end

find I had no energy left…until I learned to give things up. I

of the summer I’m absolutely craving my time in the

mean, dusting is really not so important!”

classroom and can’t wait to get back to it.”

Kat Corrigan makes sure she allows regular time for her art,


and lately she’s committed to completing a small 6” x 6” painting daily in addition to the larger projects she works on. “The Dalai Lama says the happiest people have a schedule,” she observes, “and I know that’s true for me.” And to Jean Wright, whose artwork has always gone hand-inhand with her deep spirituality, creating art has been an

Breck has had a long tradition of nurturing the talents of gifted artists, and the school’s remarkable record of winning entries in art competitions such as Pentel, Scholastic, Tri-Metro and Congressional districts speaks for itself. All the

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Today at Breck

Winter 2014

teachers confirmed that they are able to spot the extremely talented students right away. But it made us wonder: how does the faculty encourage artists of average, or even below average, ability? Grams has a unique perspective through her work with Breck’s youngest students. As she says, “I try to have enough variety that there’s something everyone can do well, starting with finger painting for the tactile kids. Or we might form a partnership where I help them translate their design concepts onto the paper.” The teachers unanimously agree that it is helpful to remind

26 /

students on a regular basis something that they themselves

Tobie Dicker

love about art. There is no right and wrong. “All my kids do an amazing job,” observes Dicker, who teaches Lower and Middle School students. “As long as they’re given a safe environment to experiment, they will be creative and produce great work. We talk about that from the very beginning of each year – that art class is a place to celebrate our individuality. Everybody’s stuff is out there on the table, and we’re going to respect it all.” Franke, who works with ceramic artists in Upper School, says one of her favorite things about being a teacher is hearing a student say, “I had no idea I could do this!” “I’ll never get tired of hearing that,” she explains. “It makes me so proud that they’ve learned not to be afraid of taking risks, learning from their mistakes and moving on.”

FINDING A PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY AT BRECK Another common theme through the faculty is an appreciation for the home they’ve found at Breck. Having a department of women has been influential for many of them, who have found support for their own work in women’s professional networks such as WARM (Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota). “It’s great to get to work with so many talented women,” says Corrigan. Observes Wright, “This is a pretty sweet place to be for art. I have five children who went to five different schools. They’ve all done art, but none of them got the kind of experience that Breck students do. Breck teachers come to work every day with such joy and excitement. What a gift!” And Breck’s commitment to professional development has been a great gift to them. Dicker, Franke, Grams and Sagar have all had sabbaticals that allowed them to be inspired by their travels and have the time and the opportunity to spend concentrated time on their own work.

Jil Franke

“I’ve had really pivotal opportunities through Breck,” says Franke. “I get so many ideas when I travel, and my Breck


sabbatical and summer grants have made a lot of my travel

Have a conversation with any member of Breck’s art faculty

possible.” Dicker expresses the same idea this way: “Teaching

and you will come away amazed by their passion and

requires a deep commitment to craft, but we do our own

dedication to teaching and to their own creative process. And

most creative work when we’re not teaching. Sabbaticals give

they’ve formed a very special community at Breck.

us the time, the energy and the luxury to immerse ourselves

“I think you can view artists as a bunch of misfit geeks who

in our own art. That’s why they’re so amazing.”

really want each other to succeed,” laughs Corrigan, adding,

And Sagar says, “Breck honors artists and backs it up with

more seriously, “We have such a great opportunity to show

professional development opportunities that keep people

kids how you can have creativity and art in your life no

growing in their own work. It’s truly a place where art and

matter what you choose to do.”

artists are respected, supported and celebrated.”

Sagar sums it up this way: “Art lets us dream. But when you

Another benefit of time away is that teachers come back

combine imagination and skills, a whole magical world

with inspiration for new things to share with their students.

opens up.”

For Dicker, it was having the chance to think deeply about the way fine art, indigenous crafts and history come together in Spanish-speaking countries, particularly in the pre-Columbian era – something she now teaches to her Middle Schoolers.

EVERYONE’S A CRITIC: THE ART OF CONSTRUCTIVE CRITIQUE It seems almost counterintuitive to apply objective standards of critique to purely creative work, but Breck’s art faculty is well versed in doing just that. Jil Franke uses a critique system that has her rate ceramics on seven criteria including content, artistic qualities, craftsmanship and considerations such as risk, impact, title and originality. “Maybe critique seems like a mystery,” she says, “but it really isn’t.” Explains Michal Sagar, “It’s not just ’I like it or I don’t like it.’ A piece of art can be evaluated on how it functions as design, composition, craft and expression. And we have to provide a safe environment for each artist to stand back and start to comprehend why some things have power and other things don’t.” All the teachers work hard to be sure that students learn how to accept critique without taking it personally. “Kids can be so self-critical,” observes Carol Grams. “I often tell them, ‘You’re not a camera.’ I wish someone had said that to me.” One way of leading by example is to share critiques of their own work. “When I get extended time in my studio I come back with such respect for my students,” says Sagar. “I stumble and get insecure and have to remind myself to be brave like they are. And when I get back to school I try hard to let them see that I question my own work and keep at it until I’m satisfied with the final product.” Another technique is to look for areas where students really get it right, even if they’re not the best at drawing, painting or clay. “Maybe the tree isn’t quite right,” explains Jean Wright. “But maybe the space around the tree is done very well. Or perhaps the face isn’t drawn representationally, but the color is interpreted beautifully. You have to keep reminding students not to let fear paralyze them and keep them from trying,” Adds Carol Grams, “With young children you need to be very specific. So you can look at a piece they think they’ve finished and ask them, ’What do you think could go in this empty space?’ or ’What can you think of to do a little more or a little less?’ It’s something we can talk about together.” And Wright, who arranges gallery displays throughout the school, puts it this way: “Not every piece of student work belongs in a gallery. But the point is to make each artist feel good, feel respected, and to come away wanting to do even more than they thought they could.”

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Today at Breck

Winter 2014


28 /

Faculty artists outside the classroom, clockwise from top left: Carol Grams, Jean Wright, Michal Sagar, Jil Franke, Tobie Dicker and Kat Corrigan

/ 29

photo by Simone Sagar

Wood-fired bowl

Today at Breck

Winter 2014


Breck’s extraordinary visual arts program has helped launch many professional careers, including that of renowned photographer Alec Soth ’88 and cartoonist and graphic artist Kevin Cannon ’98 – both profiled in previous editions of Today at Breck. For this issue, we thought it would be interesting to check in with five other alumni who are pursuing their interests in art.

etually learning:perpetually learning: 30 /

3: Andrea Packard ’03:Andrea Packard ’03: Andrea Packard ’03: Andrea Packard ’03: What is your current job?

