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Today at Breck

Winter 2015

Mission: in progress Living Our Mission One Student at a Time / PG. 20

A Very special collaboration fall sports alumni news

I support the Breck Annual Fund because…

As a retired teacher, I truly appreciate the wonderful education my grandchildren are receiving at Breck. Carolyn Hillebrand Grandmother of Carter ’14 and Cassidy Roland ’18

My Breck education (1st-12th grades) was one of the most influential factors in creating the person I am today. Andrea Specht ’88

It supports all the amazing resources our kids benefit from each and every day — arts, music, field trips, specialists, special lecturers and speakers. Maura and David Mitchell Parents of Alison ’23 and Colin Mitchell ’25

Read more stories and submit your own at


Winter 2015

Today at Breck

FEATURES 14 / Meeting History Face to Face Middle School students had the extraordinary opportunity of learning about the Holocaust from local survivor Joe Grosnacht, and the result is an amazing artistic collaboration.

20 / Living Our Mission cover story While it may not be top of mind to most students, Breck’s mission is more than a group of words. It’s the foundation for everything we do. As current students and some young alumni reflect on their Breck experience, you’ll see how the intent of that mission resonates every day and long after graduation.


38 / Most Valuable Fan Alumni parent Tom Brokl takes his hockey — and his Mustang Pride — very seriously, as his ever-growing list of email subscribers can attest.


On the cover: Annie McFarland ’15: varsity swimmer, Advanced Science researcher, Breck student since first grade on her way to the University of Chicago and someone who lives the Breck mission every day. Photo by Sara Rubinstein



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

Head of School


Departments 4 / 20 Questions

40 / Alumni News

We asked, and they answered: Dalton

Events, reunions and more

Weigel ’17, Claudette Laureano and

42 / C  lass Notes

Kirstin Erickson Wilson ’88

Edward Kim

7 / 123

Director of Advancement

Activities, accomplishments, awards,

Editor and Chief Writer

from winter at Breck.


7 / Who Knew?

Meredith Cook VanDuyne Jill Field

Brenda Janisch-Hoban

Writers Sally Horstman, Pam Kroyer, Michelle Geo Olmstead, Karyl Rice, Laura McCarty Tufano

Photographers Byron Rice, Karyl Rice, Sara Rubinstein




announcements: here are some items

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

12 / Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…

Alumni share recent news.

46 / Sports News We’ve got all the highlights of the Mustangs’ fall season.

48 / In Their Own Words Senior Jaila Tolbert, Homecoming Queen, with one of her favorite subjects: first grader Jada Robinson

Now in its 26th year, Applause, Breck’s annual fundraiser, is still a great night of celebration and support.

Bolger Vision Beyond Print


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

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

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

/3 Like any powerful mission statement, Breck’s is deceptively straightforward. One of the things that interests me most is how much is revealed beneath the surface of its seemingly simple tenets. To prepare each student for a college whose culture is compatible with the individual’s needs, interests and abilities. On closer reading, this first tenet, generally thought of as the college placement and academic part of our mission, is a fundamental promise statement. It pledges that we will know each student well, understand the universe of postsecondary options, and find the right fit between the two for every Breck student. What it doesn’t mean is that we will limit our work to simply make a match between any particular student and any particular college. In fact, we set the bar much higher. Breck’s approach works because our college counseling staff is involved with our students’ lives: as mentors, advisers, familiar presences in class and at service. We live the mission by knowing each student well enough to help chart the best course for his or her life after Breck. To help develop each student’s unique potential to excel by nurturing independence and self-worth. This tenet is often interpreted as the school’s pledge to support students’ current interests in academics as well as athletics, the arts or service. But it makes me mindful that the best teachers are those who simultaneously see students both as they are today and what they have the potential to become. Breck teachers are masters at doing exactly that. And recognizing the uniqueness of each student means we have no template, no schematic, no flowchart. Working hard to guide students during this time when they depend on us assures that they’ll be independent in the larger communities in which they’ll live in the future. Instill in each student a deep sense of social responsibility. On the surface, this tenet relates only to service, but it’s much deeper than that. We live our mission by preparing students to work actively to make the world a better place. Acquiring facts and knowledge is just the beginning. At Breck, our teachers challenge students to take the material they’ve learned and ask themselves, “Now what am I going to do about it?” They’re not just learning to win trophies or check a box on a college application. They’re developing a lasting commitment to engagement and connectedness, and they will make a positive difference throughout their lives. In this issue of Today at Breck, you’ll have the opportunity to learn what living the mission means to some of our students and alumni — in their own words, not mine. In the end, their lives are the only tests of our success that truly matter.

EdWARD Kim Head of school

Today at Breck

Fall 2013

Questions 4/

Dalton Weigel ’17: breck sophomore 1

What music are you

listening to lately? Always country, especially anything produced by Jason Aldean or Lee Brice 2

What’s one of the last

books you read? The Giver by Lois Lowry 3

What’s your favorite

time of year?


Best decision? Coming to Breck as a freshman. The education is top notch, the hockey is great, the team is like a second family, and the experience is unforgettable.

the best. 4

What’s the most thrilling/


kindergarten? Always racing to get to my favorite truck at playtime. Also nap time and

Flipping over a jet ski in the Atlantic

snack time!

island cruise. That really got my heart pumping. 5

What’s your favorite

Breck lunch? Grilled cheese and tomato soup 6

Who is your personal hero

(and why)? My brother, who’s in the United States Marine Corps. He is an inspiration and why I am always striving for success. 7

Dream job?

Defense attorney or sports agent

the team, “You think you can win on talent alone? Gentlemen, you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” 15 Three people, living or dead, you’d have over to dinner? Caesar

What do you remember from

adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Ocean when I was on a Caribbean

Miracle on Ice, when Herb Brooks tells

Wayne Gretzky, Katy Perry and Julius

Wintertime. It’s hockey season, and outdoor skating and pond hockey is

14 Favorite line from a movie?

10 What is the most important room in your home? The downstairs living room, where I feel the most comfortable with my family 11 What’s your favorite place on the Breck campus? Anderson Arena 12 Favorite treat: salty or sweet? Definitely sweet. Probably the cupcake 13 If you had a theme song, what would it be? “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” by Journey

16 Best trophy/award you ever won? Being on the all-academic team in a selects tournament last year and being on the academic deans’ list 17 If you could read anyone’s mind, whose would it be? Steve Jobs 18 If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Bora Bora 19 Pet peeve? When people say “me and someone” instead of “someone and I” 20 What keeps you up at night? Big games. I get nervous the night before.

Questions /5

Claudette Laureano: strings instructor and alumni parent 1

What are you listening to?


What advice would you give to

16 Three people, living or dead,

The short list: Danzón Nº 2 by Arturo

yourself 10 years ago?

you’d have over to dinner?

Márquez, Cakewalk: Suite (after Music

Go through with physical therapy for

My four grandparents, whom I never

by Louis Moreau Gottschalk), Ludwig

the damage to my vocal cords from 30

got to meet. I would ask them for

von Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6,

years of yelling instructions over my

stories about how life was for them

“Under the Sea” from Little Mermaid,

youth orchestra.

back in Egypt (my mother’s parents)

“Married Life” from Up, Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit by Darius Milhaud, Ancient Airs and Dances No. 2 by Ottorino Respighi 2

What’s one of the last books

you read? Phantom by Susan Kay 3

Favorite time of year?

I love rebirth so naturally it’s spring. 4

Favorite Breck lunch?

I love the variety of the soups. 5

Who is your personal hero?

My husband, Manny, lives life to the fullest. He is the best father and husband, a great teacher and a musician who inspires me to be my best. 6

Dream job?

I already have it! I am co-music director of Minnesota Youth Symphonies, one of the country’s best youth orchestras, and I teach at the best school in the world. 7

Best decision?

Taking the job at Breck in 1982. My dream was to play in an orchestra, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to teach.


What is the most important

room in your home? Our kitchen, where we gather to eat, talk, and play family games 10 What’s your favorite place on the Breck campus? My classroom, where I get to see some of my favorite people on a daily basis. 11 Favorite comfort food? Pizza. The cheesier the better, and nothing beats a great pizza crust! 12 Favorite treat: salty or sweet? Sweet, without question 13 If you had a theme song, what

and Germany (my father’s). Life wasn’t easy for Jews in either of those places. 17 Best trophy/award you ever won? The Jean Wigley Award which allowed me to commission a work by the Minnesota composer Shelley Hanson. “Elegy for Albinoni” has been performed all over the U.S. and in Europe. 18 If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? In this year, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, I would like to go to southern Poland to pay my respects to all who were killed due to Adolf Hitler, his followers and

would it be?

all who did not speak up. “Never again,

“I Will Survive”

never forget…”

14 Favorite line from a movie?

19 Unfulfilled wish?

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas

I wish my parents had been able to

any more.”

meet my children, Max and Kiko. They

15 Favorite website? YouTube, a great place to hear what

would have been great grandparents. 20 What keeps you up at night?

other student orchestras sound like. It

What doesn’t? Music is on my brain

also helps me anticipate the pitfalls in

24/7 and it’s hard to tune it out (no pun

pieces I may be teaching.


Today at Breck

WInter 2015

Questions 6/


What music are you


Best decision?

15 Three people, living or dead,

listening to lately?

Moving back to Minneapolis to raise

you’d have over to dinner?

My daughters’ cello/viola/piano music

my family

Frank McCourt, Roald Dahl and

— and also their pop tunes 2

What’s one of the last


What advice would you give to

yourself 10 years ago?

Tina Fey 16 Best trophy/award you

books you read?

Relax — a little. Work hard, but maybe

ever won?

The Light Between Oceans by M.L.

you don’t need to worry about some of

The New Investigator Award from the

Stedman and Boy by Roald Dahl.

the small things.

Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesia

It’s too hard to choose just one. 3

Favorite time of year?

Hot summer 4

What’s the most thrilling/

adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Living in China for two months at age 17 with only two other students (Polly Cohen and Matt Krasowski) 5

Favorite Breck lunch?

Rectangular pizza! 6

Who is your personal hero

(and why)? Paul Farmer, subject of the book

10 What do you remember from first grade?

where would you go?

singing “Goodbye Everybody, Yes

Denmark. It has delicious food, easy

Indeed” and days when Mrs. Eastman

weather, happy enlightened people,

and Mrs. Goddard would wear

and it’s cosmopolitan but not crowded.

uniforms just like us. 11 Favorite comfort food? French burgundy beef stew — yum! 12 If you had a theme song,

19 Unfulfilled wish? take my kids more places, try to learn

13 Favorite line from a movie?

unreal progress curing infectious

— The Princess Bride

diseases in the Third World

comes with wonderful colleagues.

my kids do.

More hours in the day! I‘d read more,

says differently is selling something.”

intellectual, clinical, hands-on and

Waiting. I get impatient quicker than

“I’m Late, I’m Late…”

brilliant and selfless physician making

I’m pretty happy with mine. It’s

18 Pet peeve?

what would it be?

“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who

Dream job?

17 If you could travel anywhere,

The race to change into gym clothes,

Mountains Beyond Mountains, a


and Critcal Care

more languages, ski, play cello, and finish a Saturday crossword. 20 What keeps you up at night? In a literal way, nothing. I’m exhausted. Figuratively, the things that will


Favorite website?

give my children problems in their lives: worsening inequality, the loss of wild places, the erosion of citizens’ rights, and the violence popping up around the globe


Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

Carlsen, Ratliff Awarded 2015-16 Sabbaticals Head of School Edward Kim has announced that Breck will offer two sabbaticals next school year. The teachers and their plans are as follows: Meg Amad Carlsen (Upper School English) will work on a memoir about her father, about whom she has come to

Meg Amad Carlsen

Dan Ratliff

know a great deal more in recent years. Meg’s father, raised

ing music. Inspired by the projects in Make magazine

in Palestine and Jordan, came to the U.S. to study for his

(including 3D printing, modeling software, robotics and

master’s degree, met her mother and converted to Christian-

physical computing, to name a few) but always short on

ity but was at the end of his life committed to increasing

time to pursue them, Dan will use his sabbatical year to take

Americans’ understanding about Arab culture and the Arab

up several that will give him personal fulfillment but also

American experience. She will travel throughout the Middle

teach him skills he can bring back to the classroom upon

East to spend time with his family and friends in Lebanon,

his return.

