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Today at Breck

Fall 2016

A TALE OF TWO TEACHERS Statistics and history come together in one unique class/ PG. 20



Fall 2016



Today at Breck



FEATURES 20 / A Tale of Two Teachers

COVER STORY Two Breck teachers bring together opposing personalities and subject material for one innovative and successful classroom experience.

14 / Boldly Breck Hear from Assistant Head of School, Patrick Phillips ’87, on the development behind Breck’s newest strategic plan.

24 / Redefining Life Breck’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus, Dr. Murisiku Raifu ’93, shares how he is helping other people redefine their lives based on his life-changing experience at Breck.


2 / 20 Questions

5 / 123 Ottawa

29 / Alumni News 31 / Class Notes 39 / Sports News

On the cover: Mary Gentry and Charlie Grossman Photo by Sara Rubinstein

Salve. Salve is a Latin word with the meaning hello or goodbye. Salve is a greeting — one in which we send our well wishes to another. Salve literally translates to “be in good health” as we greet and send people with our care, love and blessing. It is also the theme our students are studying in their all-school and division-level chapels this year. And for me, as I celebrate my tenth year as Head of School, it is fitting for my last year at Breck as well. As I greeted students entering our building on the first day of school, I couldn’t help but think back to some of the same faces I greeted on my first day at Breck. Each new year approaches with similar emotions: nervousness, excitement, fear, happiness. And each new year I am blown away at just how much our students, families, faculty and staff are capable of. In this issue of Today at Breck you’ll get a glimpse of just a few of the incredible things that have already started this school year. For example, in light of the current election cycle, two of our faculty members partnered for a thought-provoking and innovative classroom experience for our students. Bringing together statistics and history, students enrolled in our American Elections class are learning in real-time how these two disciplines impact modern-day elections. We’ve also launched a new strategic plan for the School; one that I am confident provides our community the vision and goals for an already-thriving institution. You’ll be able to see the behind-the-scenes development of the plan and learn where you can access a copy to review in detail. And most importantly, in this issue you’ll discover what makes Breck, Breck. You’ll see students making memories in a new school year, faculty being recognized nationally for their innovation in teaching and alumni reconnecting on our campus during our annual Homecoming festivities. Each of these stories captures the emotions we collectively feel as a new school year begins. As we move through the rest of the year, we will continue to meet each challenge and opportunity with these same emotions and attitude, but with our chapel theme in mind — well wishes.


Today at Breck

Fall 2016

Questions 2/

Paul Kielb: BRECK TRANSPORTATION BUS DRIVER 1 What music are you listening to lately? I love Bato Bato

9 What do you remember from kindergarten? The nuns at Resurrection grade school.

2 What’s one of the last books you read? The Bible

10 What is the most important room in your home? My Man Cave where all my fishing

3 What’s your favorite time of year? Summer for the bass tournaments

gear and awards are.

I compete in 4 What’s one of the most adventurous things you’ve ever done? Elk hunting in the mountains of Colorado 5 What’s your favorite Breck lunch? Soup — homemade and always great 6 What’s your dream job? At my age I have had several great jobs. I love my 7 years as a Breck bus driver. 7 What’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made? Becoming a Christian


What advice would you give your younger self? Finish college, find my dream job and work 110% to get it.

11 What’s your favorite place on the Breck campus? The Upper School lunchroom after the morning bus route to visit with other bus drivers, staff and greet students. 12 Favorite comfort food? A Reuben and tater tots at Mac’s Industrial restaurant. 13 Favorite treat: salty or sweet? Popsicles (sugar free). I’m a popsicleholic. 14 If you had a theme song, what would it be? Amazing Grace 15 What was your most memorable vacation? Helicopter ride to a glacier on an Alaskan cruise. 16 Favorite Website? I like to watch as many activities as possible, especially varsity girl’s hockey.

17 Three people — living or dead — you’d want to have dinner with? Bud Grant, Tony Dungy and one of the Breck parents I admire. 18 If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Maine and the northeast states during the fall colors 19 What’s your pet peeve? Texting while driving 20 What keeps you up at night? Problems that I created

Questions /3



1 What music are you listening to lately? Adele, Coldplay and Beyoncé

7 What’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made? I walked on to the Varsity Rowing

14 If you had a theme song, what would it be? Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé or

2 What’s one of the last books you read? Between the World and Me, by

team my freshman year at Colby College and never looked back. Rowing is now a lifelong passion of mine, and I am eager to find a rowing club in Minnesota now that I am back home!

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Ta-Nehisi Coates 3 What’s your favorite time of year? I am a tried-and-true Minnesotan: winter!


What is one of the most adventurous things you’ve ever done? The Mueller Hut hike on Mt. Cook in New Zealand ... we got caught in 87 mph winds! 5 What’s your favorite Breck lunch? Any lunch that has Breck chocolate chip cookies for dessert 6 What’s your dream job? I get to live it every day at Breck! That being said, I would love to end up in administration at some point either in curriculum development or as a dean of students.

8 What advice would you give to your younger self? Push yourself to go outside your comfort zone 9 What do you remember from kindergarten? Being terrified of playing my part in our school production of “Annie” (I only had 10 lines) 10 What is the most important room in your home? The kitchen 11 What’s your favorite place on the Breck campus? The Sam Salas Commons before school starts or the ice arena during a Breck– Blake hockey game! 12 Favorite comfort food? Spaghetti and meatballs 13 Favorite treat: salty or sweet? Salty

15 Favorite line from a movie? “Great moments are born from great opportunity” in Miracle 16 Favorite website? It’s addicting! 17 Three people — living or dead — you’d want to have dinner with? Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Michelle Obama, Ellen Degeneres 18 If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I have always wanted to backpack through Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia and hike the Kungsleden trail in Sweden. 19 What’s your pet peeve? Cracking knuckles and the word “can’t!” 20 What keeps you up at night? My never-ending to-do list

Today at Breck

Fall 2016

Questions 4/

Terrina White ’18: BRECK JUNIOR 1 What music are you listening to lately? I’m not ashamed to admit it … I love country! 2 What’s one of the last books you read? The Martian 3 What’s your favorite time of year? Winter is my favorite season because of the clothes! 4 What’s one of the most adventurous things you’ve ever done? Zipping in Hawaii 5 What’s your favorite Breck lunch? Chicken tenders — hands down 6 What’s your dream job? A plastic surgeon or a lawyer. 7 What’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made? Accepting myself for who I am. I’ve grown up with a lot of self-confidence.


What advice would you give to your younger self? Make sure you stay involved in multiple sports and try your best to stay open minded because things are only going to get harder and you should work for a good foundation. (Also do your chores before asking to go anywhere.)

9 What do you remember from kindergarten? Being chased across the front lawn by a dog that was a big as a bear (I promise). 10 What is the most important room in your home? The kitchen 11 What’s your favorite place on the Breck campus? Anywhere that has the spinny chairs with desks. I feel like they’re good places for socializing and getting work done.

12 Favorite comfort food? Anything gummy — gummy bears, gummy worms, etc. 13 Favorite treat: salty or sweet? Salty popcorn 14 If you had a theme song, what would it be? The Sean Paul version of Cheap Thrills 15 Favorite line from a movie? “We got a dollar, we got a dollar, we got a dollar, hey hey hey” from Little Rascals 16 Favorite website? Breck moodle because it’s constantly open in my browser. 17 Three people — living or dead — you’d want to have dinner with? Chef Ramsey, Robin Williams and Rihanna 18 If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Bora Bora 19 What’s your pet peeve? Incoming traffic mergers that don’t come in at the right speed 20 What keeps you up at night? Facetime because I always talk to people for too long and then I have to stay up late to finish my homework.



Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

SCHMIDT RECEIVE SPECIAL OLYMPICS OF MINNESOTA SPIRIT AWARD Frederique Schmidt, Community Engagement Coordinator and US Modern Language Instructor, received the Outstanding Spirit Award during the Special Olympics of Minnesota Distinguished Service Awards ceremony Sept. 28.

“We started doing the Polar Plunge with just a couple kids and last year we had almost 25,” says Schmidt. “Then three years ago I approached the Academy of Whole Learning regarding a partnership with our Wednesday morning service work and they were interested.” Breck Upper School students travel to the Academy of Whole Learning, a private school specifically designed for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or related learning differences, every Wednesday volunteering their time in the classroom and mentoring students. And more initiatives continue to grow and develop.

Schmidt, who coordinates service and outreach for the Upper School, is also an integral part of the Special Olympics Poly Hockey event held annually at Breck.

“I just started looking around the community to find opportunities to make our work more meaningful,” Schmidt adds.

