Page 1

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

a joyful noise Performing Arts at Breck / PG. 26

class of 2015 future plans winter sports alumni news

Thank you this much! Your Annual Fund contributions in 2014-15 kept class sizes small so students could receive the individualized attention that helps them learn. Your contributions sent faculty to workshops and conferences that kept them up to date on the latest and best practices in teaching. You made Breck the best it could be in 2014-15. Thank you for your generosity!

Start 2015-16 off right. Make a gift to the Annual Fund at Questions? Please contact Laura McCarty Tufano at 763.381.8296 or


Spring 2015

Today at Breck

FEATURES 14 / Photos from a Splendid Spring We’ve got great photos of spring activities, including the Lower and Middle School Closings, Commencement and more.

24 / The Power of Self-Expression Breck students team with the Children’s Theatre Company’s Neighborhood Bridges program to help students at a Minneapolis elementary school find their voices through the performing arts.

26 / Nurturing Individual Talents and Creating Harmonious Ensembles


cover story Using their professional training as artists and educators, our Performing Arts faculty encourages discipline, growth and collaboration — guiding students as they develop both as individual artists and members of a troupe. From the uninhibited enthusiasm of our youngest students to the superb craftsmanship of some of our oldest, learn more about the many ways in which Breck students are led to discover the joys of vocal and instrumental music, dance, drama and stagecraft.

36 / Making a Career in Performing Arts


A few of the many Breck alumni who have made the performing arts their life’s work reflect on where they are, how they got there and what they think every aspiring artist should know.

On the cover: Making music brings out the joy in Middle School string players. Left to right: Abigail Wesson ’19, Destiny Otto ’20 and Deirdre O’Neill ’19. Photo by Sara Rubinstein



Today at Breck Spring 2015 Today at Breck is a publication of Breck School, 123 Ottawa Avenue North, Golden Valley, MN 55422 email: communications@

Head of School Edward Kim

Director of Advancement


4 / 20 Questions

44 / Alumni News

We asked, and they answered:

Events, updates and more

Avi Eller ’17, Upper School English instructor Emily Brisse, and 2015

46 / C  lass Notes

Alumna of the Year Katharine

Alumni share recent news.

Anderson Groethe ’88

7 / 123

Editor and Chief Writer

Activities, accomplishments, awards,


from spring at Breck.

Brenda Janisch-Hoban

Writers Melissa Mrachek, Karyl Rice


announcements: here are some items

7 / Who Knew? Fun facts, both current and historical (no, there won’t be a quiz!)

Michael Goh, Chelen Johnson, Lauren Kiesel, Michelle Geo Olmstead, Byron Rice, Karyl Rice, Sara Rubinstein

22 / Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…


always a concern. Learn more about

Bolger Vision Beyond Print



Meredith Cook VanDuyne Jill Field


Protecting students, teachers and visitors on and around campus is

50 / Sports News We’ve got all the highlights of the Mustangs’ winter season.

52 / In Their Own Words Alumna Grace Rybak ’09, now a Minneapolis public school teacher, addressed the members of Breck’s Cum Laude Society in April. We know you’ll enjoy her reflections on teaching, learning and why there’s joy to be found in some of life’s biggest challenges.

the Safety Committee and its important work.


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 This issue of Today at Breck is primarily about performances and transitions, two topics that are always on my mind at the close of a school year. In 2014-15, our community has had the great fortune to enjoy so many fine student performances from singers, dancers, musicians and actors in every grade, and our performing arts faculty members have done a masterful job of encouraging both individual and group excellence. Research continues to show us the relationship between studying the arts and other academic disciplines, particularly language and mathematics. And whether it’s practicing a musical instrument, doing voice exercises, working on breathing or rehearsing a speech or play, we know that preparing for performance is routinized discipline that helps develop our students’ minds as well as their talents. Like other elements of the Breck curriculum, our performing arts offerings are extraordinarily extensive for a school of our size. Of course, finding time in the day (and for practice at night) can be a challenge. But the benefits couldn’t be more important. The performing arts are an open and inclusive activity that provide critical opportunities for our students to step back and immerse themselves in another world. They help us pause and listen, they transport us to a spiritual plane, and they allow for that magical moment when individual pieces are blended into a seamless whole. The end of any school year is also a time for transitions. As you’ll read on page 20, our community is bidding a fond farewell to a number of longtime faculty members along with the Class of 2015. As always, it is bittersweet. We will miss their daily presence, we appreciate the myriad ways in which they have enriched our lives, and we send them off with our best wishes. And we look forward to creating new traditions and memories with new teachers, new families, and a new senior class in the fall. It’s a subject that touches me in a very personal way as I’ve just had the great pleasure of watching my oldest daughter receive her Breck diploma and begin her preparations for her post-Breck life. To Sofie and her classmates, to our retiring faculty members, and to all of you, my best wishes for a wonderful summer.

EdWARD Kim Head of school

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Questions 4/

Avi Eller ’17: breck sophomore 1

What music are you


What advice would you

listening to lately?

give to yourself 10 years ago?

A lot of rap, specifically J. Cole and

Know what you want to do early,

A$AP Rocky

so you have enough time to dedicate


What’s one of the last

books you read? I read Slaughterhouse-Five for English

yourself to it and give yourself a chance at true excellence. 9

What is the most important

class and Coming Back to the Body, a

room in your home?

collection of poems by Joyce Sutphen,

The living room because that’s where

for my May Program class.

my whole family gets together and


What’s your favorite

time of year?

has a good time 10 What’s your favorite place

Summer because it’s soccer season.

on the Breck campus?

I love the weather, and the freedom.

McKnight Stadium, of course


What’s the most thrilling/

adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Staying on an island in Canada for a week, canoeing, portaging and cliff jumping 5

What’s your favorite

Breck lunch? Brunch for lunch because I love breakfast. 6

Who is your personal hero (and

why)? Ronaldinho because he is an amazing soccer player and he always played with a smile on his face. 7

Dream job?

To be a professional soccer player

11 Favorite comfort food? Definitely my mom’s pasta 12 If you had a theme song, what would it be?


Best trophy/award you ever won? Being selected to the AllState first team for soccer as a sophomore was an incredible honor, but being selected MVP by my teammates is an award that is even more meaningful to me. 17 If you could read anyone’s mind, whose would it be? Bill Gates, so I could see what it takes to be successful 18 If you could travel anywhere,

“Ambition” by Wale because I have big

where would you go?

dreams for myself

Cameroon because my father is from

13 Favorite line from a movie? “What we do in life echoes in eternity” from Gladiator 14 Favorite website? ESPN FC 15 Three people, living or dead, you’d have over to dinner? Ronaldinho, Wesley Snipes and Bob Marley

there and it’d be cool to know more about my roots. 19 Pet peeve? When people don’t say “thank you” 20 Unfulfilled wish? Making the U.S.A. national soccer team for my age group, but hopefully that won’t stay unfulfilled!

Questions /5

Emily Brisse: Upper school english instructor 1

What music are you

listening to lately? Sufjan Stevens 2

What’s one of the last books

you read? Frederick by Leo Lionni 3

What’s your favorite

time of year? Spring 4

What’s the most thrilling/

adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Driving throughout Costa Rica (on many unnamed and unpaved roads) with my husband 5

What’s your favorite Breck

lunch? Taco bar 6

Who is your personal hero

(and why)? Scott Russell Sanders writes and teaches about the world and our place in it in a way I deeply admire. 7

Dream job?

Some fine mix of travel and writing and reading and teaching and dancing and weather-watching 8

Best decision?


What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago? Join the Peace Corps. When you’re 22 and fresh from college graduation, two years seems like a long time to divert from a “career path.” But two years is nothing. And everything. Go serve the world. 10 What do you remember from kindergarten? Being the tallest girl in my class! 11 What is the most important room in your home? The kitchen 12 Favorite comfort food? Vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of chocolate and a handful of peanuts 13 Favorite treat: salty or sweet? Both 14 If you had a theme song, what

To teach at Breck. What a place! I’m so

would it be?

grateful to be here.

“Here Comes The Sun”

15 Three people, living or dead, you’d have over to dinner? Louise Erdrich, Albert Einstein and Bill Holm 16 Best trophy/award you ever won? Ping-Pong champion of my seventh-grade class 17 If you could read anyone’s mind, whose would it be? My two-year-old son’s. Everything a young child thinks must amount to something close to epiphany. 18 If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? The Amalfi Coast 19 Unfulfilled goal? Writing a novel 20 What keeps you up at night? Three wild turkeys. (This is not a metaphor.)

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Questions 6/

Katharine Anderson Groethe ’88: ALUMNA, PARENt, breck trustee and 2015 alum of the year 1

What music are you


What advice would you give to

15 Best trophy/award you

listening to lately?

yourself 10 years ago?

ever won?

Sade & Maroon 5

Slow down, be a better listener, step

Breck Alumna of the Year Award

outside your comfort zone, prioritize

16 If you could read anyone’s

what is most important and enjoy the


What’s the most thrilling/adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Night scuba diving with sharks

little things... It all goes by so fast. 8

What do you remember from

kindergarten? Playing Red Rover 9

What is the most important

room in your home? The kitchen 10 What’s your favorite place


What’s your favorite

Breck lunch? Pizza 4

Who is your personal hero

(and why)?

on the Breck campus? Salas Commons 11 Favorite comfort food? Anything my mom makes 12 Favorite line from a movie?

All of my children… Griffin for his

“She was the Picasso of Passive-

strength and character, Penny for her

Aggressive Karate.” From American

charisma and persistence, and Gabby


for her kindness, agility and sense of humor 5

Dream job?

Anything that involves gardening or cooking 6

Best decision?

Raising our children in Minnesota

13 Favorite website? Pinterest 14 Three people, living or dead, you’d have over to dinner? My grandparents (all deceased) and my parents

mind, whose would it be? My dog Bueller 17 If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Cuba 18 Pet peeve? Loud talkers in small spaces 19 Unfulfilled wish? Learn to play the piano or guitar 20 What keeps you up at night? Everything! Not being organized


Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

From the Editor Welcome to my final issue of Today at Breck. I’ve worked here for 17½ years, so I guess it’s only natural to feel like a senior who’s ready to graduate. My Breck career has been filled with intellectual challenge, professional growth and profound change, and I am thankful – and a better person – for having been here.

Seven of Ten Top Research Papers in Minnesota Are From Breck The Minnesota Academy of Science has selected the top ten science research papers of the year statewide, and seven of them are from Breck. Those in the top ten are Siddarth Eswarachari and Moira Southern, Darartu Gamada and Zhuang Miao, Prashant Godishala and Brennan Clark, Grace Kirkpatrick and Annie McFarland, Rustam Kosherbay, Easton McChesney and Wolfgang Ofstedal, and Grant Two Bulls. Honorable Mentions went to Evelyn McChesney and Madeline McCue, Luke Onopa, Karsten Salveson and Eve Zelickson, and Andrew Sit and John Dickinson (meaning that the entire Advanced Science

In January of 1998, there was no Breck website, no social media, no attempt to capture parents’ emails (let alone communicate with them that way), and we devoted a Wednesday morning each month to stuffing envelopes full of brightly colored pieces of paper for Monthly Mail. The student directory was produced by annually updating a Microsoft Word document (no chance for manual error there!). Since then, I’ve been project manager for six website designs, implemented guidelines and practices for email communications, transitioned Today at Breck from a small newsletter to a glossy magazine, guided us through a branding process and served as one of the school’s resident grammarians. I’ve had a lot of help along the way: wonderful colleagues and partners, devoted parents, inspiring faculty and staff, and amazing students. Thank you for all your comments, suggestions and support, and for giving me the chance to correct things when I didn’t quite get them right. Now cue the “Pomp and Circumstance,” and I’ll proudly take my place in the community of Breck alumni.

Research group was recognized this year).

Jill Field

Who Knew?