My other piece of advice is to always strive to complete your

I’m an account manager for

and state of mind that you are doing it. A pile of partially

education services at mind-

finished work won’t lead anywhere. If you constantly work

SHIFT Technologies and I

toward improvement and take charge of developing techni-

paint after work in the

cal skills, understanding the materials, focusing on composi-

evenings at Art Students

tion, color, etc., then you will begin to see and track your

League of New York.

progress and continue to do so long after you leave the art

What do you enjoy about being an artist? I have always loved creating artwork for as long as I can

artwork to the very best of your ability in the time, space,

classroom. I think it’s crucial to have that visual presentation and to hold yourself accountable for creating your own goals and measuring your growth.

for me to create something with my own hands. Over the

Who (or what) at Breck was influential in helping you prepare?

years the mediums, themes and ideas have changed but it’s

All subjects in school directly relate to art in some way—yes,

always been an important part of my identity.

even math! This becomes especially apparent when you

remember. It never ever gets boring and it’s very satisfying

What advice would you give a current student interested in a career in the arts? As you pursue a visual arts career, however you choose to do it, know that there are no set in stone structures or rigid career paths which does give you quite a bit of flexibility and room for creativity in your approach and the amount of time you dedicate to making art. The media loves to portray artists as two extremes—wildly famous and able to sell anything they touch or starving. None of the artists I know personally fit into either category so it’s important to meet and network with a variety of artists along your creative journey.

tackle the business side of art and contemplate running your own business. Equally, pursuing art in school will give you opportunities to develop new ways of seeing which brings a valuable skill set to a wide range of academic disciplines and professional careers. Breck has a culture that honors the arts and everyone is invited to participate. I always enjoyed having family, friends and teachers stop by the class art exhibitions. I remember Mrs. Grams’ smiling face in the hallways over the years inquiring about my artistic projects long after I had left her classroom. Ms. Sagar, through her endless energy and enthusiasm, really pushed me to work hard to develop the technical skills to take my art to the next level and challenge myself throughout high school. I still keep in touch with her today.

Anne Prentnieks ’04:Anne Prentnieks ’04: Anne Prentnieks ’04: Anne Prentnieks ’04: A What is your current job?

development and strategy. So, I don’t have as much daily

Currently, I work at Christie’s

also gives me an opportunity to see more art and think

auction house in New York on

critically about it. Also, the reviews are short—only 250-300

the Strategic Partnerships

words each—so they are challenging writing exercises. The

Team. I manage relationships

editorial process is rigorous, and I really enjoy the dialogues

with outside companies to

that form with my editors surrounding each review.

create special programs such as international touring exhibitions and unique events. Our team liaises internally with all of Christie’s Specialist departments to design and orchestrate projects that highlight important art and objects from upcoming auctions, as well as private sales and e-commerce initiatives. We work with private wealth banks, luxury hotel groups, and major fashion brands to engage clients and promote brand exposure in association with Christie’s. In addition to facilitating projects, I also produce all proposals for our department. Outside of Christie’s, I also write reviews for about shows at galleries and museums in New York and around the U.S.

What do you enjoy about it?

contact with artwork. Writing is a great creative outlet and

What advice would you give a current student interested in a career in the arts? Figure out what your interests are and pursue them, but keep an open mind! The art world is constantly in flux, and our department at Christie’s didn’t even exist when I was in

/ 31

college! I had worked in corporate development at the Metropolitan Museum while pursuing my masters part-time, and that was where I learned to write proposals—a skill that I leveraged, along with other acquired knowledge, to help develop my current role as my boss built our then-new team at Christie’s. Everything came together naturally, but I could have never planned it.

Who (or what) at Breck was influential in helping you prepare? I credit Ms. Sagar, Ms. Dicker, and Ms. Franke for having mentored me all through middle and high school to follow

I work in a really fun department at Christie’s, so I enjoy a lot

my love of art, and especially for teaching me how to look at

about it. Our team has a bird’s eye view of the whole

and appreciate art. The Breck art department teaches

company and everything that the specialist departments are

students from a young age how to think about art in a

working on, and we are deeply involved in helping to

greater context, and provides exposure to an unusually vast

showcase truly incredible pieces of artwork—from ancient

amount of resources and information. It is a very rich

Chinese artifacts to rare and important jewelry and watches

program. In particular, I never would have applied to RISD if

to major, museum-quality Impressionist paintings, and

not for Ms. Sagar’s guidance—I didn’t think I would get in!—

contemporary artworks, to wine. My work employs a lot of

and that education has proved invaluable to my subsequent

creativity and also strategy, as I organize projects that

experiences. Additionally, I benefited from Breck’s English

achieve the various goals of our partners and also align with

Department—Mr. Moos and Mr. Eustis were fantastic

Christie’s brand values and objectives. Christie’s is a very

teachers, and I use my writing skills every single day at work,

international company, so our team continually works on

not to mention in reviewing shows. I also studied Chinese

projects around the world—London, Paris, Shanghai, Hong

with Wong Lao Shi and deferred RISD to spend a year in

Kong, Dubai, etc.—as well as all over the U.S. This year I

Taipei, Taiwan; I now work regularly with clients and

anticipate quite a bit of travel.

colleagues throughout China, and my Chinese skills have

I also value the opportunity to write for on

certainly benefited this work.

the side. Although I studied fine art for my undergraduate degree (I majored in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design), my MA (from NYU) is in arts administration and my team’s role at Christie’s is primarily oriented toward business

perpetually learning:perpetually learnin

Today at Breck

Winter 2014

Aza Er

etually learning:perpetually learning: 32 /

8: Andrea Specht ’88: Andrea Specht ’88: Andrea Specht ’88: Andrea Specht ’88: Andrea What is your current job?

arts and nonprofit organizations, and of course, our own

I’m the executive director of

of another job that would so fully engage both the right and

the Bloomington Theatre and

left sides of my brain. It’s rewarding and very challenging at

Art Center, an independent

the same time.

nonprofit that produces professional theater and curates visual arts exhibitions in the municipally owned Photo by Nell Ytsma

Bloomington Center for the

staff, volunteers, board members, and patrons. I can’t think

What advice would you give a current student interested in a career in the arts? Pursue a liberal arts education and seek variety in your coursework, employment, and personal pursuits.

education for students of all ages and abilities throughout

Who (or what) at Breck was influential in helping you prepare?

the community.