“When I first came into this position, I was told that we had this Poly Hockey tournament and that it is a lot of work!” says Schmidt. “I inherited this program and it was kind of just a one-off that was a nice addition to our service work. As I was getting more involved, I got to know more about the organization and players, and we had a lot of great feedback about hosting the event at Breck.”

Schmidt’s goal is to tear down barriers and provide opportunities for all students.

Students started hosting community activities like bingo and kids were getting more involved. That led Schmidt to believe there had to be more to the relationship with Special Olympics than just Poly Hockey.

“I want to break down the idea of ‘the other,’ ” says Schmidt. “We just needed to create opportunities to normalize relationships.” Breck School has maintained a partnership with the Special Olympics for 30 years. Congratulations to Fred on this prestigious award!

Today at Breck

Fall 2016

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

OF NOTE Ella Saklad, grade 6, took first place in her division at the Minnesota State Fair for her original story, “Ink.” This is her second straight year to win the top prize at this level. Ella also took home two third place-ribbons and an honorable mention in other art categories.


Kennedy Lucas, grade 6, performed in Stages Theatre Company, A Magic Treehouse: A Night in New Orleans. The show ran from September 16 through October 20. Penny Groethe, grade 10, performed “God Bless America” at the Minnesota Twins game September 25. Penny also performed the National Anthem at the Minnesota Lynx game on June 29. Kat Corrigan, Lower/Middle School Art Instructor, exhibited her Dog Days of Summer exhibit at both the Atrium Gallery in the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts as well as the Powderhorn Art Fair in August. In June, Connor Fehrenbach competed in the Minnesota State Trap Shooting Championship and finished third in the JV section out of over 700 shooters statewide. Conner represented Breck when he brought the 2015-16 year of competition to a close with a big win. The Breck Trap Shooting team has nearly doubled in size to about 40 participants this year. If you have an interest in this team, please contact Ms. Summer or Mr. Arons.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION SELECTIONS Two members of the Breck faculty were announced as presenters at the upcoming National Association for Independent Schools conference held March 1-3, 2016, in Baltimore, MD. Tom Taylor, Upper School Director, and Daisy Pellant, Director of the Peter Clark Center for Teaching & Learning, were individually selected for presentations along with eight other individuals nationwide. Additional conference presenters include: Amy Roe, Lower School Modern Language Instructor, was a session presenter at the Comprehensible Midwest conference for modern language teachers in Milwaukee. Kat Corrigan, Lower/Middle School Art Instructor, was selected from 2,263 applicants to present a session on Stop Animation at the National Arts Educators Association conference in March.

Charlie Harvath, grade 6, performed in “Beyond the Piano” in Benasque, Spain, June 13-23, 2016. Charlie was one of seven students who attended from the U.S. He placed 4th in the 11-18 years old division and also played a concerto with an orchestra that was not part of the competition. The orchestra was conducted by the conductor of the Chechnya Symphony Orchestra. Upper School English instructor Dallas Crow has poems in the fall issues of Great Lakes Review and Tar River Poetry.

BRECK SENIORS RECEIVE ACADEMIC HONORS Congratulations to Breck seniors Elena Berman, Connor Ott and Genevieve Weiler, who were named semifinalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship competition, and to senior Isabella Jennings who was named a National Hispanic Scholar.

VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION Last fall, we published the article CEOs in Training, which outlined a new innovative May Program course that taught juniors and seniors about future career options. Parent volunteers coordinated and planned day-long career orientations that included speakers and site visits to locations throughout the Twin Cities. We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight more of our amazing volunteers who made this class a success, particularly: • Sara Russick — Entrepreneurship

• Teresa Yueh — Health care

• Rhonda O’Neill — Finance

• Sara Ahluwalia — Arts

• Kim Nelson — Business & Management

• Amy Giovanini — Non-profits

• Michael Goh — Education

• Piyumi Saramatunga — Law

We’d like to offer another big round of congratulations to Kim Peeples, Director of the Melrose Family Center for Servant Leadership, on coordinating this 10-day class for our future leaders.

/7 Unlike many travelers who, these days, keep a record of their journey on the photo app in their smartphone, Grams kept a written record — in her sketchbook. “Whenever I travel, I take along two sketchbooks,” she adds. She carries a large sketchbook as well as a pocketsized version. Then, using a small paint kit, she paints the sketches on the spot as well. After arriving in Churchill, she spent her time in the Northern Studies Research Center learning about the Arctic environment. “We went through different environments, which is the reason I went,” says Grams. “Second-grade students study environments — plains, prairies, Taiga — in their Life Sciences classes.” Studying these environments helped Grams plan for a new art project inspired by her northern journey that also fits well into the second-grade curriculum.

BRECK FACULTY REFLECT ON SUMMER GRANTS Each year, Breck awards faculty members with grants for summer study and travel. This year, four members of the Breck faculty received grants, traveling throughout the world to further their education and enrich their classrooms with new experiences. Carol Grams, Lower School Visual Arts Instructor, reflected on her experience traveling to Churchill, Manitoba, where she explored the connection between art and science. “I drove to Winnipeg and took a two-day train ride to Churchill in Hudson Bay,” Grams remarks. “It was the slowest train ride in the world, traveling over permafrost and through a lot of different communities.”

“We will do a print inspired by the Inuit,” says Grams. “I learned, and will share with the kids, that Inuit art comes from an understanding of our connection with the land. I got to get a little glimpse into that feeling of where that impulse to create comes from and the sense you get from nature — how big and important it is.” Grams was just one of the Breck faculty who received summer grants. Other recipients included Mary Gentry, Upper School Mathematics Instructor who attended the 2016 Bridges conference in Jyvaskyla, Finland; Virginia Amundson, Middle School Science, who studied ecological adaptation, natural history and multicultural studies in central California; and Marie Murphy, Lower School Instructor, who attended the Constructing Modern Knowledge Summer Institute in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Today at Breck

Fall 2016

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

FROM THE EDITOR Each year new students and families come to Breck with excitement and, naturally so, anxiety about their new school. As a new staff member, I felt the exact same way. 8/

As the new director of communications at Breck, excitement and trepidation are two words I would use to describe my emotions when starting in my new role last May. I continually ask myself, “How can I best serve this entire community? How can I tell the amazing stories that happen here every day? How do I make sure we continually produce valued content and stories about the entire Breck experience – long after our students leave these halls?” For me, it starts with getting to know you. Since May I have had the opportunity to meet with just a small fraction of alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends of the School. I have heard fond memories, future dreams, ongoing work and amazing accomplishments. And I have only just begun. With this issue of Today at Breck, I hope you discover just a few of the stories we are excited about since the start of school six weeks ago. You’ll see student and alumni achievements, insights on our strategic plan and teachers collaborating in new ways. And we’ve got more stories to tell. I encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and yes—Snapchat—to see what filters we’re running while you’re on campus. You’ll also see monthly stories in your email inbox from our 123 eNewsletter (fun fact: 123 is inspired from our school address: 123 Ottawa Ave. N.) and additional issues of Today at Breck throughout the school year. I look forward to getting to know and serving you and your families in the years to come, and am beyond grateful to be a part of this Breck community.

Sincerely, Stacy Glause

Upper School: (left to right) Paul Slack, Adam Ruderman, Melissa Hanson, RM Pellant, Stacy Tepp,

Ben Lampe, Coreena Affleck, Mike Marks

Lower School: (left to right) Annalisa Strohschein, Tori Carter, Tara Madden, Amanda Thomson ’06

Middle School: (left to right) Ashley Kieger, Annalisa Tester ’10, JJ Oesterle ’10

NEW FACULTY AND STAFF Coreena Affleck, Middle School Art

Tara Madden, 1st Grade Assistant

Stacy Tepp, Upper School Math

Eric Bigalke, Organist

George Mills, Bus Driver

Tori Carter, Preschool Assistant

Justine (JJ) Oesterle ’10, Middle School Science

Annalisa Tester ’10, Middle School Math/Science

Stacy Glaus, Communications Director Kate Haberman, Upper School Office Assistant Melissa Hanson, Middle School/Upper School Choir/Music Director Ashley Kieger, Middle School/Upper School Spanish Dyane Kyllonen, Bus Driver Benjamin Lampe, Upper School Physics Susan Little, Bus Driver

Daisy Pellant, Director of the Peter Clark Center for Teaching & Learning RM Pellant, Upper School Academic Technology Coordinator Adam Ruderman, Upper School History Instructor Paul Slack, Upper School History Instructor Annalisa Strohschein, Lower School Instructor