Jerusalem, Jordan and Egypt, research his work in California,

Said Kim in an email announcement to faculty and staff,

Texas and Puerto Rico, and take memoir writing classes at

“Please join me in congratulating Meg and Dan on their

the Loft.

proposals and wishing them safe travels and fulfilling

Dan Ratliff (Middle School science) will weave together his

experiences in the year to come.”

interests in the local maker community, pursuing his own creative projects, and being more disciplined about practic-

Who Knew?


Almost half of all Breck alumni still call the North Star state home (followed by New York, California, Chicago area, Washington, DC, area, New England-Boston, Colorado, Florida, Texas and Arizona).

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

Junior Named Top Minnesota Volunteer


Shivani Nookala ’16 was named one

of two top youth volunteers in the

state of Minnesota, winning a

Prudential Spirit of Community

award, a nationwide program

honoring young people for outstand-

ing acts of volunteerism. Shivani has

recently completed a year-long independent study of community gardening and is currently advising the City of Golden Valley about how to start one.

WCCO TV photographer and Tim Michaels

Breck in the News We’ve been the subject of several wonderful media stories in the past few months. If available, links to the stories and videos are posted on the Breck website and the school’s Facebook page.

Female Students Receive National Honors for Their Aspirations in Computing

• WCCO ran a heartwarming story on food services employee Tim Michaels and his relationship with the Breck boys varsity hockey team. • The Star Tribune ran a terrific article about the Middle School’s collaboration with Holocaust survivor Joe Grosnacht

Thirty-five high school girls nationwide have won an

and his memoir, Six Chairs. (For more on that project, see

Aspirations in Computing award from the National Center

page 14 of this issue of Today at Breck.)

for Women in Information Technology, and one of them is

• The Star Tribune also ran a profile of senior classmates and

Breck senior Darartu Gamada. Both Evelyn McChesney and Maddy McCue were named state finalists.

basketball teammates Will Culliton and Mo Lawal. • Minnesota Public Radio featured the Breck Chamber Players. MPR Classical showcases the music of one high school group

Senior Takes Top Honors at American Indian Science Fair

each month, and this is the second consecutive year that Breck has been selected. A story and photo was also posted on the MPR website that day. • Channel 12 (northwest area cable) did stories on Kwaku

Grant Two Bulls won the first grand

prize at this year’s American Indian

Bodom ’15 (Standout Student), Will Culliton ’15 (Sports Jam)

Science and Engineering Society

and Stephen Headrick ’15 (Sports Jam).

Science Fair. Grant’s project, part of

Breck’s Advanced Science Research

Program, involved taking core samples

From the Faculty Bookshelf

of Lake Calhoun to determine the

Percussion teacher David Birrow is the

environmental impact of an early 19th century Mdewakan-

author of The Bucket Book, a “junkyard

ton Dakota agricultural village.

percussion manual.” Breck Middle

School students are featured in the

related videos. The book is available at

Barnes and Noble, Amazon, several

local music stores and via the website

The award was presented by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, whose mission is to substantially increase the representation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers.

Who Knew?

21 (2 more than last year) Homes served by Breck volunteers for the annual Fall Leaf Rake event

Participate in University of Minnesota Insect Fair Fourth- and fifth-grade student group the “Breck Birders” were participants in the Insect Fair held at the University of Minnesota on December 6. The students designed and carried out a scientific inquiry project this past summer. The question they were investigating was, “In which habitat will we observe the greatest diversity of bird species?” The students collected their bird observations on the Breck campus at the ponds, wood, and marsh areas. They met during the summer months of June, July and August on Friday mornings at 6:30 am. Students participating were Joshua Goh, Lauren To, Alison Mitchell, Petra Lyon, Romy

Middle School Student Recognized for Service at His Former Preschool

The most recent St.

David’s early education

center newsletter

features an interview

with Breck Middle School

student Gunnar Evenstad,

who now volunteers at St.

David’s as part of Middle

School service, and was

formerly a student there

himself. Said a teacher

quoted in the article, “I had Gunnar when he was a toddler, and now he’s the favorite lap to sit on when he’s here and helping us read books.”

Peterson, William Stutsman, Reese Wilcox, Chloe Chu, Oliver Pohlad, Kimi Tanaka and James Hicks.



e nc

S ort


n tio a r b

C *A

Varsity Mock Trial Heads Back to State Competition


c Bre

p up S o


Save the date of Friday, May 29, for a celebration of the Science Endowment Fund. Inspired by

Breck Blue, our varsity mock trial team, fared well in regional competition, winning the regional finals over Park Center High School by a score of 227-217. The team will have competed in the Minnesota state tournament by the time this issue of Today at Breck goes to press, and we will report on the results in the next issue. Our junior varsity team, Breck Gold, made it to the next-

faculty members Lois Fruen and Jacob Miller, we’ll gather to support the future of Breck science at a dinner reception at the Minikahda Club. Please call Pam Kroyer at 763-381-8184 to learn more and receive an invitation.

to-last round of regional qualification.

150 Breck volunteers who donated 620 hours to assist with the Special Olympics Poly Hockey tournament in January


Today at Breck

WInter 2015

Today at 123 Ottawa Avenue North

From our teachers on sabbatical: Barbara Jacobs-Smith has had another article published on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdSleuth website. Check it out: And Alexis Kent has been posting on her blog daily, internet connection and electricity dependent. Her blog is, and her Twitter feed is mskentabroad.

News and Notes

10 /

Senior Annie McFarland has been selected as a 2015 Donaldson Science Award Winner. The Donaldson Awards recognize and reward students of color for interests and achievements in STEM and are sponsored in part by the Science Museum of Minnesota. Abigail Samuel won Breck’s spelling bee. She’ll advance to the state championship at Augsburg College on March 21. Eighth grader Jack Weinstein won Breck’s Geography Bee and will go on to state competition. Several Breck students were chosen for participation in the 10th Annual Shattuck St. Mary’s Art Invitational. Madison Rudnick won fourth place for her ceramic piece. Also participating: Maya Jackson and Emma Luten (ceramics), Uma Oswald (collage), Na Na Pha and Cassidy Yueh (drawing), Parker Marks and Emily Sponsel (mixed media), Ivy Flemmer (printmaking), and Sarah Prentice (sculpture). Athletes receiving recognition include Bre Thorne and Peter Kiesel, IMAC Athletes of the Month, Will Culliton and Peter Kiesel, Star Tribune Athletes of the Week, and Grace Zumwinkle, Pioneer Press Athlete of the Week. Stephen Headrick was one of two finalists for the Frank Brimack Award, given to the state’s top goalie.

Claire Drysdale ‘14’s paper was selected as the outstanding paper for District 7 by the national Cum Laude Society. The paper, entitled “Combining Chemistry and Artistry: Identification of Artistic Patinas Using Raman Spectrometry,” came from Claire’s work in Advanced Science Research at Breck. Breck is preparing to host the statewide elementary chess tournament March 14-15. It’s expected that several Breck students will be part of the competition. In February, Breck hosted the annual Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) conference. Hundreds of educators were on campus for lectures, workshops and other events. Faculty and staff welcomed four new children into the Breck community recently. Joseph Noble, Breck parent and Buildings and Grounds employee, is the father of daughter Ronique Alexis, born November 21. Middle School resource instructor Jay Rainville-Squier and his husband Josh adopted their son Max in December. Breck parents and faculty members Amy and Brian Wright welcomed new daughter Devyn Kathryn on January 6. And Lower School teacher Stacy Moore welcomed son Thomas David on February 19.

Breck Summer Programs June 15 to July 31

SUMMER PROGRAMS 763.381.8234 er-programs

* Camp Breck * Jr. Adventure Camp * Adventure Camp * Camp à la Carte * Sports Camp * Middle & Upper School * Who Knew?

Large piece of amber found and mounted by former faculty member Warren Hall — providing a glimpse of deep time history. Donated to Breck in memory of his wife and former Upper School Counselor Pat Hall

Uma Oswald ’15

Francesca Miller ’15

/ 11

40 Minnesota Scholastic Awards Go to Breck Artists Student artists from Breck received a great deal of recognition in the 2015 Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards. In all, there were 40 awards: seven Gold awards, eight Silver awards, and 25 Honorable Mentions. The Gold awards went to Carlie Gustafson (one for mixed media and one for painting), Sarah Hu (drawing), Hunter Hamilton (mixed media), Francesca Miller (drawing), and Uma Oswald (two mixed media). A complete list of award winners is on the Breck website.

Hunter Hamilton ’15

Carlie Gustafson ’15

Xinruo (Sarah) Hu ’15

Uma Oswald ’15

10 Today at Breck

WInter 2015

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…


12 /

are you ready for another round of applause?

2015 Co-chairs Sara Ahluwalia and Betsy Conway


This year, funds raised by Applause will support professional development activities (classes,

seminars, travel) for Breck teachers.


The volunteer committee for this year’s event is led by Sara Ahluwalia and Betsy Conway, who are

working hard and having lots of fun at the same time.


Over the 25+ years of the event, Applause has raised more than $7 million. If that’s not worthy of a

standing ovation, what is?


In its first three years (1990, 1991 and 1992), Applause was held at Breck, with auction tables

lining the main floor hallway.


In 2000, Applause took place at the Orpheum Theater downtown and featured an appearance

by comedian Paula Poundstone.



Applause has taken attendees around the world: Mexico, France, China, Hawaii, Italy, a 1930s-era

train station and a Northwoods cabin. In 1998 and 1999 it took place in a tent pitched between the American Legion and the then-named junior parking lot.


Our first year of using electronic bidding was 2011, at a Kentucky Derby-themed event at Interlachen

Country Club in Edina. That year, every single silent auction item was sold the night of the event.


Over the years, the most popular items have typically been those that involved Breck teachers.

Last year, it was “gym teacher for a day.” In 2001, it was Tom Hegg’s offer to name a character in a forthcoming book after a name of the winning bidder’s choice (which was Natalie).


The highest attendance ever was in 1997, when a jazz-themed event at the Metropolitan Ballroom in

In 2002, the event was the setting for a film

Golden Valley, chaired by Bert and Suzie Colianni, attracted a

premiere: a movie about Breck on a night called the

crowd of more than 800 (emphasis on crowd!).

“Mustang International Film Festival.”

13 / 13

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

14 /

Meeting History

/ 15

face to face

face to face

The Cross-Disciplinary Journey of Six Chairs, A Holocaust Survivor’s Story By Sally Horstman Try to imagine for a moment that you are a Middle School

Jew, Max, in their basement. Max and Liesel form an

teacher, and that you are charged with teaching something

unlikely friendship that lasts for several years as the war

as complex and emotional as the Holocaust to fourteen-

rages on and the family suffers increasing deprivations and

year-old students. How would you go about that? Where

stupefying fears of being discovered by their neighbors and

would you look for material that a fourteen-year-old could

the German authorities. Katie selected the book because,

relate to, without the subject becoming overwhelming?

rather than focusing primarily on the horrors of the

Would you focus on the war? The atrocities? The social

Holocaust, this story focuses on the social conditions within

construct that led up to it? The aftermath? The search

Germany during the 1940s, the emotions of the story’s

for justice?

central characters and the choices they make.