I had extraordinary teachers of visual arts (and many other

Arts. We also offer arts

subjects) who recognized my potential and held me to

What do you enjoy about it? The variety! On any given day, my tasks might range from meeting with a major donor to reviewing financial statements to advising a business about how to select and commission artists for a public art project. My job requires me to develop relationships with a wide range of people, including artists in many disciplines, elected officials, members of the business community, colleagues in other

ARE YOU LinkedIn?

standards that are more typical of a college setting. I’m deeply grateful for their investment of individual attention and their focus on writing and critical thinking across the curriculum. I’m also grateful for the lifelong friendships I formed with other students who were serious about their art. The sense of community we created gave me the confidence to make the most of my college experience.

Over 700 Breck alumni and parents are LinkedIn. Are you? Visit to connect.

rdrich ’07: Aza Erdrich ’07: Aza Erdrich ’07: Aza Erdrich ’07: Aza Erdrich ’07: Aza Erdrich


What is your current job?

What advice would you give a current student interested in a career in the arts?

I graduated from college less

Be receptive to feedback; your best work will often come

than two years ago and

after good critiques. While in college, take as many art

currently I am a freelance

courses as possible and get to know your professors—they

artist and graphic designer. I

can help you network and give you great advice post-gradua-

do commissioned paintings,

tion. Most importantly, be open to offer your talent wherever

design book covers as well as

possible: I began designing posters for drama productions

illustrate books, and occasion-

and T-shirts for clubs at Breck and that was great practice.

ally make logos or T-shirt

Everyone has to start somewhere so don’t be afraid to do

designs. I plan on applying to

small projects in the beginning.

graduate school to get my MFA in the near future, so I am preparing for that by painting or drawing for my own portfolio daily.

Who (or what) at Breck was influential in helping you prepare?

/ 33

Again, I appreciated the opportunity to design posters for

What do you enjoy about it?

the plays at Breck; that was a lot of fun and a great learning

I love the freedom of making my own hours, and learning

experience. Of course I have to thank Michal Sagar, my art

more about the creative process as I work. I’ve always

teacher at Breck throughout high school, for encouraging me

wanted to be an artist full time, so this is really a dream

to always keep a sketchbook and allowing me freedom to

come true for me. Learning new mediums for work, includ-

explore my creativity within her class. I loved AP Art and I

ing digital art programs, is always exciting as well. It’s a

feel like the pieces I created there are foundational to my

constant challenge, but seeing a book cover I designed at a

work today. I am so grateful for the support I received from

bookstore is a thrill.

her to pursue my passion.

ser ’97: Dana Weiser ’97: Dana Weiser ’97: Dana Weiser ’97: Dana Weiser ’97: Dana W What is your current job?

about the work. I would also have to say Ms. Franke. She

I am an artist/sculptor/ceramicist.

really furthered my experience with working in clay and

What do you enjoy about it? The freedom and ability to create whatever I want to

What advice would you give a current student interested in a career in the arts? My advice would be to try and be honest with yourself and your work, as well as being open and accepting to all advice and criticism. Try and take as many classes as you can, art history/art appreciation, studio classes: drawing, painting, sculpture, etc. Make it a habit to go to art openings, museum shows and lectures. Maybe try working as a studio assistant or an apprentice to an artist or a gallery that you like.

Who (or what) at Breck was influential in helping you prepare? I would have to say my aunt, Tobie Dicker. I used to go play in her ceramics studio as a kid and she was really the first teacher I had that taught me the fundamentals of working with clay. To this day, she is one of my biggest supporters and I can always go to her if I have any questions or to talk

really helped me to start thinking outside of the box.

Today at Breck

Winter 2014

34 /

Left to right: Tim Rosenfield, David Swiroff ’84, Paul Bogard ’84, Upper School Director Tom Taylor


Paul Bogard ’84 spent the day on campus

on December 4. He visited classes, spoke

with students and presented a book talk

at an evening reception attended by

about 25 faculty members, students,


alumni and parents of alumni. Bogard’s book, The End of

Over 100 alums braved the cold and icy conditions to

Night, blends personal narrative, natural history, science and

celebrate the holidays with alumni friends on Monday,

history to shed light on the importance of darkness.

December 30, at the Urban Eatery at Calhoun Beach Club.

ALUMNI ON ICE In a holiday tradition, our hockey-playing alumni gathered at the Breck School Anderson Ice Arena on Thursday, December 26, for some spirited play.

/ 35

Addie Gorlin ’07

GLOBAL ALUMNI – MLK DAY FEATURES ALUMNI SPEAKERS This year’s Global Alumni – MLK Day observance in the Upper School attracted a great deal of enthusiasm – and a great number of alumni presenters. See page 11 for a Lt. Col. Joshua Simer ’93

complete list of alumni and their session titles.



Breck’s annual fundraiser, Applause, is celebrating its 25th

We need your help! Homecoming 2014 is right around the

birthday this year, and a trio of graduates is working on

corner, and we are seeking volunteers to help with this year’s

ways to assure that alumni are part of the fun. Lauren

efforts during the weekend of September 18-21. Please

Ulvestad ’00, Colin Brooks ’97 and Mike Nelson ’07 have

contact Alumni Relations at for

been leading the effort to encourage alumni participation

more details.

in Applause on May 2. They’ve also been contacting alumni who own businesses to solicit auction donations – which will benefit the businesses with exposure to the current parent community and benefit Breck by helping raise funds for academic technology.

REUNION CELEBRATIONS If your class year ends in 4 or 9, your class will celebrate its

The organizers say that they hope to be successful at

reunion this year. Plans are currently underway for many

increasing alumni attendance at this festive event. For more

of the class years. Interested in helping out? Contact

information about Applause, please contact Michelle Geo

Alumni Relations at

Olmstead at

Today at Breck

Winter 2014



1976 | George R. Thiss ’46*

The Distinguished Alumni Committee is seeking

1979 | Walter L. Bush, Jr. ’47

nominations for the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. The committee, using the criteria below, will officially nominate and select its honoree later this year. Know of an 36 /

1977 | Lee R. Anderson ’57 1978 | George R. A. Johnson ’59

1980 | C. Carroll “Spike” Hicks ’47* 1981 | Timothy R. Hitchcock ’59*

individual that you would like to nominate? Please send the

1982 | Frederick O. Glasoe ’46*

name of the individual, why you feel he/she should be selected

1983 | Robert J. White ’46*

and the nominee’s resume to or

1984 | Alfred E. M. France ’45*

contact Michelle Geo Olmstead, director of alumni and parent relations, at 763-381-8278.