Amanda Teska Thomson ’06, Kindergarten Assistant Joe Tisch, Bus Driver Jody Watts, Bus Driver ________________________________ Meg Carlsen, returns from sabbatical — US English Dan Ratliff, returns from sabbatical — MS Science


Today at Breck

Fall 2016

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(Left to right, front row) The Rt. Rev. Brian Prior, Becky L. O’Grady, Edward Kim; (second row) Barbara Burwell, Twanya Hood Hill, Joan K. Rex, Lenesa Leana; (third row) Patty Murphy, Susan Bass Roberts, Katharine Anderson Groethe ’88, Jill E. Schurtz,

Rob Holt; (fourth row) Timothy Clark, Maya A. Tester ’81, Wendy Schoppert, Daniel Aronson, Rory O’Neill; (fifth row): Michael Goh, Bradley P. Radichel, Jeffrey C. Slocum; (not pictured) Andrew B. Gaillard ’88, Michelle Pohlad, William C. Schmoker, Ronald D. Sit, Andrew W. Turner

2016-17 BRECK BOARD OF TRUSTEES The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, Board Chair Becky L. O’Grady, President Edward Kim, Head of School (ex-officio) G. Mike Mikan, Treasurer Rob Holt, Secretary Lee R. Anderson ’57, Lifetime Trustee

Timothy S. Clark

William C. Schmoker

Andrew B. Gaillard ’88

Wendy Schoppert

Michael Goh

Jill E. Schurtz

Katharine Anderson Groethe ’88

Ronald D. Sit

Twanya Hood Hill

Jeffrey C. Slocum

Lenesa Leana *

Maya A. Tester ’81

Patty Murphy *

Andrew W. Turner

Rory O’Neill Daniel Aronson Susan Bass Roberts Barbara E. Burwell

Michelle Pohlad Bradley P. Radichel Joan K. Rex

* Indicates new board member

/ 11

Homecoming 2016

/ 13

Legacies: Breck alumni and their current student children

Today at Breck

Fall 2016


The process to creating a new strategic plan

/ 15

How might you say a school becomes a perpetually-learning school? It is, in fact, our tagline — Perpetually Learning. But what does it mean? Does it mean faculty members are developing cutting-edge and innovative curricula for their classrooms? Does it mean students never settle for the status quo, finding their own unique path to success? Does it mean families work together to discover new ways of developing the educational experience for all?

In April 2015, Breck formed a Strategic Plan Steering Committee consisting of members of the Board of Trustees and other Breck leadership. The school also partnered with members from the Episcopal Church in Minnesota and a consulting and research firm to help facilitate and solicit feedback from the Breck community.

Yes, yes and yes.

Work began in the fall of 2015 with the development of a community survey, which would allow participants to share their thoughts about the current strengths of the School, perceived challenges and limitations and any ideas or advice they might like to offer to strengthen an already-thriving institution. Focus groups and interviews were also scheduled with a cross-section of the Breck community.

All of these things — and so much more — embody a perpetually-learning school. But how does a school like Breck continue to evolve as a leader in the educational community? With a plan. For the past several months, the Breck Strategic Planning Committee has worked hard to develop and unveil the new strategic plan, Boldly Breck. While you can easily view the plan online at, you can’t as easily look inside the process of developing the plan and the work that went into creating it. That’s why the Today at Breck staff sat down with Patrick Phillips ’87, Assistant Head of School, to learn more about the development of Breck’s latest strategic plan. First, let’s take a moment to understand a bit of history. In 2006, Breck’s school leadership developed a set of strategic principles to provide goals and a vision for the future. These principles were projected to carry the school through the next nine years, leaving the next time to reevaluate in 2015. As the Meeting the World fundraising campaign neared completion in the winter of 2015, it was a natural time to review the strategic direction, solicit feedback on the state of the school and lay the groundwork for a new strategic plan.

More than 1,700 individuals offered their feedback, giving the steering committee detailed insight and information into the pulse of the School. “We wanted parents, faculty, students, alumni and other stakeholders to have a voice in setting the future vision for Breck,” says Phillips. After sifting through the feedback, it was clear there were five main areas of focus for the new strategic plan — Breck Culture, Academic Innovation, Student Experience, Faculty and Financial Stewardship. And while many of the themes that came from the feedback weren’t necessarily surprising to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, it was important to validate the community’s priorities. “We now know that our whole community says, ‘These are the areas that are important to us,’ ” says Phillips. “In the end we came up with five strong pillars that are integral to Breck’s future.”

16 /

Each pillar — no one more important than another — includes short, long and future goals, laying out clear and measurable objectives. A unique aspect about this strategic plan, however, is its timeline. “It became clear to us early on that we weren’t looking at a traditional plan for Breck,” says Phillips. “Once we started to get information back from the survey, we knew we were looking for a different structure.” Typically, strategic plans are structured in five- to seven-year time frames with specific action steps through each year. But that rigid framework can often render more formal strategic plans useless as time passes. “I have seen strategic plans put into action in other schools. After a few years, those plans are outdated and you think, ‘this doesn’t feel right anymore.’ You recognize that we’re headed in a particular direction but the lessons from the past few years have shown that we should be going in another direction,” says Phillips. “However, because the school committed to specific actions years ago, people continue to follow plans that may be outdated. At that point, the strategic plan begins to feel inauthentic and soon becomes ineffective.” Boldly Breck is structured to be more adaptive, requiring feedback, checks and balances, and reflection through the duration of the plan. “This strategic plan is set up to go back and reflect every year. We have to ask ourselves, ‘Have we achieved our goals? How are we doing on this pillar?’ or ‘These actions are completed, but have they led us to different conclusions about our next steps?’ ” says Phillips. “It’s a lot more organic, more reflective of the community growth over time — where we are in the moment.” Each year, Breck faculty and staff will review the plan, determine progress of past action items and lay out new goals for the coming year.

“For me, everything seems to come back to the strategic plan,” says Phillips. All staff members are not going to be thinking about the same areas of the strategic plan at the same time, says Phillips. But having a plan allows individual decisions to stay on track with the School’s strategic goals. “When the Lower School thinks about their math curriculum, the Middle School might be thinking about what they want to do in their advisories. Each of the divisions, each of the departments, each of the different areas of the School has to make decisions all the time,” says Phillips. “If we’re all making decisions without any guidepost, then we make great decisions that may not always work well together.” Boldly Breck aims to be that guidepost. The goal is to provide direction that is clear yet flexible to change as the community changes. This openness is the same type of openness you can see in the Breck community. “Breck has always had an openness to new ideas, an openness to new perspectives, an openness to people and cultures and experiences that are different from our own on an individual level,” says Phillips. “That’s an important piece of being at Breck.” And now the school is prepared to discover new paths and pursue them. “Throughout our history we’ve always asked ourselves, ‘How do we look at this challenge from a different perspective? How do we look at our role in education in new ways?’ ” followed by the willingness to then say, ‘Let’s do something about it; let’s try it,’ ” says Phillips. If you’d like to see the plan in its entirety, or explore the action plan for the 2016-17 school year, visit

Strategic Plan Survey Participants:

More than 1,700 respondents 31% Parents 26% Students 20% Alumni 11% Faculty/Staff

Our Core Pillars

((( Breck Culture )))

Significant findings from the community survey: * 99% of survey respondents viewed faculty quality and student intellectual development as important in determining Breck’s success. * 96% of student respondents reported satisfaction with access to teachers. * Faculty quality was the most important reason for choosing to work at Breck.

((( Academic Innovation )))

((( Student Experience )))

((( Faculty )))

((( Financial Stewardship )))

* Respondents highlighted economic and racial diversity as two areas in need of enhancement at Breck. * Survey respondents praised the overall student experience and encouraged more emphasis on developing each student’s unique talents and potential to excel, as well as helping students learn to find balance with academics, extracurricular activities, community service and athletics. * Respondents encouraged Breck to consider curricular innovation as a means to improving how we are preparing students for the real world and to foster the ability to learn outside of the classroom.

Today at Breck

Fall 2016


Upper School Director Tom Taylor asked faculty members what describes a Breck graduate. These words encompass their response — the bigger the word, the more often it was repeated in their answers. What words would you add? Tell us online at











Empowered-to-speak Gratitude



love of learning Writer


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risk-taker Artistic


Open Minded creative problem solver


Environmental Stewardship

Inclusive imperfection



critical thinker


confident yet humble




Articulate innovative Listener Self Advocate

Awesome things are happening at Breck. Every day.

Please consider a gift to the Annual Fund to help ne write another every day Breck story. Visit us onli at for details.


Tale of

20 /


e’ve all heard the line “opposites attract” before but,outside of magnets, it seems difficult

to prove the validity of this statement.

one of the first interdisciplinary classes offered at Breck, outside of May program. “Interdisciplinary education represents the best in learning for our students,” says Tom Taylor, Upper School Director.