Meals packaged by family volunteers to help close kids’ weekend food gap in conjunction with The Sheridan Story in March

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

Faculty Members Receive Grants for Summer Travel, Study Four faculty members have received professional development grants to use this summer: • Lower School instructor Lisa Hunninghake will pursue 8/

her interest in recent neuroscience research about teaching and learning by attending the Harvard School of Education’s Future of Learning Institute. The institute is dedicated to the study not just of brain research but also the ways in which globalization and technology are and will be important to students and how their teachers can be better prepared to be a part of that journey.

the Beatles by traveling to Oxford, Liverpool and London.

Senior’s Research Project Garners Numerous Awards

He will visit various sites important to both the author

Grant Two Bulls ’15, whose advanced research project

and the group. He will explore the G. K. Chesterton Library

combined science and social studies and helped trace the

at Oxford, meet with the library’s senior fellow, and see

history of a Native American settlement near Lake Calhoun

with his own eyes a number of sites significant to the

through pollen count in the lake sediment, received a great

Beatles in Liverpool and London.

deal of recognition this spring.

• Upper School History instructor Tim Rosenfield will combine his (unrelated) interests in G. K. Chesterton and

• Upper School History instructor Dulcenee Walsh will

He won a silver grand prize in the international sustainabil-

attend the AP Art History Institute at John Cabot Univer-

ity science fair known as I-SWEEEP, top prize regionally and

sity in Rome. While there she’ll have the opportunity to

fourth prize nationally in the American Indian Science and

share best practices with other teachers of AP Art History

Engineering Society’s annual competition.

and also to explore Rome’s art and archaeology with an

His work also attracted local media attention, including a

art history professor. She’ll also travel to Ravenna to learn more about Byzantine art and Florence to learn more about Renaissance art.

large article in the Star Tribune and an interview on Minnesota Public Radio. Transcripts and a link to the article are posted on Breck’s Facebook page and website.

• Lower School Spanish instructor Jessica Wanless will travel to Spain to attend a two-week course at the about pedagogy and best practices for non-native

In Memoriam

speaking teachers of Spanish. She will also travel inde-

The Breck community notes with great sorrow the passing

pendently in southern Spain, Zaragoza/Pamplona and

of Gail Greenberg Siegel, mother of Ana Siegel ’15. She

Barcelona – and she will be in Pamplona during the

passed away on April 6 at the age of 54 after a battle with

annual Running of the Bulls, which she looks forward

lung cancer.

Instituto Sampere in Madrid, where she’ll learn more

to observing.

Who Knew?

70 Meals delivered to community members through the Meals That Heal program in 2014-15

Meals That Heal

New ns itio Add

National Scholastic Honors for Breck Artist and Writers

Lower School Runners Get in Gear

Senior Sarah Hu’s modern architectural drawing won a Gold

Lower School students participated in the 2015 Get in Gear

Key in the National Scholastic Art competition, entitling her

Fun Run (2k) on Friday, April 24. The run is held annually

to attend the awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New

at Minnehaha Falls. This was the eighth year that the

York City. Sarah’s drawing was one of 40 entries from Breck

“Running Mustangs” have participated in the event. Leading

recognized with awards in the Minnesota state Scholastic

up to the run, the Lower School students participated in


weekly training runs that were held after school. In addition,

Additionally, two Breck students garnered national awards for their writing in the National Scholastic Writing competition. Freshman Annabel Chosy won a Silver Key for her one-act play, and senior Maria Bell won five awards: a Gold Key for flash fiction, Silver Keys for flash fiction, poetry and science fiction, and Honorable Mention for her short story.

Cum Laude Society Inducts New Members From the Classes of 2015 and 2016 Last year 20 students were inducted into Breck’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society. Juniors Erica Buckingham, Sara Carle, Claire Cousineau, Darartu Gamada, Charles Gamer, Tait Helgaas, Taylor Hendrickson, Ingrid Thyr, Seamus Walsh and Lewis White; and seniors Henry Cousineau, Jack Dickinson, Donovan Ennevor, Julia Florey, Sarah Hu, Evalyn Mackenzie, Maxwell Miao, Sophie O’Bryan, Simon Parish and Nichole Showalter. They join the seniors who were inducted last year: Maria Bell, Peter Kiesel, Sofie Kim, Grace Kirkpatrick, Edward Kuhns, Jacob Levy, Madison Lommen, Parsa Najmaie, Andrew Stuempfig and Eve Zelickson.

Breck received $250 toward physical education equipment for having the most students/parents (75) participate in the 2015 run. The group was led by Lower School teaching assistant Abby Kordosky and Breck physical education teachers Merrill Harris, Rob Little, Peggy Fifield and Michelle Carlson.

Upper School Students Named Scholars of Distinction Breck students were recognized seventeen times in the Minnesota State Department of Education’s Scholars of Distinction program for 2015. Our Scholars of Distinction are Grant Two Bulls (Social Studies – Applied History); Darartu Gamada, Grace Kirkpatrick, Evelyn McChesney, Madeline McCure, Annie McFarland, Karsten Salveson, and Grant Two Bulls (Science); Darartu Gamada, Rustam Kosherbay, Zhuang Miao, Luke Onopa, and Eve Zelickson (Mathematics), and Brennan Clark and Prashant Godishala (STEM). Meritorious Performance awards went to Jack Dickinson, Siddarth Eswarachari, Andrew Sit and Moira Southern (STEM).

$5,000 Money raised by the Parents Association’s used uniform sales — contributed to the school’s sustainability initiatives


Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

Science Fair Awards for Upper and Middle School Students Five Breck students were selected to attend ISEF, the Interna-

In a first in recent memory, a number of Middle School

tional Science and Engineering Fair, held this year on

scientists presented projects at the Twin Cities Regional

May 10-15. Seven other students were chosen as alternates,

Science Fair. All seven projects won first place ribbons, and

making for an unusually strong presence for Breck. A number

several won additional recognition as well.

of other students were selected for national and international competition, including the International Sustainable World Engineering, Energy, Environment Project Olympiad 10 /

(I-SWEEEP) and the Junior Science and Humanities National Symposium. A complete (and very extensive) list of Breck award winners is posted on Breck’s website. Highlights include:

• First place ribbon for Abigail Roh (plus purple ribbon inviting her to state competition) • First place ribbon for Sam Detor and Jennie Ehlert (plus purple ribbon inviting them to state competition) • First place ribbon for Mary O’Grady and Ellie Holt (plus purple ribbon inviting them to state competition)

• ISEF attendees: Karsten Salveson and Eve Zelickson, Sofie Kim and Jacob Levy, and Grant Two Bulls • ISEF alternates: Sid Eswaracharai and Moira Southern,

• First place ribbon for Morgan Richter and Henry Koch (plus purple ribbon inviting them to state competition) • First place ribbon for James Clinton, Declan Fries and Joe

Easton McChesney and Wolfgang Ofstedal, Brennan Clark

Ettawageshik (plus purple ribbon inviting them to state

and Prashant Godishala, Darartu Gamada and Maxwell


Miao, and Luke Onopa

• First place ribbon for Nathan Rockafellow, Jack Mattera

• I-SWEEEP silver grand prize: Grant Two Bulls • Junior Science and Humanities National Symposium

and Max McKoy • First place ribbon for Jack Peterson

finalists Karsten Salveson and Eve Zelickson • Young Naturalists National semifinalists Grant Two Bulls, Karsten Salveson and Eve Zelickson, and Luke Onopa

State High School League Honors Breck Artists Seven students participated in the State High School League’s

• Cassidy Yueh received an Achievement Award and a

Visual Arts Exhibition this year at the Perpich Center for the

Superior Award, as well as a Spotlight on the Arts Juror’s

Arts on April 18, and all did very well:

Choice Award.

• Marianne Drysdale received a Superior Award.

From the Faculty Bookshelf

• Isabella Evans received an Excellent Award and Superior Award.

Upper School English Instructor Dallas

• Maya Jackson received an Excellent Award. • Helene Kim received two Excellent Awards. • Van Lundsgaard received an Excellent Award and a Superior Award, as well as a Spotlight on the Arts Juror’s Choice Award.

Crow has work in the current issues of a number of publications. Short stories of his appear in 100 Word Story, Border Crossing, Cloudbank, and The FlyFish Journal, and in an anthology, Condensed to Flash: World Classics. He also has a handful of poems in Minnesota English

• Cecily Nordstrom received an Excellent Award.

Journal Online, and an essay of his will appear later this summer in New Madrid.

Who Knew?

29 Years Breck has had a partnership with Special Olympics of Minnesota

News and Notes

Maxwell Miao and Jachym Solecky qualified for the

Atlas Finch was accepted into the Minnesota Music

doing well on the American Mathematics Competition-12

Education Association 2015-16 All-State Jazz Band.

(AMC12) exam in February. Maxwell had the high AMC12

Sophomore Cassidy Yueh was awarded a special prize at the

score at Breck. Archana Murali had the high score at Breck

5th District 2015 Congressional Arts Competition. Her

on the AMC10, which is for sophomores and below.

ballpoint pen drawing was chosen to hang in Congressman

Sixth grader Abigail Samuels represented Breck in the

Keith Ellison’s office in Washington, D.C., for one year.

seven-county metro area spelling bee. She made it to the

Three-sport athlete and senior Nic van Oppen was the IMAC

fourth round.

conference’s male athlete of the month for March. He was

Ceramics instructor Jil Franke’s wood fired sushi sets

named section 2A swimmer of the year after an exceptional

were showcased at the National Council for Education of

performance at the state meet.

the Ceramic Arts in Providence, Rhode Island, at the end

Junior Darartu Gamada has been accepted into the 2015

of March.

Simons Summer Research Program at Stony Brook University

Spanish teacher Jessica Wanless received a scholarship for

in NY. Advance Research Advisor Lois Fruen says, “This is one

the Estudio Sampere course for non-native Spanish teachers

of the most prestigious science research programs in the

at the recent Central States Conference on the Teaching of

nation. Darartu is the first Breck student to be accepted into

Foreign Languages. She was chosen amongst many

this program.” She was interviewed on WCCO radio on April 6,

applicants from the Central States region, which comprises

talking about her Aspirations in Computing award as the top

16 states.

American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) by

female student in Minnesota headed for further study and a career in computing.

Breck snowboarder Luke Paster, a member of the G Team, qualified to compete at the 2015 USASA National Snow-

Senior Julian Maddox was one of 13 artists chosen by judges

boarding Championships held at Copper Mountain in

from MPR to compete in the featured round of the Minne-

Colorado (March 28-April 7), where he competed in Halfpipe,

sota Varsity competition. His violin performance was

Boardercross, Slalom and Giant Slalom.

featured on MPR’s classical station twice.

Junior Sydney Norman was chosen to represent the

Our varsity mock trial team qualified for the Minnesota

Episcopal Church in Minnesota as a member of the Official

state tournament. The team did well in competition,

Youth Presence at the 78th General Convention of The

finishing in the top ten. They finished a close second in

Episcopal Church, which will be conducted from June 25 to

their semifinal match so didn’t make it to the final round.

July 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She will be one of two youths

Congratulations to Eve Zelickson, who got an All-State

from Province VI, which encompasses Minnesota, Iowa,

attorney’s award, and Simon Parish, who received an

North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming,

All-State witness award.

and Colorado. Altogether, there are 18 participants, chosen

Eighth grader Jack Weinstein made it to the final

from more than 100 applicants.

round of ten in the Minnesota State Geography Bee over

Junior Justin Paulson took first place in the Star Tribune’s

spring break.

All Hockey Hair team competition.

Breck’s third-grade chess team finished in first place in the

Congratulations to Middle School history teacher Alex Law

Minnesota Statewide Grade-Level tournament. Our fifth-

on the birth of son Zachary Louis on February 28.

grade team finished in third place. At the state tournament, which was held at Breck in mid-March, the third graders placed third and the fifth graders finished fourth.