1985 | Bradford W. Parkinson, Sr. ’52 1986 | Loren E. Halvorson ’45 1987 | Charles M. Converse ’49

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD CRITERIA Selection of a Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna of Breck School will be based on the candidate’s qualifications in the following areas: • Models perpetual learning. Demonstrated efforts to

1988 | Richard W. Myers ’64 1989 | David C. Brown ’52, Warde F. Wheaton ’45* 1990 | William R. Schmalstieg ’46 1991 | James S. Womack ‘46* 1992 | Stanley A. Leonard ’48, Arnold S. Leonard ’48 1993 | Ralph W. Burnet ’63

increase his/her knowledge in his/her chosen field,

1994 | Harlyn O. Halvorson ’43

earned graduate degrees or completed significant

1995 | Stanley S. Hubbard ’51

coursework, provided leadership in seminars or teaching,

1998 | Thomas S. Beech ’57

engaged in other professional development activities. • Reflects positively on Breck by achieving career distinction. Received awards or other recognition by professional peers, served on government or professional

1999 | James F. Mossman ’49* 2000 | Richard A. Proudfit ’49 2001 | William T. Ellison ’59

association boards, published papers or other work, been

2002 | R. T. Rybak ’74

profiled in professional publications.

2003 | William H. Brown ’47, John M. Brown ’49, James Patterson Brown ’51*, Robert S. Brown ’56

• Recommits to teamwork and collaboration. Has made/is making a significant contribution to his/her field as

2004 | Christopher L. Murray ’80

marked by leadership positions, publications, innovation

2005 | Mary Sarah Fangman ’86

or invention adopted by others in the field or general

2006 | Fletcher G. Driscoll ’51


2007 | Stacey Kohler Moran Ph.D. ’82

• Reconnects with his/her community. Gives back to the

2008 | Alec Soth ’88

general community as a volunteer. • Reemphasizes character and ethical values. Is a positive role model for others.

2009 | Robert C. Roosen ’50* 2010 | Richard W. Clary ’71 2011 | David R. Williams ’83 2012 | Wilbur “Tib” Tussler ’50 2013 | Rob Melrose ’88

* deceased

/ 37

VISIT THE BRECK ONLINE GYMSTORE APPAREL 路 SPIRIT GEAR (find it in the Athletics section of the website)


Today at Breck

38 /

Winter 2014

class notes

8th grade independent school in Saratoga, California, where her daughter is in second grade.

passion. She worked for over 18 years



in the juvenile division and now

Anne Parker Weil and her husband

defends adults as part of the Southdale

moved to Baltimore last year, where

The Class has a memorial in this issue.

Suburban Team.

he took a job as director of football



The Class has a retraction of a memo-

Jan Tyson-Roberts returned to Breck

rial in this issue, and is happy to note

as an MLK Day Speaker. She received

that Steve Kingsbury is alive and well.

her B.A. from Boston University, M.A.

reunion year


from American U. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fordham. Jan worked

analytics with the Baltimore Ravens. Children Charlie (11), Baillie (10) and Allie (8) keep them busy and entertained. Anne retired from real estate finance and is now focusing all of her time on her blog and writing a book. Check it out at

as a therapist at the Central Detention

Brendan Taaffe and his band, The

Facility in Washington, D.C., for seven

New Line, have a new album coming


years, serving on the Acute Mental

out. Brendan describes it as bringing

Health Unit and in administration as a

together old-time and African

Stephen Peeps is a partner in a

quality improvement manager. Jan is

traditions in a reinvention of Appala-

boutique executive search firm that

currently a senior clinical psychologist

chian ballads. Check it out at www.

specializes in non-profit placements,

at Hennepin County Medical Center,

primarily higher education and health

and in private practice in Golden

care organizations.

Valley specializing in therapy with



African American clients.

Zachary Drake is currently director of


sales for PlayHaven, a mobile games

The Class has a memorial in this issue.


Paul Bogard spent a day on campus, visiting classes and discussing his


Shawn Renee Kennon returned to

book, The End of Night, in December.

Alison Hitzemann-Hardy served as a

The Class has a memorial in this issue.

business technology company.

Breck as a speaker for MLK Day.

For a photo, see page 35.

Following her graduation from Breck,


artist and therapist who puts the two

she went to Brown and University of Michigan Law School. She has served

While visiting northern California,

work. After graduating from DePaul

at two law firms, was an Assistant

Eric Christ met up with Eric Yue.

University she worked for Youth

Attorney General, a corporate lawyer, and is currently a Hennepin County Public Defender, which is her true

Lia Theologides Mukhar is a member of the board of trustees of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School, a Pre-K -

speaker during MLK Day. She is an roles together to do transformational

Guidance, a non-profit that works in the Chicago Public Schools, creating and implementing programming for

at-risk youth. She then moved to New

nine years in the National Guard,

legal director for pro bono work at

York and earned her masters degree in

including four overseas tours, two of

CLAIM, the Chicago Legal Advocacy for

art therapy at the Pratt Institute.

them in Iraq. His awards include the

Incarcerated Mothers.

Alison has worked as an art therapist

Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman

in numerous clinical settings with


both children and adults over the past


Miller caught up with Nicole Stotes-

Jason Ilstrup returned to Breck as a

Stotesbery ’98.

eleven years. She is currently developing a series of creative workshops which promote self-awareness, discovery and a sense of community. MLK Day speaker Kent Rees is currently the EVP of Marketing, Scheduling and Operations for Pivot, a new TV network that’s all about changing things up. Pivot is available in 40 million homes and targets the millennial generation. Prior to Pivot, Kent was EVP of Marketing at Bedrocket Media Ventures, working on three “Made For Web” channel launches for YouTube. He also worked at Current TV as the EVP of marketing where he spearheaded the launch of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” which premiered to record ratings. In 2004, Kent joined IFC TV as the creative director. While there, he oversaw the IFC brand across all platforms, and was the brains behind IFC’s rebranding as “Always On. Slightly Off.” Before that, Kent was involved with creating

ly, HotelRED in Madison, Wisconsin.

husband Steve Pangerl welcomed their third daughter in July 2013. Anna Jacqueline joins Julia (5) and Freya (3). Elizabeth left her job as a forensic scientist during her pregnancy with Julia to work part-time in a local corporate research laboratory. which allows her to still focus on microscopy and optical property characterization. She was recently promoted to the highest level for her title and nomifor outstanding service. Elizabeth says


that she enjoyed reading the Fall 2013

Sarah Bellamy served as the keynote

edition of Today at Breck. She credits

speaker for this year’s MLK Global

the research program with getting her

Alumni Day on Wednesday, January

on track after a rough science experi-

22. For a photo, see page 11.

nated for her company’s annual award


Justin Darcy has joined the investor

“VH1 Behind the Music,” and “Pop Up

panel at Silicon Valley-based venture

Video,” among others. Kent holds a

capital firm FundersClub, which

BFA with honors from NYU’s Tisch

invests in early stage technology

School for the Arts’ film and TV

startups. Justin currently works

production department.

full-time at global cloud computing

Soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment in the Minnesota Army National Guard. Following his

