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Fall 2013

Today at Breck

setting the stage A home for research in every grade PG. 18

homecoming 2013 spring sports alumni news

Fall 2013

setting the stage A home for research in every grade / PG. 18

homecoming 2013 spring sports alumni news

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


Fall 2013

Today at Breck

FEATURES 14 / Traffic Control The Parents Association designs a program to improve driving on and around campus.

16 / We Day? We’re All In! Thanks to huge enthusiasm, our commitment to service and the efforts of We Day Co-Chair Hutton Phillips ’13, We Day was a big event this fall.

18 / Education With a Purpose cover story Breck students take advantage of extraordinary opportunities to


learn through research in every grade and every division. It’s a critical 21st-century skill being taught across the curriculum.

26 / Perpetually Learning A few alumni reflect on their current careers and the research experience they gained at Breck.


On the cover: The new senior courtyard at dusk. Photo by Scott Gilbertson



Today at Breck Fall 2013 Today at Breck is a publication of

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

Head of School


4 / 20 Questions

32 / Alumni News

We asked, and they answered: Claire

Reunions, Homecoming and upcoming

Drysdale ’14, Peggy Fifield, and Rob


Melrose ’88

36 / C  lass Notes

7 / 123

Director of Advancement

Activities, accomplishments, awards,

Editor and Chief Writer

from early fall at Breck.


7 / Who Knew?

Jill Field

ThinkDesign Group: Linda Henneman, Brittney Schneider, Corey Sevett


Laura McCarty Tufano, Michelle Geo Olmstead


Lois Fruen, Scott Gilbertson, Billy Howard, Chelen Johnson, Karyl Rice, Sara Rubinstein



Edward Kim

Meredith Cook VanDuyne


announcements: here are some items

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

12 / Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…

Alumni share recent news.

42 / Sports News We’ve got all the highlights of a great spring season for the Mustangs.

44 / In Their Own Words New Upper School Director Thomas Taylor shares his educational ­philosophy.

Our fabulous new Upper School supports students and teachers in style.


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 The September 26 issue of Time Magazine, devoted to a discussion of what colleges will teach in 2025, paints an interesting picture of the challenges facing educational institutions in the modern era. And while the article’s focus is on higher education, much of it is highly relevant to us at Breck. Author Jon Meacham refers to the tension between “traditionalists” who favor a core-knowledge curriculum focused on what students should know and those whose vision is on lifelong learning and what students should know how to do. “The prevailing contemporary vision, even in the liberal arts,” he writes, “emphasizes action: active thought, active expression, active preparation for lifelong learning. Engaging with a text or question, marshaling data and arguments and expressing oneself takes precedence over the acquisition of general knowledge.” At Breck, we strive to prepare our students with a firm foundation of cultural literacy but also with their own researcher’s mind, and we work hard to assure that our unique mode of research at Breck is part of every student’s experience—not just the most gifted. Inquiry-based research works so well at Breck because it relies on skills we value highly including creativity, collaboration, and a curriculum flexible enough to let students create their own knowledge, taking them places they—and we—could never have prescribed. What’s more, research-based learning has no finite and terminal goal. It’s an especially appropriate dynamic for a school proud to proclaim that it is itself perpetually learning. Everywhere you look at Breck, you’ll see students engaged in authentic research, from the youngest learners to the most sophisticated and all throughout the faculty members who guide their work. Where else but Breck would you find an advanced mathematics research program that centers on social services and not just pure quantitative analysis? Where else but Breck would you find second graders learning to keep lab books, or faculty members using professional development funds to pose a question that encourages their entire academic department to work together to enhance curriculum for all? At its heart, research at Breck is the very foundation of education with a purpose. It’s not just acquisition of knowledge for its own sake, but rather a way to prepare students to use what they’ve learned for the common good. The conclusion of the Time article reassures me that Breck is very much on the right track. Meacham writes, “What is heartening to those who believe in the value of a passing acquaintance with Homer and the Declaration of Independence and Jane Austen and Toni Morrison as well as basic scientific literacy is that there is little argument over the human and economic utility of a mind trained to make connections between seemingly disparate elements of reality. The college graduate who can think creatively is going to stand the greatest chance of not only doing well but doing some good too.

EdWARD Kim Head of school

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Questions 4/

Claire Drysdale ’14: breck senior 1

What’s on your iPod?


What do you remember from


Favorite website?

The audiobook of Let’s Cure Diabetes


The Breck Lunch Menu. My sister and I

with Owls, by David Sedaris. Completely

It was only half-day. I would sleep in,

check it every night before bed.

ridiculous and hysterically funny

watch Winnie the Pooh, and eat mac


What’s one of the last books

you read? The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer. Ms. Muzsynski lent it to me. 3

What’s your favorite time of year?

Fall, for two reasons: cross country season and apple pie! 4

What’s the most thrilling/adven-

turous thing you’ve ever done? I jumped off of a waterfall at camp last year. It was so scary! 5

What’s your favorite Breck lunch?

Do chocolate chip cookie bars count? 6

Dream job?

It would be fun to be a journalist. I’d travel and learn about something new every day. 7

Best decision?

Deciding to go to here! I really can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had decided to go somewhere else. 8

What advice would you give to

yourself 10 years ago? To not worry too much about the future. It’s a lot better than I ever could have imagined.

and cheese before going to school. Kindergarten was awesome. 10

What is the most important room

in your home? The kitchen. My mom is a wonderful cook, and if we hang around she’ll let us taste what she’s making. My sister and I do our homework at the kitchen counter every night. 11

What’s your favorite place on the

Breck campus? Probably the art room, although I do like the new fourth floor. It’s so quiet and peaceful up there. 12

Comfort food?

Costco pizza 13

If you had a theme song, what

would it be? Fergalicious 14

Favorite line from a movie?

“It’s just a flesh wound!” from Monty


Best trophy/award you ever won?

Making it to the state cross country meet last year. I literally finished last at a meet the year before, so qualifying was more than a dream come true. 17

If you could read anyone’s mind,

whose would it be? Mr. Taylor. I’d like to know how Breck compares to expectation. 18

If you could travel anywhere,

where would you go? I would go to Italy. There’s so much beautiful architecture and art. Plus I love pasta, pizza, and gelato.


Pet peeve? I hate it when people text while they’re talking to you. It’s so hard to have a conversation that way.

Python and the Holy Grail. I could watch that movie a hundred times.


Unfulfilled wish?

To go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve been to New York City twice, but I’ve never had time to go!

Questions /5


What’s on your iPod?


What do you remember from


Favorite website?

Patty Griffin, Vince Gill, Avicii, Eric


Cathe Freidrich workout, fitness, exer-


Do you know how old I am? I don’t

cise DVD – check it out!


What’s your favorite time of year?

remember kindergarten.

Fall 3

What’s the most thrilling/

In 2012, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and later took an African safari. What’s your favorite Breck lunch?

Any soup of the day followed by an ice


What’s the most ­important room in your house? The kitchen

cream sandwich. 5

Who is your personal hero

(and why)? My husband Bob. You have to admire any guy that stays with the same girl (ME) since 7th grade! He is a great husband, father, grandfather, he knows so much about everything, and he “gets me”! 6

Dream job?


What’s your favorite place on the

Breck campus? The gyms – where strong bodies, smart minds, and strong relationships are formed! 12

Favorite comfort food?

Chocolate chip cookies 13

If you had a theme song, what

Professional athlete or to be a cast member of SNL

“What doesn’t kill you makes you

Best decision?

To have children (is that a decision?) 8

What advice would you give to

yourself 10 years ago? Travel more.

My mom, dad, and Jesus 17

Best trophy/award you ever won?

University of Minnesota Hall of Fame —Gymnastics 18

If you could travel anywhere,

where would you go? Back to Africa for another safari

would it be?


Three people living or dead, you’d

have over to dinner?

adventurous thing you’ve ever done?




Favorite line from a movie?

“Show me the money,” from Jerry Maguire


Pet peeve?

Airport security 20

What keeps you up at night?

Worrying about answering these 20 questions!

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Questions 6/

theater director and breck 2013 distinguished alumnus

Rob Melrose ’88: 1

What’s on your iPod?


Dream job?


Favorite line from a movie?

Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha, Pitbull, Polish for

Artistic Director of the Théâtre Odéon

“Never tell me the odds!” from Star

Foreigners, Charles Ives Symphony #2,

in Paris but really I’d love to run any

Wars 5: The Empire Strikes Back

Infinite Jest Audiobook

theater in Europe.


What’s one of the last books

you read? Le Compte de Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I read an excerpt of it in 10th grade French class, and it has been my goal to read it in French ever since. I finally did it this summer. 3

What’s your favorite time of year?

Summer! 4

What’s the most thrilling/

adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Mountain biking. I broke my arm the first time out, but this summer I rode to the top of Mount Tam in Marin. 5

What’s your favorite Breck lunch?


Best decision?

Marrying my wife Paige Rogers 9

What advice would you give to


Who is your personal hero (and

why)? Samuel Beckett — He was a tremendous artist with exceptional discipline and genius and as a human being he had a huge heart and great moral courage.

Three people, living or dead,

you’d have over to dinner? Homer, Dante and Shakespeare 16

Best trophy/award you ever won?

yourself 10 years ago?

My new Breck chair! Before that is

To worry less and relax more

was when the theater company I


What is the most important room

in your home? The living room because I have my wall of books there 11

What’s your favorite place on the

Breck campus? The Theater!!! 12

Favorite comfort food?

Real Italian brick oven pizza

Pizza — In the 80s it was a big rectangle that hung over the plate.



If you had a theme song, what would it be? “Do I love you?” Cole Porter. I used to sing it to my kids as their lullaby.

founded with my wife Paige, The Cutting Ball Theater won Best Theater in the SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay Issue. 17

If you could travel anywhere,

where would you go? Venice, Italy, always 18

Pet peeve?

People who have pet peeves 19

Unfulfilled wish?

Being able to draw well or play an instrument well 20

What keeps you up at night?

Am I spending enough time with my kids? The answer is always no.


“Black Striped Teapot” by ceramics teacher Jil Franke

Today at 123 Ottawa Ave. North

National High School Scholarship Awards Go to Four Recent Alums

Three Win Rare Honors in Siemens Competition

The National Society of High School Scholars, which annually recognizes the best in research papers by students

There’s one Siemens competition finalist from Minnesota this year...and she’s Breck senior Claire Drysdale. In addition, two of the six Minnesota semifinalists are from

across the U.S., chose four projects from Breck among its 25 winners for 2013. Congratulations to the following, all from the Class of 2013:

Breck: juniors Sofie Kim and Jacob Levy. To the best of our

Darius Bieganski, A Telemedicine Tool for Monitoring

knowledge, Claire is the second-ever regional finalist from

Parkinson’s: Using Microsoft Kinect to Engineer the

Breck. The first was Caleb Kumar last year.


Grant Two Bulls Chosen for College Board Advisory Panel Junior Grant Two Bulls has been selected for the Advisory Panel on Student Opportunity (APSO), a program sponsored by the College Board since 1978. The panel consists of only 16 students, both high school and college, who provide

Paige Dempsey, Characteristics that Contribute to Nest Success of Endangered Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) Abby Erdmann, A Study of Distracted Driving Behaviors in the Vicinity of Breck School Caleb Kumar, There’s an App for That: An iPhone Application for Post-stroke Upper Extremity Rehabilitation

student perspective to College Board staff and committees.

Who Knew?

An Orchard for Sam:

The Salas apple tree bore plenty of fruit this fall.