$11,250 Amount raised for the American Heart Association in the Jump Rope for Heart event

/ 11

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

• Level III: Oro: Jonathan Curoe (11); Plata: Sung-Wan Huh (10); Bronce: Gabriella Scarpa (10), Dalton Weigel (10); and eight students earning Honors • Level IV: Bronce: Isabella Jennings (10), Catherine Schmoker (10), Gloriana Wolf (11); and 14 students

12 /

earning Honors • Level V: Oro: Emma Senner (12); Plata: Sara Carle (11), Sarah Gunderson (10), Samuel Rex (10), Ingrid Thyr (11);

Breck Students Win Recognition for Excellence in Chinese, Spanish

Bronce: Henry Louris (10), Olivia Richards (10); and four students earning Honors • Level VI: seven students earning Honors A complete list is posted on Breck’s website.

Twenty-five students have been inducted into the National Chinese Honor Society for having achieved proficiency in the language. They are Erica Buckingham, Robert Christianson, Jonathan Curoe, Jack Dickinson, Joseph Ehlert, Tait Helgaas, Taylor Hendrickson, Charles Gamer, Sung Rim Huh, Adrianna Keller, Peter Kiesel, Edward Kuhns, Kendall Kozikowski, Madi Lommen, Evalyn Mackenzie, Hannah Mirviss, Simon Parish, Anna Redmond, Andrew Sit, Moira Southern, William Stuart, Jaila Tolbert, Nathaniel Westerman and Cassidy Yueh. Breck students had a very good showing on the 2015 National Spanish Exam. Students at the oro (gold) and plata (silver) level were invited to an awards ceremony at the Wellstone Center on May 16. Medal winners and their grades: • Level I: Bronce: Rachel Bagley (8), Elizabeth Bly (9), Daniel Gutierrez (9), and four students earning Honors • Level II: Oro: William Setterberg (11), Jack Weinstein (8); Plata: Annabel Chosy (9), Nina Eyres (8), Jacob Johnson (8), Anthony Palmer (9), Darlene Radichel (8), Katie Dougherty (8), Deirdre O’Neill (8), Charlie Prest (8), Brett Schoppert (8), Josh Taylor (8); and 21 students earning

Who Knew?

Fourth grader Lily Larson taught a Mustang Club course called “Eight Hours of Code.” With Lower School Director Peg Bailey as her co-teacher, Lily was able to share her knowl-

Raffel (9), Sara Rex (8); Bronce: Ethan Boyer (8), Sean


meet our youngest instructor

edge of coding with her peers. The class practiced coding for computer programming and games, heard from guest speaker and Upper School Dean A. J. Colianni and took a field trip to the robotics lab.

78% Upper School students who participated in athletics in 2014-15

Giving a voice to Minnesota girls It started at the Martin family dinner table one evening in 2014. Each year, the family chooses a charity to support. This time they picked the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, specifically its “MN Girls Are Not For Sale” campaign, which aims to end sex trafficking. For Breck senior Taylor Martin, the realization of the prevalence of sex trafficking in her home state affected her deeply.

The indelible mark making the video left on Taylor

“The number of girls being victimized and how young

inspired her to continue her work with the Foundation.

they are is shocking,” Taylor says. “The average age of a

She was back with the Foundation during this year’s May

victim is about the same age as my younger sister. It was

Program and has another video in production. The focus

hard to believe.”

this time is the issue of domestic violence and the work of

Taylor and her family made a donation to the Foundation through its girlsBEST Fund. But Taylor wanted to do more and her creative mind had an idea. “I have always been interested in film and believe video is a really powerful

a group called Casa de Esperanza. “Education is the most important thing,” Taylor says. “Being educated on the issues is key and I hope it will help girls who don’t see potential in themselves find it.”

way to communicate a message,” Taylor says. “So I brought

Taylor plans to finish the new video this summer before

the idea of making a public service announcement to the

heading to Santa Clara University in California this fall.

Foundation.” The Foundation was more than happy to

She knows she will carry her experience with her and

say “yes.”

hopes to continue to advocate for similar issues through-

During her 2014 May Program, Taylor researched the topic, conducted interviews and wrote the script. Then over the summer, with the help of friends and family, she produced the video. The results of her work are haunting, powerful and eye opening. Taylor debuted her video to the Class of

out her college experience. And for Breck students still here, her senior speech ended with a poignant thought everyone can embrace. “… may we always remember and find ways to help those who face greater challenges in life.”

2015 in her senior speech. “I want to make these girls’

You can see Taylor’s public service announcement on the

voices heard in a world where they are invisible, abused

Women’s Foundation of Minnesota website at

and ignored,” Taylor stated in her speech.

Breck in the News Please check Breck’s website and Facebook pages for links to many of these articles and clips. • A Star Tribune article and MPR interview with Grant Two Bulls • KARE 11 and WCCO radio stories about Darartu Gamada, winner of a national Aspirations in Computing award • Channel Twelve coverage of the History department’s Vietnam War panel, which included Donald Fernstrom, a local Army veteran, Bill Tilton, an antiwar activist, Kay Bauer, a veteran Navy nurse and history teacher Tim Rosenfield • Channel Twelve story about Margaret Wong on her last day of teaching • Channel Twelve interview with Standout Student Shivani Nookala ’16. Shivani was also included in a Memorial Day weekend special on Channel Twelve with interviews of several Standout Students as well as Breck College Counseling Director Jonny Nicholson

Who Knew?

NEstor 4516 Breck’s phone number on the Como campus

/ 13

14 /

(1) First graders wonder, “What did Delaware?”

Shining Moments As the 2014-15 school year came to a close, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit was the site for many happy, poignant and bittersweet celebrations. Lower School students performed a Closing Exercises program called “Silly and Sweet,” (1) featuring the 81 members of the Class of 2023 (and their kazoos) moving on to Middle School (3). At Middle School Closing Exercises (2) and (4), 102 members of the Class of 2019 celebrated eighth-grade graduation with speeches by Eloise Cherian and Kendall Riskevich, and

(3) Fourth graders present a “Kazoo Konzerto.”

(2) Eighth-grade graduates Alex McEvoy and Jimmy McGlynn

/ 15

special awards for the following: Saylor Hawkins and Jed Peterson (effort), Ethan Guell and Anna Beaty (sportsmanship), Josh Taylor and Darlene Radichel (leadership), and Jacob Johnson and Abigail Wesson (academic excellence). Be a Mustang award winners were also recognized: fifth graders Jai Thibodeaux and Ingrid Wilson, sixth graders Alexandra Kozikowski and Colin Bynum, seventh graders John Gunsbury and Samantha Detor, and eighth graders Spencer Yueh and Christiana Wilke.

(4) Off to the Chapel Green reception and summer vacation

Photos by Karyl Rice

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

(1) Yasi Kazeminy and Peter Kiesel 16 /

Shining Moments Baccalaureate (1) and (3) featured traditional prayers, a performance by the seniors’ first-grade buddies, and remarks by R. T. Rybak ’74, former mayor of Minneapolis and currently executive director of Generation Next. At Commencement (2) and (4), Breck celebrated the Class of 2015 with speeches from faculty speaker Carol Harrison, valedictorian Ed Kuhns and alumna

(3) Erik Horstman, Lily Hoyt and Sarah Hu

(2) Eli Buffalohead, Justin Brown, Kwaku Bodom and Maria Bell

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Wynne Reece ’04. Earlier in the week, the Upper School held its annual awards ceremony. A complete list of those honored is posted on the Breck website.

(4) Elise Garvin Photos by Karyl Rice

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Class of 2015 Future Plans 18 /

Maria Bell Vassar College

Hunter Hamilton University of Wisconsin, River Falls

Edward Kuhns University of Notre Dame

Kwaku Bodom Carleton College

Lily Hammer Lewis & Clark College

Graydon Kulick Davidson College

Justin Brown Howard University

Parker Harrington Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Julian Laird-Raylor Reed College

Eli Buffalohead Augsburg College

Caroline Headrick Pepperdine University

Mohammed Lawal University of Pennsylvania

Ira Buffalohead Augsburg College

Chase Headrick Colgate University

Tsz Lum (Antonia) Lee University of Minnesota, Morris

Jeremy Burton Pitzer College

Stephanie Headrick Colgate University

Jacob Levy Columbia University

JonCarlo Cabrera Saint John’s University

Stephen Headrick Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Tyler Lindstrom Junior Hockey

Henry Cousineau IV Swarthmore College

Shayla Henderson-Thomas Minnesota State University, Mankato

Madison Lommen Yale-NUS College

William Culliton United States Military Academy John Dickinson Northwestern University Shyam Dorn Saint John’s University Raven DuBois Savannah College of Art and Design Alexandra Earling Colgate University Donovan Ennevor Boston College Jennifer Fabian Wake Forest University Julia Florey University College London Elise Garvin The University of Tampa Isabel Gleekel Connecticut College Joshua Gottesman Tulane University Nicolas Gougeon Colorado State University Carlie Gustafson Colorado College Lille Haecker Colorado College

Cecily Hibbs Washington University in St. Louis Erik Horstman University of Puget Sound Lillian Hoyt University of St. Thomas Xinruo (Sarah) Hu University of California, Berkeley Sung Rim Huh University of California, San Diego Sarah Anne Hurley Syracuse University David Husband Bowdoin College Bryce Johnson Lewis & Clark College Yasmin Kazeminy Pepperdine University Peter Kiesel Washington University in St. Louis Sofie Kim Princeton University Grace Kirkpatrick Boston University Rustam Kosherbay St. Olaf College

Emma Luten Washington University in St. Louis Evalyn Mackenzie Bowdoin College Julian Maddox Cleveland Institute of Music Claire Mancheski Williams College Tomie Martel Suffolk University Taylor Martin Santa Clara University Amari Matthews Michigan State University Easton McChesney Marquette University Annie McFarland University of Chicago Zhuang (Maxwell) Miao Harvard University Francesca Miller Chapman University Liza Miller Connecticut College Nicole Miller Georgetown University Layla Moehring Scripps College

Fun Facts A little over 22,000 of the 1.845 million ACT test scores achieved a 34+. Breck’s class of 2015 has 10!

Dylan Motto University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Powell Simons Franklin and Marshall College

Mark Murray IV The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Andrew Sit Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Parsa Najmaie Barnard College Michaela Neisen St. Catherine University - St. Paul Sophie O’Bryan Tufts University Wolfgang Ofstedal University of Tulsa Victoria Olson Oberlin College Luke Onopa Michigan State University Uma Oswald School of the Art Institute of Chicago Simon Parish New York University Reilly Patrick St. Lawrence University Sarah Prentice University of Colorado at Boulder Johannes Railsback Winona State University Emily Ratner University of Wisconsin, Madison Daniel Reiling University of San Diego Madison Rudnick Northern Michigan University Karsten Salveson Williams College

Emily Sponsel Oberlin College Evan Stafford Savannah College of Art and Design Andrew Stuempfig University of St. Thomas Joseph Sunberg Bard College Mazin Taman Arizona State University Jaila Tolbert Virginia Tech Grant Two Bulls Dartmouth College Nicolaas van Oppen The University of Tampa Christopher Walker Washington University in St. Louis Tanner Wang University of St. Thomas YuNong (Charles) Wang Drexel University Alexandra Wanninger Pepperdine University Sarah Webb University of Denver Nathaniel Westerman University of Southern California Jinhui (James) Yang Carleton College

Katherine Schmidt Dickinson College

Youngmin (Jennifer) Youn Pennsylvania State University, University Park

Leah Schwartzman University of St. Thomas

Eve Zelickson Brown University

Nichole Showalter University of Vermont

Hongrong (Demi) Zhang Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Ana Siegel University of Puget Sound

The Class of 2015 will attend 80 different colleges and universities, with 15% staying in Minnesota (compared to the Minnesota average of 75%).

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At least 20% of the Class of 2015 will play intercollegiate athletics, highlighted by five in football (Augsburg, Carleton, Davidson, Lewis & Clark, Williams). They will also participate in basketball, hockey, rowing, swimming and volleyball. Breck students were admitted to every Ivy League institution, with graduates matriculating at Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia and Penn. Washington University (St. Louis) once again is a top college destination, with four members of the class of 2015 attending. Four students will also attend University of St. Thomas. 162 colleges visited Breck during the 2015-2016 academic year. There were 42 lifers in the Class of 2015. Among the most interesting of the scholarships awarded to the class of 2015: Dylan Motto’s Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship – a full tuition and housing scholarship awarded to students who have had a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character.