/ 39

Elizabeth Magno Pangerl and her

elor” and “The Bachelorette” as well as

Simer currently commands 900

bery Duncan and brother Dan

serves in hotel management, current-

launches for ABC Network’s “The Bach-

MLK Day speaker Lt. Colonel Joshua

a conference on technology, Dr. Jake

speaker for MLK Day 2014. Jason


and producing on-air promotional

While visiting northern California for

company, where he manages strategic alliances. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Holland and their six-month-old daughter Audrey.

graduation from Breck he studied at

Alexis Mansfield returned to Breck as

Harvard and graduated in 1997. While

a speaker for MLK Day 2014. She

there he received an Army commis-

received her B.A. from Georgetown

sion through the ROTC program. He

and her J.D. from Northwestern

has served seven years active duty and

University Law School. She is now

Colin Brooks is volunteering on this year’s alumni effort for the Applause auction. Eli Kramer was a speaker at MLK Day 2014. Following graduation from Breck, he received his bachelor’s from Harvard and his masters from Bank Street College. Eli taught in inner city schools out east, and is now the executive director of the innovative Hiawatha Academies, a network of high-performing college preparatory charter schools located in South Minneapolis. Tarnika McDaniel served as a speaker at the 2014 MLK Day in January. Following Breck she graduated from Northwestern in 2003. Tarnika entered

Today at Breck

Winter 2014

the advertising world, buying and

See note in the Class of 1996 for a

planning media for top accounts such

photo of Dan Stotesbery, his sister

as Procter & Gamble with Starcom in

Nicole Stotsebery Duncan ’96 and Dr.

Chicago. In 2006, she returned to the

Jake Miller.

Twin Cities and is currently the associate director of local media investment for Novus Media Inc. in Plymouth. She works on accounts such as Starbucks, Dish Network, Hewlett Packard, Famous Footwear and Old Navy. Tarnika is a proud mom of Breck 40 /

third grader Sydney.

Catherine Turner returned to Breck to

of Massachusetts and is a 2006 Lewis and Clark Law School graduate. She returned to the Twin Cities to work for the Dakota County Public Defender


journalism. After stints in Sydney, Australia, and the nation’s capital with Reveal Corporation, she joined Target as a spokesperson and then executive

Elizabeth on February 2.

University of Iowa and the University

to speak at MLK Day. After graduating

ties, earning a B.A. in broadcast

Chris welcomed daughter Charlotte

Catherine went to college at the

and is now in private practice.

Howard and Charles Stuart Universi-

M.E. Head Kirwan and her husband

talk to students during MLK Day 2014.

Raslyn Wooten returned to campus from Breck in 1997, Raslyn studied at


Michael Proman talked to the Business Club in February about starting a business and developing a business plan. (For more on the Business Club, see page 16.)

Eloise (Ellie) Wilkinson married Rajeev Ratan in Minneapolis on May 25, 2013. In the photo is the bride with her bridesmaids, the groom’s sister and three classmates. From left to right: Heena Kochhar (the groom’s

she moved to US Bank as senior


manager of public relations in

Chenelle Boatswain returned to Breck

and Claire Bretzke. The bride and

Houston, Texas.

for MLK Day in January. She is

groom met on and live and

currently the middle school director at

work in the Minneapolis area.

in events planning. This year, however,

1998 Artist Kevin Cannon met with members of the Breck Business Club in January. He talked to students about how to develop a logo. Kevin is a contributor of “cartoon cartography” for the history journal, The Appendix. Cannon’s maps depict obscure adventures from all corners of the globe, including Peter Freuchen’s crossing of Greenland, and Gertrude Bell’s trip through the Syrian desert.

sister), Kate Fischer, Megan Bailey

the W.I.S.E. Academy in North Minneapolis. After being an award-winning soccer goalie and science researcher at Breck, she went to Boston College for a B.A. in psychology and then to Harvard for a masters in education, concentrating on working with higher-risk students. After working with street children in Bolivia, she returned to Minneapolis to help create equitable environments for vulnerable children and adolescents.

(For more on the Breck Business Club,

Brendan McCarthy and Ashley Kokal

see the article on page 16.)

McCarthy ’02 welcomed their first


child, Marielle Sophia, on January 4.

Captain Meredith Benson Doran

Anne Knopman married Frank Luisi on October 19 in Charlottesville, VA.

Lauren Ulvestad is leading a new

The two met while both were attend-

alumni effort for this year’s Applause

ing business school at Darden at the


University of Virginia.

presented at MLK Day in January. She is currently an intelligence officer with the 162nd Fighter Wing and Air Forces Southern in Tucson, AZ. She graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 2006. She served as an active duty Air Force Intelligence Officer for seven years and is now serving in the

Arizona Air National Guard. She

ogy and Black studies in 2007. She

wedding planning company, La Vie

deployed to Afghanistan for six

earned a masters degree in social work

Charmé Events LLC, while still

months in 2008-2009 as an intelli-

from Augsburg College and is in

remaining active with a variety of

gence analyst for Special Operations

pursuit of becoming a Licensed

volunteer positions throughout the

and the Army.

Clinical Social Worker. Kenyari is now

Twin Cities metro area. As a proud

a school social worker in Osseo

Breck alumna, she continues on the


legacy of cultivating leadership

sota Wild as needed for the rest of the


potential, developing women of


Gia Mejia Naranjo (Naranjo-Rivera)

John Curry signed a new two-way contract that will allow him to play for Iowa and be called up to the Minne-

Ashley Kokal McCarthy and Brendan McCarthy ’00 welcomed their first child, Marielle Sophia, on January 4.

2003 J.C. Cannon returned to Breck as a speaker for MLK Day. He is the volunteer recruiter at Amicus, a leader in Take Action Minnesota’s Justice For All campaign and the Criminal Justice Media Project. He also is a member of Congressman Keith Ellison’s Emerging Leaders Round Table. James is a University of Minnesota graduate with his B.A. in sociology. He has been personally affected by the criminal justice system and, since that time, social, racial, and restorative justice have become his life’s work. Leah Lussier Sixkiller and Jesse Sixkiller had a baby, Ella Jean Sixkiller,

intellect and integrity and enriching lives through community service.

returned to Breck for MLK 2014. She

Michael Vargas returned to Breck

earned a B.A. in political science from

from the Bay Area and served as a

Columbia University, where she

speaker at MLK Day 2014. After

studied politics and human rights, and

graduating from Breck, Michael

dual masters degrees in public

received his B.A. from the University of

administration and international

Southern California with a degree in

relations at Syracuse University. Her

political science. While at USC, Michael

passion for social justice and empow-

served as president of the GLBT

ering underserved, minority commu-

Student Assembly and taught a class

nities led her to develop and lead

on issues of diversity on college

programs for at-risk youth in New

campuses. He earned his masters in

York City at the Harlem Children’s

education and in 2010 his J.D. from the

Zone and Inwood House, a residence

University of Minnesota.