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Today at 123 Ottawa Ave. North

Madi Lommen ’15 Earns Recognition From WomenVenture Breck junior Madi Lommen received WomenVenture’s “Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained: One to Watch” award at its annual conference in November.  For over 30 years, WomenVenture has been dedicated to providing women with the resources and support they need for economic success. Madi is the founder of the Madibanani Bread Company, whose motto is Live. Love. Bake. Change the World. She founded the company to raise funds to support the Children of the Forest 8/

Orphanage in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand — a place she first visited on a Breck service trip. She manages to bake her bread in a leased commercial kitchen, negotiate contracts with retail locations, keep up with her schoolwork and play multiple sports at Breck. Says Madi, “The most difficult days are the days when I feel like it’s a total grind and I don’t have enough time to check e-mail. I never get frustrated with the business, though. The kids — the orphans — are what keep me going every day. It’s only for a good cause.”

Six Artists’ Work Accepted Into Juried Art Show Upper School art students Maddie Diehl, Claire Drysdale, Adria Duncan, Katie Jundt, Uma Oswald and Maddi Youngdale were all juried into the Ninth Annual ShattuckSt. Mary’s Art Invitational. Their work was on display in the school’s gallery from October 24 – November 8, and Claire won a second-place award.

Left to right: Katie Jundt, Claire Drysdale, Adria Duncan, Maddie Diehl, Maddi Youngdale (not pictured: Uma Oswald) Senior Alex Hasselbring of the boys soccer team was profiled as a featured athlete in the Oct. 8 Star Tribune and was KARE-11’s athlete of the week on Oct. 11.


Due to an editing error, Samuel Rex was left off the list of high scorers in the National Spanish Exam last spring.

Who Knew?

“Little Diamonds,” aka Luke LeBlanc ’14, has a new album, recorded at the studios of Prince’s organ player Dr. Matt Fink and 89.3 The Current. Ordering information at

Also Noted Monarch expert and fourth-grade

Junior Grace Kirkpatrick was one of the participants in a

instructor David Kust was inter-

program that brought together Chinese, Russian and Ameri-

viewed on both MPR and Channel 12

can students in Beijing this summer. The group was

news this summer. Kust spent his

involved in a Model CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political

sabbatical studying the migration of

Consultative Conference), which lets students experience

monarchs, whose population has been

the processes by which China’s six political parties identify

dwindling in recent years.

and address social issues.

Chinese instructor Margaret Wong was honored for her

Seventh grader Talia Saklad and third grader Ella Saklad

commitment to international exchange by the Golden

won numerous awards at the Minnesota State Fair Educa-

Valley Rotary Club, which named her Citizen of the Year.

tion competition. Ella received a first-place ribbon for her

“Black Striped Teapot” by ceramic teacher Jil Franke is included in the newly released book 500

clay piece, and Talia entered five pieces and won five awards: two first, a second, a third and one of only two grand prizes for her grade level.

Teapots Volume 2 (Lark Crafts, Asheville). Franke’s teapot was selected because of her reputation as a current and evolving designer in the world of ceramics. Seniors Blaze Beecher, Elliott Weiler and Patricia Zhao were chosen by the University of Minnesota Confucius Institute to represent the Midwest region in the International High School Chinese Speech Contest, sponsored by Hanban, the National Office for the Promotion of Chinese

Talia Saklad

Ella Saklad

Language Learning. Senior Bryce Johnson qualified for two heats in the Junior Olympics in Detroit in July. He placed 65th in the nation in the 400 and his relay team placed fifth in the nation, winning All-American honors. Congratulations to Benefits and Accounts Payable Coordinator Katy Stromberg on the birth of son Henry on August 12, and to Director of College Counseling Jonny Nicholson on the arrival of new daughter Hadley Elizabeth, on October 21. Art instructor Kat Corrigan’s show, “30 Dogs in 30 Days,” was on display at the Riverview Café and Wine Bar in Minneapolis in August.

Emily Colwell ’14 (and Michal Sagar) with singer Josh Groban. They were invited backstage by Free Arts MN.


Nearly colleges and universities visiting Breck for the annual MISP College Fair


Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Today at 123 Ottawa Ave. North

Welcome to Breck! We welcome new faculty and staff this fall Patricia Anderson, Upper School Chinese Jill Arens, Upper School office assistant Sarah Benjamin, Performing Arts department head Katy Brandl, Lower School teaching assistant Christian Burrus, Strength and fitness coach 10 /

Lower School (left to right): Michelle Carlson, Anne Savage, Angie Geffre, Laura Kissinger, Katy Brandl

Andre Caron, Upper School mathematics Michelle Carlson, Lower School physical education Tom Cierzan, Director of Campaign and Charitable Gift Planning Angie Geffre, Lower School teaching assistant Laura Kissinger, Lower School teaching assistant Alex Law, Middle School history Laura McCarty Tufano, Assistant Director of Advancement Debra Mixon ’87, Upper School science Erika Remillard, Middle School science

Middle School: Erika Remillard, Kate Starns, Sarah Benjamin, Alex Law

Anne Savage, kindergarten Gretchen Scherer-Luebke, Upper School English Trisha Skajewski, Associate Director of Advancement Kate Starns, Middle School English/History Thomas Taylor, Upper School Director Betsy Wohlwend, Associate Accountant

New roles for some familiar faces Upper School: Gretchen Scherer-Luebke, Thomas Taylor, Andre Caron, Debra Mixon ’87, Patricia Anderson

A.J. Colianni, Upper School Dean of Studies Tod Dungan, Middle School Athletic Coordinator, Project Adventure (in addition to MS dean) Emily Jones ’94, Library/Media department head Carrie Lennox, Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Carol McFarland, Assistant Director of Advancement Michelle Olmstead, Associate Director of Advancement Kimberly Peeples, Director of the Melrose Family Center for Servant Leadership

Tom Cierzan

Trisha Skajewski, Laura McCarty Tufano, Betsy Wohlwend

Peter Saunders, Technology Curriculum Director Sebastien Saunoi-Sandgren, Modern Language department head Scott Wade, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid

Students Win Awards for Service Two Breck seniors have recently been recognized for their commitment to service. Eileen Bayer received a Caring Youth Award from the city of Minnetonka, and Angela Myers was honored as Volunteer of the Year at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul.

Who Knew?

80% of Middle and Upper School students play at least one sport

New signs and banners are all over campus this fall!

Fifteen International Students Join Our Community in 2013-14 Jeungwon (Sara) Eum, grade 10, Yong in, Keungki, South Korea Yue (Leah) Hao, grade 11, Beijing, China Xinruo (Sarah) Hu, grade 11, Beijing, China Sung Rim Huh, grade 11, Seoul, South Korea Sung Wan, grade 9, Seoul, South Korea Rustam Kosherbay, grade 11, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan

/ 11

Tsz Lum (Antonia) Lee, grade 11, Hong Kong Guohao (Ruskin) Li, grade 11, Beijing, China

Thanks to our wonderful host families: Dr Jinhwa Eum

Zhuang (Maxwell) Miao, grade 11, Beijing, China

& Mrs. Hyangmee Oh, Art and & Kate Berman, Mark &

Jana Rezabkova, grade 11, Prague, Czech Republic

Laurie Headrick, Jim & Sue Westerman, Steve & Angie Lee,

Marie Sakloff, grade 11, Paris, France

Pamela Kirkpatrick, Gina Bardon, Melinda Caouette,

Yunong (Charles) Wang, grade 11, Chongqing, China

Randon & Kathryn Roland, David & Gabrielle Parish,

Jinhui (James) Yang, grade 11, Shanghai, China

Jeffrey & Mary Husband, Bryan & Kimberly Morvig,

Youngmin (Jennifer) Youn, grade 11, Seoul, South Korea

Jianmin He & Jenny Liu, Mr. & Mrs. David Tsao, Hyun Sook

Hongrong (Demi) Zhang, grade 11, Chongqing, China

Park, Sandra Kim, Jeff & Lauren Kiesel, Ron & Teresa Sit

Star Tribune Features the New Upper School The Oct. 9 West Metro edition of the Star Tribune featured a very positive article and beautiful photos of the new Upper School. Education reporter Kim McGuire focused on the new science facilities and what they are making possible for Breck students.

In Memoriam From the Faculty Bookshelf

Former Upper School Director Kevin Michael died after an illness August 8 in Columbus, Ohio. He was 57. At the time

Upper School English instructor Dallas

of his death, he was an adjunct professor of philosophy at

Crow has published Small Imperfect

Ohio Dominican University. He had been a teacher and

Paradise (Parallel Press of the University of

dean at Columbus Academy, headmaster at Midland School

Wisconsin Libraries), available via the

in Los Olivos, California, and at Lake Ridge Academy in

Parallel Press website, parallelpress@

Ohio. He is survived by his wife Martha and children In addition, Crow’s poems

Guthrie ’00, Chelsea ’02 and Georgia ’05.

have been published in the current issues of a number of literary journals (Cloudbank, New Madrid, and Tar River Poetry) and one fishing magazine (The Flyfish Journal). He also has an article on contemporary prose

Former Trustee Mary Lee Dayton died on August 21. An energetic community volunteer and great philanthropist and friend of Breck, she served on the board from 1989 to

poetry in the current issue of Poet Lore.

1994. Predeceased by her husband, Wallace, with whom she

Former faculty member Meryll Page has published

Breck Faculty Chair, she is survived by family including

Jewish Luck: A True Story of Friendship, Deception and Risky

four daughters and nine grandchildren, including Matthew

Business. Available at

’97 and Rosamond ’05 Sturgis.

15.5 tons

donated the funds for the Wallace and Mary Lee Dayton

Books and gently used school supplies sent to The Children’s Chance since 2009 after Breck student locker cleanouts

10 Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…

the new upper school

12 /


The water fountains are specially designed to make it easy to use refillable water bottles…

and they even keep track of how much has been saved since the school made a strong effort to reduce the use of plastic bottles.


There’s a new north-south hallway. There’s

one more passage between the new building and

the renovated history (formerly science) wing. It’s home to the new senior Commons area and seniors’ lockers.


You can write on the walls. Walls throughout the space are covered with whiteboard paint,

encouraging individual and group work.


We have a mudroom near the back door for collecting outdoor science wear. Ample shelves


We used mostly local materials. Many of the materials that were specified and installed in the

building are produced within 500 miles of Breck, which

and storage area give science students a place to store their

means we used less fuel in transporting them to our

gear without tracking the outdoors all through the rest of

building site.

the building.


Mr. Grossman is no longer on the second floor, but he can still pretend. A portion of the


Let there be (energy-efficient) light. All interior lighting uses fluorescent lamps and much has

daylight sensors that automatically turn the fixtures off

old second-floor railing was installed in Charlie Grossman’s

when there is sufficient natural light. Exterior lighting uses

history classroom to remind him of his former perch.

LED technology, which uses a fraction of the energy of either


The stairwells are designated “Areas of Refuge”—the first in Golden Valley. There’s

plenty of room for students and teachers in the new stairwells, important for severe weather drills and shelter.


The roofs are green. . .or made of highreflecting materials. Much of the roof is covered

standard or fluorescent bulbs.


The Class of 2013 is a permanent presence. The “senior beam” signed by the Class of 2013, who

graciously endured the construction but never got to live in the space themselves, is visible from the top floor.

by a green roof of resilient plants, which helps slow storm water runoff, lessens the effects of heat buildup, and provides a great outdoor laboratory for biology students. Areas of roof not covered by green roof has a white membrane to reduce the amount of heat absorbed. Opposite page, top: green roof; bottom left: light-filled hallway; bottom right: new science lab

13 / 13

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Driving Change: One of the school’s great assets is the location of our beautiful, leafy campus so close to Highway 100, I-394 and tucked in to the lovely and vibrant Golden Valley neighborhood of North Tyrol. From time to time, it’s important to remind those 14 /

who drive on campus that our behavior behind the wheel makes a difference both within our own community and to our neighbors as well. In the spring of 2012, during the approval process for the

Breck Parents Association President Andrea Kmetz-Sheehy

Upper School construction project, it became apparent that

took the responsibility to heart and convened a task force to

our driving behavior was having an adverse effect on

begin meeting over the summer. Parent Vanessa Heinecke,

neighbor relations, says Director of Advancement Meredith

who chaired the task force, immediately understood the

Cook VanDuyne. “Neighbors were concerned—and rightly so

need. “As a car line driver, I knew from first-hand experience

—that the addition of construction traffic on top of our

that there was plenty of room for improvement,” she says.

everyday traffic might pose a real problem. It was an important opportunity for us to take stock.”