These are all questions that eighth-grade teachers Katie

In a collaborative fashion, Flotten began layering her 20th

Scherer and Sarah Flotten ’85 have thought about and

Century History/Geography teachings into a context that

wrestled with quite a lot in the last two years. And what

would complement the students’ reading of The Book Thief.

they came up with is not only astounding in terms of

Sarah’s goal was to not only teach the Holocaust, but to lay a

content, but it has been transformative to the Breck Middle

foundation of history and geography that included the

School students who entered their classrooms in the fall

Armenian Genocide (the first such mass killing of a people

of 2013.

to be labeled with the term “genocide”) and ultimately

A collaboration begins Katie Scherer began teaching The Book Thief, by Markus

widen the scope to include two additional 20th century genocides, Bosnia and Rwanda. And that is where things stood for the lesson plan in late August 2013.

story about the Holocaust from the perspective of a central

The third leg of a stool

character, Liesel, who is a young German teenager living

Shortly after school started, an unexpected third component

near one of the German concentration camps and who is

of teaching the Holocaust story entered the picture. Ethan

herself part of Hitler Youth. Liesel’s family ends up hiding a

“Rowan” Pope, a frequent Breck substitute art teacher, had a

Zusak, several years ago. The award-winning novel tells a

16 /

face to face

unique friendship with a local Holocaust survivor who had stories to tell. Polish-born Joe Grosnacht was a young teen and the oldest of six brothers when his family was separated by German soldiers and sent to various prison camps in Germany. Grosnacht was the only member of his family to survive. After the war, he ended up in Minnesota and for many years didn’t talk much about his ordeal at the hand of the Nazis. But somewhere along the way he opened up and told his stories in a classroom, and he has been passionate about sharing his survival stories with students ever since. So Pope brought him to Breck for eighth-grade English/

Creativity + emotion Kat Corrigan, another of Breck’s talented art teachers, worked with Scherer and Flotten and the students to come up with different artistic techniques that would be conducive to this type of project — some of the techniques being simple enough to allow everyone to succeed with an illustration. Rowan wrote down sixteen of Joe’s stories in a very straightforward, uncomplicated fashion and the students were allowed to pick one or more of the stories to illustrate. At first, Scherer remembers thinking that the

History, storytelling….and art.

stories seemed so sparsely worded; she worried students

A project is born

However, she came to understand that simplicity was the

wouldn’t have enough to go on to make an illustration. critical path to creativity and it was indeed a beautiful thing

Pope had recently been awarded a grant from Rimon, The

to watch the students’ process and translate their emotional

Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, to write and illustrate a

reactions to Joe’s stories and turn them into works of art. She

children’s book of Grosnacht’s stories. He became convinced

recalls, “The kids try to imagine what it felt like, they have to

that having the stories of the young teenaged Joe, illustrated

add the empathy and put themselves in Joe’s shoes.” Each

by young teen artists, would be the best way to evoke the

student came up with an idea for their illustration and

creativity and emotions necessary to properly make those

shared it with Joe — one on one. Current freshman Mikayla

stories come to life. He contacted Michal Sagar, Breck’s

Ennevor remembers when she talked to Grosnacht about

Visual Arts department head, and she directed him to

her idea for his story on losing his name and becoming just

Scherer and Flotten, and the lesson plan began a marvelous

a number at Auschwitz. He immediately rolled up his sleeve

trajectory. The 2013-14 eighth-grade Breck students not only

to show her his tattoo, “137376.” It is something she will

met Grosnacht, but met him again, and again, hearing his

never forget, and numbers feature prominently in her

stories first hand and reacting to them, not from a source


document — but from a living source.

face to face

// 17 17

Another option for students was to add a written compo-

cross-disciplinary ways they learned about the Holocaust

nent to provide personal context for each illustration;

(reading The Book Thief, the study of the history, various

Flotten encouraged each student to write an “artist’s

other films and readings, the art, and countless classroom

statement.” For these technically savvy students — they

conversations on the topics of war, genocide, choices and

were able to record a statement and attach it electronically

justice). But the common element none of them will forget

to their work, allowing them to tell more of the personal

was meeting Joe Grosnacht face to face. Reuben Stately

journey they made while working on their illustration.

describes the feeling as shaking hands with history. “When I

Flotten is emphatic that this was truly her favorite part of

shook his hand, I felt the roughness, and it felt like a symbol

the project because, “As a history teacher, talking to them in

of what he endured, like it was the roughness of his past.”

class, you get a sense of their ideas. But looking at the

Grosnacht’s story of having his arm tattooed and being

artwork, you don’t know the depth of the layers they have

known only by that tattooed number resonated so clearly

developed in the process. The artists’ statements allow

with his own family’s not so distant past. “When the native

everyone to see those layers. They think so much more

people were sent to boarding schools in this country, their

deeply than anyone realizes.” Ayanna Platt used her artist’s

names were taken away, too” explains Reuben. He went on

statement to convey the emotions she felt when she heard

to describe that when Native Americans have a child, the

Joe’s story of his brief escape from his captors when he spent

name given to the child is one of the most thought out

several days and nights hiding in the woods, alone, with no

things — it really means something special and is very

food or water. Her words convey the mood of her illustration

personal. “To have it taken away is painful.”

which evokes feelings of “…isolation and loneliness, the

Many of the eighth-grade students came away with

fears many have.”

thoughts about what it must have taken for Joe to get

The ultimate test

through all that he did. Grosnacht will tell you that his faith

Of course, the real success of a teaching lesson is the lasting

survived the three concentration camps he endured. Student

impact that it has on students. After nearly a year since this project ended, a group of the students (now all Upper School freshmen) came together recently to talk about it. They all agree that working on Six Chairs was impactful and that they will never forget it. They enjoyed the many different

in God, hope and the ability to move forward is how he Jacob Foster found that the most surprising thing he learned is that Grosnacht has forgiven his captors. Jacob relates what he said about that forgiveness, “I wanted to move on and be able to live my life. So I had to forgive them.” Jacob realizes these are extremely valuable lessons he can use in

Today at Breck

18 /

WInter 2015

face to face

his own life. Svea McNally shares her insight about his bravery. “It is very brave of him to talk about his stories with us; to keep bringing it back. It must be hard.” She goes on to say, “He has a good sense of humor in him, that he can come back from that and have a light-hearted spirit.” Clearly these students are in awe of Grosnacht — who for them represents a living part of history — a history that is at once, both incredibly troubling and truly inspirational. Zoe Vogel and her family have stayed in touch with Joe and his family since the end of the project last winter. Recently, she and her parents helped Grosnacht celebrate his 91st birthday. Of the celebration scene at a local deli, Zoe, with a huge smile adorning her face, shares that, “Joe is just so nice. He is friends with everyone.”

The book Now the book written by Pope, illustrated by Breck Middle School students, and inspired by the true life experiences of Joe Grosnacht, is a published book. Six Chairs, A Holocaust Survivor’s Story, made it to print in December 2014. It is a collection of simple, but honest and sometimes painful stories. It is thoughtfully, beautifully and emotionally

Flotten didn’t realize at first how Six Chairs would become what it did. But even today, they continue to take what they learned and expand and offer it to the next class of Breck eighth-grade students. Lucky them! Grosnacht continues to come to Breck to tell his stories. And Breck will welcome him warmly back with open arms, as long as we are fortunate

illuminated by the visual and spoken word of Breck stu-

enough to be able to meet history face to face.

dents, who are now the same age as Grosnacht was when

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Six Chairs, you

the stories were born. It is a lovely gift to the world of one

can contact Rowan Pope at for more

man’s journey through a still difficult to understand part of


our American and world history. It represents, too the incredible talents of some Breck teachers who have made a lasting impression on these students. Of course, Scherer and

Parent and alumni parent Sally Horstman has been a mainstay of the Parents Association’s Multicultural Education Committee.

/ 19

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

20 /

Living the F

or Breck administrators, the school’s mission is a

lively and real? How do you make it a magazine story and

ubiquitous presence. We talk about being a mission-

not a brochure?

driven institution, having an admissions process

that welcomes mission-appropriate students who

represent racial, religious and socioeconomic diversity. We constantly evaluate our performance as a school in light of whether we live up to our mission. Says Head of School Edward Kim, “It’s one of the most important things we do. We re-examine our mission all the time — not because we want to reword it to include the latest catchphrases but to push ourselves to explore, to dig deeper, to put ourselves to the test of whether we’re being true and delivering on our promise.” So when Middle School Director Sky Fauver suggested a magazine cover story about how Breck lives its mission,

The answer, it turns out, was in the hallways right outside the office door. Every hour of every day, Breck students prepare for college, balance their academic and other interests, and learn about a wider world by serving others. So we asked a few of them how they do it and, for good measure, we asked some alumni as well. In the end, we think that their stories are the best possible illustrations. We hope that you will enjoy them, too.

John Baker ’10

Merchandise Planning Business Analyst Graduate of Carleton College

Being a lifer at Breck really opened up

my eyes to the world. In my younger

years, I was never a student with any

special talents or even a student with

Then reality set in. How do you talk about something that

outstanding academic performance. As

seems so lofty and intellectual in a way that is engaging,

a young kid it is very difficult to truly

we were immediately intrigued. “A lot of schools talk about being mission-driven,” he reasoned, “but Breck is truly exceptional because we actually are.”

/ 21


by Jill Field

see the importance of a Breck education, and therefore I took

So it all began at Breck School. I went from a young kid

it for granted. I knew that maintaining good grades was a

finding a way to get by in life to a young adult slowly

necessity, but what I was most concerned about was my

developing a purpose in life. My experiences at Breck have

social life and playing all the sports I loved — what I consid-

allowed me to carry myself with confidence throughout each

ered “the fun stuff.”

day. I can sincerely attribute my success to all of the chal-

As I grew older I began to truly develop a strong set of

lenges that Breck has presented and helped me overcome.

principles I would soon live and die by. I’ll never forget

same scenario sophomore year with Ms. Roessler. I realized

Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman ’16

that these teachers challenged and stimulated the limita-

The most important characteristic for a

tions of my thoughts and imagination. When speaking in

Breck student to have is willingness. If

class, they would always ask the questions that forced me to

one is willing to, they will succeed

dig into my initial thoughts even deeper and ask Why? How?

throughout their Breck career.

freshman year history with Mr. Rosenfield. He was an exceptionally nice guy but came off as an extremely difficult teacher. The light bulb finally came on when I ran into the

Is there any evidence to support your claims?

I am sure that I will be well prepared

I then began to apply these principles to life, continuing to

for college; however, I do not know

ask myself, Why can’t I? What will it take to get there? How

exactly what I want yet. I know which things are good and

can I develop my current understanding?

bad in the long run, but internally I am not yet sure what that will mean.

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

What is a mission statement, anyway?

Our initial research (okay, it was a quick Google search) brought us to an actual website called Who knew? Here’s how they define it:

22 /

“A mission statement defines in a paragraph or so any entity’s reason for existence. It embodies its philosophies, goals, ambitions and mores. Any entity that attempts to operate without a mission statement runs the risk of wandering through the world without having the ability to verify that it is on its intended course.” We then exchanged correspondence with Robert Evans, Ed.D., a Massachusetts-based consultant to schools who frequently works with and speaks to independent school administrators and has been known to make light of mission statements. “I do a five-second-every-school mission statement,” he says. “Excellence, the challenge of change, the 21st century, all children can learn, respect for differences, lifelong learning, character, diversity, a sound mind in a sound body, the arts, STEM, technology, globalization, and sustainability. These statements claim vastly more than the school can do and are actually full of naiveté or hubris, depending on your point of view.” So what does Evans think schools should be talking about? He explains, “What schools need is not a laundry list of all the good things they believe in — there’s no harm in this, but it doesn’t guide or focus behavior. Rather, what’s needed is clarity about which few of these good things matter most, about ‘what makes us, us,’ about ‘how we do school here.’ Schools that have this basic idea clearly are, to me, the only ones that can honestly be said to be mission-driven. Their missions are often closer to old-fashioned Latin mottos: simple enough to be remembered and to give direction, general enough to be interpreted flexibly.”

Honestly, I’d have to say it’s been very difficult to balance my academic and extracurricular interests at Breck. But if you want to succeed, you must be willing. In the case of a student athlete, you must be willing to make sacrifices, try new techniques, etc. Outside of Breck, I have been involved in mentoring youth — sometimes even those older than me. As for the future, I have aspirations of playing in the NFL or running track collegiately, I would also love to do some type of service while implementing my passion for science/math, sports, and service.

Emily Colwell ’14

Student, The College of Wooster

My college’s culture is one that is very

similar to Breck’s: both are small (the

College of Wooster [in Ohio] has 2,000

students), environmentally sustainable,

friendly, and emphasize every Breck

student’s favorite “c” word — commu-

nity. Although I was definitely ready for a new environment and experience, I was not ready to leave the comfort of recognizing my peers and having caring faculty members who create relationships with their students, rather than just being one of several hundred in a class. I felt well prepared for college in part because of my independent research classes at Breck: Math Research (year long) and the other was a semester-long independent study I organized with Ms. Roessler, exploring education systems around the world, culminating in a May Program class offered to freshmen and sophomores. I had to do a lot on my own, which ended up being a really great and fun way to close out my high school career and help to transition into college. If I had any criticism of Breck it would be the amount of busy work assigned, which I believe contributed to students’ feeling an unnecessary added pressure, leading to anxiety, sadness, stress, and unhealthy competition among peers or even against themselves. But I cannot speak highly enough of the school’s faculty and staff. Every member who helps to keep the school as great as it is is invaluable: everyone is so

friendly, and I cannot imagine too many institutions where

I know he will help me in any way he can, and I’m sure the

the students befriend their kitchen, security, maintenance

same applies for the rest of the college counseling office.

staffs, as well as every office, and the list goes on. I love being able to simply walk down the hall to reconnect with any of my former teachers, who remember me right away. The best part is probably being able to call the faculty not only my teachers, from whom I learned great things, but also my friends.