for pregnant and parenting teen


moms. Also passionate about global health and human rights, Gia has worked with the UN High Commission for Refugees to consolidate refugee camps in Nepal and advanced vulnerable people’s rights at an NGO in Uganda. Gia is now a Public Health Analyst at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and also works parttime at a non-profit research organization working to improve community health. In collaboration with the Minnesota Women’s Foundation, Wynne Reece planned and hosted the Hope For Life benefit for the Minnesota Girls Not For Sale campaign. The event was attended by over 250 guests on April

Hannah Lussier returned to Breck to be a speaker at MLK Day. After graduating from Breck, she studied at St. Olaf and the University of Minnesota. Her work connects communities of color and the dream of full inclusion. She has been at the Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter to work with battered women and been involved in efforts to combat depression and other mental health problems. Winnipeg Jets defenseman Blake Wheeler was on the USA Olympic team.


21, 2013. Minnesota Girls Not For Sale

Maggie Borman returned to serve as a

is a five-year, $5 million campaign to

speaker for MLK Day in January. After

Kenyari Wright served as one of

end the sex trafficking of Minnesota

graduating from Breck she went off to

Breck’s alumni MLK speakers. After

girls. Wynne recently graduated from

Boston College. While there, she

graduating from Breck she studied at

William Mitchell College of Law,

volunteered in a kindergarten class

Denison University and completed her

opened Reece Law, LLC with her father

and taught health to ninth graders in

double major in sociology/anthropol-

Jim Reece, started her own event and

low-income parts of Boston. She loved

on September 23.

/ 41

Today at Breck

Winter 2014

working with the kids and witnessed

nationwide, but currently focusing on

2014 President’s Fellows at Trinity. The

the injustice that our school system

Minneapolis. To learn more about the

honor is given out to seniors who have

was perpetuating. These events led

organization check out: http://

compiled an exemplary academic

her to write her senior thesis on Mike is also

record during their first three years at

autonomy in charter schools. After

serving on Breck’s alumni council and

the college.

graduation, she was accepted to Teach

volunteering with this year’s alumni

for America­‑Twin Cities. Maggie now

effort for the Applause Auction.

teaches second grade at Best Academy East in North Minneapolis. After TFA, she plans to continue teaching or go into educational policy. 42 /

Bowdoin College. After graduating this

Stephen Simrill served as a speaker

May, she will work in strategy and

at MLK Day 2014. After graduating

operations consulting with Deloitte in

from Breck, Stephen received his B.A.

the Boston area.

from the University of Wisconsin.


Jamie Erdahl tweeted that she did a

He is currently in his second year of

little catch-up interview with Olym-

Teach for America and is teaching at

pian and Winnipeg Jet Blake Wheeler

award-winning Harvest Prep on Olson

’05. Jamie is an anchor/reporter for the

Memorial Highway, just three minutes

New England Sports Network.

from the Breck School Anderson

Addie Gorlin returned to the Twin

Katie Ross is in her final semester at

Ice Arena.

This fall, Steven Kiesel was honored with the Richard J. Farley Award, an award given to a senior member of the Williams College football team who in the opinion of the coaching staff


demonstrated the superior qualities of

After Breck, Addie graduated from Dartmouth College in 2011. She has

Marjan Riazi returned to Breck as part

betterment of the team.

spent the past three years teaching

of the MLK Day alumni speakers

eighth grade English and drama with

series. Marge graduated from the

Teach for America and currently works

University of California, Santa Barbara


as artistic directing fellow at Rob

in 2012 and currently works there as

Melrose ’88’s Cutting Ball Theater in

new student requirement coordinator.

Cities to serve as a speaker at MLK Day.

San Francisco. Come June, she plans to return to Minneapolis and begin a year-long mentorship program with Jack Reuler at Mixed Blood Theater. During this time she plans to workshop “88 Voices” and also continue teaching theater with a social justice twist.

2009 Rachel Grandstrand Gerhardt and Emily Nimmer Gerhardt returned to Breck as speakers during MLK Day 2014. After studying cello and music history at Oberlin, Rachel joined Teach For America, and now teaches second

dedication, loyalty and sacrifice for the

Nick Kleidon returned to Breck as a speaker for MLK Day 2014. Nick is a sophomore at Babson College. He is an entrepreneur working on several companies and is a business major. Purdue University sophomore Taylor McCanna is studying aerospace engineering. In January, she moved to Houston to begin her professional co-op program at NASA Johnson Space Center working in Mission Control.

Mike Nelson is currently serving on

grade at Excell Academy in Brooklyn

the Board of SOS (Save Our Schoolsas

Center. Emily is noted to be the most

Vice Chair. The organization funds

productive and innovative student

bike safety and urban exploration,

organizers ever for the Martin Luther

worldwide travel for students of low

King Day symposia from 2006-2009.

socioeconomic backgrounds, early

Ironically she now organizes people

childhood music programs, and

for a living as manager of inventory at

structured, supervised free time. SOS

The Container Store.




Emily Kleidon and Hayley Opperman

Abby Erdmann, a freshman at the

focuses on schools with at least 90% free or reduced lunch and strives to close the opportunity and achievement gap in Minneapolis. These efforts have led to dramatic decline in suspensions and improved peer-topeer relationships. The group is hoping to eventually expand statewide and

played against each other as Trinity lost to Amherst. Emily scored the lone

Gopher women’s hockey standout Milica McMillen had a career-high four points in the team’s 5-1 victory over Ohio State in December. She also scored a power play goal in Minnesota’s 3-2 win over Wisconsin in

University of Chicago, broke the pool and school record in the 100-yard

goal in a 3-1 loss in February. Emily

butterfly prelims (55.50).

was also recently named as a 2013-

Ben Gleekel just returned from a

90-day NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) trip in Patagonia. Freshman Achinth Murali is enjoying spending his first year at NYU in the school’s London-based program. Kate Schipper had her name in the headline and a photo in a Star Tribune article about the Gopher women’s hockey team’s 5-1 victory over North Dakota in late January. She scored two quick goals in the game.

/ 43


Former faculty/staff Lower School Library/Media Support staff member Cindy Cady died on December 9. She was 54. Cindy was beautiful inside and out, said her obituary notice. She was smart and loved to laugh. Her thoughtfulness, generosity and unconditional love are her legacy. Survivors include her son Daniel Cady ’09.