But for two Breck teachers, their differences couldn’t be

“The real world isn’t limited to individual disciplines.

more complimentary.

It doesn’t exist in isolation so we want to ensure we are

Charlie Grossman, Upper School History Instructor, and

preparing our students for the kind of experiences they will

Mary Gentry, Upper School Math Instructor, could be the

have in college, and more importantly, in the real world.”

living definition of opposites. Appropriately so, Mary is

The elections class was chosen as the only interdisciplinary

detailed and calculated. Charlie, on the other had, is sponta-

class for the Upper School this year after proposals were

neous yet thoughtful.

solicited for interdisciplinary work.

And yet the two of them have not only brought their

“Last fall, Tom Taylor (Upper School Director) accepted

opposite personalities into a single course for the fall 2016

proposals for interdisciplinary work,” says Gentry. “A variety

semester, they also bring opposite subject material for one

of different proposals were put forward and our class was

unique and innovative class.


Grossman and Gentry teach American Elections, an

While interdisciplinary education isn’t necessarily new to

interdisciplinary elective course that examines elections in

Breck, it is new to have a course team-taught with two

the United States through historical and statistical lenses,

teachers like Grossman and Gentry.

with a focus on the 2016 presidential election. The course is

“Team teaching is important because it allows students to deepen their understanding of the individual disciplines,”

/ 21

Two Teachers Two Breck teachers bring together opposing personalities and subject material for one innovative and successful classroom experience

history ultimately deepens their historical understanding

Planning the Class

and mathematical understanding.”

After selection for the course in the spring of 2016, both

adds Taylor. “Finding connections between math and

But offering a course like this also proves to be challenging logistically. “Having two teachers in one class essentially reduces the total number of classes we can offer to our students,” says Taylor. “It requires additional staff time to replace the class one of these teachers would have otherwise taught. Because we know the value of team-teaching, we added the staff to ensure no classes were missed.” Although taxing for course scheduling and availability, the team-teaching approach has proven to be a huge benefit. “We tried something similar to this about three years ago,” says Grossman. “I was given a matching class with another instructor. The idea was that we would try to teach our two subjects together, but without being in the same classroom

Grossman and Gentry had work to do. “After graduation in June, I asked Charlie if we were going to get together next week to set up and scaffold the course a bit,” says Gentry. “Once we had our initial plans, I wanted to write it out — this week we are here and that week we are there, thinking ‘what’s the stats side, what’s the history side, and how are we relating.’ ” But for Charlie, the idea of planning a course week-by-week nearly four months in advance without knowledge of how the election would play out was difficult. “We ended up meeting and talking through our ideas for the class,” says Grossman. “Then we figured out what we did and didn’t need to cover and it turned out to be a great combination.”

together, we never really did anything with it. This was a big

Charlie admits he was more planned out for this course

step to have us both in the classroom at the same time.”

than he expected. And for Mary, she reports this may have

Down to Business And while there is no book or published curriculum for the class, there is still much work to be done. 22 /

“Each student received a news source website that was randomly drawn, which was a statistical process. The sites run the gamut between the extreme left to the far right, international and moderate,” says Grossman. “Students must follow the website for the entire semester, identifying themes, potential bias and impact. Then, they have to work been the least planned-out course she has taught in her career, although she learned to adapt quickly. “I got comfortable with the plan because there was no book,” says Gentry. “There is no stats book for the election. I’m having to carve out what I’m doing each week.”

in groups we’re calling affinity and mixed to discuss their findings.” The affinity groups bring together students whose sites have liberal, conservative, moderate and international themes. The mixed groups have one representative from each affinity group. Students are then given a topic — either

Their planning left them with a generic schedule for

planned or based on what is happening in the news — and

each class period and a structure for how work would be

have to research and examine it.


“They get with their mixed groups and discuss how that

“Over the summer we agreed that we had four issues we

issue is being covered across the political spectrum,” says

were going to come up with and a structure for how the

Grossman. “They then have to create a living portfolio as a

classes would be organized each week,” says Grossman.

group, analyze the coverage, write about it and respond.”

“That gave us the flexibility to change topics based on what was happening in the news.” Each week students receive a mix of statistics and history, with a full class period for group work, discussion and debate.

By early November, students will have developed a full, cross-party perspective and analysis of the events leading up to the election. “After the election happens, the really exciting part happens,” Grossman adds. “It is going to be a four-week

“When the students walk out of class, we want them to feel

race to the end where we are going to analyze polling, the

like it was a nice mix of stats and history,” says Gentry. “As

aftermath and election fallout. By the end of the class, each

much as I love math, it can be a lot. It is fun for them to be

group will have a final project encompassing the entire

able to immediately see how there can be an association

election season.”

between gender and political leaning based on something in the news. I can pull up the Pew research from 2014 and we can talk about how it’s playing out today.”

Building Character But more than just analyzing the elections for the statistical and historical perspective, the class is offering an element of character building, too. “What we aren’t telling them is, ‘where does your own bias have a role in all of this?’ ” says Gentry. “Our hope is that

The class is going great. I didn’t know a lot about polling in the past and figuring out if it is trustworthy or not. We’re also analyzing past elections and how they can relate to present day. It’s a mix of everything — historical and math.

- VJ Kaul

/ 23

they are getting an ability to check their own bias with where the resources are as well as realize how the same story can be told in many different ways.” This added perspective is building life-skills for the students that are also important to a Breck education. “When we talk about having skills of empathy and different perspectives — we are getting it all right here,” Gentry adds. “While I’m really excited they get to use statistics in real life, I’m far more excited about the person they can bring to a

It’s nice to discuss things about the election, especially this upcoming election. It’s been so interesting. It’s been really important to have both teachers in this class because there is a huge stats side to the election but there’s also a historical side. I think we definitely need both teachers for this class. It’s not just a “sit back” kind of class. You actually have to be involved in the discussion.

- Liam O’Neill

citizenship outside of Breck as a result of this course.”

Strengthening Faculty

Gentry, who was just named a Master Teacher at Breck and has spent 31 years in the classroom, is encouraged to have

While much of the course is meant to serve as an opportu-

the opportunity to try something new.

nity for the students, it has also proven to grow these two

“This is very Breck,” she says. “To know, after 30 years, I’m

faculty members, too.

still saying, ‘this is a better way. This is better than it was

For Grossman, who has taught for 17 years, he is looking to

last year.’ It is very characteristic of the Breck culture.”

his spring semester classes in a whole new way.

These two teachers are paving the way for more interdisci-

“After you’ve taught for a long time, you get set in your ways

plinary course work in the years to come. Their teamwork

a bit,” Grossman admits. “This experience of working with Mary has been really nice to have. I feel more prepared for my classes than I have in the past.”

and preparation — even with their opposing personalities and curriculum — have joined together perfectly for one very powerful class.

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Redefining life 2016 Distinguished Alumnus shares memories of Breck and his unusual path in life As a child growing up in Ghana, Murisiku Raifu ’93 only

And for many schools, he never heard a reply. If he did, he

dreamed of obtaining an education outside of his country.

received a nice color brochure but with a note that said no

“I knew my environment wasn’t exactly what opportunities are made of,” says Raifu, recalling his childhood days

scholarships were available to those who couldn’t afford to pay tuition.

growing up in Ghana. “I didn’t come from a family that had a

Then there were the handful of schools that did reply with a

lot of education — my mom had never been to school,

serious response. Those schools wanted to know more.

neither had my dad — so there wasn’t this tradition of going to school. Actually, we weren’t in a position to be able to do that so the prospects were fairly slim even though in my mind I was determined to find a way to do it. Traveling regularly to the market with his mother to sell goods, he would visit the local library to pass the time. “I have to just be honest with you,” says Raifu. “I would just go there to read cartoons.” But one day he stumbled upon something more. “Every so often I would go through and read some Shakespeare and one of those days I ran into a guide called the Peterson’s Guide to Independent Schools,” Raifu remarks. “It was fascinating to know what the life of students was like out there.” Raifu, amazed at what was possible for future education,

“I hand-wrote my essays to the schools and sent them out,” Raifu adds. After taking an admissions exam at the U.S. Embassy, Raifu received the good news. “I was fortunate enough to be admitted.” Not only was Raifu admitted, he was accepted to four schools — two in the U.S. and two in Canada. One of those schools was Breck. Raifu decided to come to Breck, “mostly because I felt a certain humanness from the interaction I had. I was going to have an opportunity to live with families and learn firsthand everything there is, all I could, about the culture. And the interaction I had with the administration was different from what I had at all the other schools.” It was decided. Raifu would leave his family, home country — everything he knew about life — to attend school at Breck.

hand-wrote a list of 30 schools that were most appealing

“My mom sold a lot of her belongings to get me here,” Raifu

and mailed them each a letter.