At times it has been difficult to balance academics and extracurriculars and make time for them when I know the homework load that is waiting for me at home. There are so many awesome opportunities to take part in at Breck, but it

/ 23

can be hard to take part in them all because I simply don’t have the time.

I found the school to be extremely accommodating and great with encouraging and widening students’ interests by offering a wide range of interesting courses (bio-technology, bioethics, utopia, all of the research classes, independent study options, etc.), in addition to strong athletic and service programs. I also have to credit my feelings to my friends because there was not any pressure to join certain clubs or teams, and we encouraged each other regardless of our interests. Of course Breck had great influence on my current interests. For one reason, it is all I have known by spending 13 years there. I have read great books simply by chatting with faculty members. My love of travel and languages exploded even more from learning Chinese for thirteen years and embarking on the China and Thailand trips. As a student, I earned art awards for my ceramics pieces, and I hope to continue that while in college. So essentially, my interests have been formed by the plethora of opportunity offered as well as being surrounded by enthusiastic, insightful, and inspirational people.

Claire Cousineau ’16

The single most important characteris-

tic for a student to be successful at

Breck is self advocacy. Teachers are

incredibly willing to help students, but

if students don’t take that step to help

themselves first, teachers are lost as

valuable resources. I feel well prepared to make a good decision about college. I have an incredible support system, and I really trust Mr. Nicholson to help me through the process as best as possible;

One activity that has been very important to me is Bato Bato, which plays at a variety of different gigs, some of which really benefit the community that we play for. I don’t even think of it as service though because it’s a great time. In the future? After working on sustainable gardening with Shivani this year, I’ve been thinking about pursuing a career in agriculture of some sort. Ideally, vertical gardening within cities, but we’ll see. Hopefully, something with the environment.

Why do people go to college? It’s where you get to decide what you want to be when you grow up. You do lots of stuff you don’t usually do. You don’t have a lot of free time. Sometimes you have homework. Ayla, kindergarten

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

Will Culliton ’15

24 /

Claire Drysdale ’14

What I’ve learned throughout my eight

years at Breck is that in order to be

Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

successful, you need to manage your

Breck was very challenging, not only

time well. With everything going on at

because teachers expect you to cover a

Breck, being able to balance academics

lot of material, but also because they

with athletics and friends is key to

force you to think critically about it.

getting the full Breck experience.

Writing the history research paper

I feel as if Breck has pushed me to try new things and to get

(as painful as it was in the moment)

out of my comfort zone. Well, it has worked. Next year I’m

was particularly good preparation for the rigors of college

starting at West Point, something I never dreamed of doing.

writing. Last semester I wrote an 18-page women’s history

Through my time at Breck, I’ve learned that there’s much

paper, and I would have been completely overwhelmed if I

more to life than throwing a ball in a hoop and getting the

hadn’t been in Ms. Walsh’s AP class junior year. From a social

best test scores. It has taught me that being a well-rounded

perspective, going to school of 28,000 has definitely been an

person is much better than being one-dimensional. I’ll take

adjustment. Breck prides itself on its small, intimate

what I’ve learned from Breck to West Point and I’m hoping to

community, but coming to UNC has reminded me just how

enjoy it there as much as I’ve enjoyed my eight years at

many perspectives exist outside of those walls.


In some ways, I’ve found UNC to be an anti-Breck. It’s public,

Since middle school, Breck has taught us how to manage our

southern, and enormous. However, that incredible largeness

time well. Even when I have loads of homework and tests,

also has its benefits, because within UNC is every sort of

I’m always able to find time for myself. I think that by

community you could possibly want in a college. For every

participating in extracurricular activities, I’m able to manage

interest I’ve wanted to get involved in, I’ve been able to find

my time even better because my days are even more

other students already out there doing it. My peers here are


intelligent, passionate, and involved, and I never go a day

Between sports, school, and friends, my time is usually

without meeting someone who inspires me.

pretty limited, especially in season, but I always try to

What I most valued about Breck was my ability to develop

volunteer in the community. My mom is a deacon in the

close relationships with faculty. If I found something

Episcopal Church and most Sundays I run the Sunday school

interesting in class, I could continue the discussion simply by

for her. I’ve developed several friendships with these kids

staying after for a few minutes or going to tutorial. These

and have learned so much from them. On top of Sunday

conversations have influenced my interests and ideas in an

school, I work at a nursing home for my Breck service, so I

enduring way, and I don’t believe I would have had the same

really get the best of both worlds.

experience at many other schools. But for all its benefits,

While I plan to spend four years at West Point and serve for four years after, I don’t plan on making a career in the Army. I’ve taken a real interest in Journalism, but I think it would be difficult to tailor a journalism major at West Point. I’m hoping to get a business management degree, then go to grad school after I serve. The good news for me is that I have plenty of time to decide and I’ll have a job in the Army waiting for me once I graduate.

Breck’s close community can also be somewhat limiting. I noticed a tendency in myself and in other students to remain within the so called “Breck bubble,” without looking outwards at the rest of the world. Going to college has reminded me that the world doesn’t operate like a bigger version of Breck. The issues that are worth thinking about are impossible to wrap your hands around, and realizing that can be scary, but also incredibly thrilling.

It was easy to be a well-rounded person at Breck, because

Being a well-rounded person at Breck was easy because the

there were so few barriers to trying something new. The

student body has such a diverse set of interests and passions

winter of my freshman year, I tried Nordic skiing without

and it is nearly impossible to go through your years at Breck

any prior experience with the sport, and it turned out to be

without being exposed to new ideas and sharing your

one of my favorite parts of high school. Unlike some of my

interests with others.

friends at other schools, I was able to take art classes every semester without sacrificing my normal coursework, and the abundant opportunities for research allowed me to explore my academic interests outside the classroom. In my experience, Breck really emphasized the development of the whole student: athletically, artistically, and academically. Breck’s emphasis on service and social justice has influenced my interests in college much more than I could have predicted. My advisory did service at Free Arts Minnesota, an art-therapy nonprofit, and I interned with them during my senior year May Program. This experience has inspired me to continue exploring the connection between art and social

The wide variety of classes available to students at Breck really helped me gain a good sense of what I wanted to study and what I did not want to study. This knowledge saved me a lot of time going into college, faced with the prospect of choosing my classes.

Addie Gorlin ’07

Drama teacher and assistant artistic director, Mixed Blood Theater Graduate of Dartmouth College

justice here at UNC. I’ve gotten involved with an on-campus

I moved to Breck in third grade,

art therapy club, volunteered in the art room at a local

welcomed by Ms. Bartow, who called us

elementary school, and this summer I’ll be doing art therapy

her “Dear 19” and taught us to knit. In

in Thailand for eight weeks!

sixth grade, Mr. Jones and Mr. Miller

organized the entire grade to come see

me in my first minuscule part at Stages

Abby Erdmann ’13

Theater. In eighth grade I met Mary Jane Curran, who

Student, University of Chicago

became a second mother when I signed up for her camp,

Breck prepared me very well for college

counselor. In eighth grade I did a History Day project on the

by providing a challenging yet support-

Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe and their casinos. History Day

ing environment for me to learn and

introduced me to the process of multi-month research and

grow in. I felt very confident transition-

inspired for me an early interest in the power of perfor-

ing into college because while I knew it

mance to convey untold stories. Before I got my driver’s

would be a greater challenge than high

license I would ask my parents to pick me up a half hour

school, I knew that Breck had provided me with enough of a strong academic background for me to grow and thrive. The school I chose to attend, the University of Chicago, has a very academically strenuous and culturally rich environment. Breck’s culture is in many ways similar to that of UChicago’s, so I felt very comfortable upon my arrival at college. I think Breck did a fantastic job of raising cultural awareness in its students. College opens up the world to students, and Breck prepared me for this shift and sparked my interest in cultural issues in my community.

which I attended every year and to which I returned as a

after school so I could share a cup of tea with Papa B or chat with Coach B. I looked forward to Ms. Gentry’s homework, even though math was my least favorite subject, to American Lit discussions prodded by Ms. Roessler, and, as a senior, to the two class periods a day I got to spend with Tom Hegg. College was by no means easy, but the transition was no surprise. Where I really benefited from Breck was in having the confidence to speak up in college classes.

/ 25

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

I believe my education also taught me to think outside of

Gigi Gunderson ’17

a-b-c-d and seek educational opportunities that might not

Although every student is different,

obviously be there. Instead of a normal major, I was one of

I think by far the most important

three students at Dartmouth to pursue a senior fellowship

characteristic for a Breck student to

— a project of my own design, where I proposed interview-

have is that of openness. Breck, as a

ing people of native descent and random passersby in

school, provides its students with so

Minneapolis, about recent native history often left out of

many amazing opportunities that it’s

history textbooks as well as opinions re-stereotyping of

important to be open to getting out of your comfort zone to

native mascots on college campuses (Dartmouth used to be

try something new. Most likely, you’ll end up loving it. As

The Indians) and NFL sports teams. I then took the inter-

well, with a school as committed to service in the commu-

views cut and compiled them into a play and directed the

nity and broadening the horizons of its students at Breck is,

performance my senior spring. Note: I did graduate, but did

it’s important to remain open to the ideals, feelings, and life

not take classes my senior year and got Dartmouth to fly me

experiences of others to truly make meaningful contribu-

back and forth six times to Minneapolis to work on this

tions and receive those benefits back in kind.

Because Breck’s focus was so not on standardized testing,

26 /

project.... try explaining that to a prospective employer!

Balancing my academic and extracurricular interests can be

Anyway, I could go on and on, but there’s a theme here. My

a challenge from time to time because there are so many

Breck experience has lasted far beyond my high school years.

things that I want to do! Unfortunately, taking four AP

I want to recognize that my sisters went to their public high

classes, two varsity sports, and a multitude of clubs just isn’t

school and had an immensely positive experience there, they

always feasible. The hardest part of the balance is the

are successful in great colleges, and they will do many great

choosing of what I want to focus on.

things with their lives. However, to ignore the influence that Breck’s small class sizes and phenomenal teachers had on my life would be to deny the obvious. I am very thankful.

What do you like to do outside of school? I like to do art projects and play with my sister. She’s almost three but I like to play with her. Oliver, kindergarten

I am involved with service opportunities away from school and try to get involved with things that interest me when I can, as well as serving on a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for the National Service-Learning Council. For example, this past winter, I volunteered with my friends at the City of Lakes Loppet. I also like to take time when I can to go to Feed My Starving Children, or just help out around the neighborhood, shoveling walks or bagging leaves. The YAC was an opportunity brought to my attention by Mr. Kohl, the Upper School Math Research teacher, and I became involved with this organization in August of 2014. The council works on promoting and enhancing the field of service learning. After Breck and college, I’d love to pursue something involving foreign travel, politics, service learning, or psychology. But I’ve just begun the college process. Seeing the care that Breck puts into it, even in the early stages, makes me sure that when the time comes I’ll be able to make the right choice.

Simone Hardeman-Jones ’98 Education policy advisor, U.S. Department of Education Graduate of American University

Leslie Hayes ’14

Student, Duke University

During my first week or so, I honestly

believed that I wasn’t prepared for

college at all. But after I got adjusted to

the social aspects of the college lifestyle,

I realized that I was far more prepared

than I originally thought, and Breck

Currently, I serve as a political appoin-

tee in the Obama Administration at the

U.S. Department of Education. I am the

Director for Strategic Planning and

Policy in the Office of Legislation and

Congressional Affairs. In this role I work

The college I chose is compatible with my culture because it

as a senior advisor on legislative issues related to elementary

is both similar and different. Some parts of Duke reflect my

and secondary policies and priorities for the U.S. Secretary of

own culture and beliefs perfectly while others are the

Education and the President. I work long hours, but when I

complete opposite of what I’m comfortable with, which was

am not working I can usually be found running or working

something I was looking for in a college. I’m always looking

out at the gym and spending time with my husband trying

for new experiences and views of the world, and I am able to

out new restaurants in the city and Facetiming with my

find that at my college.

twin sister, brother-in-law and one-and-a-half-year-old

Academically speaking, Breck did an excellent job of

niece Leila!

preparing me for the workload that comes with college.