1942 Rt. Rev. Bob McKewin passed away on October 31. After graduating from Breck, he served in the military during World War II . Upon his return, he graduated from the University of Minnesota and became a teacher. He joined the clergy in 1959 and served as a minister for 52 years, most recently as a volunteer in the prison ministry in Minnesota and Texas. Bob traveled often to Palestine and Israel and wrote a book about Jesus, Behold the Man, which is available on Amazon.

flying charters, restoring aircraft, holding an aircraft mechanics license and serving as an FAA check airman for both land and seaplanes. Most at home in the cockpit, he logged over 30,000 hours flying. He was known for his great business sense, incredible work ethic and always being up for a challenge. Phil is survived by his wife Patty O’Toole, former wife Amy Daniels, children Allison Melchert (Greg), Michael (Sarah); Kale and Kallie and grandchildren Jonah, Samantha, Julia, Skylar, Ethan and Layla.

1972 Donald Stacy died peacefully at his home on December 11 after a year-long battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 17 years, Elaine (Falk) Stacy of Sanibel, his mother Marjorie (Gorkoski) Keller of Sanibel, his sister Carol Ann Pauli of Sanibel, and nieces Madeline Pauli and Janet Pauli of Zurich, Switzerland. After graduating from Breck, he went on to earn a degree in chemistry from St. Paul Technical Vocational Institute. In 1976 he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. Donald completed his


basic training in Alameda, California, where he served in

Correction: With sincere apologies, we are happy to

finished basic training at the top of his class and was

report that Steve Kingsbury is alive and well, and his

stationed in Honolulu. He served as a Marine Science

memorial notice from the last issue of Today at Breck

Technician on the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis, a 320-foot

was an unfortunate error.

search and rescue ship, patrolling the waters of the


Pacific. In 1980, he received an Honorable Discharge and

Philip Petrik passed away on February 12 in Sidney,

Waste Control, Hutchinson Technology, Honeywell

Montana. Phil came to Breck as a ninth grader. He

Physical Sciences Center, Control Data Temps and 3M.

purchased Burns Flying Service in 1971, renamed it

Don moved to Florida in 1988 and held a variety of

Richland Aviation and built a long career building

different positions tied to his lifelong passion for boating.

airplanes, doing airshow aerobatics, spraying crops,

the honorary Color Guard, carrying the American flag. He

returned to Minnesota and was employed by Metro

Today at Breck

44 /

Winter 2014

In their own words CONT. FROM PAGE 48 campus only to be stopped by the guards – they were

of those who support you, and they need to be thanked. So,

baffled. They asked me, “Luke, how do you get by the guards?

I’d like to give a big thank you to Ms. deKoven for making my

They just let you walk right on out! We have to jump the

trip to China possible. I’d also like to thank all my teachers

fence to leave!” I told them I had no idea, I just say “您好,” the

I’ve had over the years – some of you have been so influen-

guards open the gates, and I walk right on out. As it turned

tial and pertinent to my education, and there are just too

out, the guards, given that I ventured out and talked to all

many too name. I’d like to thank the grounds crew and

the Chinese students, thought I was one of the teachers at

janitors who keep this school running. And, I’d also like to

the program who just happened to take a leisurely stroll

thank the staff of my favorite class – lunch. In addition, I

every day throughout the city.

want to thank my bus driver and friend, Jeff. I’ve enjoyed our

The trip to China provided me with many important opportunities. First, I got to do what the program was all about: experience the Chinese culture. One of the things I noticed was that the people there are very generous and ready to help if you need it. Let me explain with a story. To start off, I’m not a white rice guy – I just don’t see what’s so good about white rice; it tastes bland, it’s filled with starch, and it just doesn’t look good to me. Not liking white rice is a big problem if you want to go to China, because no matter which meal – be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner – you’re going to get a plate of food that’s half filled with white rice. I just couldn’t eat the stuff, and because of that I lost about 10 pounds on the trip.

conversations about football, basketball, what’s for lunch, what’s for lunch tomorrow, and just having good ole’ conversation on route to school every morning. And thank you, Mr. Ohm; you are someone I can really relate to and just shoot the breeze with. I want to also thank my first ever advisor at Breck, Ms. Curran. You are the best. And though I’ve mentioned her already, I’d like to give my deepest thanks to Ms. Becky Farber – without her I wouldn’t have been able to attend school here. She went up to bat for me, and believed in me. Thank you. And, last but not least, I’d like to thank my dad. You’ve always been there, leading me, guiding me, and teaching me how to lead myself. I don’t know where I would be without you, but I do know I’d be lost. You’re my greatest teacher, my best friend, my hardest critic, and

I’d thought about ordering some real food, but I had no idea

though you chew too loud and somehow ruin every pair of

how to do so in China – the phones in the dorm didn’t work,

jeans you own, I love you with all my heart and couldn’t

and the telephone numbers there aren’t like they are here in

have asked for a better father.

America. Here, we simply dial a three-digit area code followed by a seven digit number. In China, you can have a two or three digit area code, and can have from six to ten other digits on top of that. I’d gotten to be friends with a Chinese student who was staying in my dorm, named Dale Zhong. Dale took the time to help me out, and we split in on an order of American food and spent the night hanging out, just exchanging thoughts about topics as complex the communist government in China, to more simple topics, such as the girl from the third floor I had a crush on. I just

Sometimes we focus too much on what we don’t have when we should be appreciating what we do. We constantly seek to accomplish more, get more, and be more. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting more. But I encourage you all to take a second – take a deep breath – and reflect on what you have and how fortunate you really are, and the next time someone says you have better odds at getting struck by lightning than winning the lottery, think again. Thank you.

found it interesting how two kids from totally different backgrounds could get in so much important and meaningful conversation, while the conversation of some people, like

Luke LeBlanc, aka “Little Diamonds,” is a

our elected representatives in Washington, for example,

musician whose new album is available via

moves slower than a turtle stuck in molasses.

his website:

In addition to learning about the Chinese culture, I got to see many of the amazing places China has to offer. I climbed the Great Wall of China, visited the “Birds-nest” where the 2008 Beijing Olympics were held, and swam in the infamous Water Cube. Whenever you win these kinds of lotteries, you should remember that you don’t win them alone. It takes the help

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Today at Breck

Winter 2014

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Fall Sports: Girls Tennis Wins State; Swim and Dive Takes Seventh Place; Two Runners Go to State for Cross-Country Football Participation has been increasing, and Mustang football was more than 40 strong this season. The team finished with a record of 5-5 overall and 4-4 in the conference. Kwaku Bodom, Graydon Kulick and Karsten Salveson were named all-conference, with Ramaud Bowman, Will Culliton, Myles Olowu and Jorgen Salveson receiving honorable mention. Highlights included a first-round postseason win over Providence Academy and a homecoming victory over St. Paul Academy. Kwaku was the MVP, Charlie Gamer the MIP, and Anton Gougeon the Mustanger.