The task force evolved into a program called C.A.R., which stands for “Community, Awareness, Responsibility.” Hei-

The city commissioned a traffic study that showed that

necke recruited fellow parent Amy Liss to help design a

while the volume and speed of traffic around campus was

series of eye-catching pieces to help capture parents’

within the normal range for our neighborhood, it would

attention. Together, they created a brochure, a sticker,

benefit us all to engage in an education campaign to improve

signage for car line and information for the Breck website.

driving behaviors.

They also recruited parent volunteers to distribute a flyer to

Breck Parents Association Leads Efforts to Improve Driving on and Around Campus afternoon car line drivers, urging them to

traffic days such as parent-teacher

be more attentive.

conferences, the Lower School Christmas program, and Field Day. They’re also

In the meantime, the school has replaced

working with the Upper School adminis-

the old yellow “No Cell Phones While

tration to help raise safer-driving

Driving” signs on both northbound and

awareness among student drivers, and

southbound Ottawa with bigger,

with the Lower School to tie safe driving

brighter, more noticeable signs—with a

reminders to C.A.R.E. themes.

more modern looking smartphone image. More prominent crosswalk

“It’s really a question of reminding

painting is also planned for the next time

parents of the rules that are already in

our roadways are resurfaced.

place,” Heinecke says. “We hope that we’re helping parents to become better

Heinecke and Liss say they are hopeful

drivers when they’re off campus as well

that their efforts are making a difference. “We got a lot of positive feedback from parents,” Liss observes, “and good suggestions from the Golden Valley police and Breck security personnel who help direct traffic.

—which will continue to pay off as they set good examples for their children when they start to drive.”

We’re incorporating their ideas into what we’re planning for

“We know it’s going to take some time,” Liss laughs. “But

an awareness week in the spring.”

eventually we know even more people will put their phones

The pair say they’ll continue their efforts to promote awareness of distracted driving behaviors and expand them to helping parents know where to park—especially on heavy

down and pay more attention when they’re behind the wheel.” JF

/ 15

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Breck Supports First-Ever Minnesota We Day

16 /

photos by Karyl Rice

A large contingent from Breck traveled to the Xcel Center in St. Paul for We Day on Oct. 8. We Day, a celebration of global awareness and service among young people, is a Canadian phenomenon that is now catching on in the United States. In fact, Minnesota’s event was only the second-ever in the U.S., with many more planned both here and in the United Kingdom in the coming months.

We Day is sponsored by a charitable organization called

sisters—Gigi and Rachel Gunderson talked about their

“Free the Children,” which describes itself as “an internation-

commitment to the “We Scare Hunger” campaign to collect

al charity and educational partner that educates, engages

donations for food shelves on Halloween, as well as Breck

and empowers youth to become agents of change. We Day

parent Kim Nelson, who talked about General Mills’ commit-

inspires us into action.”

ment to “nourishing lives.”

More than 18,000 young people attended the event at the X,

Co-chair Phillips sums up her experience this way: “We Day

which was co-chaired by Hutton Phillips ’13 and her brother

far surpassed all of my expectations! I was blown away by

Dean. To attend, students must have completed both local

the enthusiasm of all the students and teachers. I have been

and global acts of service.

hearing about all of the amazing things that individual

The assembled crowd enjoyed a fast-paced program that included musical performances by the Jonas Brothers and Carly Rae Jepson, an invocation by the Rev. Martin Luther King III, comments from Queen Noor of Jordan and actor and activist Mia Farrow, an appearance by local hero Jack Jablonski and several members of the Minnesota Vikings, and a proclamation from both Gov. Mark Dayton and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. And there were numerous Breck connections. Students—and

students and schools have been doing in order to earn their way to We Day—but seeing of all those individuals come together to see the power of their collective impact was overwhelming. With 5,100,000 hours volunteered for local and global causes and $26,000,000 fundraised for 900 different causes, it’s clear that our generation is already changing the world.” For the students who attended, it was an unforgettable experience. Senior Natalie Roberts, who was a volunteer for

the event, observes, “Actually being there was really empowering. The organizers really know their stuff, and they really motivate you. Even if it’s a small thing, there’s no reason not to. We can all get out there and do things to make the world a better place.” Says seventh grader Brett Schoppert, “I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was so amazing to be there. To look around and see that many people so committed was pretty crazy. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a crowd of 18,000 before —and that was crazy, too.”

We Day in Action In a wonderful example of We Day spirit in action, Breck students enthusiastically supported the We Scare

Senior Emily Colwell remarks, “There was so much energy,

Hunger Halloween food drive effort—bringing in more

and it was all youth-driven. I found myself thinking that I

than 7,000 pounds of food for local food shelves.

will never be in a room like this ever again.” And senior Eileen Bayer says, “It was such a wonderful opportunity for encouraging everyone with charitable tendencies. And it was great to see Breck middle school students be a part of it all. They need to see where their efforts can lead.”

It was a spirited competition between Middle and Upper Schools, and with the Middle School victory, there was a payoff: Upper School administrators Taylor,

Middle School Chaplain Alexis Kent describes the event as an

Ohm and Colianni made good on their promise to do

“inspirational rally” but is quick to add that it’s much more

the “We Day dance” for the entire Middle School.

than that. “As an educator,” she explains, “my concern is that we have just wowed our students, but without any lasting effect. But after We Day, my students are constantly asking, ‘What will we do now?’ Their motivation, willingness and engagement is inspiring to me. We Day lights a fire for our

Breck’s involvement with We Scare Hunger, now in its second year, came about through the efforts of sisters Gigi and Rachel Gunderson. The Gundersons were featured speakers at We Day Minnesota.

students that helping other is not only cool but necessary.” Her student Brett Schoppert is a case in point. After qualifying for We Day by volunteering at sites from his local library to staffing a marathon water station, Brett says, “Since I got back from We Day I realize that I’m still reflecting on it. I wasn’t just empowered for one day. And if I remember something this long, I know it will stick with me!” JF

A We Day Believer Senior Natalie Roberts, who served as a We Day volunteer, was well prepared for her role. Last summer, she attended a “Take Action” camp sponsored by Free the Children, We Day’s parent organization. Besides feeling “really honored” to be selected to attend, Natalie says that she’s truly excited to be counted among a group of young people who truly want to be leaders in their communities. “It was amazing to see how passionate everybody was, and great to be together for discussions and activities,” she observes. Campers focused on a number of topics of interest, including cliques in school, homelessness, bullying, avoiding hurtful and insensitive language, substance abuse and, her personal interest, human trafficking. She was first enlightened about the problem of human trafficking during the Breck service trip to Thailand and is deeply committed to learning more. “After the trip, and after learning about how to construct an action plan from camp, I’m ready to learn more so that I can do more,” she says. “We can all make a difference.”

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Today at Breck

Fall 2013

18 /

Beyond Google: Breck’s Curriculum Teaches Students of All Ages the Value of Good Research by Jill Field, photos by Sara Rubinstein There are many reasons why a research, or inquiry-based curriculum works so well —and there are few schools that do it any better than Breck. It’s among the most important of twenty-first century

It’s a great way that students of different skill levels can

skills. “It’s impossible to come up with the right answer if

work on the same kind of project. Second-grade teacher

you don’t start by asking the right question,” says sixth grade

Sara Thorne says, “I love seeing what my students can do

English-History teacher Mary Jane Curran. “Defining what

with a project like our Kidblogs. Some just write, some

you’re looking for is really the biggest question of all.”

upload photos, some do whole multimedia presentations,

It’s energizing to students of all ages. “Inquiry-based learning is so motivating,” says third-grade teacher Lisa

and some help each other by commenting on others’ work. There’s such a range.”

Hunninghake. “For students to get to define their own

It’s motivating for their teachers, too. Says Advanced

projects—whatever rattles their bones—is really exciting for

Science Research program director Lois Fruen, “I become

them and for their teacher.”

totally engrossed in each of my students’ projects. From

It’s learning that grows along with the student. “In fifth grade,” observes eighth-grade history teacher Sarah Flotten

organic solar cells, to ‘click chemistry’ reactions, to causes of porcine diarrhea in post-weaned pigs, I learn so much!”

’85, “a teacher may give a student a topic and the student’s

It’s what truly prepares Breck students for college and

only choice is how to present his or her work. But by eighth

beyond. “Advanced Science Research taught me a great deal

grade they’re on their own to go as deep as they want.”

about myself, showed me the meaning of hard work, and taught me the benefits of putting effort into everything I do,” reflects Lanre Adekola ’09.

Lower School

Building the Foundation In Lower School, students become researchers in both science and social science, learning how to direct their own projects in ways that interest them. “It’s new every year,” says second-grade teacher Sara Thorne. With their study of plants, for example, Thorne says her class comes up with their own ideas for experiments all the time. “Some classes are interested in the effects of limiting or removing light,” she explains, “or finding out what happens when you throw a bunch of seeds in the same pot. But no matter what the experiment, they all learn to keep notes in their lab journals, measure carefully in the metric system, and draw conclusions from their data.” Social studies projects in second grade, use research in a way that really meets the diverse range of writing ability. “Kids are naturally interested in research,” Thorne observes. “It’s a great way to introduce them to different genres of nonfiction writing, and they can take it as far as they’re able. And, at the same time, we get to help them understand how to go about looking for information they can use.”

the experience to

no matter what the experiment, they all learn to keep notes in their lab journals, measure carefully in the metric system, and draw conclusions from their data.

information they use in creating country reports. And when they choose a subject for their important American reports, second graders start to learn where to look for what they need. “Sometimes a student will look at a book and say, ‘there’s nothing here on my topic.’” Thorne says, “It’s a great opportunity to ask them, ‘Well, have you looked at the index? At captions of photos and illustrations?’ They don’t yet have

for themselves.” Thorne is quick to praise the efforts of the Lower School library staff and Department Head Emily Jones ’94 in helping make resources available to her students—and quick to note the increasingly important role of technology in giving students access to primary-source research from the very start. Lower

On Grandparents Day, for example, they interview their grandparents about their national heritage, which becomes

know those things

School students have a wide range of technology tools available to them, including filtered searches through programs such as CultureGrams, BrainPop Jr., netTrekker, Nat Geo and Ask Jeeves, Jr.—all managed by the Lower School library and accessible at home. “Our projects really set a framework,” she says. “It’s the expectation of the school that we’ll all do constant research, and this is where it starts.”