“My mom thought I was crazy asking her for money for

After a flight to New York, a short [and accidental] detour to

stamps,” Raifu says. “I sent out the letters not expecting

the Bronx and a two-day Greyhound Bus journey to Minne-

much. I didn’t know how they would even write back.”

sota, he finally arrived.

26 / “What I remember most about Breck is the kindness I found

things,” says Raifu. “She was able to talk me through some

once I got here,” Raifu says. “Everyone wanted to help out.”

of the difficult times of adjusting to a new culture, a new

Raifu even recalls one day when he missed an activity bus where we was suppose to travel to Orono for a soccer game. “I got lost and the bus had left,” Raifu says. A student in the grade ahead of him, Vanessa Opperman ’92, noticed that he looked lost as she was driving away from campus. “She stopped, got out, and came over to me and asked what was going on,” Raifu recalls. “I explained to her that I had

language and not understanding the nuances and norms to fit in.” All this support inspired Raifu to become the person he is today. “This is a community who has rallied around me to make my dreams come true,” Raifu says. “Now I have this sense of responsibility to pay it forward.”

missed the bus. She looked around and realized the bus was gone so she got in her car and took me all the way to Orono so I could make it there. You never forget these things.” That was just one of the many acts of kindness Raifu recalls from his experience at Breck. “That’s why this will always be home for me no matter what,” says Raifu. “No matter where I go, no matter what I do. This kind of kindness also shaped the way I look at my life and what my role is in the world.”

Continuing Education During his time at Breck, Raifu started looking to the future, including a college education. He still remembers the day he received his college acceptance letter. “Mr. Flowers brought the letter from the admissions office and for the next half hour I was on my knees with my hands on my head saying, ‘I can’t believe this, I can’t believe this, I can’t believe this!’ For me, that was such an important moment because I came from a place where you’re not

Adapting to a new life But it wasn’t always easy for Raifu. As a teenager who left his own culture, family and friends, life in the U.S. proved challenging at times. “It’s a lot to take in for a 15-year-old,” says Raifu. “You’re forced to be a teenager and an adult at the same time.” Raifu recalls a number of people who impacted his life during those early years in the U.S. Breck staff like the late Dr. Jacob Miller, Ms. Lori Merrill and Mrs. Margaret Wong, were just a few names on his long list of influential people. “Mrs. Wong, obviously, was instrumental in everything for me. She was the person I cried to when I was frustrated with

suppose to be anything,” says Raifu. Within two years, nurtured by his Breck community of teachers, host families and classmates, Raifu was ready for college. He was admitted to Amherst College in Massachusetts, graduating at the top of his class. After his undergraduate degree, Raifu was accepted into medical school at the University of Minnesota. Following medical school, he completed a seven-year residency in neurosurgery at UCLA, becoming a board-certified neurosurgeon. But even then, he wasn’t done with his education.

“There’s this certain part of me that is always driven,” Raifu says. “Driven to do more. Partly because I know where I come from and what it has taken and how many people who were involved in the process.”

he strives to put himself in the patient’s shoes, thinking

through every detail from how a surgical scar will affect the patient’s quality of life to operating on a seemingly impossible patient. He hopes to redefine the lives of his patients

After finishing his residency, Raifu obtained his Master’s

just like his life was redefined so many years ago.

Degree in Public Administration from Harvard.

“Patients are fighters. We forget that people are fighters,”

Today, Raifu serves as the Director of Neurosurgery at the California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles as well as attending neurosurgeon at Pro-Med Spine in Beverly Hills.

Finding his passion Raifu’s passion for a career in medicine began in his

childhood days in Ghana. After coming to Breck, his passion was accelerated.

says Raifu. “That fact that sometimes you have patients come back to you and a year later I can’t even recognize them —

they have to remind me who they are and I say, ‘Even I didn’t have that much faith!’ But their story wasn’t done being written.”

Much like his patients, Raifu’s story isn’t complete either. In addition to his professional roles, Raifu is actively involved with Brotherhood/Sister Sol, an organization that sends

underprivileged youth to Ghana as part of the organization’s International Study Project and Africa Unite for Haiti. Africa

“Some of the [host] families I stayed with were physicians,”

Unite for Haiti brings together the African Diaspora commu-

— physicians and parents. I saw the way they talked about

well-wishers to benefit the Global Syndicate and support its

says Raifu. “Being around them I saw them in both ways

nity, businesses involved with Africa, friends of Africa and

their work and their enthusiasm for it. It really made me feel

Haiti project, in a show of solidarity between Africa and the

like this was something that I could definitely do.”


Today he is still inspired by his host families and hopes he

Now that he is finished with his education, Raifu has even

changed so many years ago.

that story is for another time. For now, we will look forward

has the opportunity to change lives just like his life was

“I think empathy is one of those things that is so critical to everything,” Raifu remarks. In all his work with patients,

bigger plans of giving back to the community and world but to watching this story unfold.

28 /

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NETWORKING AND SPEAKER SERIES The 2016 Distinguished Alumnus, Dr. Murisiku Raifu ’93, was the first presenter in the Alumni Association’s 2016-17 Networking and Speaker Series. Held at The Metropolitan event center, guests enjoyed breakfast and heard remarks from Raifu whose story is shared earlier in this issue. Future Networking and Speaker events are yet to be announced. Follow us on Facebook (@breckalumni) for more information.

SUMMER REUNIONS This summer the Classes of 1966, 1976 and 2006 celebrated reunions. The Class of 1966 celebrated its 50-Year Reunion — its first year as part of our Golden Mustangs club. The Class of 1976 celebrated its 40-Year Reunion over the weekend of Aug. 13 and 14 and the Class of 2006 celebrated its 10-Year Reunion on Aug. 6.

UPCOMING REUNIONS The Class of 1996 will celebrate its 20-Year Reunion on Friday, Dec. 23, at the Chester Bird American Legion, the Class of 2001 will celebrate its 15-Year Reunion on Friday, Dec. 23, at Lurcat, and the Class of 2011 will celebrate its 5-Year Reunion on Friday, Nov. 25, at The Local.

SAVE THE DATE The Boys Hockey Alumni Game is scheduled for Dec. 23 at 4:00 p.m. at the Anderson Ice Arena. The Breck Alumni Holiday Party is scheduled for Dec. 22.

Today at Breck

Fall 2016


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ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME HONORS NEW INDUCTEES Homecoming week 2016 included the annual Breck Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony. These alums were honored for their athletic accomplishments while students at Breck. For the first time in a decade, the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee also inducted a team. Inductees included:

Meade McCarthy Arseniadis ’00: While at Breck, Meade earned 16 varsity letters. On the soccer field, she earned All-Conference Honorable Mention in 1996, All-Conference honors in 1997, 1998 and 1999, earned All-State honors in 1998 and 1999, and All-State Honorable Mention in 1997. Meade also excelled at hockey and made the All-Conference team in 2000. On the softball field, she earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors her senior year. She was the recipient of the Allen Dunn Award and the Fred B. Anderson Award. David O’Hagan ’00: David was a three-sport athlete participating in football, hockey and baseball. In football, he received All-Conference Honorable Mention in 1998 and All-Conference in 1999. On the ice, David was named to the All-Conference team his senior year. In baseball, he earned All-Conference Honorable Mention his sophomore year and was named to the All-Conference team in 1999 and 2000. He was also the recipient of the Allen Dunn Award and the Fred B. Anderson Award.

Andrew “A.C.” Christopherson ’99: A.C. earned nine varsity letters during his time at Breck. In the fall, A.C. excelled at football and was the recipient of Most Yards in a Season Award and the Conference Rushing Title his senior year. He was named to the All-Conference Team in 1997 and 1998. A.C. also was a strong baseball player and was named to the All-Conference team in 1998 and 1999 and All-State Honors in 1999. A.C. was the recipient of the Fred B. Anderson Award. Boys Hockey Team 1999-2000: The team was 8-0 in conference play and received first place in the Tri-Metro Division. They went on to be champions of Section 5A and Class A State Champions.

Listed among seven other women working in the NFL, Jamie Erdahl ’07 was featured in the September 2016 issue of Glamour Magazine. Each profile offered career advice applicable to any job. Erdahl spoke on the importance of seizing the moment, overcoming criticism, and her fashion on-camera while also on the field. Erdahl is a reporter and host for CBS Sports.