The American University (AU) in Washington D.C. was a

I was able to adjust to the way classrooms and different

wonderful place to spend my college years. It was a place

lectures worked without feeling too overwhelmed by the

where culture, politics and community all intersected, and

amount of work assigned every night. Breck also did a great

being in Washington D.C. and attending AU allowed me to

job of emphasizing the importance of having other interests

take advantage of all that being in the nation’s capitol had

that aren’t related to academics and to fight for something

to offer.

that I believe in. Something Breck didn’t do as well is

I feel it was easy to be a well-rounded person at Breck. Breck encouraged me to try new things and to get involved in a variety of activities. I played sports year-round (tennis, basketball and track), I was the co-editor of the yearbook, I took dance classes and even served on the Upper School Disciplinary Council. The value and importance of giving back was one that was instilled in me even before attending Breck; however, the fact that at Breck it was made to be a part of our biweekly schedule certainly reinforced the importance and added to the creation of a lasting habit. In fact, my chosen career path is in public service and had I not understood growing up

was a major part of that preparation, both academically and socially.

preparing me to handle confrontation, uncomfortable situations or people who enjoy confrontation properly. As a student, I felt I was rarely urged to be pushed past my limits of comfort and discuss topics that people rarely agree on, which is something that I am constantly doing in college. Most days, it was easy to be a well-rounded person at Breck. There were so many sports, extracurricular and service opportunities offered that made it hard for a student to only come to school to do academic work. So many faculty, staff and students were supportive of whatever my current endeavor was and I felt had people giving me support whenever I may have needed it.

why it is so important to leave your community a better

Currently, I work for a organization called the Community

place than when you found it, I would likely not be doing the

Empowerment Fund (CEF), and their goal is to teach financial

work that I do today.

literacy and allow members of the Durham community to

/ 27

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

Do you like to help people? It makes people happy when you help them. Wellstone, kindergarten 28 /

save, build credit and become financially independent. I love

So I guess ultimately what I have to say is that Breck is the

working with CEF and I don’t think I ever would have gotten

place to discover what you love to do. The journey is prob-

involved with it if I didn’t have the service background from

ably, almost guaranteed, to not be easy, but by the time you

Breck. Service is a heavy part of the Breck curriculum and I

are a senior, I think it is possible to strike that perfect

was actively involved. Once I came to North Carolina, I knew

balance. I fill up nearly every moment of my time with these

that I had to keep up with my work and CEF is a great way to

various activities and classes, but I honestly can say that I

do that. Without the knowledge I gained from Breck, I’m not

love every minute of it.

sure if I would be so excited to be working for the Community Empowerment Fund as I am today.

Ever since my junior May Program experience at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, I have volunteered on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Between 12-3 on Saturday, I usually

Grace Kirkpatrick ’15

visit patients, make deliveries, work on various projects, or

The single most important characteris-

For now I have my eyes set on going pre-med in college to

tic for a student to be successful at

hopefully become a pediatrician; however, I am open to any

Breck is time management, time

possibilities. Whatever I decide to pursue, I hope I’ll be able

management, time management. To

to apply some sort of creativity and maybe even incorporate

fully appreciate all that Breck has to

my language skills.

offer, I found that it is necessary to

know how to divide your time wisely. Being sure to set aside for homework and studying and extracurriculars while also making time for impromptu games of Monopoly and breakfast runs to Perkins. At this point, I am anxiously awaiting many of my application decisions that will come out in March, so I try not to think about it too much. I feel like once I hear back from some of my top-choice schools, I will know what to do. And when it comes down to May 1st, it will be a gut decision.

my favorite task, hold a baby.

Madison Lommen ’15

What’s the single most important

characteristic for a student to be

successful at Breck? Gratitude. Appreci-

ating the education I receive at Breck

and all of the people who work to make

that possible has allowed for meaning-

ful relationships throughout my time at Breck. It is these

For nearly my entire high school career I navigated multiple

relationships that have made my experience so memorable.

conflicting worlds at a time: humanities and sciences,

I will remember what I have learned in the classroom at Breck

athletics and the arts. If there was a Venn diagram of all of

for the next few years at least, but I will remember what I

my interests, it would probably look like a beehive, or

have learned from members of our community forever.


My experience at Breck has prepared me for the academic

As a senior, I do feel like I have finally found some semblance

challenge I hope to find at college, and more so to make a

of balance. My class schedule has fulfilled many of my

decision about where I will spend the next four years of

academic interests in the arts and sciences, I’ve found

my life. At this point in the process, I have yet to determine

balance in my passions for both athletics and the arts, I’ve

my next alma mater, but I trust I will end up where I am

been able to do the musical, and I have started a Quartet

supposed to.

Club, which gives me the chance to continue playing the violin in a group setting. And I’ve also started cooking vegetarian meals. I think this may be the most important skill I take with me to college.

My peers are forever telling me to slow down and to find balance. Often my mind stubbornly agrees to tackle more than I can manage, forcing my body to interfere and turn off

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my overdrive — i.e., on the first day of school this year, I ended up with abrasions in both eyes, which doctors told me were from “overworking.” (You can imagine that made for a

30 /

Josh Luger ’12

Student, Brandeis University

great start to senior year.) I will forever be torn between the

I felt incredibly prepared for college.

idea that those who achieve greatness make sacrifices and

Growing up I felt the next academic

those who do not find balance burn out.

year at Breck was a step up from the

Take the week of finals, for example. I spent the time I should

past year’s work, so I was not over-

whelmed by college expectations. It

was that regular step up that I expected

have been studying completing four college applications and fulfilling an order for 75 loaves of banana bread, while resolving an unfavorable situation with the commercial

every September.

kitchen where I bake. I spent that Saturday bouncing

The college I chose, Brandeis University, has a culture that

between the biotechnology room at Breck writing a report

has been incredibly compatible with mine as a student. Here

and the hallway speaking with vendors on the phone.

the students are all extremely busy, many pursuing multiple

Nonetheless, I enjoy every extracurricular I pursue, and that

majors and minors while also participating in a wide variety

makes the sometimes stressful moments worthwhile.

of extracurricular activities that are almost exclusively

Since returning from Thailand with the first group of

student-run (with the exception of the varsity athletics). The

students from Breck, I have managed a banana bread company, Madibanani Bread Company, that dedicates 50% of its profits to the Children of the Forest Orphanage in Thailand. (For more info, The goal is to nourish body and soul, locally and globally. After three and a half years in business, Madibanani has expanded to

best part is while constantly pressed for time the students are still friendly and open to working with one another. The culture on this campus is a passionate competitive one where we are competitive with ourselves rather than other students. This culture was exactly what I was looking for and I would have probably never even toured here had my

support youth in Mamelodi, South Africa, and has shared the

college counselors not suggested it to me.

stories of the children in Thailand with several thousand

The two biggest things that stand out to me among the

professionals in Minneapolis, Washington D.C. and Shanghai.

many things Breck did well for me were teaching me how to

As for life after Breck, I am pursuing a degree in International

manage my time and teaching me to write. I felt that during

Relations, but I have applied to colleges that specialize in everything from journalism to business to linguistics. My interests range because I recognize certain qualities within myself that can be exercised across multiple disciplines. One thing is certain, however: my career must serve a greater purpose. When in Thailand with the Breck crew from 2012, I learned that the refugee children we befriended could not attend government schools because they did not speak Thai. While our relationship with the children there was positive,

my first-year writing classes I had already learned everything that was being taught and that Breck put me on a completely different level of writing compared to many of my peers. Further, being involved in athletics, theater, student government, and a variety of other extracurricular activities in high school, I felt already very prepared to handle the busy schedule I again took on in college. Beyond these two things though, I am constantly noticing little moments in my day-to-day life where lessons from Breck

I couldn’t help but wonder how many more children could

push me in the right direction.

be helped by changing the law. From that moment I knew I

I feel that being well rounded at Breck definitely took work

wanted to be involved in some kind of service throughout

but was very much encouraged to the point where it has just

my life, but whether that’s a more ‘hands-on” approach—

become second nature to me now. Today I seek out different

i.e., in another country working with a non-profit—or more

activities and classes to keep my days balanced and to keep

“behind the scenes” as a politician or the like, I do not

me from just falling into a zone where I am simply focused

yet know.

on one subject.

My time at Breck very much influenced my interests today. To choose just two examples, I am president of an improv comedy troupe on campus. My love of improv began in Mr. Hegg’s acting class in fifth grade. Another fascination cultivated at Breck was my study of the Supreme Court,

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which began with Mr. Rosenfield. Without Breck, who knows where I would be today and if these two interests would dominate my life the way that they do now.

Leah Lussier Sixkiller ’03 Attorney Graduate of Harvard College and the University of Arizona Law School Breck Alumni Council member

Do you like to help people? If they need help cleaning up, I help them. Katie, kindergarten

Did Breck prepare me for a college that

was compatible with mine? Absolutely.

Harvard University is literally the most

diverse place I’ve ever been. It is diverse

numerous opportunities to challenge myself physically and

in terms of race, culture, religion,

spiritually. I was the captain of the swim team and I was an

socioeconomic status, nationality,

active participant in the dance program and the musicals.

politics, point of view, upbringing, and so much more. I was floored and excited when I realized that I was immersed in and could contribute to this type of environment. Harvard students also have a genuine love of learning, and the school encourages the development of the individual as a whole person. The difficult part was that we all probably thought we were “the best” at something at our respective high schools, so we had to become comfortable accepting a different view of ourselves and our situations, which is a great life lesson for anyone. Breck did a great job of not only tolerating diversity, but celebrating it. I felt that I could be myself at Breck, and I feel that Breck encouraged me to develop myself as a whole human being. Academic rigor is a given at Breck — it is the other experiences that really set it apart from other similar schools. I imagine that Breck wants to emulate the colleges to help it attract and retain a diverse student body.

Because of the tolerant and accepting atmosphere, I was able to become friends with many different types of individuals and to share myself with others — aspects of my experience that I will always value. My family gave to Breck by offering an American Indian smudging ceremony in chapel every spring; I’m so glad that I was able to share and celebrate that aspect of my spirituality with the Breck community and to learn about others’ traditions in return. Breck was a place where I felt that it was okay to be me, including my love of learning and devotion to my interests. This sense of comfort in expressing my passion has continued with me throughout my adult years. In other words, I’m not afraid to express my enthusiasm and positivity even in a typically buttoned-up environment. I can best express this philosophy as follows: if I’m going to devote my time to something outside of my family, which is the most important aspect of my life, then I want it to be worth it and to

I truly believe that I wouldn’t have been able to develop

inspire change. I have always wanted to work in Indian

myself as a well-rounded person to the same degree at any

Country, and I have found an intellectually stimulating and

other school. Breck challenged me intellectually, and I had

high profile way to do so through my legal practice. Of

Today at Breck

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WInter 2015

course, I worked very hard my entire life to get here, and I

Balancing my academics with my violin studies has been

attribute the foundation of my academic accomplishments

difficult, only because they are both at the highest and most

to Breck. As far as my current “extracurricular” interests, I am

rigorous level. Despite making slight adjustments to my

still passionate about dance, so I serve on the council of a

Breck schedule during freshman and sophomore years, I

nonprofit dance center. Also, being a student athlete taught

knew that I had to find a way to open up more practice time

me how to express my competitive streak through physical

if I was going to continue pursuing my dream of becoming a

activity, and running distance road races and competing in

professional violinist. Luckily, I was able to work with both

triathlons has provided a means to continue to do this.

University of Minnesota administration and Breck adminis-

And I devote a significant portion of my time to various civic activities such as serving on the boards of nonprofit community-based entities. I also devote a portion of my legal work to pro bono matters in the urban American Indian community. I love striving to contribute to my community. I was brought up to believe that one should give back to that from

tration to completely restructure my schedule in a way that finally allowed me to focus on the violin. I now practice anywhere from four to six hours each day, participate in the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, take academic courses at the University, and still have time for classes here at Breck!

which one has received, and Breck’s service commitment

I firmly believe that the most important thing a musician

further engrained that way of thinking in me.

can do with their music is share it! I spend my summers offering free lessons to younger violin students — ages six to

Julian Maddox ’15

14—while attending a course called the Bravo! Summer String and Keyboard Institute at the University of Minnesota. I also volunteer in ensembles at the University: I’ve played in

I think that keeping an open and active

groups that accompany massive choir groups, and played in

mind is the most important characteris-

orchestras that allow student conductors to direct their own

tic for a student to possess in order to

recitals. I enjoy participating in all of these groups, as well as

be successful at Breck. We’re so lucky to

in recitals at nursing homes and churches simply because I

have knowledgeable faculty in every

like to play, perform, and share great music.

sphere of learning, and their doors are

always open to students who wish to further delve into their studies. Since we have such a collaborative learning experience available to us at any time, students ought to fully engage in thoughtful and meaningful conversation if they want to achieve high levels of success. When the college process came around, I was surprisingly at ease. The College Counseling office here at Breck was tremendously helpful, seeing as I occasionally brought unique and complex issues to their attention as an aspiring musician. I’m so thankful to Breck for helping me develop my writing and communication skills, allowing me to establish contact with music programs at Conservatories and Universities before I auditioned around the country. Despite my often handling these matters independently, knowing that I had welcoming members of the Breck community ready to assist me if need be truly made the process much more comfortable.