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Today at Breck

Fall 2013

at early maps and photos from Fort Snelling,” Hunninghake says. “And they’ll learn about treaties and what the fur traders actually traded. When they start to think about things like how many pelts were trading currency for a gun, or how trading posts developed, they begin to make sense of how Minnesota got its start. They look at Minnesota biomes, animals, logging, Native culture, all with primary sources, and the jigsaw really comes together.” Fourth-grade teacher Paula Nelson is, herself, studying the whole topic of inquiry-based

20 /

learning. “It’s such a motivation for students when not everything is teacher-directed. And it gives students so much flexibility to be able An important research project in third grade is called Project Feeder Watch, a program started at Cornell University. Students set up bird-feeding stations, maintain food and water supplies, and watch what happens over the course of a year. They learn to draw conclusions about the effects of weather conditions, says third-grade teacher Lisa Hunninghake, who loves the moments when her students put it all

to work either on their own or collaboratively.” A perfect example is the “Mystery Class” project her students do in the second semester. Beginning with daylight clues (how much daylight is currently available in a mystery location), students watch light patterns and use maps. Later, word clues and images help them narrow down the choices further. The project integrates social studies, science and geography, but it

together. “They come to understand that more birds use the

does so in an always fresh and interesting way.

feeders when there’s snow on the ground,” she explains,

“The Mystery Class gives them so many skills,” Nelson

“and it’s a wonderful moment of discovery when they do.”

observes. “Solving the mystery requires asking good ques-

In social studies, third graders typically study Minnesota,

tions to guide their research. But because the content is so

and they use an inquiry-based approach that gives them

fun, they don’t even realize how much they’re learning.”

plenty of opportunities to help direct their own learning. “They’ll listen to recordings of Native American music, look

Tracking Research Progress at Breck School By the end of 4th grade students will be able to:

By the end of 11th grade students will be able to:

• Cite sources using beginner NoodleTools

• Cite sources using advanced NoodleTools/EasyBib

• Evaluate sources for accuracy and currency

• Use multiple citation styles

• Identify the components of a research process model • Write a report using multiple resources including both text and electronic

By the end of 8th grade students will be able to: • Cite sources using NoodleTools/EasyBib • Evaluate sources for accuracy, quality, currency and bias • Follow a research process model • Conduct research using multiple resources including both text and electronic

• Write without plagiarizing

• Evaluate sources for currency, relevance, accuracy, authority and purpose

• Follow a research process model • Conduct research using multiple resources including both text and electronic

• Write without plagiarizing • Differentiate between fair use and copyright infringement — Breck School Library/Media Department, Spring 2013

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middle School

Social Studies Research From Colonial Day to the long-remembered Washington

research skills and have become more sophisticated over the

Reports, sixth graders at Breck are immersed in research

years. Says Rice, “We used to have kids write ten reports

opportunities. “We spend a lot of time talking about how to

each, but now it’s more like six or seven because they’re so

search for information,” explains sixth-grade English/History

much more in-depth.”

teacher Byron Rice. “We look for reliable sources written at an age-appropriate level.”

self-confidence as well. “At the end, I think their reaction is

His colleague Mary Jane Curran believes that the Colonial Day project is so successful because it gives students a chance to tell stories based on what they’ve learned. “They choose a character and it takes off so naturally from there,” she says. “So they look at what kind of clothes such a person would have worn, what kind of house he or she would have lived in, or whatever else captures their interest. And when they get the chance to actually be their person, it’s fun because it’s so interactive. They’re proud of everything they do to stay in character and may not even realize how much serious work they’ve done to get there.”

By the end of their time in Middle School, students have the opportunity to dive deeply into topics of interest for both History Day and World Savvy.

Completing those reports, he adds, is a big boost to students’

And when the sixth-grade experience culminates with the annual trip to Washington, DC, students are better travelers thanks to their work on Washington reports about monuments, memorials, and other things they’ll see there. The reports require

often, ‘Hey, I can do this! Maybe it’s not as tough as I thought.’” By the end of their time in Middle School, students have the opportunity to dive deeply into topics of interest for both History Day and World Savvy. Eighth-grade history teacher Sarah Flotten has seen first-hand how well prepared for Upper School her students become. “Sometimes they’ll come to me and say, ‘There’s nothing on the internet [about a particular topic].’ And that’s the perfect time to say, ‘No, you’ve just done a bad search. Let’s figure out how you can ask a better question.’” The eighth-grade team uses a process they call AGOP: Ask questions, Gather information, Organize and write, and Present your findings. “It’s messy and fun at the same time,” Flotten says. “And it’s amazing how long they remember their History Day and World Savvy projects well past eighth grade.”

Today at Breck

22 /

Fall 2013

Upper School

That Legendary History Research Paper Every Breck Upper Schooler writes a research paper in U.S.

concrete, workable and analytical thesis.” A full bibliography

History, typically taken in junior year. It’s not just famous, says

and outline precede the actual writing of the paper, which is

U.S. history teacher Dulcenee Walsh. “It is infamous. It gets

due in January. “Eight to ten pages sounds short to us, but

mentioned every year in the senior memories. And it always is

they have never had anything like this before and it seems

me, even though there are several others who can be blamed!”

like a mountain to them,” she reports.

Walsh says she takes research seriously. She begins with a

In addition to the writing, Walsh says students benefit from

walk through the steps of how to do things the right way,

learning about footnotes, doing sophisticated research with

and she steadfastly refuses to let students take the easy way

primary and secondary sources as well as journal articles,

out. After choosing a topic, students face the challenge of

and learning about footnotes and proper citations. “Most

writing their thesis. “It’s really difficult for them,” she

will find the project interesting,” she says, “but they won’t

reflects, “and they’re not allowed to quit until they have a

really come to appreciate it until they get to college.”

A Wealth of Opportunities for Advanced Study Advanced Research programs, which offer seriously interested and talented Upper School students the chance to do delve into real-world research topics in university or corporate laboratories, got their start at Breck in 1988, when Dr. Jacob Miller

The results have been impressive, and Breck students have achieved remarkable recognition in competitions.

served as advisor for the first-ever science research group. Since then the program has grown to encompass research opportunities in history and mathematics (with a unique twist: advanced mathematics research students do their work on

behalf of nonprofit or social service organizations). Lois Fruen now directs the science research program, Tim Rosenfield

history research and Brad Kohl mathematics. The programs are set up in a basically similar way. Students apply to be included in the program and, once accepted, work with their advisors to identify a project and sponsor in the spring. Over the summer students do the bulk of their research. In the fall, they come together as a class to share their work with each other and begin to develop both written and oral presentations. Then, in the following spring, they submit their

presentations to various groups and competitions. The results have been impressive, and Breck students have achieved remarkable recognition in competitions such as the Intel, Siemens, BioGenius, and Minnesota State Scholars of Distinction programs. On an individual level, each student gains valuable experience in presenting his or her work and in supporting other members of the team. Says science research program alumna Somer Drummond ’10, “Because we spent so much time peer-reviewing each others’ presentations, papers, posters, and PowerPoints, I feel that my classmate’s successes are my own as well.”

/ 23

Advanced History Research After several years of working on projects combining history and geography, this year’s history researchers, under the direction of teacher Tim Rosenfield, are taking a deep dive into the Presidency of John F. Kennedy. It’s a timely topic because this November marks the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination. Senior Lorelei Lange has thus far done research about Operation Mongoose, a secret program to topple communism in Cuba, and has looked into the mysterious “babushka lady” who allegedly captured the assassination on film even though her photographs have never been seen. “It’s been really fun,” she says. “Mr. Rosenfield gives us a nugget and then lets us find the whole cheese.”

Advanced History researchers left to right: Lydia Moran, Foley Simons, David Caruso, Nick DeMaris, Lorelei Lange, Duncan Phelps

Nick observes. “We get to take our own initiative and then have a class of people to discuss things with. I’m learning more than ever.”

Advanced Mathematics Research Now in its third year, the advanced mathematics research program combines quantitative research with service as

Her classmate Nick DeMaris has always been interested in

students do work for local nonprofit and social service

history but finds the Sixties especially intriguing. “There’s so

organizations. Under the direction of mathematics teacher

much to learn about: the Cold War, civil rights, JFK. The sheer

Brad Kohl, students are involved in a wide range of projects

volume of primary-source resources available is amazing. It

(see sidebar below).

would take a lifetime to comb through,” he says.

Senior Chris Walker says that he’s “having a blast” working

Nick has been learning to evaluate documents, videos and

with underprivileged children through a program called

photos he finds online as he researches the civil rights aspect

ACME (Advocates for Community Through Musical Access).

of the Kennedy Presidency and Jim Ferrie, a man some

What’s more, he feels that he’s enjoying the independence of

conspiracy theorists believe was involved in the assassination.

helping to define and carry out his own work and the feeling

“The whole experience is different from any other class,”

that he’s helping others at the same time. “I’ve always

2013–14 advanced Math Research Projects Improving Information Dissemination to Constituents Client: National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) Assessing the Power of Music II: Increasing Academic Success Client: Advocates for Community through Musical Access (ACME) Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Acupuncture on Non-Covered Illnesses Client: American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) 

Engaging Youth in Breast Cancer Awareness Through Service and WE Day Client: General Mills, Yoplait Division  Analyzing Mathematics Teaching Techniques in a P-8 African-American Charter School Client: Seed Academy/Harvest Preparatory  Assessing the Level and Value of Service in Schools Client: Jefferson Awards/Students in Action  Creating a Rubric to Assess Domestic and International Service Trips Client: Area Service Learning Coordinators 

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

wondered how to apply what I’m learning in school to the greater good,” he reflects, “and as I work on ways to assess the kids’ academic and musical literacy I truly have a chance to do just that.” And senior Emily Colwell is working on a project to raise awareness for the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) in order to improve their outreach efforts. She’s analyzing their social media impact, comparing it to similar organizations and making recommendations. In addition to the work itself, Emily says she’s enjoying the responsibility of learning to set up her own meetings, figure out her own timetable, 24 /

and generally be proactive. “It really feels like a college-level experience,” she says. “And it’s really fun at the same time.”

Advanced Science Research Under the guidance of Lois Fruen, a group of 20 students is pursuing a wide range of science research topics this year

Breck faculty are involved in sabbaticals, summer grant travel and study, graduate work, action research, joint projects with students and independent work.

(see opposite page). Fruen says that coaching her research

has been enlightening in more ways than one. Besides what she’s learned through her research into the chemistry of artistic patinas, she has greatly enjoyed what she’s learned about the research process itself. “I really understand how accessible science is,” she observes. “Once you go in depth, it’s surprisingly

team is always an enriching experience. “Besides being fun to

do-able. You don’t have to be Einstein by yourself because

teach, coaching the team is amazingly rewarding because the

there’s so much help and sharing. And it’s a lot of fun to work

work I do changes students’ lives,” she reflects. “There are

on something you really care about.”

days I feel overwhelmed with the workload, but then I receive emails from past students, and I know what I am doing makes a huge difference in my students’ academic lives.” Senior Claire Drysdale, whose work has already earned her the extremely rare honor of finalist status in this year’s Siemens competition (she’s the only finalist from Minnesota), says that being involved in such a “self-driven” process

Faculty Lead the Way It’s worth noting that Breck students have excellent research role models everywhere they turn. “It’s not just the students,” says Kohl. “Breck faculty members are involved in sabbaticals, summer grant travel and study, graduate work, action research, joint projects with students and independent work. We’re all perpetually learning, too.”







Advanced Science researchers: (1) Luis Guzman and Julia Joern, (2) Claire Simpson, (3) Elliott Weiler, (4) Patty Zhao and Madison Ernst, (5) Sofie Kim and Jake Levy, (6) Darartu Gamada and Rustam Kosherbay

/ 25

2013-14 Advanced Science Research Projects Twenty Upper School students are participating in Advanced Science Research in 2013-14. Zach Donahue ’14 and Evelen McChesney ’16, under the

Matt McMillan ’14 and Peter Metzger ’14, under the supervi-

at Augsburg College, engineered a robot that will function

quartz-crystal microbalance with dissipation to analyze a

supervision of Dr. David Murr in the Department of Physics year-round in Antarctica.

sion of Dr. Prabhakar Tamirisa at Medtronic, Inc., used

thermal runway that can produce fires and explosions in

Claire Drysdale ’14, under the supervision of Dr. Deanna

lithium-ion batteries.

University, examined chemical reactions that take place

supervision of Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari at the Cancer

O’Donnell in the Department of Chemistry at Hamline

Trevor Larsen ’15 and Nath Samaratunga ’15, under the

during syntheses of artistic patinas.

Center of the University of Minnesota, looked at the effects

Madison Ernst ’14 and Patty Zhao ’14, under the supervision

of mesenchymal stem cells on a syndrome that can affect

University of St. Thomas, determined the pathway by which

Easton McChesney ’15 and Wolfgang Ofstedal ’15, under the

acids alanine and argentine and the cloned a mutant strain.