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

20 / (1) Ralph and Peggy Burnet Family Breck Faculty Chair winner Melita Anderson with donor Stephanie Burnet Ott ’87 and Edward Kim

Faculty News We honored – and said farewell to – some members of the faculty and staff this spring. Among the highlights: presentation of the Ralph and Peggy Burnet Family Breck Faculty Chair to Lower School music teacher Melita Anderson (1), the Jean Wigley Award for Excellence in Teaching to Middle School Spanish teacher Oscar Diaz, the Wallace and Mary Lee Dayton Family Breck

(3) Wallace and Mary Lee Dayton Family Breck Faculty Chair winner Frank Eustis, second from left, with donors Matt Sturgis ’97 and Elly Grace and Head of School Edward Kim Photos by Karyl Rice

(2) Yearbook dedication honoree Chris Ohm and family

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Faculty Chair to English Department Head Frank Eustis (3), the dedication of the Mustang yearbook to Upper School Dean of Students Chris Ohm (2), the presentation of the Ernest Campbell Award to Middle School teacher and coach Robin Fondow, and a reception honoring eight retiring members of the faculty and staff (4).

(4) Retirees, left to right: Director of Communications Jill Field, art teacher Tobie Dicker, Chinese instructor Margaret Wong, Middle School teacher and coach Robin Fondow, Upper School science instructor Dr. Jacob Miller, gift accountant Vicki Williams, Upper School Spanish instructor Carol Harrison, Lower School instructor Kathy Quick, and Lower School Chinese instructor Amy Wang. Not pictured but also leaving Breck is Science Department Head Lois Fruen.

10 Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…

the safety committee

22 /


Did you even know there was a Safety Committee? There is, and it’s an important way Breck takes safety

and security issues seriously.


Committee members are Division Directors Tom Taylor, Sky Fauver and Peg Bailey, Building Superin-

tendent Paul Blesi, Athletic Director Brett Bergene, Health Center Coordinator Karen Kaverman, R.N., Business Manger Wendy Engelman, Parents Association representative Kate Berman, Director of Communications Jill Field, and the chair, Director of Transportation Mark Ryks.


Awareness, Responsibility) committee has been a

tireless partner in helping us all improve driving behavior both in the neighborhood and on campus.

7 8

Flip charts in every classroom and office provide quick reminders of emergency procedures. In 2014-15, the committee’s decisions have resulted in the addition of AED (defibrillators) on the third

and fourth floors of the new Upper School, new name tags for tutors and substitute teachers, and a soon-to-be-released video about driving that will become required viewing for

items including emergency, fire and lockdown drills

students seeking on-campus parking privileges.



By Minnesota law, all schools are required to have five fire drills, five lockdown drills, and one severe

There are two safety suggestion boxes, which are

weather drill each year. The committee assures that we have

located in the Lower School and Middle School

met our quota.

Commons areas, and parents, faculty, staff and students are all encouraged to use them.


The Parents Association’s C.A.R. (Community,

The group meets monthly to discuss safety-related

and procedures, traffic, any recent incidents and other timely




Breck also has procedures and drills for early dismissal (might be used if winter weather and

Traffic and parking are regular topics of

worsening road conditions merit) and emergency evacuation

conversation. Seriously. They talk about it at every

(our main evacuation site would be Breck School Anderson


Ice Arena), and the committee helps schedule and review those drills.

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Guard Michelle Kimmons keeps traffic moving safely.

Today at Breck

24 /

Spring 2015

The Power to Change Your Story Breck Students Build Bridges That Help Kids Find Their Voice by Melissa Mrachek


all it delayed destiny. In 1997, Breck began its Upper

to Breck, he started working on setting up a collaboration

School Wednesday service program. That same year

that would send Upper School kids into the field with

the Children’s Theatre Company launched an

Neighborhood Bridges teaching artists.

innovative literacy program called Neighborhood Bridges. It took 15 years for the two to come together, but in 2012 a partnership was born, and ever since it has been fostering empowerment and positive engagement among youth. Neighborhood Bridges, the program founded by the Children’s Theatre Company, uses theatre, storytelling and creative writing to empower elementary age students to become the narrators of their lives and work towards bridging the achievement gap. Its mission dovetails beautifully with the values and goals of the performing arts department at Breck. “At Breck, we have kids collaborating across divisions and disciplines; there is a mutual attraction that goes on for older kids and younger kids,” says drama instructor Tom Hegg. “I knew there was a great deal of power to be tapped in that.” While on his sabbatical year learning about Performance and Social Change and shadowing the director of the Neighborhood Bridges program, Hegg began to wonder whether the program could be adapted for our students. Upon his return

In the fall of 2013, the first group of Breck students headed into a third-grade classroom at Lyndale Community School in Minneapolis with the Neighborhood Bridges teaching artists. And as Hegg recalls, there were a lot of unknowns. “These students signed up on faith,” Hegg says. “We had room for 15 students, and we had just 15 sign up. I taught a high school version of the things I learned on my sabbatical, we had our teaching artist partners give in-service training, but really nobody knows how to do this. We were making it up as we went along.” Schedule accommodations have helped make the collaboration, now in its second year, a success. The Breck students are enrolled in a fourth-hour class called Performance and Social Change. By combining their service block and class time on Wednesdays, they’re able to spend about two hours at Lyndale. Over the course of the year when the Breck and Lyndale students spend time together, they really get to know each other. They explore stories from around the world and

/ 25

identify the roots of social issues. Students ask questions,

got down on my knees and took 40 seconds to talk to her

challenge their biases and ultimately transform the narra-

quietly about what role she wanted in the performance that

tives through their performance.

day. She got the role she wanted.”

“The whole idea is to try to empower kids to change the story

By halfway through the year, that quiet little girl had

that exists,” Hegg says. “We hope through the theatre arts

changed her personal narrative to include the role of confi-

they realize they have the power to change the narrative

dent performer. “The culminating performance was a story

both outside their life and inside. They can make their own

that included water buffalos. She stood up during the

decisions and think with their own mind.”

planning and said, ‘I want to be a water buffalo. I have a good

Witness to Change

water buffalo noise.’ I said ‘Well let’s hear it.’ And she let out

“Learning as they go” has remained a part of the experience since that first year, and it most likely will stay that way. The stories of the participating children change, and some of those stories can be challenging to hear. “There are things you just are not ready for,” says Elliot Mallin, a Breck junior who was part of Neighborhood Bridges this past year. “We create an environment of trust and with that comes stories, but none of us is prepared when a little kid talks about his mom’s cancer or his dad’s guns.” For Elliot, the difficult, uncomfortable moments are worth it when you watch a young soul find her voice. “I had this little girl who you couldn’t get a peep out of; I saw a girl who didn’t have a voice,” Elliot shares. “There was one day where I

this loud snort and it was fantastic,” Elliot says. “She got up in front of the entire school for that performance, made that noise and it was audible throughout the entire lunchroom. This was a girl we couldn’t hear in the classroom. I was blown away.” Breck continues to be the only school partnering with the Children’s Theatre Company on the Neighborhood Bridges program. The relationship has been so successful that Hegg will have twice the number of Breck students participating in the future. Think of the stories they’ll all have to tell.

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Practice, Practice, 26 /

Practice! Punchline to a timeworn joke about how you get to Carnegie Hall? Sure, but it’s also the way Breck’s talented faculty blends the cutting edge and old-fashioned repetition to help students find their voices in the performing arts. By Jill Field

There’s something inspirational about the blending of

time,” she says, “a particular sound will attract a person to a

individual talents into a harmonious ensemble, a kind of

particular instrument. If they choose something that truly

magic that is alive and well every day at Breck. And while

speaks to them, practicing will be more enjoyable and less of

our building features the spectacular spaces we’ve come to

a struggle.”

know as the Performing Arts Wing, it’s clear that music, dance, theater and stagecraft aren’t confined to the west end of our campus. The most recent school accreditation self-evaluation of the

It also provides opportunities for students who haven’t yet hit their stride in the classroom. Says dance instructor Risa Cohen, “It’s really cool to see a kid struggling in academics empowered in the arts.”

department lays out the goals of instruction and offers this overarching philosophy: “The Performing Arts Department gives expression to [Breck’s] Mission through movement, sound and design.” It’s an ambitious undertaking, but one that the faculty enthusiastically embraces. Says Department Head Helen Westerfield, “It’s my personal and professional goal to make sure that every Breck student leaves here with a deep appreciation of the arts, both as a performer and a member of an audience. That’s important today, and it will be important to them 20 years from now.” We wanted to know how they encourage the performer in every student, how they differentiate the instruction for students of varying interests and natural talents, and how they manage to develop both individual and ensemble skills at the same time. Their answers, like the teachers themselves, were profes-


sional, thoughtful, innovative, inspiring and fun.

A Broad Curriculum for a World of Choices Breck’s range of offerings in performing arts, unusually extensive for a school of our size, gives students the opportunity to find the right fit. From Orff Schuelwerk and Kodalyinspired music and movement for Lower Schoolers to bucket drumming for Middle School percussionists to independent study and AP music theory for advanced Upper School students — and everything in between — choices abound. The faculty members we spoke to say students are very good at making those choices for themselves. Over the years, Strings Instructor Claudette Laureano has observed that students and instruments often seem to find each other. She enjoys watching the choice of self-expression come to life, and she appreciates the benefits. “Most of the

A growing aspect of the performing arts curriculum of late is stagecraft. Instructor and Breck stage manager Dennis Joslyn says that his students get to bridge their interests in both visual and performing arts in a way that provides a vast array of opportunities. Technical theater students work on carpentry, painting, arts and crafts, electrical, audio and stage management, which puts them all together. It’s a wonderful chance for students who may lack interest or confidence in being onstage themselves to play an important role. “Maybe their faces aren’t visible to the audience,” Joslyn says, “but their work sure is.” And when students who have worked on light cues get to sit in the audience, for example, they see that connection for themselves.

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Today at Breck

Spring 2015

prime example is the tremendous enthusiasm for a cappella

From Beginners to Virtuosi: Something for Everyone

singing. In 2014-15 the Upper School had both a girls (Brecap-

Performing arts teachers at Breck must find a way to guide

pellas) and brand-new boys (Breck Bowties) group. Another

and challenge students from a vast range of natural talents

is BATO BATO!, Breck’s very popular marimba ensemble.

and previous instruction.

Some performance opportunities are extracurricular. A

Band instructor Charlotte Wheeler says it’s great fun to work 28 /

with beginners: “I really enjoy the process of taking kids as they come and finding out what will hook them. Sometimes we evaluate their choices and gently intervene. Do they have braces? Are their arms not quite long enough to hold certain instruments comfortably? I love what I do because the kids come with such excitement at the beginning, and it’s my job to bring their skills along.” Laureano views her strings students in much the same way. Stating that she has the same expectations for private lessons and practice for every student, she observes, “Encouragement comes from challenge. I pick music that is level appropriate but stretches them to their limits. Wherever the bar is set, they usually rise to that level therefore setting the bar high tends to get the best results.” All of the teachers say that they derive great satisfaction from guiding beginning performers. “I know that everyone can enjoy making music on some level,” says Westerfield. “There’s no one who ‘can’t do it.’ ” Adds Sirianni, “Everyone in BATO BATO! has a chance to be a leader – whether it’s arranging our music, keeping us together socially or taking a leading role in a performance.” And what of the self-consciousness that can inhibit some Laureano

beginners? Cohen says that drilling the fundamentals is an important strategy. “When you’re so busy working on improving your technique you don’t have time to be self-conscious,” she laughs.

Over the past five years, BATO BATO! has played at venues including the Dakota, the Ordway, Orchestra Hall, the Minnesota State Fair, the Cedar Cultural Center and countless benefits, fundraisers and good causes. They’ve also been able to give back to the school, performing at Admissions events, outdoor cookouts and more. “It gets the Breck name out there in the community,” says the group’s founder and director, Cary Sirianni, with delight. “They’re so proud to be Breck students. The music is contagious, and they love spreading the joy.”