For the future, I can honestly say that I’ve known that I want to pursue a career as a violinist from the very first day I started some eleven years ago. Nothing is more fulfilling, more beautiful, more fun, or more exciting. Of course, I’m not always spending every second of every day alone with my instrument in hand: I love performing in small chamber groups with my closest colleagues and friends, I love playing in orchestras, I love playing solo on a stage, and I love helping others learn to love the instrument that means everything to me. I know that a career as a violinist is the only thing for me, so I work hard every day to achieve the goal that I’ve had from the start: to become the best violinist that I can be.

Evelyn McChesney ’16

The single most important quality for a

student to have at Breck is curiosity.

Curiosity helps people find their true

passions. Whether it be art, math,

writing, history, or science, curiosity is

important because it makes you strive

to learn more. At Breck, there are many different opportunities to help you find your true interest, and if you aren’t curious, you will never find what you are truly passionate about. It is hard to feel well prepared going into the college process because at the end, you know that you have to make a decision that can change your life—where you are going to attend college. However, I think Breck has done an excellent job guiding me through the college process because the college counselors are so involved. Balancing academic and extracurricular interests has been difficult, but I always remember that I have to put my academics first. I am part of the robotics team here at Breck, and I also am a black belt in karate. These are a good way for me to take my mind off of school and work, so I try my best to balance the homework load and these activities. I do a lot of service outside of school through the robotics team. On any given weekend you can find our team leading a session for Boy Scouts to increase their interest in robotics, demonstrating our newest robot at the children’s hospitals, teaching kids how do drive robots at the PACER center, or even participating at the Autism Speaks event at the Mall of America. This service has taught me that it is often more rewarding to help others succeed than to succeed yourself. After college, I am strongly considering a career in chemical engineering. Since I came to Breck, I have always been interested in science and technology, and being part of the robotics program has made that interest even stronger.

Brett Schoppert ‘19 While some eighth graders spend most of their time looking inward, Brett Schoppert keeps his focus — and his considerable energies — on the wider world. He’s currently raising funds for a project to bring fresh drinking water to an earthquake-ravaged village in Haiti. How did he develop the interest? “It was a Breck field trip in sixth grade that made me think about water. We went to a nature center and I learned that a person can only survive three days without water. It inspired my passion for water,” he explains. After doing some research online, Brett discovered the nonprofit group Haiti Outreach and its adopt-a-well project. Learning that it takes $15,000 to build a well, he decided to dedicate his efforts to raise the funds. With his parents’ enthusiastic support, Brett recently hosted an open house event at his home, complete with a silent auction of items he collected and information about Haiti and his quest. As of press time, Brett had already raised $19,500, so he is on his way to raising funds for a second well. “My grandpa died a few days before the event,” he says, “so now I’m going to start raising money for a second well in his honor.” He says he thinks the most important quality a Breck student needs for success is understanding. “Nobody is perfect, and for this community to function properly we need to understand that,” he observes. He appreciates time during the school day when he can do some of his homework, giving him the chance to concentrate on his outside interests as well. “Leaving the world a better place is important,” he says. “You can’t do that without service.” To learn more about Brett’s project, visit haitioutreach. org/adopt-a-well/bretts-well.

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Annie McFarland ’15

I think Breck did a really good job preparing me for college,

I think the single most important

specifically because I learned far before college how to

quality for a student to have in order to

manage my time well. On the flip side, I think Breck’s

be successful at Breck is time manage-

schedule isn’t compatible with a typical college schedule in

ment. In order to balance homework,

the way that other high schools have now adapted.

friends, family and extracurriculars,

students need to be able to manage

their time effectively.

especially with the workload. I don’t feel too overwhelmed,

My history classes at Breck and participating in current events club definitely influenced the interests I have now, but much of my passion for international relations stemmed

Our college counselors are phenomenal! They help us

from an opportunity I had as a Breck student: my semester

understand what we want in a college. There are so many

program at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership.

options, and making a decision can get really stressful. I have made my college decision and I’m very confident that the school I chose is right for me. Balancing extracurriculars and academics has been difficult

Shivani Nookala ’16

I believe that a student’s success at

Breck is based on how much one values

and enjoys their commitments here.

Breck has high expectations for

A lot of the service I do outside of school revolves around an

students, and it is important for

organization called Jack and Jill. Some of the service projects

students to find what they enjoy here,

we’ve done involve gardening, raising awareness for teen

and to push themselves in pursuing their goals, remember-

homelessness, and fundraising.

ing that we are a supportive community and perfection is

for me, but luckily the faculty at Breck dedicates themselves to their students. They really helped me find a balance between academics and extracurriculars.

not expected. Above all, it is important to maintain a healthy

Sophie Mirviss ’14

Student, Johns Hopkins University

balance between hard work and taking time for yourself. At times it can be difficult to balance my academic and extracurricular interests. There are so many opportunities for students to take advantage of, and it can be easy to take

I have felt very prepared for college.

Yes, the class system is very different

from high school and there is definitely

a lot of work, but I learned very quickly

I do feel very well prepared to make a good decision in the

how to manage my time well. I am able

college process. College counselors stress the importance of

to do my work and have time for clubs

finding a good fit over focusing on the name or location of a

on too much. I value all of my commitments here, so even if I am extremely busy, I enjoy the work that I am doing.

and other activities as well. It’s all about how you use your

certain school. I feel as though I have the guidance and

time really.

understanding to decide on a college that will allow me to

Johns Hopkins is a very academic environment, which I like

continue to grow.

very much. At the same time, there are a lot of super fun

Outside of school, I still focus a lot of my service work on

people here who I can connect with about things inside as

food injustice and community gardening, since it is a huge

well as outside of academics. I think every college has people

part of the service work I do at Breck. Additionally, I enjoy

with whom you don’t get along well and with whom you do,

working on a non-profit program that I started called South

it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there enough to find

Asian Youth Leaders. This work is aimed at developing

the right group for you.

leadership skills in teenagers of the South Asian community.

While I was giving a tour to some potential Breck parents,

I also volunteer my time to the board of the Indian Associa-

they commented on how many activities a Breck student is

tion of Minnesota, and I enjoy coordinating volunteer

able to pursue at the school. During my time at Breck, I have

activities for the community to take part in. Additionally,

found this to be very true. Breck is not only a school that

I will take part in other service activities or events that

merely offers academic opportunities, but also gives the

interest me whenever I have the opportunity and time to

chance to participate in activities outside of the classroom.

do so. I carry all of my service-related experiences with me,

Every sport that I am part of is a Breck team. Breck also offers

and I value the learning I experience from any service work

an extensive performing arts program, including an orches-

I have the opportunity to engage in.

tra that I have personally participated in and plays through-

As for the future, I am very drawn to investment and entrepreneurship, including the realm of social entrepreneurship. I want my work to be meaningful to me, and I want to have a positive impact on others.

out the year. Due to the integration of extracurricular activities into Breck, I have never had a problem balancing my academic and extracurricular interests. As for life after college, I am interested in many areas, and am looking forward to studying those over the coming years. So far, I would be interested in pursuing a career in finance, medicine, or law.

What’s the best thing about Breck? We have the best teachers, and we have the best lunch ‌ and I just enjoy it here a bunch. Max, kindergarten

Samuel Rex ’17

For a student to be successful at Breck,

they need to have a strong work ethic.

Breck is one of the most academically

challenging schools in the country. If a

student pushes themselves and works

to learn the material, they will both be

able to earn a higher GPA and take advantage of the education that they are receiving. I feel as though Breck has already prepared me very well to make a good decision about college. I have been given a college counselor who has given me very helpful advice even at this early stage in the college process.

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What is college? A place that you can live by yourself. People live at college because maybe there’s not enough room in their house or maybe they want to live with their friends. Anna, kindergarten

36 /

Emily Sponsel ’15

Everyone knows heading into Breck

that it is an intense academically

rigorous environment so the fact that

hard work is a must is no big surprise.

But more then that, one needs to be

open to possibility, challenge, and

opportunity. The secret to success is facing your work head on, knowing that you are capable of handling it and simply go for it. Looking ahead to college, I feel that the college counseling office has been extremely supportive during this process and helpful to everyone regardless of what they’re looking for. I plan to attend a dual degree program for music and liberal arts so my application process has been more challenging than most, yet with the support of the counseling office, I have felt prepared for all of it. Figuring out how to balance your interests has always been one of the hardest parts about Breck, because there are so many amazing opportunities and they all turn out to be time consuming. Personally, I’m part of the performing arts department and the most common complaint I have heard around is that kids want to play a sport and be in the productions, but that really isn’t possible. On top of that, extracurriculars suck up all your extra time when you could get homework done, but you can’t ever drop them because colleges want to see well-rounded people. Overall, it’s one giant balancing act. Almost all the service efforts I’ve done have been in some way connected to Breck, but not all have been the weekly required service site. For example, just recently I took part in the Pacer Center’s Fun Night event that brought together Breck students and kids with mental disabilities in the Melrose Center for a night of games, pizza, and bonding. It was incredibly fun and I met some amazing people and learned a lot — even some sign language from an awesome girl named Raechel.

Gloriana Wolf ’16

To be successful at Breck, I would

Balancing school and my out-of-school interests has been a

definitely say that time management is

huge challenge. I’ve known I want to be a concert pianist

absolutely crucial. You might think that

since I was young. I’ve been surrounded by music since birth,

you’ve used your time decently if you

and it will always be a part of me. Unfortunately, the world

simply decided not to embark on a

of music is so highly competitive, and the only way to make

Netflix binge one night, yet it’s the little

it is a combination of natural talent and hours upon hours of

things that all add up. I’ve learned this lesson many times

consistent practice. Thus, it’s been an extremely challenging

over. I can say that the most crucial thing I’ve learned is not

struggle to reach my potential in every area. There are many

to do one small thing, and allow myself to go check my

classes I’d love to take, but will not have the time to. Also, I

phone for one second that will undoubtedly turn into 15

usually don’t have the time to delve in as deeply as I would

minutes or even more. We have a serious workload at Breck,

like to, especially in the areas that are particularly difficult

and the key is to learn how to finish things before letting

for me.

yourself do even a small unproductive activity. This harmless check of Instagram, or sending of a couple Snapchats, will lead to more small unproductive activities, that will in the end add up, leaving you wondering where all the time went. As I am planning to attend a conservatory or music school, much will depend on the results of my audition and the relationships I develop with teachers.

As for service, I’ve participated in a lot of service through my synagogue — such as packing meals for house-bound people or others in need, and working with children. Also, I perform at nursing homes, which is good for bringing youthful presence and beautiful music to the elderly.