BRECK ALUMNI RETURN AS TEACHERS, COACHES Each year, Homecoming week kicks off by recognizing alumni who are now Breck teachers. New to the faculty this year include Amanda Teska Thompson ’06, JJ Oesterle ’10 and Annalisa Tester ’10. Other alumni who are also Breck faculty include Elizabeth Powers-Dempsey ’82, Kris Simonson ’82, Sarah Flotten ’85, Evan Jones ’86, Deb Mixon ’87, Patrick Phillips ’87, Rob Johnson ’90, Ty Thayer ’90, Emily Gibson Jones ’94, Whitney Clark ’02, Alex Thomas ’06, Madison Styrbicki ’09 and Joe Ginsburg ’11.

A number of alums have also joined the staff as coaches for Breck Athletics. They include: Annalisa Tester ’10 — MS Girls Soccer, Girls Hockey Brooks Byrd ’08 — Football Jack Cavanaugh ’91 — Boys Hockey Whitney Clark ’02 — Football Alex Corwin ’07 — Boys Soccer Joe Ginsburg ’11 — Boys Soccer, Baseball Marcus Hill ’07 — Boys Basketball Graydon Kulick ’15 — Football, Baseball, MIP Coach for the Flag Football team Glen Lang ’86 — Boys Hockey Jessica Meuvissen ’01 — Girls Soccer Charlie Schaitberger ’88 — Boys Hockey Madison Styrbicki ’09 — MS Girls Soccer, Girls Hockey Brandon Taylor ’01 — Boys Basketball

reunion year

memorial in this issue

class notes 1963


Bill Harley and his wife Jean published a new book. Now That I’m Here, What Should I be Doing?: Discovering Life’s Purpose. The book is available on Amazon.

Brad Clary served on the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Committee.


1964 Dick Myers served on the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee and the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Committee. Dick and classmate, Rusty Nelson chaired the 2016 Golden Mustangs Luncheon, which honors Breck alums that have graduated 50+ years ago from Breck.


The Class of 1976 celebrated its 40-Year Reunion over the weekend of August 13 and 14. The extraordinary planning committee included Kimberley Fiterman Duepner, Bill Baker, Lauri Kropp Fox, Peter Leete and Liz Nolan Nordstrom.

1977 Alumni Council Lifetime member, Charlie Hicks served on the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Committee. Fritz Lott organized a gathering of the Class of 1966 in June in celebration of the class’ 50-Year Reunion. The class was welcomed to the Golden Mustangs Luncheon on Sept. 16 at the Breck School Anderson Ice Arena.


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First-time parents Ben Langlotz and wife, Karmen, are proud to announce the August birth of their son Leo Bennet Langlotz. The family lives in the Dallas, Texas area. Ben hopes to hear from any future first-time parents to let him know when the honor of being the newest newbie parent has passed to another classmate. Ben enjoys being near his family while working from his home office at his virtual law firm.

1982 Kris Simonson has a new job at Breck. She will now be serving as Lower School math resource instructor.

1986 Evan Jones and Byron Rice served as this year’s faculty representatives on the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. As part of the 2016 Breck Athletic Hall of Fame Induction of the 1999-2000 Boys Hockey Team, Coach Glen Lang was honored.

ARE YOU LinkedIn?

Over 863 Breck alumni and parents are LinkedIn. Are you? Visit to connect.

32 /



Michelle Williams and her daughter, Morgan, moved “home” to Minnesota in July. Michelle is now working as an ELA curriculum developer for SABIS Educational Systems. She says that after 18 years in the classroom, it’s an adjustment, but it’s been a good move for her family. Michelle also makes handmade dolls (mommyscraftbasket. com). Her company received an award for inclusion, via a juried process in the Holiday Shop at the Textile Center of Minnesota.

Author Mark Speltz’s new book, North of Dixie: Civil Rights Photography Beyond the South, is about to be published by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Mark is the Senior Historian at American Girl in Madison, Wisconsin.

1988 As part of the 2016 Breck Athletic Hall of Fame Induction of the 1999-2000 Boys Hockey Team, Coach Charlie Schaitberger was honored. The photography of Alec Soth was recently featured in a Finish publication called Kulttuuri.

1989 Allison O’Toole served on the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.

North of Dixie explores how the story of the civil rights movement is typically illustrated with photographs from southern cities like Birmingham and Selma. These well-known images paint an important but incomplete picture. The struggle for racial equality


Molly Cronin Clark served on the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. Alumni Council Past President, Chris Welsh, served on the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.

As part of the 2016 Breck Athletic Hall of Fame Induction of the 1999-2000 Boys Hockey Team, Coach Jack Cavanaugh was honored.

Heather Behnke Grant celebrated her first year with Fazendin Realtors in Wayzata and was named Agent of the Month last May. She’s already helped two Breck families and would love to assist if you are buying or selling.

reached across the nation, where activists fought campaigns against segregation, police brutality and job discrimination in cities from New York and Milwaukee to Seattle and Los Angeles. With over 100 images, many never before published, North of Dixie offers a complex and inclusive view of the civil rights era in America.




Dr. Murisiku Raifu was honored as the 2016 Breck Distinguished Alumnus on September 15. Muri was joined at Breck by his fiancée, Feven Yohannes.

1994 Patrick Johnson came back to Breck to help honor Muri Raifu ’93 at the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Luncheon.

Steve McKeon won the Ersted Award at the University of Oregon, the highest all-university teaching award for early career faculty. Steve is a finance professor in the Lundquist College of Business. The Ersted winner serves as the Marshal for the University graduation parade, pictured with President Schill and Puddles the mascot. Baillie Parker, Chas Simcox ’00 and Ben Schleuss ’99 are serving as co-chairs of the 2016 Networking and Speaker Series. The series kicked off on the morning of September 15 at the Metropolitan Event Center. Attendees heard from Distinguished Alumnus, Dr. Murisiku Raifu ’93.

1996 The Class of 1996 is set to celebrate its 20-Year Reunion on Friday, December 23, at the Chester Bird American Legion. Theresa Cha Baugus is planning a fun evening.

1997 Colin Brooks currently serves on the Alumni Council as Executive Chair of Recognition and chaired the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Committee. This year, Tim Rosenfield served as the faculty representative. Jesse Doheny volunteered at the 2016 Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival.

1998 Alumni council member, Mike McKeon, served as a co-chair of the 2016 Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival. Erik Petzl volunteered at the 2016 Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival.

1999 Andrew “A.C.” Christopherson was inducted into Breck’s Athletic Hall of Fame on September 15. A.C. earned nine varsity letters during his time at Breck. In the fall, A.C. excelled at Football and earned three varsity letters. He was the recipient of Most Yards in a Season Award and the Conference Rushing Title his senior year. He was named to the All-Conference Team in 1997 and 1998 and named by his teammates as the Most Valuable Player his senior year. A.C. also was a strong baseball player and earned five varsity letters. He was named to the All-Conference team in 1998 and 1999 and All-State Honors in 1999. He received the Conference Batting Title in 1998 and 1999 and was listed as #2 in the State in Batting Average in 1998. He was named Most Valuable Player in 1998 by his teammates. He also earned one varsity letter for playing hockey his senior year. A.C. was the recipient of the Fred B. Anderson Award in 1999. Alicia Luther is currently serving as Secretary of the Breck Alumni Council and is serving as Alumni Chair of the Annual Fund.

Mike Proman served on the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. As a member of the Alumni Council, Mike is Executive Chair of Service and will be serving on the Parents Association’s CEO Experience Committee. Ben Schleuss, Chas Simcox ’00 and Baillie Parker ’95 are serving as co-chairs of the 2016 Networking and Speaker Series. The series kicked off on the morning of September 15 at the Metropolitan Event Center. Attendees heard from Distinguished Alumnus, Dr. Murisiku Raifu ’93. William Wells volunteered at the 2016 Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival.