She also knows that other students in the class play a key role. “Breck students have such generosity of spirit,” she notes. “Their feedback is so positive that they build each other up. They’ll say things like, ‘You know, you guys weren’t quite together.’ That really helps calm the nerves.” Some beginners really take flight. Wheeler says that’s especially true of students who don’t even think of playing a band instrument until well into Middle School. “They’re very self-motivated,” she explains, “and their progress can be amazing.”

/ 29

Breck Bowties

On the other end of the spectrum, the performing arts

Their experience helps them adapt their teaching and

faculty also has the opportunity to recognize and nurture the

curriculum in ways both great and small.

talents of the truly gifted. Drama instructor Tom Hegg says it’s important, at that point, to involve the parents. “When I encounter students who have that indefinable something that can’t be taught I have told parents, ‘This is a talent to be taken seriously.’ After that, it’s a question of luck and breaks.”

For Wheeler, it means being open to rearranging the band room in nontraditional ways so that she can give more attention to players who need it or rewriting parts to make them more challenging for gifted students. For Cohen, it means using her theatrical training to make her choreogra-

Laureano, who in addition to her teaching at Breck is

phy more about the storytelling than the steps. For Laureano,

co-music director of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies,

it means being very specific about her instruction. “You can’t

considers herself fortunate to be able to work with top talent

just tell students they are rushing [going faster than the

both there and at Breck. But she keeps that in a true teacher’s

beat]. You have to show them specifically where they’re

perspective. “Naturally the challenge and satisfaction of


working with students of this caliber is very rewarding,” she notes, “but not necessarily more rewarding than working with a student who picks up an instrument for the first time. Learning is learning, whether it is at an advanced level or at a beginning level. Watching students derive joy from their experiences in music is exciting and satisfying at both the

For Hegg, it means making class time about the craft and not the performance — which means no applause. It also means choosing plays by looking at the students who are available first and then selecting the script. As he says, “It’s my job to find each kid a part.”

beginning and advanced stages.”

It’s helpful, too, for teachers who were not always perfect

A Faculty of Performers

I loved the violin but it seemed to hate me. I was, however,

The Breck faculty has a well-informed perspective of what

determined to become a musician and so I learned how to

it’s like to be a student as well as the teacher. Says Wester-

analyze my problems more objectively. It helped me progress

field, “If you’ve never performed yourself it would be hard

more efficiently, and it’s helped me develop more effective

to teach. We are so lucky to have people who do both.”

ways to communicate with my students to help them get

students themselves. Laureano puts it this way: “As a student

better results as well.”

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Westerfield stresses that everyone benefits when teachers are able to work on their own performances. “Finding the time can be a challenge,” she says, “but the creative energy it generates comes right back into the classroom when teachers return.”

Teaching Individual Skills and Blending Them Into Harmonious Ensembles All the faculty members say that developing both individual

30 /

An Important Part of Our Episcopal Heritage In addition to a role in the curriculum, the performing arts are a significant (and completely ecumenical) component of religion at Breck. The music, skits, readings and other performances at Chapel serve several key purposes. For one, music magnifies the power of the liturgy. “When you sing, you’re really praying twice — once with the words and once with your singing,” says Chaplain John Bellaimey. Student-led performance underscores the importance of the Chapel’s role in making us put aside our daily concerns to meditate, reflect and pray together as a community. And it’s very successful at helping us stop and pay attention. “I’m so proud of how intently our kids listen,” Bellaimey notes. It also provides a way to draw us together. Head of School Edward Kim observes that music enhances worship by keeping us all engaged in experiencing its beauty. What’s more, it’s universal. “Music goes along as a companion of almost every faith tradition,” he says. “And we can all appreciate it from our own perspective.” Bellaimey agrees. “The great thing about music in Chapel is that it’s almost more symbolic than literal. Experience it and take what you will. The specifics don’t really matter.” And performance in Chapel teaches two other significant lessons. It encourages listening, and it represents faith and cultural traditions very much in keeping with the Episcopal doctrine that there are “many paths to God.” Furthermore, the senior speech, like every other Chapel performance, is an opportunity for teaching empathy and support. Bellaimey puts it this way: “I think there’s always an element of imagining that it could be us up there, and we know how much we’d appreciate the audience’s support. That’s not just good for the performers, it’s good for the whole congregation.”

and ensemble skills is difficult but not impossible. Hegg wants all his actors to know how interconnected they are. “Everyone has to do his part,” he says. “Putting off learning your lines is the most selfish thing you can do. I’ll say, ‘Just remember — you’re taking all of us with you.’ ” To Laureano, it’s a matter of patience. “Beginning to play a new instrument and being immediately expected to play in an ensemble is essentially putting the cart before the horse,” she explains. “The best-case scenario is to learn proper position, intonation, notation, rhythm and a host of other essentials first.” Sirianni makes sure that every member of BATO BATO! learns multiple parts. “It’s a necessity,” she explains. “Kids are so busy with other things, and we have so many performances. It’s impossible for everyone to be available for everything.” Westerfield notes that the discipline of ensemble performance is good training for other aspects of her students’ lives. “If you’re a stronger voice you might need to lighten up for the sake of balance and harmony,” she says. “Isn’t that true of non-musical conversations as well?” Wheeler says that she builds her band program around students who possess strength through ability and leadership while keeping in mind the needs of the ensemble as a whole. She states, “The music I choose from year to year helps highlight those strengths, gives outliers incentive to continue building their craft, and provides students insight into a variety of music genres. In the end I hope to leave my students with a valuable experience and a lifelong love of music.”

Where Do You Begin? At the Beginning! Sharon Mazion, who teaches some of Breck’s youngest students, says, “Kids voluntarily make music all the time. Our job as teachers is to help them discover things they haven’t yet. Our rooms are stocked with so many tools to work with that it’s really fun.” She goes on to explain that learning music is very much like learning language. “We hear it all the time — just as we hear

/ 31

Clockwise from top left: Cohen, Westerfield, Joslyn and Sirianni conversations. What teachers get to do is help students

In Middle School, technical theater instructor Joslyn gets to

understand the meaning and the discipline behind it.” Lower

start at the very beginning and watch as his students

School counter part Melita Anderson engages her students

progress and grow. For example, he introduces beginning

with African music and percussion, something she brought

stagecraft students to contemplate props. He says, “We talk

back from her summer professional development and travel

about what a prop is, how you know when it’s needed, do

in Ghana.

research and then finally construct one.”

In fourth grade, Breck students get hands-on experience

He loves the moment when his fifth graders realize what

with many of the instruments played in both the band and

they can do, and loves it even more when he finds out that

strings programs. Laureano thinks it’s one of the school’s best

they’ve taken those skills beyond the classroom. “I had a

offerings. “They not only get to touch and hold the instru-

student who took what he learned from building sets to

ments,” she says, “they learn simple tunes, a scale, rhythms,

make a wheelchair ramp for his grandparents,” he recalls.

different sound effects and on the last day of the rotation

“It’s unbelievably cool to see something so tangible come

they get to participate in an informal recital for their


parents. Usually after the rotation students and parents have a better understanding of the time and effort that is required to commit to playing an instrument.”

Putting It All Together Being part of a P-12 community is motivating for teachers and students alike. Mazion considers herself very lucky to

Today at Breck

32 /

Spring 2015

have fifth- and sixth-grade choir students she taught in

Hegg says the key to developing talent is for teachers to be

preschool. And she sees the benefits for her students all the

involved with every student on his or her own level –- to be a

time. “Little kids see bigger kids here every day,” she says,

“guide on the side, not a sage on the stage.”

“and they see the possibilities for themselves. It’s such a gift.”

In the end, it comes down to both our own lives and a larger

And Joslyn speaks about something that happened this

purpose. The performing arts, says Westerfield can “trans-

school year. His Upper School theater production class

port us all outside ourselves, unleash something inside, and

adapted a play Tom Hegg wrote for fifth- and sixth-grade

nourish our innate longing for self-expression. But it also

actors — who performed it for Ty Thayer’s second grade class.

builds bridges, encourages teamwork, and is all about

“Breck provides endless opportunity to morph, mold and

individual voices following direction, becoming one, and, in

expand the curriculum,” he says. “I can’t imagine another

the end, achieving harmony.”

place so open to the possibilities.”

Encore Performance: Finding a Way to Give Something Old a New Life

Before leaving Breck, senior Sarah Hurley was determined to do one more thing — sort, organize and de-clutter the costume closet in the dance studio. If you’ve ever laid eyes on the costume closet — more like a room — you know this was no small task. “It was a mess,” Sarah exclaims. “I have been in dance at Breck since fifth grade and I knew there was a lot of costumes we haven’t used in years.”

For two weeks during May Program, Sarah worked with dance Sarah Hurley ’15 instructor Risa Cohen to lay hands on every glove, top hat, tutu and leotard and decide its fate. “Sarah had the strength and wisdom to be firm with me and really ask me to think about what we should let go,” Cohen says. When all was sorted, the pair had filled 13 large garbage bags with a variety of gear, and many memories. So now what? Sarah believed these costumes should get an encore performance. “I didn’t want to donate them just anywhere or take them to a consignment shop,” Sarah says. “ If we did that we would limit what these costumes could provide to other dance students.” Sarah decided to contact the FAIR School in Minneapolis, a K-12 Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource school which offers a dance program. When Sarah connected with the FAIR School, the dance teacher was so excited and grateful she was nearly in tears. “We are extremely fortunate to have a costume budget and ongoing support for the dance program at Breck,” Cohen says. “The FAIR School doesn’t have that same level of support so these costumes were going to be of tremendous help and a great gift to their students.” The FAIR School took all 13 bags of costumes, and Sarah is excited that every piece will continue to support the performing arts. “Dance is so important and gives you a way to be creative,” Sarah says. “It has meant the world to me and I know it will to other students as well.” — MM

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Today at Breck

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Spring 2015

“Kids voluntarily make music all the time. Our rooms are stocked with so many tools to work with that it’s really fun.” Sharon Mazion lower School Vocal Music Instructor

Reconnecting on our campus home Are you or someone you know interested in Breck admissions for 2016-17? Join us Saturday, October 10, for our p-12 open house and barbecue perpetually learning one campus p-12 in Golden Valley

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Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Catching up With some Alumni artists

Breck’s extraordinary performing arts program has helped launch many professional careers, including that of theater company founders Rob Melrose ’88 and Sara Marsh ’98 – both profiled in previous editions of Today at Breck. For this issue, we thought it would be interesting to check in with eight other alumni who are pursuing their interests in art.

dwell ’88: Alycya Hjelm Cardwell ’88: Alycya Hjelm Cardwell ’88: Alycya Hjelm Cardwe 36 /

What are you doing now? I am CEO and owner of Moore Creative Talent, Inc, the

Tom Hegg is also a Carnegie Mellon graduate and he inspired me on the theatrical side with some participation to help me form an empathy toward performance and our actors!!

premier talent agency in the

After graduation, I was hired as a graphic designer by a local

Twin Cities.

company and produced their logo, a plum assignment for a

Right now we are working

graphic designer.

on a Woody Harrelson film

I utilize my design skills now in working to maximize the

casting character actors who

potential for actors and models through the design of their

have great skills because of

head shots and composite cards.

practicing their craft at our wonderful local theaters like the

I think working with my mother, Andrea Hjelm, who has

Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Jungle, Theatre Wu, the Children’s

been successful in the industry since her college days when

Theatre and many more great venues.

she first met Eleanor Moore the founder, from whom she

What do you like about it?

bought the agency in 1981, because she had functioned as a

I love what I do. Every day is a different day. There is never boredom in our industry, we represent fantastic actors, hair and makeup artists and beautiful people and it is a thrill to

model, producer of fashion shows etc., has been an influence for me. I started working with her when I was 11.

find work for these deserving talent.

What advice would you give a Breck student considering a performing arts career?