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(Most Valuable Fan) Alumni Parent Tom Brokl’s Devotion to Breck Hockey Is a Gift That Keeps on Giving Tom Brokl says he’s always loved hockey, but he never really played the game himself. “I couldn’t skate,” he laughs, “so I played broomball and watched hockey from the stands.” So it came as a bit of a surprise when his daughter Susannah ’03 asked if she could try to play when she was only eight years old. “I dropped her off at a practice for the Hopkins Youth League,” he recalls. “She had the wrong skates and still scored a wraparound goal on her first shift on the ice.” By the time Susannah began starting for the then fairly new Mustang girls team as a seventh grader, her father’s long and happy relationship with Breck hockey began in earnest…and it continues just as strong today. As the researcher, writer and statistician responsible for Breck HockeyNet emails — his mailing list now tops 500 recipients — Brokl finds that his long association with both the boys and girls programs stands him in good stead. “Once you’ve done it for a while, it’s easy to remember parallels to games from seasons past,” he explains. “So many people love Breck hockey. But sometimes I’m a little surprised by how much they want to keep hearing about it.” He took over doing game recaps from alumni parent Hans Tronnes, and he started making sure that Breck scores were reported to the newspapers after Susannah scored a hat trick and was disappointed the box score wasn’t in the paper the next morning. Brokl says, “I try to be supportive, no matter what. I don’t really write about penalties unless they directly affect a game. But I have to admit that it’s harder to write recaps of losing games than it is successful ones!” When he retired in 2010, Brokl originally devoted his time to playing golf in warmer climates. But hockey — especially Breck hockey — keeps drawing him back to the ice. And along the way, he’s become indispensable to parents, alumni, parents of alumni and a lot of others. Says Anderson Arena Manager Steve Langer, “Tom has been compiling game statistics since the inception of Breck girls hockey. His love for hockey, passion and commitment to the Breck community is something to celebrate.” His game-day activities are nothing short of amazing (right), and he has to send out his Breck HockeyNet emails in ten different batches, but Brokl thinks he’ll be at it for quite a while. “I’ve been doing these for 16 or 17 years,” he says, “and I could do it for another. As long as I have my health I’ll keep on.” JF To join the mailing list for Brokl’s emails, send an email to

Thursday, 1/15, Noon – Time to fire up the Faithful about tonight’s

Grace’s 3rd hat trick of the season and 5th of her Breck career, also

history for story lines. Boys are 4-1 in vs. Cathedral, so decide to

previous record of 33 held by Kate Schipper and Ellen Swiontkowski.

games. Boys vs St Cloud Cathedral, Girls vs Holy Angels. Look up

remind the Faithful about the loss last time they visited the MAC.

Girls history review shows a 13-year gap since Holy Angels last played at Breck and that Holy Angels played in the first game ever at Breck.

That history becomes my lead story. I just happen to have that whole game from 13 years ago on tape so I pull 3 clips for the story.

that she is now at 27 goals for the season and on pace to break the 8:00 pm – Breck HockeyNet email ready to go with the complete JV story and the varsity story through 2 periods.

8:35 pm – Varsity game ends & Chelen’s scoresheet and Brandy’s shot chart arrive simultaneously. 20% of the way through launching my

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A Day in the Life * A Day in the Life * A Day in the Life

1:15 pm – Launch of Fire-up. Limitations with Comcast mean I have to

HockeyNet email, my computer freezes. Time to walk the dog. When

the email needs to be sent 10 times to reach the full list.

Hockey Hub for the Star Tribune. Roster entry is difficult because Holy

keep the distribution list of each email to 50 or fewer addresses, so 2:00 pm – Add two new addresses and change a third. 6:20 pm – Chelen Johnson emails the girls JV scoresheet.

6:25 pm – Send an email to Chelen questioning the final score of the game. Chelen rarely makes an error, but tonight a goal with 14

seconds left in regulation has caused a tally problem. The official scorer is already doing summaries as the game starts the final

minute. Tonight that late goal gets entered in the scoring tally as

Breck’s 9th goal, but Chelen had already tallied the final score as 8-1 elsewhere on the sheet so I need clarification.

6:30 pm – Brandy Scobee, a goalie mom, charts EVERY shot for EVERY game, JV & Varsity. Her shot chart arrives with an 8-1 final, too. I

recount goals on the scoresheet and get 9 again and email Brandy to confirm a goal at 14:46 of the third was scored to make it 9-1.

6:35 pm – Brandy confirms 9 goals and says she, too, forgot that it

changed to 9-1 fourteen seconds before the final horn.

6:40 pm – Run through the scoresheet and see 4 goals for Luci

Beatrice and I get back, the computer is operating again. Sign into Angels has the same numbers on the JV team as they do on the

varsity and each number prompts me two players to choose from

instead of the usual one. I get through the roster step and move to the scoring and penalty summaries. I find I have no penalties, very,

very rare. That makes it easy. I enter the 6 goals, players and assists

and then the shots and final step, post the score with my signature to authenticate the score. Next, I take a portion of my HockeyNet recap

and modify it into a new email for the Pioneer Press. You have to send the score to them in an email or by phone. It is a simple process, but needs to be done because the IMAC has St. Paul teams.

9:15 pm – Complete the launch of the HockeyNet girls recaps and start

looking for the final on the boys score. Nothing yet.

10:00 pm – The boys score is now on Hockey Hub and one can see it

was an overtime game and that the extra length likely caused a delay in reporting. I start a boys HockeyNet recap.

10:40 pm – Start the launch of the boys recap. Done for the night. Friday, 1/16, 6:00 am – Check the sports sections of the Star Tribune

McGlynn and know I need to start a recap for the JV game. Then I see

and Pioneer Press (I subscribe online so I can have both). For the 19th

and my focus turns to Taylor as normally the girls use Brenneman or

appears in neither, which frustrates me.

that 7th grader Taylor Bjerke was the goaltender for the whole game

Scobee in the JV game and then the other goalie in the varsity game. 7:00 pm – Sign in to MSBN to watch the varsity game online as this

allows me to keep working on my JV recap, watch the varsity game from the comfort of my den at home, where it is 72 degrees, and email history tidbits to the MSBN announcers. Tonight, Grace

Zumwinkle scores a hat trick in the first, so I let announcer know it’s

time this season, the girls box score appears in both but the boys

10:00 am – Start planning the Girls Senior Day announcement. I want

to choose a non-game day to have the initial announcement. Themes and planning are always going through my head for the next recap, how to fire up the Faithful and when to launch. I believe we have

some Blake games on the horizon; that should make the next week or two interesting.

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

40 /

Alumni: Want to Learn More About Breck Admissions? If you’re interested in learning more about admission to Breck for your children, the Admissions office wants to hear from you. From time to time, the office holds events for prospective students from alumni families. The most recent took place in March at the home of Drew ’88 and Megan Gaillard, who have three children at Breck. For more information or to be added to the invitation list for future events, please contact

Left to right: Alex McKenna ’20, Katie McKenna ’87, Gunnar Evenstad ’20, Mark Evenstad ’87, Stephanie Burnet Ott ’87 and William Ott ’20

Breck in New York City Event Coming up in April We’ll be hosting New York-area alumni for an event on

Breck Friendships Span the Generations We were delighted to receive this update and photo from Stephanie Burnett Ott ’87. “This weekend Katie McKenna, Mark Evenstad and I were all at my house, and our three boys were as well. Alex McKenna,

April 17 when Dulcenée Walsh brings Breck art history students for their annual museum marathon.

Alumni and Student Gathering

Friday, April 17 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Alumni Reception

Friday, April 17 | 8:30 – 10:00 pm

Bull & Bear Library | Waldorf Astoria

Gunnar Evenstad and William Ott are great pals and they too

301 Park Avenue, New York City

are in the same graduating class [2020].”

If you’re in our database with a New York-area address, you’ll receive an invitation. To update your record or let us know that you’re interested, please contact

Calling All Reunion Planners This year, we’ll be hosting reunions for Breck classes that end in a “0” or “5.” Plans are already underway for several classes, but no one has yet volunteered to coordinate efforts for the following classes:

• 1950

• 1965

• 1955

• 1980

• 1960

• 2000

Anyone interested should contact us at

Are you LinkedIn? Over 820 Breck alumni and parents are LinkedIn. Are you? Visit to connect.

/ 41

Today at Breck

42 /

WInter 2015

class notes reunion year

1960 Tom Erickson was back on campus for a tour of the Upper School. Tom just retired from being CEO of a medical device company.

Nancy M. Johnson earned her Ph.D. in instructional leadership and is currently teaching at Normandale Community College. Nancy has two daughters who are in ninth and tenth grade at Breck, and she serves as the Breck Middle School tennis coach.

1985 Danna Heilicher Mirviss will be leading the efforts to organize the 30-year reunion for the Class of 1985.

1988 Alec Soth was featured in the article


“Unseen America: Alec Soth’s Haunt-

Antony Harrison continues to serve as

Check it out at www.thedailybeast.

head of the Department of English at


North Carolina State University. His


16-year-old son, Penn, is thriving and


looking forward to college, and Antony

CORRECTION: Andrea Specht,

reports, “Life is good.”

executive director of the Bloomington


Theater and Art Center, let us know

Fawn Wilderson-Legros is working

identity is underway, not completed.

on the 40-year reunion for the Class of 1975.

1982 Scott Dugan presented to Breck’s Advanced Science Research students on January 23. Scott is an associate professor at the University of Georgia doing research in cellular biology.

ing Road Trips” in The Daily Beast.

that work on a new name and visual


She says they look forward to a brand

Steve Yoch’s book, Becoming George

and region-wide impact of their

that better reflects the professionalism

Washington, will be published in


September. The book “tells the largely

Kirstin Erickson Wilson is the alumni

unknown story of how an insecure

“20 Questions” subject in this issue of

fatherless boy rises to become our

Today at Breck.

indispensable founding father.” Steve, who writes historical fiction, has a Facebook page ( SteveYochAuthor) and a website (

1990 Dave Walter, Molly Cronin Clark, and Jena Bjorgen are planning the 25-year reunion for the Class of 1990.

2000 Meredith Moore Crosby was selected as one of the “40 Under 40” in this year’s Twin Cities Business Journal article. Tom Simmons is currently in preproduction with Project Coyote, a feature-length documentary film that


traces the daring path of American

Emily Faville and her husband, John

Plant. He is looking to connect with

Gambino, welcomed a son, Gianluca

individuals and brands who share

Rafael, on October 29, 2014. He joins

Mike Plant’s passion for adventure. If

big sister Daniela (6 yrs) and Max (3.5

you know of someone, please get in

yrs). They live in Hoboken, New Jersey.

touch with Tom via LinkedIn.

Angus Worthing is thriving as a rheumatologist, dad, and husband in


Washington DC. His mom, Sandy

Alex Clark served as an alumni

Brennan Worthing, informed us that

panelist at the Lower School Parent

he was named a “Doctor of the Year” in

Association Division meeting on

DC last spring and that one of his best

February 4.

minutes away from him.


1995 Heather Behnke Grant is working

Easily collaborate with constituents. Chat and share documents with

on the 20-year reunion for the Class

Leah Lussier Sixkiller servedstaff, asstudents, an advisers, campus officials and board members. alumni panelist at the Lower School Progress Parents Association DivisionReal-Time meeting Live activity feeds, real-time progress bars and email on February 4. She also contributed her notifications keep everyone on track at all times. thoughts to the cover story in this issue Multiple User Types of Today at Breck.

of 1995.

1997 Colin Brooks recently joined students from the Breck Investment Club to talk about his career in December.


2004 Jacob Kingdon recently celebrated his

Simone Hardeman-Jones contributed

five-year wedding anniversary with

her thoughts to the cover story in this

wife Megan on October 10. The couple

issue of Today at Breck.

has made Cincinnati their home since

Sara Marsh and her Dark and Stormy

2007. They have two little girls.

theatre company were featured in a

Hannah (3) and Grace (1). Megan is a

MinnPost article. You can read it at

nurse and is currently the clinical

research coordinator for the Retina


department at the Cincinnati Eye


Institute. After graduating from


Lawrence University in 2007 with a B.A. in psychology, Jacob spent seven

Control what each user can see and do on VeriSky. We take privacy seriously and we go to great lengths to keep your data safe.

Joined by their families from America VERISKY BY THE NUMBERS and Canada, Jomi Kramer married 1,400+ users registered Aaron Draper in Kibbutz Yagur, Israel, 600+ chapters registered on October 7. The couple met while serving in the Israeli Defense Force, 200+ events created and currently reside in Haifa where 100+ probations managed Jomi is finishing an engineering degree at The Technion. Other Breck alumni in attendance included Elori Kramer ’09, Tiffany Salone, and Amanda Blum, while Laura and Pat McCarthy attended the Minnesota reception.