Falls Laboratory, engineered and then tested novel steel-wool

of Dr. Jayna Ditty in the Microbiology Department of the

transplanted lung tissue.

the bacteria Pseudomonas Putida F1 metabolizes amino

supervision of Dr. Poornima Natarajan at the St. Anthony

Darartu Guzman ’16 and Rustam Kosherbay ’15, under the

filters designed to reduces dissolved phosphate levels in

at Augsburg College, designed and engineered a miniature

Claire Simpson ’14, under the supervision of Dr. Chris Douglas

Minnesota in a study on climate change.

Minnesota, worked on the synthesis of drimentine C that is

supervision of Dr. Ben Storrup in the Department of Physics

stormwater runoff.

Langmuir trough that will be used by the University of

at the Department of Chemistry at the University of

Luis Guzman ’14 and Julia Joern ’14, under the supervision of

from a novel family of molecules that exhibit antiobiotic,

Foreign Service to develop a hydronic system for a home

Elisa Villafana ’14, under the supervision of Dr. Seth L. Naeve

Sofie Kim ’14 and Jake Levy ’15, under the supervision of Dr.

University of Minnesota, investigated treated seeds and

College, used “click” chemistry to synthesize two derivatives

used in them is killing honeybees.

of pharmaceuticals.

of Access Genetics, worked with cytokines that may be

Breck alum Kris Simonson and Stew Roberts, worked at the

antifungal, anticancer, and anti-parasitic activities.

being built in Roseville, Minnesota.

of the Agronomy and Plant Genetics Department at the

Ron Brisbois in the Department of Chemistry at Macalester

conflicting claims from environmentalists that the pesticide

of a molecule that has shown to be useful in synthesis

Elliott Weiler ’14, under the guidance of Dr. Ron McGlennen responsible for periodontitis, a condition that is predictive of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Today at Breck

26 /

Fall 2013

Catching up With A Few Research Program Alumni

etually learning:perpetually learning:pe

iss ’07:Matt Weiss ’07:Matt Weiss ’07:Matt Weiss ’07:Matt Weiss ’07:Matt Weiss ’07 Matt Weiss ‘07 After graduating from Breck

founded Ovaitt Health Media, a creative design and commu-

in 2007, I attended Cornell

nication firm focused exclusively on health.

University and completed

My experience with Ms. Fruen and the research team has had profound effects on many of these activities. My interest in chemistry

majors in Chemistry & Chemical Biology and English Literature and a minor in Law & Society studies. I was also a member of the Varsity Football team for two years and worked as a campus tour guide for three years. After graduating cum laude from Cornell, I moved to Washington, DC to work as a Patent Prosecution Paralegal at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C., a law firm specializing in high-value patents. In August 2012, I moved to New York City to attend Columbia Law School. I spent last summer in the legal department at Boehringer Ingelheim, a large pharmaceutical company with U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield, Connecticut. I am currently a second-year law student and have accepted a

largely started in Professor Brisbois’ lab at Macalester College. I carried that interest through my undergraduate career and strongly considered graduate programs in the field. In addition, the intensive writing aspect of the research program supported my interest in English literature and fostered a continuing passion. I also used the speaking experiences as a basis for much of my work as a campus tour guide. In my work as a paralegal, I utilized many of the skills developed in the research program, including careful proofreading and attention to detail. I often worked as a member of a team and contributed to the prosecution of patents. In law school, I use my scientific background frequently while participating in intellectual property moot court

position for next summer in the Patent Litigation practice of

programs and activities.

Ropes & Gray LLP. I will split my summer between the New

Most importantly, I met my wife, Elena, at the International

York and Washington, DC offices.

Science and Engineering Fair in Albuquerque, New Mexico in

In addition, I married Elena Kurtz Ovaitt on July 13, 2013 in

2007! I am very grateful that this was made possible by my

Weston, Missouri. Elena is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She has worked as a global health communications consultant and recently

involvement on the research team!

/ 27

erpetually learning:perpetually learning

Stephen Trusheim ‘09 Stephen Trusheim ’09:Stephen Trusheim ’09:Stephen Trusheim ’09:Stephen Trushe I graduated last spring with a BS in

ment at Stanford: the James W. Lyons Award for Service

Computer Science, and am continuing for

(usually given to 8 seniors; received as a junior; past recipients

one more year to get an MS in Computer

include now-Senator Cory Booker), the Outstanding Achieve-

Science with Distinction in Research. My

ment Award (awarded to three students at graduation), and

primary field of study is artificial intelli-

the Award of Excellence (given to 10% of the graduating class).

gence and information analysis (think “Big Data”)—exactly what I did in my Research project!

I’ve stayed involved in research-based classes at Stanford, and some of my projects (which were all for class, and therefore a

Stanford has a tradition where graduating students give their

little silly) have included detecting whether drivers are attent

stole to “a parent, relative, friend, or mentor who has provided

or asleep at the wheel by detecting changes in driving

extraordinary influence and support” in their career at

patterns, and predicting the stock market using Twitter. Both

Stanford. I wore two, giving one to my mentor at Stanford...

of those were only moderately successful :)

and one to Mrs. Fruen.

In the years after Research, I worked at Access Genetics again

In my master’s program, I started a project to bring electronic

(same company where I did my research), worked at Intel,

medical records into major humanitarian disasters (think

and mentioned my research project in at least

Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, etc.), which is advised by physicians

100% of my job interviews.

in the Stanford School of Medicine and the Stanford SEMPER program. One of the major goals of the project is to allow meaningful post-event research for these kinds of disasters. During undergrad, I won three awards for service and achieve-

One other research project that was cool that I forgot to mention: I worked for BMW on connecting cars to the internet, and presented my work at their world headquarters in Munich. That was cool.

Taylor McCanna ’12:Taylor Taylor McCanna ‘12 McCanna ’12:Taylor McCanna ’12:Taylor McCanna ’12:Ta I am currently in my third semester at Purdue University,

Currently, I am involved with the Women in Engineering at

studying Aerospace Engineering. I am extremely excited to

Purdue University and the associate member educator for

start my professional co-op at NASA Johnson Space Center in

Phi Sigma Rho, Social Engineering Sorority. Come next

Houston come January. There, I will be working in Mission

semester, I should have more exciting things to tell you, but

Operations, but I am not sure what exactly I will be doing.

right now I am mainly focusing on schoolwork.

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Weiler ’11:Addison Weiler ’11:Addison Weiler ’11:Addison Weiler ’11:Addison Weiler ’11: Addison Weiler ‘11 I’m currently a junior at Stanford majoring in Computer

Science Research, so he was very

Science (with a concentration in either Artificial Intelligence

receptive to having me on as an

or Human-Computer Interaction) and minoring in Manage-


ment Science and Engineering. I think the decision to focus

During my sophomore year, I

on more technical topics of study came from my experience

worked in a computer science lab

participating in the Breck Science Research Program,

on a machine learning algorithm

especially after getting a taste of various disciplines through

geared towards identifying novel

the projects I observed my peers working on. I think that

28 /

viewing lots of different areas of study through Science Research helped me narrow down my major choices significantly, as I had no idea what I wanted to study going into college.

drug structures for targeting specific proteins. It goes without saying that having research experience helped a lot towards securing that position. Last summer after my sophomore year, I worked at Amazon

In terms of internships, I worked at Access Genetics (Eden

Lab126, a division of that focuses specifically

Prairie, MN) the summer after my freshman year of high

on Kindle Devices. While I can’t talk about the project I

school. I actually was able to secure this internship with the

worked on specifically, as a part of the developer tools team I

help of Lois Fruen, who introduced me to Dr. McGlennan, the

was able to design a prototype system for running a Kindle

CEO and president of the company. He knew that Breck kids

emulator using novel software developed by Amazon.

had a good reputation, as he had a few of them through

Bill Mitchell ‘04 4:Bill Mitchell ’04:Bill Mitchell ’04:Bill Mitchell ’04:Bill Mitchell ’04:Bill Mitchell ’04 It has now been nearly ten years

own decay rate. Things like Butterfingers have a short

since I was in the Advanced Science

half-life, Tootsie Rolls have a longer half-life, and Jolly

Research program at Breck. I am

Ranchers have an even longer one. Radioactive decay is

writing my dissertation at the

analogous to unwrapping and eating a candy, then throwing

University of California, Berkeley,

the wrapper in the trash. If you then count the number of

and expect to complete my PhD in

wrappers in the trash, and the number of wrapped candies

chemistry this coming May. Partici-

in the bowl, you can determine the length of time that it has

pating in research during my time

been there. You need to know the half-life of the isotope (the

at Breck opened doors to research as an undergraduate. After

nuclear research of the mid-20th century established many

college, I went directly to graduate school, where I’ve been

of these quite well), and you then need to convince yourself

involved in a number of different research projects. Editing

that there was no candy added to the bowl, all the wrappers

skills, many of which I learned from a more senior Advanced

made it into the trash, and that the trash was either empty

Science Research student, have been quite useful as I have

to begin with or you know what was in it fairly well. With

prepared grant proposals and as I write my dissertation. On

the right choice of materials and conditions, these assump-

the weekends, I volunteer at my local science museum, the

tions can be shown to be valid. Analogies like this one leave

Lawrence Hall of Science, helping visitors to understand the

out some of the beautiful and profound complexities of the

results and the process of modern science research.

work, but get the general point across and highlight some of

Lessons from the research program about how to engage non-technical audiences and convey the main points of the research have been invaluable. For instance, my current work involves

the important details and assumptions.

determining the age of volcanic ash deposits found just

closer to cutting-edge scientific research. The opportunities I

above the dinosaurs in Eastern Montana. I describe the

had with the research class were tremendous. I frequently

theory of radioisotopic dating as similar to a bowl of

use the skills and knowledge I learned in the class, and I hope

Halloween candy and a trash bin: each different type of

to give more people the opportunity to have an experience

candy in the bowl is like a different element, and each has its

like the one I had at Breck.

While I don’t know what I will be doing a year from now, I hope that I will be working with a science museum or other educational institution bringing more people of all ages

Katie Creasey ‘07 Creasey ’07:Katie Creasey ’07:Katie Creasey ’07:Katie Crease Katie Creasey ’07:Katie I am currently at Stanford studying

work on my own project and had responsibility for every

to get my masters in Environmental

step from design to implementation.

Engineering. Specifically, I am in the Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology program. I graduated in 2011 from MIT with a BS in Chemical-Biological Engineering and I worked as a chemical engineer for two years after graduation. While I was working, I also started volunteering at the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), which is a non-profit that focuses on protecting the Mystic River Watershed and improving the water quality within the watershed. I picked this organization because I wanted to do something where I could be outside and in the water. I swam for Breck and MIT, and I do a lot of sports (wake boarding, kite boarding, skiing) where water is a main component, so I wanted something that was related to water and water quality. I did a variety of projects for MyRWA: I developed and implemented methods to quantify the amount of phosphorous that is discharged into the river through one of the tributaries, I sampled the water quality at many locations around the watershed, and I translated twelve years worth of data into a uniform format to make it more accessible to the community. I really enjoyed working at this organization because I spent a lot of time literally in the water taking measurements and surveying the flow, and because I got to

At Stanford, I’m taking classes in hydrodynamics, ground and surface water flow, contaminant transport, and hydrology. I am enjoying all of my classes and I hope to do both field work and flow modeling in my future career. I definitely would not have gotten to where I am now without my research experience at Breck. The research

program helped immensely with technical writing skills and with public speaking, both of which are extremely important parts of being in the science and engineering community.

/ 29

I also enjoyed my time researching at the University of Minnesota and was happy I had the opportunity to do research before going to MIT. Breck’s program is a great way to introduce science and engineering to students who could be interested in pursuing a college degree and career in these fields and I am really glad I was able to have that experience. p.s. Unrelated story: I was on Cape Cod staying with a friend who is renting a house there, and we found a Breck Distinguished Alumnus chair. It was Harlyn Halvorson’s from 1994. He recently passed away, so his family decided to rent the house to someone. I was so excited to find that chair in Massachusetts so far from Breck. The weirdest thing was that I was probably at that ceremony in 1994.