I may be casting children and babies for Target print one day

As for advice, follow through with a formal college educa-

and adults for a health care campaign the next.

tion. My initial area of study was graphic design because I

Film and television casting are the most difficult and also the most fun because one gets to view the final product more often.

Anyone (or anything) at Breck influential in setting you on your path? Breck School helped me find my life path, art. Ms. Franke and Mr. Hardy helped me to build a portfolio which was strong enough to gain recognition and an audition for me at one of the best graphic design programs in the country, located at Carnegie Mellon University, where the beginnings of computer graphics were in development.

was an accomplished artist, but now as I am doing something else, all of that experience gives me a better perspective of the business side of art. I watched my college sorority sisters study musical theater at this esteemed college and they found success due to their talent development and as they graduated, their connections with producers and directors nationwide that went to the same college years before them. Build your foundation and use the “loyalty card” to lead you to success.

ell ’88:

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Today at Breck

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01: Erin Drummond ’01: Erin Drummond ’01: Erin Drummond ’01: Erin Drummond ’01 I’m able to offer alternatives to the current world situation. Even beauty, when enacted with awareness and deep dedication, can transform social, environmental, and other issues on a subtle level.

Anyone (or anything) at Breck influential in setting you on your path?

38 /

So many of my teachers and peers at Breck inspired and encouraged my path as an artist. I think in particular of Michal Sagar, Marvette Knight, Tom Hegg, Michael Moos, Frank Eustis, and Memry Roessler. Their words and presence continue to live with me, along with those of many others. The emphasis Breck placed on spiritual inquiry and service very deeply informed my approach to artistic life: I think of my creative work as a spiritual act and as a way of giving back.

What are you doing now?

What advice would you give a Breck student considering a performing arts career?

I just completed my fifth and final performance season with

Soak in everything that you can! Classes, teachers, perfor-

Dancing People Company, a professional modern dance

mances, life itself... take it all in! Let the troubles and joys of

company based in Ashland, OR. I am one year into an MFA in

the world influence you. Don’t be afraid to take risks, work

Dance through Hollins University, in collaboration with

very hard, and keep at it, even when you feel you’ve reached

institutions in Frankfurt, Germany. It’s a low-residency

a plateau. Above all, honor yourself. As Tom Hegg once

program that allows me to study independently for most of

wisely shared, “Never confuse yourself with your art.” A

the year so that I can continue working while earning my

career in the arts is a roller-coaster ride, and it’s important to

degree. I look forward to more freelance performance work

remember you have value simply in the fact that you exist.

in the coming years and am contemplating a move to the Twin Cities. I’ve spent a good while being a muse for other choreographers and am eager to delve into more of the creative side of the process. I’m interested in collaborating on projects with other choreographers and dancers as well as artists in other disciplines and people working in fields other than the arts.

What do you like about it? I love the medium of dance. I often think about how much one’s perception can change through learning a language; it’s the same with delving into the physical, spatial and energetic language of the body. I am constantly revising my ability to perceive the world, and I hope through my art that



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g Finn ’89: Craig Finn ’89: Craig Finn ’89: Craig Finn ’89: Craig Finn ’89: Craig Finn ’89: What are you doing now?

Anyone (or anything) at Breck influential in setting you on your path?

I’m the singer and lyricist for

I had some great teachers at Breck. Tim Rosenfield, Brad

a band called The Hold Steady

Peterson, Michael Moos are three of many who influenced

and I also perform solo. I have

me in various ways. Some of their influence was just asking

my second solo album coming

questions about what my friends were up to in our band at

out in Fall 2015 and am on

Breck, showing interest. Also anyone who ever gave me

tour most of the summer in

something exciting to read is hugely influential. Reading is a

advance of it. The Hold Steady

huge part of my inspiration.

has released six full-length We’ve performed in all 50 states and all over the world.

What advice would you have give a Breck student considering a performing arts career?

What do you like about it?

for everyone. There are a fair amount of sacrifices that come

I like the travel and seeing new things. I’ve always loved

with it and it’s difficult to live a truly normal life due to the

music and I like writing songs and communicating them

travel, etc. There are certainly easier paths to pursue but if

with an audience. I’ve also been able to meet some of my

you truly love the process itself, this is a very rewarding life.

records in about twelve years.

musical heroes, which is exciting.

A performing arts career can be very rewarding but it’s not

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

aulsen ’10: Katherine Paulsen ’10: Katherine Paulsen ’10: Katherine Paulsen ’10: Katherin Anyone (or anything) at Breck influential in putting you on your path?

Nick Peine ’XX:

I wouldn’t be following this crazy dream in New York right

now if it weren’t for Mr. Hegg! The breadth and depth of his teaching is without compare. I wish every director paid the kind of incredible attention to each detail of every actor’s

40 /

performance that Mr. Hegg does; sadly, few do, so I’m lucky I had as much time with Mr. Hegg as I did. I also owe the confidence to move to New York and actually take a stab at this lifestyle to Hans Tester, Breck class of 1978. He let me pick his brain about all the basic nuts and bolts questions of how to be a working actor, which were things simply not covered in college classes. The Breck alumni network has been an amazing resource — I’ve reached out to other alums pursuing theater who I remember watching onstage at Breck, and everyone has been so generous with their advice.

What advice would you give a Breck student considering a performing arts career? What are you doing now?

Talk to as many people as possible — don’t be afraid to ask

I moved to New York this past winter to pursue acting. To

be thrilled to offer any advice they have. There’s no such

pay the bills I work part-time at a tech startup, but I devote

thing as a dumb question. I asked a lot of people about how

the rest of my time to theater—I just finished a run of a

to format the information on my resume, but was too

musical in early May and I’m starting rehearsals for a play

embarrassed to ask the proper way to attach my headshot to

this week, I’m currently taking three acting classes, I go to

my resume, thinking it was a stupid question... and then I

auditions nearly every day, and I spend time learning as

wound up doing it wrong for months. You also have to

much about the industry as possible.

approach this pursuit of theater as a job, and recognize that

What do you like about it?

anyone in the industry out to coffee, I can guarantee they’ll

it’s not glamorous. It’s not like having a regular 9 to 5 where you’re done with work when you pack up and go home;

The pace of this business is so fast, but I love the energy.

there’s always more to do to stay on top of your game, and

Every day I’m trekking across the city to get to an audition or

you have to be willing to embrace that attitude and seek out

rehearsal, or I’m prepping a scene for class, or I’m snagging a

your own opportunities. Have a voracious hunger for all

half hour in a coffee shop to research the casting directors

things theater, and you’ll have fun!

whose workshops I’m running off to right after. There’s no time to dwell on an audition that didn’t go well, because there are a zillion other things coming up to focus on. It never relents, so it’s constantly exciting.

perpetually learning:perpetually learnin

ne Paulsen ’10:

Nick Peine ’09: Nick Peine ’09: Nick Peine ’09: Nick Peine ’09: Nick Peine ’09: Nick Pein What are you doing now? I live in Los Angeles, California, working as a stand up comic and actor. My debut comedy album, “Nick Peine: One Night Lonely!” will be released later this summer by Rooftop Comedy. I also had a role on the most recent season of “Shameless” on Showtime.

What do you like about it?

Anyone (or anything) at Breck influential in putting you on your path? Everything I have accomplished in my career is thanks to Tom Hegg. I would not be where I am without him. Period. He gave me the push I needed to start doing stand up, and I have made it onto television with no formal acting training outside of his instruction. I have gone into an audition room in front of William H. Macy at Warner Brothers and gotten the part at Macy’s recommendation. All I focused on in that audition was Hegg’s voice saying, “Less is more...take the opposite of what is obvious, and there you find the truth.” And what do you know? Hegg has given me the confidence,

I like show business because it’s the only thing I can see

the tools, the drive to go for it.

myself doing. It’s sort of a compulsion, almost an obsession

What advice would you give a Breck student considering a performing arts career?

at this point. I’m in too deep to stop, and I don’t think I’m cut out to do much else professionally; I’m too small to play professional sports, too squeamish to be a doctor, too ADD to work behind a desk, and too much of a child myself to teach.

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Dream big, reach for the stars, go for the gold, and avoid clichés at all costs.

ng: perpetually learning: perpetually lea

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Kimberly Wilso

ko ’05: Quinn Shadko ’05: Quinn Shadko ’05: Quinn Shadko ’05: Quinn Shadko ’05: Qu 42 /

What are you doing now? Right now, I’m performing in the Twin Cities in musicals, plays, and operas. When I’m not onstage, I do everything from voiceover and on-camera work, to teaching early childhood music, to working at a talent agency. Some of my favorite jobs since moving

their fields, creative in their approach to teaching, and very connected to all of their students. When I decided I wanted to pursue performing arts in college, I turned to both of them for help and guidance. Even though not technically a performing arts instructor, Father Bellaimey also was an insightful and supportive presence in the arts community at Breck. Besides acting and singing, I played violin for a large portion of my time at Breck and the orchestra program helped mold me into a good musician and ensemble member.

back from New York in 2012 include playing Luisa in The

What advice would you give a Breck student considering a performing arts career?

Fantasticks with Skylark Opera, doing the country-western

I’d say, go for it! Use all the wonderful resources that Breck

musical Cowgirls at the Old Log Theater, and singing and

provides, and treat your passion with as much commitment

dancing on the Guthrie stage in A Christmas Carol.

and discipline as you would your most important AP course.

What do you like about it? I never get bored! In a few months I can go from being in a 1950s-era musical, to a Puccini opera, to an Arthur Miller play. Materials are challenging and ever-changing, and each project requires a different set of skills and something new. I’m trying to constantly grow and expand my comfort zone. Being in the performing arts also introduces you to a wide array of talented individuals from different walks of life, and whether from a director, fellow actor, or audience member, there’s always something valuable to learn.

Anyone (or anything) at Breck influential in putting you on your path? I had so many fabulous teachers at Breck! Tom Hegg and Lisa Doering were probably the most influential mentors for me in high school. They were both incredibly knowledgeable in

Also, continue to invest yourself in academics no matter what your ultimate goal is; successful artists of any kind are thoughtful, curious, and full of knowledge and experience. I’d suggest exploring as many artistic areas of interest as you can — versatility is key for employ-ability. After I studied classical voice in college and musical theater in grad school, I began taking lessons as an adult to relearn how to play the violin, as it was required for two shows! Performers wear many hats — embrace them all. You won’t be an expert in everything, but you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish. As my dear mother likes to say, “When one must, one can!”

on ’77: Kimberly Wilson ’77: Kimberly Wilson ’77: Kimberly Wilson ’77: Kimberly Wilson ’ What are you doing now? I am producing and perform-

uinn Shadko ’05:

ing my original one-woman show ”A JOURNEY.”

through. The added ‘give back’ is in the after-performance talk back, where I am continually amazed and blessed by the audience’s sharing of their own stories and their own journeys.

“A JOURNEY” is an intricate

Anyone (or anything) at Breck influential in putting you on your path?

look at the Black experience

There were so many people who helped influence my choice

told through the eyes of the

to pursue theater and the performing arts as my career;

Black woman and performed

however, I must give my former Breck Drama Teacher,

by one woman, professional

Playwright Michael Kassin, true recognition for helping me

actress and singer, Kimberly Wilson. Ms. Wilson skillfully

transition from community theater into professional theater.

tells of the struggles and influence of Black womanhood

Mr. Kassin introduced me to Jack Rueler, Founder and

with strength, dignity and pride and in perfect lockstep with

Artistic Director of Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.

the history of the United States. Seven women, seven pivotal

While a junior at Breck, I was able to audition and become

generations, present to you their stories through song,

one of the founding ensemble members of Mixed Blood

movement and dialogue and how ultimately their faith,

Theatre (1976). Mr. Kassin’s play “Brother Champ” had its

hope, and calling help shape the America we know today.

world premiere in Mixed Blood’s second season (1977). And

Joyful celebrations and painful reflections are rendered

in 2013, over 36 years later, Michael Kassin came to see me

artistically to tell a story of persistence and courage and how

in my one-woman show “A JOURNEY” in East Norwalk, CT.

womanhood, not always intricately woven into the tapestry

What advice would you give a Breck student considering a performing arts career?

of American history, is the thread that holds together the fabric of American life. Included in this journey are historical reflections from a Native African Queen, a Slave Woman, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and more.