2000 At the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on September 15, Chris Dale, Robert Furst, Josh Haller, Neal Hohman, David O’Hagan, Chas Simcox and Thomas Simmons were inducted as part of the 1999-2000 Boys Hockey Team. Captains John Adams ’01 and Thomas Simmons represented the team in accepting the honor. In celebration of the induction, the team met up for a hockey reunion on September 16. Meade McCarthy Arseniadis was inducted into Breck’s Athletic Hall of Fame on September 15. Meade was one of the best athletes to graduate from Breck; earning 16 varsity letters: hockey (5), soccer (6) and softball (5). On the soccer field, she earned All-Conference Honorable Mention in 1996, All-Conference honors in 1997, 1998 and 1999, earned All-State honors in 1998 and 1999, and All-State Honorable Mention in 1997. Her team honors include Most Improved Player her Freshman year and Most Valuable Player in grades 10, 11 and 12. She was named captain by her teammates during her final two years at Breck. In the winter, Meade excelled at Girls Hockey and made the All-Conference (continued)

Team in 2000. She also served as that team’s captain. On the softball field, Meade earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors her senior year. She was the recipient of the Allen Dunn award in 1999 and the Fred B. Anderson Award in 2000. David O’Hagan was inducted into Breck’s Athletic Hall of Fame on September 15. David was a three sport athlete participating in football, hockey and baseball. He earned four varsity letters in Football and served as his team’s captain his senior year. He received All-Conference Honorable mention in 1998 and All-Conference honors in 1999. He was named Most Valuable Player by his teammates his senior year. On the ice, David earned four varsity letters and was named to the All-Conference team his senior year. David earned three varsity letters in baseball. He was named Most Valuable Player and captain of the team during his last year at Breck. David earned All-Conference Honorable Mention his sophomore year and was named to the All-Conference team in 1999 and 2000. He was also the recipient of the Allen Dunn award in 1999 and the Fred B. Anderson Award in 2000. Chas Simcox, Baillie Parker ’95 and Ben Schleuss ’99 are serving as co-chairs of the 2016 Networking and Speaker Series. The series kicked off on the morning of September 15 at the Metropolitan Event Center. Attendees heard from Distinguished Alumnus, Dr. Murisiku Raifu ’93. Chas also serves on the Alumni Council as the Executive Chair of Events, which oversees all of the Alumni Council’s work on alumni events and activities. Additionally, he is a member of the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. As part of the 1999-2000 Boys Hockey team, Elisabeth Hayes was inducted into the Breck Athletic Hall of Fame as the team’s manager.

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Fall 2016




At the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on September 15, John Adams, Reid Anderson, Jake Brenk, Colin Hohman, David Joiner, C.J. Nibbe, Todd O’Hara and Jon Septer as part of the 1999-2000 Boys Hockey Team.

Sarah Kohler completed her dissertation in January 2016 and received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY. Sarah lives in New York City and is engaged to Daniel Bren.

Alumni Council member, Matt Cosgriff served as Chair of the 2016 Breck Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.

Cornelius “Neilly” John Bailey O’Grady was born on September 9 in New York on his due date to proud parents Megan Bailey O’Grady and husband Jamie O’Grady. Equally as proud are grandparents, Lower School Director Peg Bailey and husband, Patrick. Kate Fischer Applebaum created and opened up a new bridal store, Annika Bridal Boutique, in the 50th and France neighborhood in Edina. Allison Sisk ’08 serves as the store manager. Annika Bridal opened its doors over Labor Day weekend and carries dozens of lines from internationally renowned designers. Please make your appointment today or drop by and say hello to two excited Breck alumnae.

Alumni Council member, Leah Lussier Sixkiller served on the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Committee. Leah will serve as the Committee’s chair for 2017.

2005 Alex Frecon volunteered at the 2016 Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival. Siblings and dumpling connoisseurs, Kia Jackson ’08, Chanel Jackson Donahue ’08 and Chris Jackson will open Mrs. Dumpling in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood in mid-to-late December. Check out mrsdumplingmn.


The Class of 2001 is set to celebrate its 15-year reunion on Friday, December 23 at Lurcat. Thanks to organizer M.E. Head Kirwan for putting plans in place. Jon Septer served as a co-chair of the 2016 Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival.

2002 At the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on September 15, Joe Adams, John Curry, Adam Dunlap, Michael Kaupa and Eric LaFreniere were inducted as part of the 19992000 Boys Hockey Team.

The Class of 2006 celebrated its 10-year reunion at the Town Hall Brewery on August 6. The event was organized by class representative, Katie Brattain Hogan. Katie and her husband, Colin, recently moved from San Francisco to Austin, Texas. Both started graduate school this Fall. Amanda Teska Thomson has joined the Breck faculty as a Lower School teacher assistant.

Ginny Dines married Mark Norton on July 16, 2016. The couple lives in Rochester, Minn., and both are in their residencies in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic. Megan Curry, Elizabeth Dunlap, Amanda Grant and Torrey Rollwagen Duerr were bridesmaids. Former Breck staff member, Betsy Wall, was their wedding photographer. Elizabeth Dunlap currently serves as a lean six sigma black belt with 3M Traffic Safety and Security. Three years ago, Elizabeth Dunlap started a volunteer group connection with 3M and the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Through her leadership and the group’s work, the initiative earned a grant from 3Mgives. The group brings activities to children who might need a break from the hospital experience. Elizabeth says her interest in giving back comes from her experience with service at Breck. Elizabeth is a member of the Alumni Council and served on the 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Committee and 2016 Distinguished Alumni Committee. Nate Thiel is teaching history and sociology at Fork Union Military Academy. He also serves as the Head Boys Varsity Lacrosse coach and Offensive Coordinator for the Varsity Football team.

2008 Allison Sisk is serving as the store manager for Annika Bridal Boutique in Edina. Siblings and dumpling connoisseurs, Kia Jackson, Chanel Jackson Donahue and Chris Jackson ’05 will open Mrs. Dumpling in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood in mid-to-late December. Check out


Briana MacDonald was back on campus on May 17 for a panel discussion on the college experience. Briana moved back to Minneapolis from San Francisco last spring.

2010 J.J. Oesterle has joined the Breck faculty as a Middle School science instructor. New Breck Middle School math teacher, Annalisa Tester, served as a co-chair of the 2016 Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival.

2011 The Class of 2011 will celebrate its Five-Year Reunion on Friday, November 25, at The Local in downtown Minneapolis. Class Representatives David Berman and Margit Westerman are planning for a fun event. Rachel Grandstrand Gerhardt and Emily Nimmer Gerhardt welcomed baby boy, Harper to their family last fall.

2012 Conor Andrle was named Army’s Athlete of the Week and Atlantic Hockey Offensive Player of the Week the first week of October. Playing for the pros! Milica McMillen is playing professional hockey for the New York Riveters .

2014 Jorgen Salveson was named the MIAC Football Offensive Player-of-the-Week on September 12. Salveson had thirteen receptions for 133 yards and three touchdowns to lead the St. Olaf Oles in a double overtime loss to Luther College. As of September, Salveson ranked in the top four in the MIAC in catches (17), receiving yards (180) and receiving TDs (4) for 2016.

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Hockey pioneer Walter Bush ’47 passed away on September 22. After graduating from Breck, Walter went on to study at Dartmouth and received his law degree from the University of Minnesota. His love of hockey started at Breck where he played for the Mustangs. In 1955, while attending law school, Walter, at the age of 26, helped start the Central Hockey League. He served as the League’s commissioner for three seasons and managed and coached the Minneapolis Bruins. In 1959, he became the general manager of the U.S. World Championship Team and led the Olympic team in 1964. Walter was instrumental in bringing NHL hockey to Minnesota and founded the Minnesota North Stars in 1967. He served as its President from 1966-1976 and was chairman of the board from 1977-1979. In 1986, he became president of USA Hockey and served in that role for two decades. Walter was named Executive of the Year in 1972, was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980, the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000 and the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2009. He was awarded the Olympic Order in 2002, after managing the 1959 U.S. national team and 1964 U.S. Olympic team and serving on the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1963. Walter was an advocate for women’s hockey and received the International Olympic Committee’s Women and Sport Achievement Diploma in 2010. He is often credited for the inclusion of women’s hockey in the Winter Olympics in 1998. Bush was selected as the NHL’s Executive of the Year in 1972 by The Hockey News and won the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1973 for his contributions to the sport in the U.S. Breck honored Walter in 1979 with its Alumni Achievement Award. Walter was the grandfather of two Breck alums, Jasper Bush ‘06 and Maddy Bush ‘10 and current Breck student Sophia Bush ‘19. He was honored at a memorial service on October 4.

1949 John “Jack” Weston ’49 passed away on August 8. Jack was a fun-loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and uncle who enjoyed life to the fullest. After graduating from Breck, he attended the University of Minnesota and then joined the family business — Weston Engraving Co. He became President in the late 1950s and successfully moved the company to digital printing. In the early 1960s he founded Weston Photo Mechanical Company, which manufactured printed circuit boards for government and industrial applications. He was a boating enthusiast and owned many boats throughout his life in Minnesota and Florida. Jack was proud of his children, grandchildren and great-grand children and he always remembered their birthdays and anniversaries. Jack is survived by his former wife Pam Weston and their children, Jack Weston III ’72 (Connie), Marnie Boivin ’73 (Dan), Mollie Reynolds (Bill), Sheila Nichols (Rich), nine grandchildren (Julia, Alex ’05, Drew ’08, Teddy ’11, Liza, Lindsay, Michael, Wes and Patrick) and four great grandchildren (Meredith, Ellie, Herbert and Lincoln).