Danielle (Holmes) VriezeVrieze ’99:Danielle (Holmes) Vrieze ’99:Danielle (Holmes) Vrieze Danielle (Holmes) ‘99 I would say that my research

the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Develop-

experience at Breck certainly had

ment! I once again found myself walking the familiar halls

a direct impact on my academic

of ICD, working alongside the same professors that I once

and career trajectory. While at

had as a student at Breck. It was so incredible to return to

Breck, I participated in research at

ICD, this time as a graduate student. My dissertation

the University of Minnesota’s

research focused on the quality of the early attachment

Institute of Child Development,

relationship between women with a history of major

conducting research on relational

depression and their infants.

aggression with Professor Nicki Crick. That experience really solidified my interest in research in the field of developmental psychopathology.

During my graduate training I really fell in the love with clinical work and the ability to use my research knowledge while working directly with patients and families. Although

As an undergrad at Stanford University, I remained heavily

my direct involvement in research has scaled back since

involved in research, studying the positive effects of expres-

graduation, I am constantly utilizing the skills and

sive writing on physical and psychological health symptoms

knowledge that I have developed over the years—tracing all the way back to my time in the Breck research program.

for victims of intimate partner violence. From there, things came full circle for me, when I was accepted into the clinical child psychology PhD program at

homecoming 2013

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

30 /

Queen Leslie Hayes and King Alex Hasselbring

/ 31 Lower school puppet parade

Legacy photo 2013: alumni and their current student children

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

32 /

Athletic Hall of Fame Inducts Four New Members

Athletic Director Brett Bergene, Jon Simmons ’98, Michael Proman ’99

Ricky Gilkes ’83 and classmates

Gilkes, Shawn McAllister ’88, Simmons

Tom Pohlad ’98, Simmons, Tim Murphy ’98

Over Homecoming weekend, the Alumni Association welcomed four new members into the Athletic Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame Committee Chair Michael Proman ’99 served as master of ceremonies for the event, which was held on the third floor of the new Upper School. A group of more than 50 alumni and friends gathered to congratulate the new members: Ricky Gilkes ’83 reflected on his arrival in Minnesota from

appreciates the lifetime friendships made here and fondly

St. Lucia as a new Breck eighth grader—on December 1.

remembers skiing with the late Adam Barron ’98. Simmons’

“Breck gave me the opportunity to do all the things I

athletic career at Breck included football, Alpine skiing and

dreamed of,” he said. “I never thought I’d leave the island, but

tennis. Among his accomplishments: the state champion-

at Breck I found people who supported me in every way.”

ship and a national ranking in Alpine, 2,000 yards rushing in

Gilkes, who won the Fred B. Anderson award, played varsity

football, All-State honors in tennis both junior and senior

soccer, ran track and was named to both the All-State soccer

year, and the Fred B. Anderson award. He also won a gold

and track teams in grades 10-12.

medal in the Junior Olympics for skiing.

Shawn McAllister ’88 termed his induction “an honor I

Anne Knopman ’98 was unable to attend the ceremony.

didn’t see coming,” and talked about Breck’s environment as

A member of the varsity swim team from eighth grade

one that challenged him both as a student and an athlete. He

through senior year, she was named All-State in both her

fondly remembered former soccer coach and Upper School

junior and senior years and was the state champion back-

English teacher Martin Hynes and observed, “No one

stroker as a senior.

remembers the number of wins in a season, but the friendships last a lifetime.” McAllister, a Fred B. Anderson and Allen Dunn award winner, played basketball and soccer and was named All-State in soccer as a senior. Jon Simmons ’98 said that he has come to realize there were three key ingredients to his time at Breck: “Having goals, having fun, and surrounding myself with good people.” He

The evening also included a special tribute to the late Del Carter ’50, who was instrumental in establishing the Hall of Fame. To honor him, the Alumni Association has named the award for coaches, administrators and friends the Del Carter Award. For information about the Hall of Fame nominating process, please contact

Homecoming 2013 The week started with the annual balloon delivery for our teachers who are also alums. Balloons graced the classrooms of Elizabeth Powers Dempsey ’82, Sarah Flotten ’85, Evan Jones ’86, Deb Mixon ’87, Ty Thayer ’90, Rob Johnson ’90, and Emily Jones ’94.

/ 33 Golden Mustangs

Our Golden Mustangs, alums who graduated 50+ years ago from Breck, joined Mr. Kim and special guest speaker Rob Melrose ’88 for lunch on Friday, September 20. Forty alums Scenes from the Distinguished Alum Chapel with Rob Melrose ’88

and their guests attended this annual event held at the Heritage Room at the Breck School Anderson Ice Arena.

On September 19 during Upper School chapel, we honored

That evening, Breck hosted the 2013 Athletic Hall of Fame

Rob Melrose ’88 with the Distinguished Alumni Award for

induction ceremony. This year’s ceremony was held on the

2013. Rob’s friend and former teacher, Tom Hegg presented

third floor of the new Upper School. Michael Proman ’99

this year’s award. Kirstin Erickson Wilson ’88 chaired this

served as chair of this year’s committee and master of

year’s Distinguished Alumni Committee.

ceremonies for the event.  This year we honored Ricky Gilkes

The Breck Alumni Association hosted the annual Homecoming Barbeque on Saturday, September 21. This year’s theme

’83, Shawn McAllister ’88, Anne Knopman ’98, and Jon Simmons ’98. (See article at left.)

of Never Ending Summer provided many fun family activi-

This year’s events and festivities were planned and implement-

ties including a football toss, Go fishing, Smores Bar, hole-in

ed by the Homecoming Committee of the Alumni Council led

one, face painting, and clowns. Over 1200 alumni, parents,

by Christy Piotrowski ’04, Colin Brooks ’97, and Ashley Kokal

students, and faculty members took part in the Saturday

McCarthy ’02. Homecoming 2013 was a huge success thanks to

festivities and cheered the Mustangs on against SPA/MPA.

the many alumni, parent, and student volunteers.

alumni Events Grandparents Day – Alumni Faculty Reception

Author Discussion: Paul Bogard ’84

Alumni Boys Hockey

Alums are welcome to join us for

Paul is the author of The End of

Breck School Anderson Ice Arena,

Grandparents Day 2013. The Breck

Night: Searching for Natural Darkness


Alumni Association will host a

in an Age of Artificial Light. The book

special alumni-faculty reception to

draws attention to the darkness as a

celebrate the day. Tours of the new

landscape in its own right—a

Upper School will be available

separate, incredibly valuable

following the reception.

environmental condition that we overlook and destroy at our own peril.

Monday, December 23,

Alumni Holiday Party Monday, December 30 Urban Eatery – Calhoun Beach Club 7:00-10:00pm

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Reunions The classes of 1963, 1973, 1988, 1993, and 2008 celebrated its reunions Homecoming weekend. This fall we held three other reunions—1983 on October 12, and the classes of 2003 and 1998 will both hold their celebrations on the Friday after Thanksgiving. On behalf of Breck and our reunion classes, we would like to thank our 2013 planners:

34 /

Bill Harley ’63

Alison Hitzemann Hardy ’93

Rod Keith ’63

Taylor Harwood ’93

Charlie Hess ’63

Molly Varecka ’98

Holly Jepson ’73

Mike McKeon ’98

Kate Winton Poley ’83

Leah Lussier Sixkiller ’03

Chris Curry ’83

Jeffrey Portu ’08

Alycya Hjelm Cardwell ’88

Sarah Johnson ’08

The class of 2008 celebrates five years.

Class of 2013 Send-off On August 7, members of the The class of 1993 celebrates 20 years.

class of 2013 came back to Breck one more time before they left for college. Mr. Ohm played grill master and put together a barbecue lunch for our newest alums. The class of 2013 was the first to tour the new building. Class of 2013 representatives Hutton Phillips and Mitchell Foster (above right) organized the event.

Chicago alums gathered on Wednesday, October 9, for an evening of good conversation and great food. At left, Gavin Hoffman ’97 and Kelly Gravier Lockhart ’97.

Reconnecting on our campus home Join us Sunday, January 12, from 1:00-3:30 pm for our p-12 open house

perpetually learning one campus p-12 in Golden Valley

Celebrating 25 Years

Applause: Save_the_date! / 35

Friday_May_2_2014 @ Muse Minneapolis_MN

VISIT THE BRECK ONLINE GYMSTORE Apparel · SPIRIT GEAR (choose “Breck Store” at the bottom)

Check out our new reusable shopping totes!

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

watching the sunset at Center Hill Lake. Jodi and Mark were married in Franklin, Tennessee, at the historic Carnton Plantation. The couple made their vows under a 200-year-old

class notes reunion year



Bill Schmalstieg let the Alumni O ­ ffice

The class has a memorial in this issue.

know how much he admires his classmate Amos Rosenbloom’s recent


racquetball accomplishments.

The class of 1973 came together on


Homecoming weekend to celebrate

Raymond McAfee, Dr. Arnold Leon-

served as planner.

ard, Paul Webster, and Louis Mitteco celebrated their 65-year reunion at the


Golden Mustangs Luncheon.

In the winter of 1977, Mark Gillman on each other in Mr. Doheny’s math class. They quickly started “going out” and dated for the next 18 months

The class has a memorial in this issue.

garden next to the house. There were many Breckies who played part in the ceremony, including Donna Gillman (faculty 1971-1988), Tom Gillman’ ’80, Edwin Balcos, Jack Pfaff, Brad Pfaff ’83, and Amy Gillman Broihahn ’83. Jodi’s two daughters, Anelise and Marit, also were in the wedding party. Others in attendance from Breck were Stacy Cram ’80, Phil Sosin, and Kimberly (Shifflett) Balcos. Jodi and Mark live in Franklin, Tennessee.

their 40-year reunion. Holly Jepson

and Jodi Pfaff ’80 developed a crush

Picture courtesy of Linda Lange (daughter of the late William Lange).

osage orange tree in the authentic

1980 See the note above for Jodi Pfaff Gillman.

before deciding to go their separate


ways. Both moved onto college, and

Maya Tester is serving as member of

eventually married other partners

Breck’s Board of Trustees.

and raised families. In the fall of 2009,


bered the feelings they had from high


school. Sparks flew, and in a mat-

Thank you to reunion planners Kate

Classmates Peter Pierce and Tony

ter of weeks, they knew that it was

Winton Poley and Chris Curry for

Kimball toured the new Upper School

love. They endured a long-distance

putting on a wonderful event for the

in August.

relationship for the next 12 months,

class on October 12.

Mark and Jodi met again and remem-

traveling between La Crosse, Wisconsin, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Franklin, Tennessee. Jodi fell in love with the Nashville area, where Mark had been for 13 years. She moved there so they could be together. After a year, Mark asked for Jodi’s hand in marriage while

1984 Paul Bogard will be speaking at Breck on Thursday, December 4 at 7:00pm. Paul

The members of the class of 1988 had

20-Year reunion planner Tony Jewett

a weekend full of fun activities thanks

is working on a special way to com-

to reunion planner Alycya Hjelm

memorate the event—a trip to Vegas

Cardwell and host Kathy Anderson

set for May 2014.


book, The End of Night.


To reserve your spot at

Matt Fish was married to Xiaoni Niu

the event, please

on June 7, 2013, at the Calistoga Ranch

email alumni@

in Napa Valley, California. Matt is the

will be discussing his

managing director of New Pacific Con-

1985 Breck Middle School teacher Sarah Flotten caoched Middle School girls


sulting in Shanghai and a partner in

Breck faculty member Ty Thayer

is head of the Shopper Insight Division

married Betsy Starz on June 29.

of Unilever China. They will continue


soccer this fall.