I have SO much to share. The journey has not been easy, but it is truly worth it. Theater and the performing arts is a passion. It is not a hobby. It is not a job. You don’t choose it to become rich, but you do get rich by the people you meet, the

What do you like about it?

stories you share, and the lessons you learn. Be open to have

This question should really ask “What do you love about it.” I

lots of different jobs that may NOT be what you may

love the theater. I love acting. I love singing. As a producer, I

consider your career. You will meet different types of people

am afforded the opportunity to perform my show for people

and have different experiences that you may be able to use

of all ages, in diverse communities. I have performed in 900

for character work on the stage or in front of the camera. Be

seat theaters, in elementary, middle and high schools, in

open and ready to tell your own story. Be open to choose

churches, in historical societies, in Boys and Girls clubs, and

your own path to define your road to ‘success’. Remember,

even in private homes. I love that this show can be mounted

this is your life. Dream it. Claim it. Love it. Live it.

and performed almost anywhere, and that wherever I perform, the essence and spirit of the message always shines

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Today at Breck

Spring 2015

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Minne-apple Takes Big Apple by Storm A great group of alumni met up with Breck students and faculty members on the annual AP Art History museum trip to New York. Instructor Dulcenee Walsh, Dean of Students Chris Ohm, and Director of Alumni Relations Michelle Geo Olmstead hosted the reception at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Katherine Paulsen ’10, Haley Opperman ’10 and Corrie Searls ’10

New York area alumni can watch for invitations for next year’s event, which will be in April and will again take place at the Waldorf. If you have recently moved to New York, or will between now and April, please contact to update your address.

Dimitrios Efstathiou ’96, Dulcenee Walsh, Gretchen Goetz ’06 and Anne Whiting ’09

Max Berman ’11 and Reuben Parish ’11

Melissa Clark ’98, Jamie O’Grady, Megan Bailey O’Grady ’01 and Nicole Lund ’98

Noted With Gratitude • Michael Proman ’99 for teaching a spirited May Program class on entrepreneurship this year • Wynne Reece ’04 for welcoming the Class of 2015 into the ranks of Breck alumni at Commencement • Michael Proman ’99 and Matt Bartel ’02 for chairing a successful alumni Annual Fund effort, including a record-setting James Lloyd Breck Day of Giving in March

Alumni Annual Meeting Provides Opportunity for Updates and Honors The Breck Alumni Association held its annual meeting on May 4. The group heard some updates, recognized retiring

• All the alumni who attended a great and spirited holiday party at the American Legion — which will be the site of the 2015 event, too

Save the Date

Homecoming 2015 | September 24-26

faculty members and recognized some key accomplishments.

Events include:

Head of School Edward Kim presented the 2015 Alumna of

Distinguished Alumnus Award presented to poet and

the Year Award to Katharine Anderson Groethe ’88. In his

Episcopal priest Spencer Reece ‘81 Thursday, September 24,

remarks, Kim noted that Groethe’s dedication to Breck has

11:00 a.m., Chapel of the Holy Spirit

been exemplary and that she was an excellent choice for the

Athletic Hall of Fame induction Friday, September 25,

award, which recognizes outstanding volunteer leadership

6:00 p.m., Upper School third floor

and service.

Golden Mustangs luncheon for alumni who graduated

Active with the Alumni Association since graduation,

in 1965 or earlier. Friday, September 25, 11:30 a.m.,

Groethe has helped plan all five of the Class of 1988’s

Breck School Anderson Ice Arena Heritage Room

reunions, served on the Alumni Council from 1996-2002, began volunteering with Applause in 1998, and has for several years hosted one of the most popular community gatherings offered at Applause, the annual Wine and Women event. She is also a member of the Breck Board of Trustees. For more about Katharine, don’t miss her 20 Questions responses in this issue of Today at Breck. President Chris Welsh ’90 thanked three Alumni Council members whose terms have ended: Megan Bailey O’Grady ’01, Ashley Kokal McCarthy ’02, and Brad Searl ’95. He also welcomed a new member to the Council: Chris Neher ’94. Neher has worked in the development profession for 15 years. He currently serves as co-chair of the Great Plains Institute. The Alumni Council is an important presence at Breck, hosting events including the Homecoming barbecue and annual holiday party, working with the Breck Parents Association on family service opportunities and coordinating alumni participation in the Annual Fund. Want to get involved? Please email to find out more.

Homecoming barbecue and carnival in the tent Saturday, September 26, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., McKnight Stadium Class Reunions. Friday, September 25 and Saturday, September 26

A full range of opportunities to cheer on the Mustangs in fall sports!

Are you LinkedIn?

Over 830 Breck alumni and parents are LinkedIn. Are you? Visit to connect.

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Today at Breck

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Spring 2015

class notes reunion year

1974 R.T. Rybak served as the 2015 Baccalaureate Speaker on May 31. Since leaving the Mayor’s office, R.T. has been executive director of Generation Next, a coalition of civic, business and education leaders dedicated to closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for students of color in Minneapolis and St. Paul.



Episcopal priest and poet Spencer Reece will be honored with the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award on Thursday, September 24, at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. The day will conclude with a special showing of Las Chavas in the Cargill Theater at 7:00 p.m. The film was inspired by Spencer’s work at an

Patrick Phillips will be joining Breck as assistant head of school on July 1. He, his wife Ainslie, and their four children are moving to the Twin Cities from London, where he had been head of the upper school at TASIS.

orphanage in Honduras.


1988 Find out more about what Alycya Hjelm Cardwell has been up to in the Alumni in Performing Arts article in this issue of Today at Breck.

1975 ​ awn Wilderson Legros is chairing F the committee for the 70s and Beyond reunion. The decade will meet on Saturday, August 1 at Cowboy Jack’s in Minneapolis and plans are being made for a family picnic on Sunday, August 2.

1977 Find out more about what Kimberly Wilson has been up to in the Alumni in Performing Arts article in this issue of Today at Breck.

Erik Stolhanske was featured in C.J.’s column in the Star Tribune on April 26. Check it out at c-j-with-super-troopers-star-theres-the-occasional-meow-without-anycattiness/301247651/#

Current Breck parent Nancy Johnson served as a presenter at the 2015 Upper School Awards Ceremony.

1985 The Class of 1985 will celebrate its 30-year reunion during Homecoming Weekend, September 24-26. Danna Heilcher Mirviss is leading this year’s committee. Look for an invitation later this summer.

Katharine Anderson Groethe was named the 2015 Alumna of Year at the Breck Alumni Association Annual Meeting on May 4. Kathy was joined by husband, Joel, and children Griffin ’16, Penny ’19, and Gabby ’22. Look for her “20 Questions” answers in this issue of Today at Breck.

1989 Find out more about what Craig Finn has been up to lately in the Alumni in Performing Arts article in this issue of Today at Breck.


Allison O’Toole, deputy director of MNSure, was named Interim CEO on May 4.

Sarah Bellamy has been named Co-Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre Company and will take over the company in January 2017. Wrote Rohan Preston in the Star Tribune, “Her ascension will make her one of the country’s youngest, most highprofile female theater leaders.” She received a Bush Fellowship in the spring of 2015.

1990 The Class of 1990 will celebrate its 25-year reunion on Saturday, August 1. Jena Bjorgen, Molly Clark and Dave Walter are serving on the reunion committee. Malik Bush addressed the Breck faculty and staff in a presentation titled, “Who Do You See: Updating Your Visual Lexicon” on June 5. Martha Overby helped present an award at the 2015 Upper School Awards Ceremony.

John Myers and his wife Lucretia welcomed Juan Esteban Myers to their family on April 15 in Washington, D.C. The family is doing well as is very proud grandfather Dick Myers ’64. Chris Neher is the newest member of the Breck Alumni Council.

1995 The class of 1995 will celebrate its 20-year reunion over Homecoming Weekend, September 24-26. Invitations will be mailed later this summer. Heather Behnke Grant is leading this effort.

1998 Kevin Cannon is a regular cover artist for the Minneapolis publisher Wise Ink Creative Publishing. The company recently started a project that teaches high school-age writers all about the publishing process — sort of like publishing boot camp, with the end result being a published anthology of the students’ work. One of the students that Kevin will be working with is Bella Evans ’18. For more information please go to https:// Tim Murphy was on campus talking to students in the May Program Entrepreneurship Project. He is the chief executive officer of Hot Dang, a Texas-based company that makes grain burgers.



Caryn Mead Kelly was on campus on June 2 to present the Christin Mead Memorial Award at the Upper School Awards Ceremony.

1994 Tony Jewett is serving his first term as Council Member for the City of Deephaven.

Alumni Council Past President Brad Searl and his wife Jen welcomed their first child on April 21. Ottilie Searl was born at 6:32 p.m., weighing in at 7 pounds and 19.5 inches. The family is doing well. Brad was thanked and recognized during the Annual Alumni Association Meeting on Monday, May 4. He served on the Alumni Council since 2007. He was also back on campus presenting the Breck Alumni Award at the Upper School Awards Ceremony on June 2.

Michael Proman worked with four members of the Class of 2015, Jennifer Fabian, Peter Kiesel, Jake Levy, and Madi Lommen, during May Program. The group studied entrepreneurship — visiting a number of local entrepreneurs (including a number of alums), came up with an idea, and put together a business plan. The course concluded with a Breck version of Shark Tank. Michael also presented at the 2015 Upper School Awards Ceremony.

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Today at Breck

Spring 2015

Students in the May Program Entrepreneurship Project had the opportunity to meet with alumna and Breck parent Heather Saucier and alumnus Jeff Kemintz. Heather is partner and director of innovation at Mindsailing, and Jeff is director of outreach at Wilderness Inquiry.

2001 48 /

Megan Bailey O’Grady was recognized for her work on the Alumni Council at the Annual Meeting on Monday, May 4. Megan served from 2006-2007 and then again from 2009-2015. She served as Breck’s first regional council member. Find out more about what Erin Drummond has been up to in the Alumni in Performing Arts article in this issue of Today at Breck.

2002 Whitney Clark will be joining Breck as a Chinese language instructor for the 2015-2016 school year.

2005 The Class of 2005 will celebrate its 10-year reunion on Saturday, August 29. Marlene Goldenberg is leading the committee. Quinn Shadko played Richie’s girlfriend Pinky in Minneapolis Musical Theatre’s production of Happy Days in late April and early May. Find out more about Quinn in the Alumni in Performing Arts article in this issue of Today at Breck.

2007 Jamie Erdahl was part of the on-air team for several NCAA basketball tournament games. She was the subject of a very nice article in the Star Tribune’s sports section in the run-up to March Madness. Jamie is a broadcaster for CBS. Addie Gorlin has produced the play, “I And You,” which was performed at the Phoenix Theater in Uptown at the end of May and early June.

Ashley Kokal McCarthy was recognized for her service on the Alumni Council on Monday, May 4. She served from 2011-2015 and served as the co-chair of Homecoming for three years!

2004 Wynne Reece served as the alumni speaker for Commencement 2015. Wynne was the senior buddy of Caroline Headrick ’15 and currently serves as an assistant coach for Mustang mock trial.

Grace Rybak was the speaker at the Cum Laude Dinner on April 21. Her speech can be found in the section “In Their Own Words” in this issue of Today at Breck.

2010 2010 Alumni Class representatives Zach Soskin and Annalisa Tester are busy planning the first reunion for the Class of 2010. Save the date, Class of 2010, for Thanksgiving weekend. Find out more about what Katherine Paulsen has been up to in the Alumni in Performing Arts article in this issue of Today at Breck.

2011 Williams standout Lacrosse player Steven Kiesel was named to the Division III Mid-Season All-American Team. He ended his career by scoring several goals in his final game of his college career.