1952 George Heger ’52 passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 3 in Tacoma, Wash. While attending Breck, George lettered in football and baseball for the Mustangs and had perfect attendance all four years of high school. After graduation he attended Macalester College in Saint Paul, before enlisting in the Navy in 1953. George trained at Naval Air Station Minneapolis and was deployed to San Francisco, Calif. In 1956, he served on the Essex Class Carrier USS Oriskany, as an Aviation Ordnance Seaman, in the “Blue Blazers,” VF-93 Fighter Squadron. He returned to San Francisco and received an Honorable Discharge in 1960. George married Lei Lani Owen in 1962 and they had two children, Christopher (1965) and Natasha (1967-1972.) In 1967, he joined Myers, Metals and Minerals where he had many roles in domestic and international sales, trading, warehousing and product management. He was promoted to Vice President in 1988 and held that position until his retirement in 1997. George enjoyed many hobbies over the years, but especially, roses, golfing, fishing and dogs. He was a member of the Tacoma Rose Society for over 25 years and received the ARS Bronze medal for meritorious service in 2005. George always had a dog by his side to train, pet and laugh with as a constant companion. He is survived by his sister Marlene and her husband, Ned Bixby, his sister-in-law Lizzie (Fritz) Heger, his son Christopher (Jennifer) Heger and his two grandsons, Connor and Duncan.

1953 Paul Johnson ’53 passed away on July 17. After graduating from Breck in 1953, Paul played hockey on three U.S. National teams and two U.S. Olympic teams, including the 1960 Gold Medal Olympic team. He played professional hockey for twelve years in both the IHL and the USHL. Paul was considered to be the most talented player to come out of Minnesota in his era. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in December 2001. He was inducted into the Breck Athletic Hall of Fame as an individual in 1988 and later in 2004 as part of the 1953 Boys Hockey Team. Paul was captain of Breck’s hockey team, scored a total of 153 points in three years and led Breck to two conference championships. Paul is survived by children Jodi (Bill) Taylor, Jeri Johnson (Robert Reitz) and Paul (Shannon) Johnson; eight grandchildren, one great-grandson and sister, Bev Wicker.

Photos by Lauren Kiesel

BRECK ATHLETES WRAP UP SUCCESSFUL, TEAM-BUILDING SEASONS Highlights: Boys Tennis wins Class A State Tournament; Girls Golf takes home third

Boys Lacrosse The team finished the season with a record of 5 and 7,

winning their first game in the section tournament. The

team graduated seven players who served in strong leader-

ship roles. The team looks forward to continued development this year. The MVP selection was Peter Lillehaug, MIP was Gavin Hopping, and the Mustanger award went to Chris

DeMaris. All-Conference selections included Chris DeMaris, Reed Goldstein, Neil Leville, Peter Lillehaug and Jake

Uchitelle-Cohen. All-Conference Honorable Mention went to Kelton Clarke and Arlo Zelickson.

Girls Lacrosse The Girls Lacrosse team finished the season with a record of 12 and 3. This top ten-rated team in the state lost a heart-

breaker in the section semi-finals to Benilde-St. Margaret’s

with a score of 14-13. Congratulations to Eloise Cherian, Adri Keller, Kendall Kozikowski, Jazzy Robinson and Grace

Baseball The Mustangs Baseball team started the year 2-0.

Throughout the season they had great team victories over

SPA at the IMAC Showcase and against Southwest Christian. The MVP award went to Josh Audette, the MIP award to

John Steinbergs, and the Mustanger award to Tait Helgaas. All-Conference honors went to Josh Audette and All-

Conference Honorable Mention went to Justin Paulson and Will Torgerson. Watch for more from this developing team.

Taylor who were All-Conference selections as well as Lauren Kozikowski and Sammie Nelson who received All-Conference Honorable Mention. The MVP award went to Eloise

Cherian, MIP to Emi Shermeta, and the Mustanger award to Kendall Kozikowski.

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Today at Breck

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Fall 2016

Softball The Softball team had a solid building year with something new and amazing happening at every game and practice.

They are looking forward to coming back this year to put it all together as a team. The MVP award went to Malisha

Stevenson, and both the MIP and Mustanger awards went to Addie Gleekel. All-Conference honors went to Malisha

Stevenson and All-Conference Honorable Mention went to Kalynn Garrett.

Boys Golf The Boys Golf team worked hard over the season and sent Mac Turner to the Boys State Golf Tournament, where he

finished 12th. The MVP award went to Mac Turner, the MIP award went to Justin Paschke, and the Mustanger award

went to Liam O’Neill. All-Conference Honorable Mention also went to Mac Turner.

Girls Golf The Girls Golf team finished third in the state after

Track and Field

winning the section tournament. The team had a great

Seven individuals competed at state this year. Kajsa Johans-

year and look forward to their upcoming season. The team’s

competed in the 4 x 200m, Kajsa Johansson placed 3rd in the

to Margie Johnston, and the Mustanger award went to

3rd place in the 3200m and Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman

Simonds, Amelia Simonds, Anna Zumwinkle and Grace

son, Paige Olowu, Abigail Wesson and Kendall Williamson

MVP award went to Grace Zumwinkle, the MIP award went

200m as well as 6th place in the 100m. Morgan Richter took

Anna Zumwinkle. All-Conference honors went to Alayna

took 3rd place in the triple jump.

Zumwinkle. All-Conference Honorable Mention went to

All-Conference honors went to Milan Burgess, Kendall Riskevich, Abigail Wesson, Kendall Williamson, Dylan Brown, Henry Gamble and Jefferson Slocum. All-Conference

Honorable Mention went to Paige Olowu, Kendall Riskevich, Abigail Wesson, Dylan Brown, Henry Gamble and Jefferson Slocum. The MVP awards went to Kajsa Johansson and Jack

Pohlad, MIPs were Elena Cameron and James Williams, and

the Mustanger awards went to Milan Burgess and Jefferson Slocum.

Boys Tennis

Boys tennis won the section with a win over Blake 4-3 and went on to win the state tournament against St. Paul

Academy with a score of 7-0. Sion Wilkins won Coach of

the Year for Class A in the MSHSL. The MVP award went to

Austin Wong, the MIP award went to Prashant Godishala, and the Mustanger award went to Sid Eswarachari. AllConference honors went to Prashant Godishala, Lewis

White and Austin Wong. All-Conference Honorable Mention went to Matthew Metz and Thomas Metz.

The team also had two individuals compete in the state Doubles match: Lewis White and Austin Wong.

Margie Johnston. State participants included Aly Hogan,

Margie Johnston, Alayna Simonds, Amelia Simonds, Anna Zumwinkle, Grace Zumwinkle. Grace also took 8th place in the state tournament.

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UPCOMING EVENTS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12 7:30 pm | Fall Drama Festival | Our Country’s Good 7:30 pm | Fall Drama Festival | Our Country’s Good


Today at Breck

7:30 pm | Fall Drama Festival | Blithe Spirit 7:30 pm | Fall Drama Festival | Blithe Spirit

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 8:30 am to Noon | Grandparents’ Day

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2 7:00 pm | Middle School Choral Concert

MONDAY, DECEMBER 5 7:00 pm | Middle and Upper School Band Concert

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 7:00 pm | Middle and Upper School Strings Concert


Fall 2016 Today at Breck is a publication of Breck School, 123 Ottawa Ave. N., Golden Valley, MN 55422 email: communications@




Brenda Janisch-Hoban

WRITERS Stacy Glaus, Michelle Geo Olmstead


7:00 pm | Upper School Choral Concert

Stacy Glaus, Lauren Kiesel, Michelle Geo Olmstead, Karyl Rice, Sara Rubinstein



7:00 pm | Middle and Upper School Dance Concert

Bolger Vision Beyond Print

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15 6:30 pm | Lower School Holiday Program


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.

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

123 Ottawa Avenue North Golden Valley, MN 55422


Permit No. 2995 Twin Cities, MN

Parents of Alumni: Please forward this publication, if your daughter or son no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, or please notify us (763.381.8129 or of their new mailing address.

FFF = FURRY FRIENDS FOREVER The Blessing of the Animals is an annual tradition during Homecoming weekend at Breck. Furry friends of all shapes and sizes enjoy this blessing led by Breck chaplains.

photoby byKaryl Karyl Rice Rice Photo

Today at Breck: Fall 2016  

Our fall issue of Today at Breck featured an interdisciplinary course (math and history) where students studied the election of 2016.

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