Jack Cavanaugh is an assistant coach

Screenwriter Melisa Wallack’s movie,

with Breck boys hockey.

the Parthenon Group in Boston. Xiaoni

to reside in Shanghai. Breck’s own Margaret Wong, Matt’s former teacher and mentor, was the guiding force and unsung hero in helping Matt’s dad deliver his rehearsal dinner speech in Chinese. She not only translated

theaters on November 1. The movie


details the story of Texas electrician Ron

The class of 1993 gathered at the

made a tape of it for him, but also

Woodruff and his battle with the

Loring Pasta Bar for their reunion dur-

continuously worked with Matt’s dad

medical establishment after being

ing Homecoming. Alison Hitzemann

for month until he was proficient. The

diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986.

Hardy and Taylor Harwood planned a

Fish family says it’s forever indebted to

fun evening for their classmates.

this amazing woman.



Majka Burhardt is working on a new

Sarah Bellamy was interviewed on

project in Mozambique. She is

Kare11 Saturday to promote Penumbra

spearheading the efforts to provide


The Dallas Buyers Club, opened in select

Glen Weaver-Lang is coaching junior varsity boys hockey.

1987 Heather Heefner Dart lives in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis with her husband and four daughters. She is starting a second career as an oil painter. Here is an example of her work.

his speech from English to Chinese,

for a new conservation area and is


exploring cliffside ecology with new

Hoffman is

species of ants and beetles and frogs

making his

on a 2,000 granite cliff face in Mozam-

mark in

bique, and creating multi-platform


media about the story and potential of integrated conservation. She recently received a grant from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund

shoes. Check out his new business, Austen Heller, at


MacArthur Foundation, the World


Bank, Conservation International and

The 15-year reunion is set for Friday,

Charlie Schaitberger continues to

others to fund our conservation work

November 29, at The Local at 7:00pm.

coach Breck junior varsity hockey.

with a local Mozambican civil society

Mike McKeon and Molly Varecka are


serving as the event planners.

(CEPF)—a joint program of the

/ 37

Today at Breck

Fall 2013



Jason S. Keene and his wife Lauren

Neal Busdicker was an assistant

welcomed Logan Robert Keene (8 lbs. 9

coach with Breck football.

oz.) on May 21, 2013. Jason and Lauren reside in Chicago where Jason is the director of development and major gifts the for Advocate Charitable Foundation.

2000 Jordan Eisenberg was the subject of an 38 /

August article in the New York Times, focusing on his company Urgent Rx, and its success at getting its products placed in coveted real estate near the cash registers in large drug stores such as Duane Reade in New York City.

Marin McCarthy coached Breck girls

Krystal Grigsby was inducted into the University of St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame in September for her accomplishments in track and field. Alexandra (Sacha) Haworth was recently hired as a senior press aide for Congressman Rick Nolan (MN-08), who represents the northeastern part of the state. On top of being a busy staffer in the press shop, she is simultaneously pursuing a Masters of Public Policy (MPP) degree from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public

Guthrie Michael and his wife Julie live

Policy. In between classes, she says it is

in Kansas City, Missouri, where he is a

not uncommon for her to engage with

regional operations manager for U.S.

colleagues and classmates in high-level

Bank, managing compliance in Kansas

health and economic policy discussions

City, Louisville and Nashville. Our

at the Tombs, a Breck diaspora favorite.

condolences go out to Guthrie and his family on the loss of his father, former Upper School Director Kevin Michael. Meredith Moore married Brian Crosby in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Church with a dinner following at Windows on Minnesota. The couple resides in

Tilly, a full-service accounting and advisory firm.

2006 At Lauren Erickson’s wedding to Christian Burrus on June 2 in Minneapolis at The Minikhada club, alums Sarah Bluhm, Gretchen Goetz, Lauren Erickson and Kelley Teckman posed for a picture. Christian is the new strength and fitness coach at Breck.

management consultant for the

with Breck girls hockey.

Boston Consulting Group in Detroit, Dan Geoffrion is now pursuing an


MBA at Wharton where he plans to Holiday Eller Samabaly is

Business Journal put out its list of the

Breck volley-

Fastest Growing Private Companies in

ball again this

Minnesota. Brendan McCarthy’s Click



ate in the Minneapolis office of Baker

Susannah Brokl is an assistant coach



position as a senior marketing associ-

After finishing up 2+ years as a

Recently, the Minneapolis St. Paul

it out at

Christy Piotrowski started a new


Elmhurst, Illinois.

to Shop ranked in at number 18. Check

soccer this fall.

Last May, Jomi Kramer won an engineering competition at the Technion Engineering School in Haifa, Israel, and went on to compete in the European


division in Brescia, Italy where she

Jessica Meuwissen coached Breck girls

awarded a scholarship to the Univer-

soccer this fall.

sity of Shan Tou and spent the month

earned second place. She was also

of August as part of a month-long Chinese immersion course in Shan Tou, China. Jomi is a third-year mechanical engineering student at the Technion Institute in Haifa.

concentrate on finance and healthcare management. In between work and school, he went to 17 countries on five continents and had the joy of staying with Andrew Upjohn in Shanghai. Amanda Teska and Richard Thomson were married on July 5 at the Calhoun Beach Club. Katie Brattain Hogan and Leigh Johnston were maids of

honor. Coco Goldenberg, Charlotte

Elori Kramer is a member of the band

Annalisa Tester, Katie Ross, and

Ritz Zwick and Joanie Lennick were

Alpenglow and is currently on tour in

Henry Bell participated in the Head

bridesmaids. Charlie Weisman and

the United States through December

of the Snake regatta in Worcester, MA

Peter Van Brunt were groomsmen.

2013. For details about the tour or to

this fall.

Amelia Bailey and Sophie Bolger

hear some of the band’s performances,

served as greeters. H. Noah Goldberg

check out

was an usher along with Scott Teska ’80 and Stephen Teska ’82. Amanda and Richard spent their honeymoon in Australia and Fiji. The couple lives in Manhattan.

Travis Spangler graduated from Brown University majoring in neuroscience and started medical school at the Alpert Medical School (Brown University) to follow his dream of

Guinness Records official Charlie Weisman was recently featured on E Online. Charlie officiated the world record for twerking in New York. http:// twerking-world-record-hundreds-ofpeople-gathered-in-new-york-todayfor-a-record-breaking-booty-shaking.


becoming an orthopedic surgeon

2011 Tom Erdmann was mentioned in a


Forbes magazine story about a gather-

Ties That Bind is a new book published

suites of the University of Michigan

by NPR’s StoryCorps that compiles the

football stadium on September 20. At

best stories of the program since it

the event, participants from over 100

began ten years ago. Katie Robinson

different universities competed for

and her dad and former Breck trustee

$25,000 in prizes as part of a hack-

George Robinson are happy to have

athon event series called MHacks. A

ing of over 1,200 hackers in the luxury

their story chosen to be part of this

hackathon is an event where develop-

Brooks Byrd and

wonderful collection of stories. It is the

ers with creative ideas come together

Matt John served

story of George’s finding and meeting

and build a prototype in a short period

as part of the 2013

his biological father, Jesse, after 62

of time. Tom was the director of this

Breck football

years. Katie and George, together, are

year’s event.

coaching staff.

writing a book about this adventure,


but until then, it has been published


with Ties That Bind.


Riley Conlin is an assistant coach for the Breck golf team. Will Orlady recently was back on cam-

Corrie Searls was recently featured on


the cover of Connecticut College


Magazine. The magazine highlighted


pus and toured the new Upper School.

Corrie’s dream

has been

Will graduated from the University

internship with

selected to

of Southern California in 2012 and


be on the

taught in Ethiopia last fall. He started

Auction House

squad that

law school this fall at the University of

at New York


Colorado at Boulder.

City’s Rockefell-

with the Indiana University women’s

er Plaza this

basketball team.

Tom Smolenski is coaching Breck boys


basketball this winter.

The Star Tribune reported that Anna

Annalisa Tester and Libbey Castle

Laorr won the Open title in the Min-

’12 served as the guest speakers at

nesota Women’s Golf Association State

Breck’s Student Leadership Academy

Match Play Championship at Jewel

Rachel Grandstrand and Emily

in August. Both attend Colby College,

Golf Club in Lake City in late July.

Nimmer got married on May 31 at

where Annalisa is a senior and Libbey

Silverwood Park. The ceremony was

is a sophomore.


officiated by John Bellaimey. Mayor R.T. Rybak ’74 officiated their legal marriage on August 5 at City Hall.

/ 39

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

2012 Libbey Castle and Annalisa Tester Breck’s Student Leadership Academy

Former faculty/staff

in August. Both attend Colby College

Doris Bergevin Neutz, a Breck employee for 25 years, died Oct. 9 in

where Annalisa is a senior and Libbey

St. Paul. She was 76 years old. Neutz began her Breck career as a bus driver

is a sophomore.

and retired from the Business Office, where she was payroll and benefits

’10 served as the guest speakers at

Nailah Hill participated in the AAU Junior Olympics in Michigan this 40 /


administrator. She is survived by her son Len (Pat), two grandsons, a sister, two brothers and many friends.

summer and placed third in discus

See p. 11 for a memorial to former Upper School Director Kevin Michael.

and sixth in javelin, thereby medaling in both of those events. She also


received honorable mention for her

Herman Gross passed away on October 5, 2012. Herman was president of

performance in high jump, placing tenth, and shot put, placing eleventh.

Beaucraft, Inc., a Minneapolis furniture manufacturing company. In 1974, he retired and moved to South Padre Island, Texas, where he managed

Caleb Kumar was mentioned in a

Feldman’s, Inc until his second retirement in 1990 where he returned to

Star Tribune opinion piece by policy

Minneapolis. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Judith

analyst Ted Kolderie, who made a case

Blade. He is survived by his daughters, Cathy (Mark) Dobbelmann and

for educational reform in an article

Pamela (Irv) Downing; grandchildren Laura Bestler, Sarah (Andrew) Burd

titled, “Let’s Give Adolescents a Chance

and Irvine Downing and great-grandchildren, Ruth Francis Kagemeier,

to Grow Up.”

Max Edward Burd and Luke James Burd; sister Gretchen (Lou) Harris and brother Frank (Betty) Gross.


Are you LinkedIn? Over 650 Breck alumni and parents

Steven Kingsbury passed away on October 14, 2013. He was preceded in death by wife Susan; and parents Melvin and Hazel and is survived by brothers, Richard (Linda) and Charles (Phyllis); nephews, Mark, Matthew and niece, Stephanie; other family and friends. Steve served in the US Army during the Vietnam era and was a long-time employee of the Bell Telephone Company.

1972 Connie Woodrich Myhre died peacefully on Nov. 7 after a long battle

are LinkedIn.

with breast cancer. She is survived by her loving husband of 37 years,

Are you?

families. After Breck, Connie attended Drake University and graduated

­David Myhre, daughter Molly, her father, sister and brother and their from the University of Minnesota. Her notice in the Star Tribune described her as “feisty with an incredible sense of humor…and a determined outlook on life. She was an extraordinary wife and mother.” Connie was an active alumni volunteer and a great representative of the first River Road coed graduating class.

Visit to connect.

In their own words

cont. from page 44

assumptions, they showed me the value of doing the same. By taking risks and inviting failure, they developed in me a sense of confidence and a willingness to try and fail in the interest of growing. By asking me to teach, they built for me the scaffolding of future leadership. These models stay with me now as I work closely with students and faculty to create the environments that best support the intellectual, emotional, and social growth of children.

We must fill our schools with laughter. I am always somewhat taken aback when I walk through the halls of a school in session and hear only the sounds of teachers speaking and chalk against the board. Environments such as these seem to me to be fundamentally antithetical to the process of learning. Learning is fun. Learning is funny. Learning should promote laughter and noise. To be sure, it

versity of thought, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and family structure, to name a few. These communities are hard to build: they require thought, creativity, attention, insistence, and careful maintenance. Nevertheless, the social and educational value of developing this kind of school atmosphere, not just nominally, but in substantial and sustainable ways, far outweighs the cost.