Boys Soccer The team, which was ranked #1 in the final Class A state poll, finished with a record of 16-3-0 overall and 7-2-0 in the conference before a heartbreaking shootout loss to Waconia in the section championships. Alex Hasselbring was named all-state with Jack Dickinson receiving honorable mention. All-conference team members were Jack and


Alex along with

Both the girls and boys teams received a gold state team

Jake Duxbury,

academic award, and good bonding helped make for a good

Erik Horstman

season overall. There were 16 personal bests over the course

and Andrew

of the season, with both Lucas Wille and Claire Drysdale

Steumpfig, with

named all-conference, MVPs, and representing Breck at the state meet. MIPs were Jon Ekberg and Elena Berman, and Mustangers David Caruso and Kendall Riskevich, a seventh grader. With growing numbers and an impressive showing by the Middle School team that won its conference meet, the future looks very bright.

honorable mentions for Peter Kiesel and Michael Orke. Alex was the MVP, Donovan Ennevor the MIP, and Josh Gottesman the Mustanger.

Girls Soccer

Girls Tennis

The future is very bright for a young team that finished the

The Mustangs won the state tournament, ending the season

season 9-8-1 and 3-5-1 in the conference and won its first

with a record of 17-3 overall and 9-0 in the conference.

round of sectional play in a shootout. Sophie O’Bryan and

Sunny Tang and Patty Zhao won the state doubles champi-

Grace Taylor were named all-conference, with honorable

onship, with Kendall Kozikowski and Grace Zumwinkle

mentions for Maddie Bodell and Nicole Oppenheimer. Grace

taking second place at state. As a team, they won silver state

was the MVP, Madison Rudnick the MIP, and Amanda

academic honors as well. Named to the all-conference team

Navratil the Mustanger. The team benefited from the

were Kendall, Sunny, Patty, Anna Zumwinkle and Grace,

participation of former standout Jessica Meuwissen ’01, who

with honorable mentions for Eileen Bayer, Lauren Kozikows-

came back to Breck to help coach.

ki and Evie Mackenzie. Sunny was the MVP, Kendall and Grace the MIPs, and Eileen the Mustanger.

Volleyball It was a very positive rebuilding year for the Mustangs, who finished with a record of 7-12 overall and 4-8 in the conference. Jaila Tolbert was named all-conference, and honorable mentions went to Raven DuBois, Madi Lommen and Megan Russell. Jaila was the MVP, Lauren Bilcik the MIP, and Madi the Mustanger. The team improved constantly throughout the season and looks forward to a strong start in 2014.

Girls Swim and Dive Our swimmers finished the season with a record of 6-2, and 4-2 in the conference. After winning sections, they went on to take seventh at the state meet, with coach Michelle Carlson named section coach of the year. All-state honors went to Madison Ernst, Cecily Hibbs, Alyssa Phelps and Katie Schmidt, with Alyssa setting a new record in the 100 breaststroke. All-conference went to Cecily, Takina Kindle and Alyssa, with honorable mentions for Madison, Julia Joern and Katie. Alyssa was the MVP, Nicole Lee the MIP, and Madison the Mustanger.


Visit our online Zenfolio Gallery to see what we’ve been up to so far this year. Browse, download, print, enjoy!

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Today at Breck

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Winter 2014




opportunity was part of the Ameson Foundation, a cultural

the Powerball – so don’t come asking me for a loan. I’ve won

exchange program that provides the chance for both

a different kind of lottery, and the fact that I’m standing

American and Chinese students to intermingle and learn

right here in this chapel speaking to you now is proof of it.

about one another’s countries as ambassadors at the Beijing

Seven years ago, after completing my final year of elementary school at Loring Elementary in North Minneapolis, it was time for me to find a middle school. My dad refused to

High School Number Four. There were about 25 American students from various states, and roughly 250 Chinese students.

stop looking for a school until he found the one that would

My trip to China was like no other. Out of all the places I

give me the best education possible. He values education

could go, China is the farthest away from home given that

above all, and for this I am extremely grateful, because

it’s halfway around the world. On top of that I wasn’t

without him and Becky Farber, the former Dean and Director

accompanied by anyone on the trip, so I had to figure things

of the Middle School, I wouldn’t have won my lottery:

out for my own. It was a little hard, but it was fun and

attending Breck.

exhilarating at the same time.

I don’t think many of us realize how good of a school Breck

At the Beijing high school, the exchange students were

really is. It is one of the best academic schools in the nation.

required to stay on the campus. Beijing high school four is a

Our teachers are of such a high caliber of educational

great school, but its high reaching fences and security

excellence that you just don’t find anywhere else. In addi-

guards who kept track of who came in and out made it seem

tion, some of the opportunities here are unlike any other.

like a prison. I just wasn’t going to spend my limited days in

For instance, let me tell you about another “lottery” I’ve won. It was the summer after my sophomore year, and I was in Nashville, Tennessee, when I received an email from my college counselor, Ms. deKoven, that read, “My apologies for the impersonal, last minute, and vague email, but if you could take a moment and read this you might benefit from an amazing opportunity this summer in Beijing, China.” That

China locked up in a fence while there was so much to explore outside – so the day after I arrived I tried to get some of the other students to come with me to walk the streets, and experience the Chinese culture, but there weren’t any takers. So, I walked up to the security gates alone and surprisingly, the security guards let me leave with a smile. The next day, the other American students tried to leave the continued on page 45

Inviting you to join over 60 alumni, parents, faculty/staff and friends in helping secure Breck’s future by including the school in your estate planning

THINK A LEGACY GIFT ISN’T FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU? THINK AGAIN! “I’M STILL YOUNG.” In fact, 65% of charitable bequests are made by people ages 18-64.

“WE’RE NOT THAT WEALTHY.” 58% of legacy gifts are established by people with incomes under $75,000.

“I DON’T HAVE A COMPLICATED ESTATE PLAN.” 80% of legacy gifts are made by listing an organization as a beneficiary of a will, retirement plan or insurance policy. “WE DON’T REALLY SEE THE NEED.” 97% of people establish legacy gifts because they love an organization and want to be sure its work continues.

“MY FAMILY WON’T APPROVE.” 72% of family members surveyed say sharing their inheritance with their loved ones’ gifts to a charitable organization is a reasonable choice.

Sources: Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, Stelter Donor Insight Report



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WINTER WONDERLAND? We perservered through lots of snow, ice and cold.

photo by Karyl Rice

Today at Breck - Winter 2014  

The winter 2014 issue of Breck's magazine Today at Breck.