2012 The artwork of Kasey Robinson was featured at a show on June 20 at the Royal Kings Gallery located in the Northrup King Building in Minneapolis. The show was included as part of a benefit in support of Washburn Center for Children.

2003 Elise Bartlett is living in New York and is general manager of GrapeStory, a mobile-first marketing and production house that delivers micro content and great stories. You can learn more at


2013 Maggie MacLennan is interning with Breck Admissions. Kevin Schreck provided a special showing of his film, Persistence of Vision, on April 7. The evening brought together alums, parent of alums, faculty members and a former faculty member, Michael Moos. Ian Veitch participated in a white coat ceremony Sunday, April 19, 2015. He is a DVM candidate in the Class of 2016 at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

2014 Former yearbook editors Alyssa Quast and Makayla Samountry were back on campus to present the Hancock Yearbook Award at the Upper School Awards Ceremony on June 2.

2015 Peter Kiesel and Madi Lommen are serving as the Alumni Representatives for the Class of 2015.

In Memoriam 1949 Dr. John Brown died peacefully on April 5, surrounded by loving family. Survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Karin, children David and Anne Brown, Susan and Todd Thayer, Michael and Kimberlee Brown; grandchildren, Melissa Brown, Emily Brown (Nate Kilgore), Cole Thayer, and Paige Thayer; siblings, Bill ’47 and Jean Brown, Robert ’56 and Penny Brown, Sally Brown, and brother-in-law, Craig Olson (Mary Louise). After graduating from Breck in 1949, John went on to receive his BS, MS, and Medical Degree from the University of Minnesota. In 1957 John joined the Navy, and served as a shipboard medical officer. After his Navy service, he completed his Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at the Mayo Clinic. He was one of the founders of Twin City ObGyn and retired in 1997. Along with his three brothers, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Breck in 2003. He was a former president of the Minnesota ObGyn Society and an adjunct professor of ObGyn at the University of Minnesota. John was remembered at a memorial service on April 10.

1952 Terry Klas passed away on April 19. After graduating from Breck, Terry served in the Army Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps. He retired as a Colonel and then had a successful career as an attorney for Allianz/NALAC. He was a family man, good friend, dedicated leader, and loyal employee. He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Catherine Louise (French); sons James (Joyce), John (Suratchanee) and Michael (Deborah); daughter Karen Blu Moll (David); grandchildren Matthew (Veronica), Josiah, Connor, Dustin, Casey, Riley, Ian, Alan and Storm. Terry was remembered at a service on April 27.

In Their Own Words continued from page 52

I don’t get a grade for any of these things, so I’ll never truly

met the 26 incredible fourth-graders I work with every day.

know what’s good enough, what I can move into the

And I wouldn’t have realized that this path, this demanding,

“accomplishments” column. But they make the hard work

exhausting path, is also an amazing privilege that happens

worthwhile. And they make me more excited each day to

to be exactly the right place for me.

teach again next year, and the year after that, and hopefully many years into the future.

So what I hope for you tonight is that you feel just proud. A Breck education is a tremendous gift. And through your hard

I share this part of my story with you tonight not because I

work, you’ve honored that gift. The path that you take from

want to say “work hard and you’ll reach your dreams.” Not

here may be filled with awards and accolades like this, or it

because I want to say, “take the most difficult POSSIBLE

may be entirely different. You may find yourself sitting with

path.” What I want to share is something that I left out from

those same doubts that I did in my first year of teaching. Is

the beginning of my speech. When I sat at this dinner in

this where I should be? Wasn’t I supposed to do better than

2009, I did feel very proud. But I also felt a lot of pressure.

this? Trust yourself. Forgive yourself. And keep looking for

Pressure to get perfect grades in college, pressure to move on

your own ways to define your success.

to a prestigious career. I wanted to keep being this “type” of person. In my first year of teaching, I was convinced that I’d

You’re off to a promising start already.

chosen the wrong path because I didn’t have any of those external markers of success. If I had quit during that year, an

The Cum Laude Society is a national organization dedicated

option I considered frequently, I never would have discov-

to achievement in secondary schools.

ered the joy and fulfillment in teaching that now carry me through the frustrations and challenges. I never would have

/ 49

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

50 /

Winter Sports: Boys Swim and Dive Finishes Second in the State, Boys Alpine Ski Finishes Fifth, Peter Kiesel Takes Second in State Alpine, Ingrid Thyr Takes Fifth in State Nordic, Boys Hockey, Marianne Drysdale, Deirdre O’Neill and Lewis White Compete at State as Well Alpine Ski

Girls Basketball

Season highlights included Peter Kiesel’s second-place finish

The girls finished fourth in the conference and celebrated

at state, the boys team’s fifth-place finish at state, and

wins over Blake, SPA (twice), and Mounds Park. They had

Deirdre O’Neill’s qualification for state as well. Thanks to a

outstanding senior leadership, and will lose four seniors to

combination of senior leadership and young talent, it was a

graduation, but have lots of young talent on which to build a

good season overall. The boys finished first in the conference,

bright future. Raven DuBois was named all-conference, with

and the girls were third.

honorable mention for Cecily Hibbs, Sophie O’Bryan and

All-conference honors went to Peter Kiesel, Deirdre O’Neill, Liam O’Neill and Louis Weiner, with honorable mentions for

Hunter Hamilton. Cecily Hibbs was named MVP, Celeste Haberman MIP and Sophie O’Bryan the Mustanger.

Jack Dickinson, Lindsey Fernandez, Erik Horstman and Kendall Riskevich. Peter Kiesel was the MVP, Jennie Ehlert the MIP and Jack Dempsey the Mustanger.

Boys Basketball The Mustangs finished in a three-way tie for the conference championship but were denied a trip to the state tournament with a loss in the section finals. Will Culliton (1,877) and Mo Lawal (1,800) became Breck’s all-time leading


scorers, and Will was

Injuries made this a tough season for Mustang gymnasts,

named the IMAC conference athlete of the month for

and Breck was one of only two private schools in the state

December. Henry Cousineau, Will Culliton and Mo Lawal

with a gymnastics team. The girls finished fourth in the

were named to the all-conference team, with honorable

section, with Marianne Drysdale qualifying for state in the

mentions for Justin Bergerson and Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bow-


man. Will Culliton was the MVP, Justin Bergerson the MIP and Garrett Opperman the Mustanger.

Marianne Drysdale was the MVP, Erykah Starr the MIP and Sara Carle the Mustanger.

Boys Hockey The Mustangs made it to the state tournament after a double overtime win over Delano in the section finals and a 22-9 record for the season. Stephen Headrick was a finalist for the Frank Brimsek award for the state’s best goalie.

/ 51

All-conference honors went to Chase Ellingson, Stephen Headrick, Tyler Lindstrom, Tyler Scott and Dalton Weigel, with honorable mentions for Will Blake, David Husband, Grant Parrish and Justin Paulson. Stephen Headrick was the MVP, Justin Paschke the MIP and David Husband the Mustanger.

Nordic Ski Two athletes, Ingrid Thyr and Lewis White, competed at state, with Ingrid finishing 25th. Both girls and boys teams were second in the conference, with Ingrid Thyr finishing first in the conference for individuals and Lewis White finishing third. All-conference honors went to Ingrid Thyr and Lewis White, with honorable mentions for Gigi Gunderson and Morgan Richter. Ingrid Thyr and Lewis White were the MVPs, Ian Empson and Morgan Richter the MIPs and Jake Levy and Gennie Weiler the Mustangers.

Boys Swim and Dive The Bearstangs, a co-op team with Blake, took second place at the state meet in March. They were first in the section as a

Girls Hockey Finishing with a record of 22-7 overall, second in the conference, the girls lost a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker to Blake in the section championship. Jenna Brenneman, Sydney Scobee and Grace Zumwinkle were all-conference, with honorable mentions for Claire Mancheski, Amanda Navratil, Kendall Williamson and Anna Zumwinkle. Grace Zumwinkle was the MVP, Sydney Breza the MIP and Adrianna Keller the Mustanger.

team, and Davis Harrington was first in the section for diving. At the section meet, Nic van Oppen was named section swimmer of the meet, and he went on to a great state meet, where he and the team took fourth in the 50 and 100 free, first in the 200 free relay and second in the 400 free relay. Nic van Oppen was the IMAC athlete of the month for March. Dylan Motto, Evan Stafford, Nic van Oppen and Christopher Walker were the MVPs, Jacob Johnson the MIP and Dylan Brown the Mustanger.

Today at Breck

Spring 2015

In Their Own Words

Cum Laude Society speech by Grace Rybak ’09

52 /

I have such clear memories of sitting at this same dinner in 2009. I felt so much pride and gratification, as I hope all of you do too, at receiving recognition for the hard work I had put in throughout high school—sweating it out over significant figures in Ms. Fruen’s class, cramming for Ms. Walsh’s AP U.S. quizzes, studying for final after final. For you, tonight is a celebration of your successes, and the drive and dedication it took to achieve them. I know that each of you has already spent much of this year planning the future, so decisions about what path you want your life to take are not new to you. For me, the most monumental decision so far was the choice to become a teacher. I had considered the idea since my junior year at Breck, when I volunteered in a bilingual program during May Program. While I considered other options throughout college—law school, applying for the foreign service, human rights work—I came back to a passion to join the important work towards educational equality here in our community. I knew there would be some challenges, but felt reasonably

I don’t know exactly how things got better, but of course

sure I could steer through them.

they did. Every day, I came to my classroom determined to

And then. The first day of school happened.

make it better than the day before, and most days, that was a goal I could accomplish. I watched the skilled teachers at my

I was a first-year teacher at a brand new school, in its first

school, asked them questions, imitated them in my own

year of operation. The school was led by a first-time princi-

classroom. Most of all, I used a mantra that another teacher

pal, and my kindergarten students were in their first year of

gave me on the first day of school. Forgive yourself each

school, many of them learning English for the first time. To

night. Recommit each morning. By the end of the year, my

be blunt, it was a mess. The school was floundering within

classroom certainly wasn’t ready to be the triumphant scene

the first month of opening, and my classroom was chaotic.

in a teaching movie, but my students and my own teaching

There were many factors out of my control, but I also just

had grown more than I believed was possible. And this year,

wasn’t an effective teacher yet. I came to school each day

moving up five grade levels to fourth grade, I just kept

and worked harder than I ever had in my life, but every day, I

pushing. I would never label myself a successful teacher

was failing. Virtually all of my thoughts were consumed by

because I know I can always do better for my students. But

my students, not just out of care for them but out of neces-

I’ve learned to embrace success in smaller ways. The pride

sity. However, on those times when I did think about myself,

my students feel when they grow in reading. The four-para-

I spent a lot of my time questioning why I became a teacher.

graph essays they wrote just a month after learning what a

The stakes for my students were incredibly high, and I was

paragraph is. The way one of my students described how he

failing them. I thought, “This wasn’t the person I was

feels each day in our classroom: “peaceful, calm, respected.”

supposed to be. I was supposed to be successful.” Continued on page 50

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

Think a legacy gift isn’t for someone like you? Think again! “I’m still young.” In fact, 65% of charitable bequests are made by people ages 18-64.

“We’re not that wealthy.” 58% of legacy gifts are established by people with incomes under $75,000.

“I don’t have a complicated estate plan.” 80% of legacy gifts are made by listing an organization as a beneficiary of a will, retirement plan or insurance policy. “We don’t really see the need.” 97% of people establish legacy gifts because they love an organization and want to be sure its work continues.

“My family won’t approve.” 72% of family members surveyed say sharing their inheritance with their loved ones’ gifts to a charitable organization is a reasonable choice.

Sources: Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, Stelter Donor Insight Report

If you would like more information and/or a confidential conversation about joining the James Lloyd Breck Society, please contact Sara Jones ( or 763-381-8208).

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, please notify us (763.381.8129 or of the new mailing address.

Water day! Kindergartners enjoy a time-honored Breck tradition.

photoby byKaryl KarylRice Rice Photo

Today at Breck - Spring 2015  

Our spring issue of Today at Breck features our performing arts and our performing arts faculty.

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