We must set high but clear expectations for the entire community. In discussing the roots of his students’ success, Frank Boyden, legendary Headmaster of Deerfield Academy, wrote, “We just treat [them] as if we expect something of them, and we keep them busy.” While many of Boyden’s approaches to school leadership may now be seen as antiquated, holding ourselves, our students, and our faculties to high standards is an important, and lasting, ideal.

can also be messy and sad and frustrating and aggravating,

Students thrive in settings in which they are expected to

but the fact remains that learning requires emotional

achieve at high levels and then (and perhaps most important-

engagement. Students learn best when they care, when they

ly) given the tools and skills needed to do so. Children are born

have a connection to that which they’re learning (and to the

wanting to learn as much as they can and as they gain

person from whom they learn), and laughter is a sign that

knowledge and understanding about their world, the desire to

this is taking place in an authentic way.

learn more deepens. The classroom must foster this innate

Laughter signals real connections between teachers and students, between administrators and teachers, between all constituents in the school. Laughter is honest, and it requires that people truly know themselves and each other. Whether we laugh at a good joke, a great physics cartoon, or (as if often the case) at me, the relationship that is built in that moment is invaluable to the learning process.

We must build collaborative communities that reflect diversity of thought and experience. Learning is a team sport. Whether working on the writing process, studying calculus, or playing an instrument, students very often achieve more when they work in collaboration with others. A peer group can provide the motivation to challenge oneself, a context for new ideas, a sounding board for a burgeoning argument, and moral support for continued growth. The same is true for teachers. Faculty teach more effectively, see more engagement from their students, achieve greater positive outcomes, and have more fun when they have the opportunity to discuss their own teaching and intellectual interests with their colleagues. Collaboration of this sort, however, is somewhat less transformational in communities that tend toward the homogeneous. It is only through open discourse with those whose backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences are different from our own that we grow. It is imperative, then, for school leaders to build communities that reflect real diversity—di-

curiosity, not merely require that our students reach some mediocre standard of proficiency. Holding our students to high standards sends a clear message that we not only expect their best at all times, but that we believe that they are capable of great things. Though subtle, this powerful message empowers students, enabling them to push themselves and to overcome adversity with grace and confidence. This principle is no less true for a school’s faculty. Teachers, and through them the everyday classroom experiences of students, are the core of any school. No school can be great without great teachers, and teachers must be given the support, guidance, and feedback they need to grow. In order to foster the continued development of both students and teachers alike, administrators need to see school happening every day. They need to see the school and to be seen in the school. They need to be in classrooms, both teaching and observing so that they understand the daily work of the community. School leaders need to cheer in the audience at the fall play and on the sidelines of the football game. They need to talk to students, teachers, parents, and colleagues about their experiences every day. Administrators need to know their school well if they hope to lead their school well. Frank Boyden had his desk in the middle of the front hall of Deerfield until the day he retired. He was literally at the center of the school. He expected the best from his school, from his teachers, and from his students. Because he was connected to all of them in a real, lasting, and substantial way, he got it.

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Today at Breck

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Spring Sports: Athletes Have a Great Season Despite Our Non-Spring Weather Boys Tennis Takes Second at State; Girls Track Takes Fifth; Boys and Girls Golfers Compete at State Tourneys as Well Boys Golf It was a good season for Mustang boys golf, which finished 9-2 overall and 7-2 in the conference. The conference champions sent two golfers to state, juniors Blaze Beecher and Lucas McCormick. Blaze, Lucas and Max Schwartzman were named All-Conference, with Mac Turner receiving honorable mention. Lucas was the MIP, Blaze the MVP, and Mustanger honors went to Matt McMillan and Ben Turner.

Girls Golf Our girls finished third in the section, and the varsity had a better than .500 record during a season marred by such unseasonable weather. The Mustangs had the lowest team score in the history of our program with their 353 at the section tournament, and Grace Zumwinkle represented us at state. Sarah Webb was named to the All-Conference team, with Madi Lommen, Anna Zumwinkle and Grace Zumwinkle receiving honorable mention. Grace Zumwinkle was the MIP, Sarah Webb the MVP, and Anna Zumwinkle the Mustanger.

Boys Lacrosse Participation is on the upswing for boys lax, which ended up with a 2-9 record in 2013. With better numbers and a new


coaching staff, the team is looking forward to better things

The Mustangs finished the season with a 2-8 conference

in 2014. Lacrosse is not a conference sport, but Jack O’Connor

record and struggled to complete a 13-game season in

was named honorable mention on the All-Section team.

less-than-ideal conditions. A fairly young team showed great

End-of-season awards went to MIP Jay Phillips, MVP Jack

improvement as the season went on, thanks to leadership

O’Connor, Mustanger Donovan Ennevor, and Unsung Hero

from a good group of seniors. Andy Keiser was named

David Husband.

All-Conference, with Matt Colford and Jorgen Salveson named honorable mention. Mitch Foster was the MIP, Andy Keiser the MVP, and Bennet Johnson the Mustanger.

Girls Lacrosse

Track and Field

A very young Mustang team finished the season at 4-9, with

The Breck girls won their

a highlight being wins in the first two rounds of the section

section meet on their way

tournament. A large group of eighth graders enjoyed strong

to a fifth-place finish at

leadership from five seniors on the team, and the participa-

the state meet. Leading

tion rate grew to 40 girls between varsity and jv. Adrianna

the way was senior Nailah

Keller was the MIP, Maggie MacLennan the MVP, and Bella

Hill, who set school

Valentini the Mustanger.

records in both the shot and discus, which she won


at state. All-Conference honors went to Adria Duncan, Nailah

Girls softball played a non-varsity schedule in 2013 and

Hill, Niara Hill, Kira Hinz and Jaila Tolbert for the girls and

struggled to get in games given the bad weather. They finished with a 4-1 record, scoring 86 runs to their opponents’ 32—making for a very successful season for a group of seventh- to tenth-graders from whom we are expecting great things (and, we hope, more hospitable weather) in 2014.

Bryce Johnson and Jake Levy for the boys. Honorable mentions went to Claire Drysdale, Elise Garvin and Shayla Henderson-Thomas for the girls; Ira Buffalohead, Will Culliton, Easton McChesney and Nick Thyr for the boys. MIPs were Kwaku Bodom and Elise Garvin; MVPs Bryce Johnson and Nailah Hill; and Mustangers Nick Thyr and Kira Hinz.

Boys Tennis Senior Myles Tang, a member of the varsity tennis team since he was in

Breck Withdraws From Tri-Metro Conference for 2014-15 After a decision by the Minnesota State High School League to expand the Tri-Metro Conference to 16 teams, Breck

seventh grade, finished out his Breck career by leading the Mus-

resigned from the conference and will pursue an independent schedule in 2014-15. In an email to current families, Head of School Edward Kim

tangs to a second place finish at state, a record of 14-3

wrote, “We did not take this decision lightly. The State High

overall, and a record of 6-1 in the conference. Breck boys took

School League’s decision to expand the Tri Metro Conference

second and third place in the state doubles tournament, led

to 16 schools—with the addition of Columbia Heights,

by eight senior players. All-Conference honors went to David

Fridley, and Holy Angels—would have made it by far the

Alper, Joey Gamer, Tucker Sjoblad, Myles Tang, Austin Wong

largest conference in the state. It would also seriously

and Brenham Wong, with honorable mention for Jake

compromise our ability to design workable, competitive and

Duxbury and Michael Marzec. Lewis White was the team’s

fair schedules. Our decision to pursue an independent

MIP, Myles Tang the MVP, and Joey Gamer the Mustanger.

schedule does not preclude us from post-season play. Please be assured of our ongoing commitment to provide the highest quality co-curricular experience for all athletes at Breck, regardless of our conference status.” Five other teams (Blake, Minnehaha, Mounds Park, Providence and SPA) also withdrew from the Tri-Metro and will also pursue independent schedules next year.

Breck’s Online Photo Gallery 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

Fall 2013

In Their Own Words


Upper School Director

The following is excerpted from Taylor’s education philosophy statement, which was actually part of his job application at Breck. 44 /

Everything I Know About Education I Learned Taking Quantum Mechanics Nothing is certain. Werner Heisenberg proved this in 1927

discovery of the Higgs Boson (a moment of great excitement

with his development of the Uncertainty Principle, an idea

for all physicists!), a letter to the editor was published in the

that stemmed from the work he was doing at the time on

New York Times. It read, in part, “Our species benefits any

quantum mechanics, a then-new branch of physics. In his

time we can say we know more today than we did yesterday.”

first paper on the topic, Heisenberg used the German word

To my mind, this speaks clearly and simply to the central and

Ungenauigkeit, which can be translated into “uncertainty,”

permanent role that learning plays in our lives.

though Heisenberg actually preferred the invented word, “indeterminedness.” Whatever the name, the principle holds. Stated broadly, it dictates that the more you know about one thing, the less you can know about something else.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle crystallizes for me, then, the primacy of learning, and thus the importance of building great schools. As educational leaders, we are charged with fostering the intellectual and emotional growth of

The Uncertainty Principle introduces, for the first time, the idea

children and we must, therefore, develop schools that are

that the universe places a fundamental limit on what people

worthy of this task.

can know, or on what knowledge is accessible to humans. We tend to find this constraint difficult to accept and the idea causes anxiety for many of us: We find comfort in knowing, a comfort manifested in the time we spend searching for the right answers, and dismissing the wrong answers, all of which serves the aim of more closely approaching a complete and

In working to build such schools, we, as teachers, as parents, and as administrators, are faced with a number of responsibilities that will ensure the creation of learning environments that are most conducive to the continued growth and development of our students.

eliminates, at a fundamental level, the ideas of right and

We must develop schools that are true communities of learners.

wrong, as well as any hope of absolute knowledge. We simply

The most successful schools are those in which the contin-

cannot know anything beyond a certain level.

ued growth and development of the entire organization is

absolute understanding. The Uncertainty Principle, however,

When I examine the forces that brought me to teaching and, later, to educational leadership, I return time and again to the

supported and guided by an administration committed to building a true community of learners.

invitation presented by the Uncertainty Principle, an invitation

In order to accomplish this, students need to see their

to push our relationship with knowledge to its furthest limits

teachers engaged in learning of their own. By modeling what

and to push human learning as far as it can possibly go.

it means to be committed to a lifetime of learning, the faculty

I love this. I love the idea that we can’t know everything. I’m excited by the fact that we are forced into a dynamic

and administration provide students with examples to follow in the development of their own academic interests.

relationship with knowledge and by the idea that as we gain

In my own life, both as a student and as a teacher and

perspective on one thing, this necessarily changes how we

administrator, it is those teachers and school leaders who

see and what we know about something else.

approached their work with an inquisitive and open stance to

Indeed, the need for learning seems to be built into us from the start. In the days following the announcement of the

whom I look as models now. By asking good questions, they taught me to ask good questions. By challenging their own continued on page 41

significant tax advantages for ira distributions donated by december 31, 2013 Under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, signed into law on January 2, 2013, significant tax advantages are once again available for certain charitable contributions made from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Through December 31, 2013, individuals 70 and older can transfer up to $100,000 in 2013 to certain charitable organizations from their IRA accounts without

paying taxes on the distribution. For more information, please contact Laura McCarty Tufano at 763-381-8296 or laura.mccarty@

to join those in our community who have made a commitment to breck now and in the future, who have named breck in their will, or as a beneficiary of their retirement plan or trust, please contact laura mccarty tufano at 763-381-8296 or

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

123 Ottawa Avenue North Golden Valley, MN 55422-5189

Parents of Alumni: Please forward this publication. If your daughter or son no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please notify us (763-381-8278 or of the new mailing address.

a new perspective The view from Senior Hallway looking south.


Permit No. 2995 Twin Cities, MN

Today at Breck - Fall 2013  

The fall issue of Breck's magazine, Today at Breck.

Today at Breck - Fall 2013  

The fall issue of Breck's magazine, Today at Breck.