4,000+ requirement 3,500+ documents

friends, Andy Schoenbaum, lives ten

offshore single-handed skipper, Mike

years working for the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and Foundation in Oxford, OH. He served as a leadership consultant, director of chapter services, and a senior development officer. In his two years with the foundation he raised over $750,000 in major gifts toward a $20 million campaign for scholarships, fellowships, and leadership development programs. In June 2014 he joined a company called OmegaFi out of Columbus, GA, where he managed a team of fundraising consultants who / 43 specialize in feasibility studies and capital campaigns for Greek chapter house building projects and educational endowments. In his spare time, Jacob also co-founded a software company called VeriSky   with fellow RISK MANAGEMENT MADE EASY Breck VeriSky eliminates the busywork and the paperwork associated with alumnus chapter discipline and event planning so that organizations can focus on what is most important. Our technology provides a platform for Brendan Doms. They specialize staff, volunteers, university in officials and students to collaborate, share documents and stay in the loop from anywhere. cloud-based risk management solutions for the Fraternity/Sorority VeriSky makes your jo Headquarters and college/university We handle the boring stuff, so you can f market, offering document storage and approval systems, collaboration tools, Communication Tools and automated due date tracking.

3,200+ user comme

10,000+ notification

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

Michael Vargas is setting up a net-

Former Breck mock trialer Kara

working social group for Breck alums

Lillehaug graduated from Tufts

in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please

University last spring and is now

contact if you

working for College Possible in St. Paul.

are interested in joining the group.

44 /

Cam Soojian recently got a new job. He


is now working as the content market-

Marlene Goldenberg will be leading

a full-service marketing firm based in

the efforts to organize the 10-year

Minneapolis. He also founded his own

reunion for the Class of 2005.

record label called Lawn Chair Records.


His label has done three releases so far

Andrew Chapel is in his second year

Strangler and El Greco Explosive and he

of medical school in Arizona.

promises more releases are to come.

2007 Addie Gorlin served as an alumni panelist at the Lower School Parents

ing manager at Synecore Technologies,

with local bands Ripper, Teenage

His long-term plan for his label includes a retail store. Cam also plays in a garage punk band called the Rugs and they are recording an EP.

Association Division meeting on

Zach Soskin and Annalisa Tester are

February 4. She also contributed her

in the early stages of planning the

thoughts to the cover story in this

class’ 5-year reunion.

issue of Today at Breck. You can keep up with filmmaker


Kevin Schreck and his projects via his

Tom Erdmann will begin work as a

website, Kevin will

software engineer for Apple in

be at Breck in early April to talk about

Cupertino once he finishes his degree

his documentary, Persistence of Vision.

at the University of Michigan this



Dakota Tidd graduated from the

ager Michael Portu was named a

University of Minnesota, Duluth, in

winner of’s

May 2014 with dual majors in chemical

Tom Walter/Pete Frates Award, given

engineering and chemistry. He is a

annually to inspirational people in

production management engineer

college baseball.

at Cargill’s Eddyville, Iowa, corn milling plant.

2009 Joey Rehkamp scored a goal in his third consecutive game for St. Cloud State in a 3-1 loss to Denver on January 16.

2010 John Baker served as an alumni panelist at the Lower School Parents Association Division meeting on February 4. He also contributed his thoughts to the cover story in this issue of Today at Breck.

Vanderbilt University baseball man-

In November, Breck faculty member Robin Fondow went to the WilliamsAmherst game and caught up with Steven Kiesel and Austin Lommen ’12. Conor Andrle’12 scored his fourth goal of the season in Army’s 4-2 win over Rochester Institute of Technology.

2012 Josh Luger contributed his thoughts to the cover story in this issue of Today at Breck.

Taylor Neisen recorded her first shutout of the season and the second of her career in St. Thomas’ 4-0 win over St. Catherine. Grant Opperman scored his third goal of the year for Dartmouth in a 5-2 win over Cornell on January 24.

2013 Abby Erdmann contributed her thoughts to the cover story in this issue of Today at Breck. Amherst student and hockey player Thomas Lindstrom scored twice to lead his team to a 6-2 win over Wesleyan in January. Kate Schipper scored the game’s first goal for the Gophers and Minnesota went on to a 3-1 win over Ohio State on January 31.

2014 Claire Drysdale’s Cum Laude paper entitled “Combining Chemistry and Artistry: Identification of Artistic Patinas Using Raman Spectrometry” has been selected as the outstanding paper for Cum Laude Society District 7. Emily Colwell, Claire Drysdale, Leslie Hayes and Sophie Mirviss all contributed their thoughts to the cover story in this issue of Today at Breck.

In Memoriam 1950 Dr. Dennis Gibson passed away on September 14 in Montgomery, Alabama. He is survived by his wife, Mary; son, David (Theresa); stepdaughters, Cindy (Robert), Carol (Tucker), and Sherry; and four grandchildren.

1957 Stafford Hansen passed away in November. He is survived by wife of 53 years, Loretta; five children, Matthew (Ann), Daniel, Benjamin (Doreen) and Ann (Christopher); 18 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. He was remembered with a service on December 5. Stan Trisko passed away December 23. He is survived by wife of 47 years, Phyllis; sons, Erik (Desiree) and Nicholas (Lisa) Trisko; daughter, Maria Pivec; grandchildren, Brandon, Alexis, Gabrielleanne and Michelleanne Trisko and Sofia Pivec; cousins and friends. Stan was laid to rest on January 5 in St. Paul.

1976 Frank Phelps passed away on December 20. He was a devoted family man who dedicated his life to helping Minnesota nonprofits as a philanthropy consultant. Frank is survived by his son, Samuel (Christine Anderson); daughters Amber and Paige; grandson Carter; parents Peter and Saralee; siblings Erin Phelps-Stark ’74 (David), Bill (Jennifer) and Louise Page (Ben). Frank’s brother Bowen ’78 passed away last fall.

2011 Former student Jeff Scovanner passed away on January 28. He is survived by parents Mary and Doug and siblings Tim ’07 and Jill ’08. There was a memorial service on Saturday, March 14, at the Marsh in Wayzata.

Former Faculty Longtime Lower School Chaplain Luree Pearson died on November 21 following an illness. She was 73. She is survived by two sons and four grandchildren. She worked at Breck for more than 25 years. Her memorial service was held in Breck’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit in early December. Former Upper School counselor Patricia Flanders-Hall died unexpectedly December 21 at the age of 77. She was the wife of former Upper School English teacher Warren Hall and the grandmother of three current Breck students. She is survived by her husband, a brother, two sisters, five children and five grandchildren, and her life was celebrated in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in January. Former Director of Transportation Philip Steen died on January 17 at the age of 81. A Ph.D. from the University of Michigan School of Music, he came to Breck in 1978 after a long teaching career and retired in 1997. He is survived by his wife, Arvida, two daughters, and four grandchildren.


(find it in the Athletics section of the website)

Check out our new colorful gym store items

/ 45

Today at Breck

WInter 2015

46 /

Fall Sports: Doubles Team Wins at State; Girls Tennis Team Takes Third; Girls Swimming Places Fourth; Cross Country Sends a Runner to State

Football The Mustangs finished second in the conference, losing in the section semifinal game. Their 6-4 overall record included big wins over conference rivals SPA, Blake and Minnehaha. Five players were named to the All-Conference team: Kwaku Bodom, Graydon Kulick, Ramaud Bowman, Karsten Salveson and Charlie Gamer; and five received honorable mention: Jake Cohen, Levi Selness, Bryce Johnson, Easton McChesney and Mark Murray. Easton McChesney was the MIP, Kwaku Bodom the MVP, and Charlie Gamer the Mustanger.

Cross-Country Seventh grader Morgan Richter ran in the state meet after a season marked by great captains’ leadership, several all-time PRs over last season, great team bonding and a lot of encouragement and cheering for each other. Both the girls and boys teams earned Gold-level recognition for academic excellence. Morgan Richter was an All-Conference selection, with an honorable mention for Kendall Riskevich. Brennan Clark and Sara Rex were the MIPs, Blaine Madson and Morgan Richter the MVPs, and Declan Fries and Elena Berman the Mustangers.

Boys Soccer The boys were IMAC conference champions and, for the third consecutive year, were denied a trip to State by falling to Chaska in the section final — this year by a score of 2-1. Andrew Stuempfig was named Mr. Soccer for Class A and was a member of the All-State team, as was Avi Eller. All-Conference honors went to Andrew Stuempfig, Avi Eller, Jack Dickinson, Garrett Opperman and Peter Kiesel, with honorable mentions for Erik Horstman and Josh Gottesman. Conrad Smits was the MIP, Avi Eller the MVP, and Ed Kuhns the Mustanger.

Volleyball It was a good year for Breck volleyball, and a season that saw a first-ever victory over Rockford, battling back from 0-2 against SPA and going 2-0 against Blake. Senior Jaila Tolbert was named to the All-State team and was one of the five finalists for the Ms. Baden Volleyball award. Jaila Tolbert and Madi Lommen were All-Conference selections, with honorable mentions for Raven DuBois and Lauren Bilcik. Shayla Henderson-Thomas was the MIP, Jaila Tolbert the MVP, and Nichole Showalter the Mustanger.

Girls Soccer

/ 47

The Mustang girls made it through the first round of sections this year and had an especially great effort against Blake — ending in a 1-1 tie and avoiding a loss to the Bears for the first time in several years. Grace Taylor and Sophie O’Bryan were All-Conference selections, with honorable mentions for Franny Miller and Hannah Shin. Lauren Kozikowski was the MIP, Grace Taylor and Sophie O’Bryan the MVPs, and Gabby Billing the Mustanger.

Girls Swim & Dive The season ended with a fourth-place finish at the state meet, where three school records were broken: Bre Thorne (50 free), Bre Thorne (100 fly), Bre Thorne, Blair Bingham, Annie McFarland and Cecily Hibbs (200 free relay). At the Section 2A championships, the Mustangs broke records for the 200 medley relay, 200 IM and 100 fly. Bre Thorne also broke a Breck pool record in the 100 back. The girls placed third at the Maroon & Gold meet out of 14 Class 2A teams, fourth at True Team State and first at True Team sections. The team is not in a conference, so there were no All-Conference selections. The MIP was Maisie Dodge deBruyn, the MVP was Bre Thorne, and the Mustanger was Allyssa Phelps.

Girls Tennis Girls tennis took third place as a team at the state meet, and the doubles team of Grace Zumwinkle and Kendall Kozikowski were the Class A State champs. Kendall Kozikowski was a Star Tribune athlete of the week, and Merrill Harris was named assistant coach of the year. All-Conference honors went to Kendall Kozikowski, Anna Zumwinkle, Grace Zumwinkle and Katie Schmoker, with honorable mentions for Layla Tattersfield, Sarah Webb and Evie Mackenzie. Lacey Budniewski was the MIP, Kendall Kozikowski the MVP, and Anna Zumwinkle the Mustanger.

Division I signings this winter, top to bottom, athletes and their parents: Will Culliton will play basketball at West Point, Jaila Tolbert will play volleyball at Virginia Tech, and Graydon Kulick will play football at Davidson.

Today at Breck

48 /

WInter 2015

In Their Own Words

First-Grader Jada Robinson Finds Inspiration and Friendship With Senior Jaila Tolbert, the Homecoming Queen

Jada: “I was going to be Wonder Woman for Halloween,

Jada wrote to me about her excitement over my accom-

but Wonder Woman is white. Then I was so happy and

plishment, frankly, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that

surprised to see a black Homecoming queen, so I decided

something so small could have such an impact on our

I should be a queen.”

youngest students of color.”

Jaila: “Ever since my first year, as a kindergartner at

Jada: “Meeting Jaila was really fun. She even brought the

Breck, I have dreamed of being on Homecoming Court.

crown so I could try it on. ”

Being nominated to the 2014-15 court was an honor, and I’m sincerely grateful to my peers and instructors for being named Homecoming Queen.” Jada: “Mrs. Herrmann and Mrs. Wright invited Jaila to come visit me in our classroom, and we spent the morning together!” Jaila: “I truly didn’t realize the impact that I could have on students at Breck or anyone for that matter. When

Jaila: “I am so proud that I can be a leader, influence, and inspiration in my community.” Jada: “I’m glad she was the queen, because she’s very nice and she helps everybody. Some queens are so demanding!” Jaila: “I am pleased to have made a bond with such a bright student. Jada is poised and kind. Hopefully she’ll be wearing the crown in years to come!”

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

To join those in our community who had made a commitment to Breck now and in the future, who have named Breck in their will, or as a beneficiary of their retirement plan, insurance policy or trust, please contact the advancement office at 763.381.8129.

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 (763.381.8207 or of the new mailing address.

hooray for 100 day! Kindergartners enjoy a time-honored Breck tradition

photoby byKaryl KarylRice Rice Photo

Today at Breck - Winter 2015  

The winter 2015 issue of Today at Breck magazine.

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