Cyrus a magazine for alumni and friends of The Blake School
Inside the creatively datadriven world of Nina Hale ’85
Secrets of the Stage Pulling back the curtain on Blake’s musicals
Rory Taylor ’14 helps indigenous students pursue higher ed
FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL
Cyrus a magazine for alumni and friends of The Blake School Editor Kristin Stouffer Managing Editor Tracy Grimm Graphic Designer Susan Byrne Thanks to the many Blake community members who have contributed to this publication. Our Mission The Blake School provides students with an excellent, academically challenging education in a diverse and supportive community committed to a common set of values. Students are expected to participate in an integrated program of academic, artistic and athletic activities in preparation for college, lifelong learning, community service and lives as responsible world citizens. Our Core Values Respect Love of Learning Integrity Courage Commitment to Pluralism The Blake School Administrative Offices 110 Blake Road South Hopkins, MN 55343 952-988-3430 Why Cyrus? Cyrus Northrop played a formative role in one of Blake’s founding institutions. In 1915, Northrop Collegiate School was named in his honor to recognize Dr. Northrop’s achievements as
Circling Back This year I stepped back into the classroom after a 10-year hiatus. With a Blake colleague’s family leave, I had the opportunity to teach a sophomore American literature class for the final two months of the semester. During a classroom discussion on my first day, so many of the reasons I loved my 22 years of teaching came rushing back to me — finding inspiration in insightful student comments, seeing an old text in a new light, discerning how to draw a quiet student into conversation, sparking passion for a newly discovered author or poet. We tend to think of career paths as linear. But most of our professional lives consist of ups and downs, unplanned detours and loops back to places we never thought we’d experience again. These moments can be the most rewarding. They remind us of where we started, what inspired us and what still matters most to us as professionals and as people. Nina Hale ʼ85, the subject of our feature story (page 6), exemplifies the bravery and benefit of taking the road less traveled. Rory Taylor ʼ14 (page 18) pursues work that connects him to his Native American community and opens educational avenues for others. Our class notes (page 21) often tell stories of alumni who have reconnected with Blake. For instance, this semester we welcomed back brothers Bly and Rowan Pope ʼ99, who taught Upper School visual arts during the sabbatical of fellow alumnus Bill Colburn ʼ88. I wish the very best to our 126 newest Blake alumni, the class of 2016. Enjoy the unexpected adventures that await you. And please, every now and then, circle back to the school community that helped set you on your path.
a nationally regarded educator and as president of the University of Minnesota. His legacy of educational excellence continues at Blake today. email@example.com
Anne E. Stavney, Ph.D. Head of School The Blake School
CONTENTS Summer 2016
AGENT OF HER OWN DESIGN
In the field of digital marketing, the name Nina Hale is synonymous with quality and integrity for clients and employees alike. PAGE 6 IN PHOTOS
In Brief 2
Take a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s spring musicals.
Cover Story 6
Champion of Change Rory Taylor ’14 leads a program that supports Native American students preparing for college. PAGE 18
In Photos 12 In Print & Production 20 Class Notes 21 Voices 29
IN BRIEF ACADEMIC HIGHLIGHT
PEEPS IN SPACE What happens when you send a Peep into space? Blake Middle School students found out when they launched a weather balloon 90,000 feet above the Earth. The 23 students formed a co-curricular club to design experiments focused on space exploration. For the weather balloon experiment, they tracked data related to temperature, pressure and UV radiation. And they studied the effects of temperature and pressure on the germination of seeds, on the efficacy of sunscreen, and on the state of foods like the intrepid yellow Peep. GoPro cameras, NeuLog sensors and Spot GPS allowed the students to capture video and track the balloon as it ascended 90,314 feet into space and descended back to earth, landing more than 100 miles from the launch site in Glencoe, Minnesota. To find out what happens to a Peep in space, watch the video at blake.mn/ peepinspace. AWARDS
BLAKE NAMED BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL IN MINNESOTA Blake’s Upper School took the top spot in an annual ranking of the best private high schools in each state. The data, compiled by the online ranking site 2 Cyrus
FACES ON CAMPUS
Niche, included SAT/ACT performance, collegematriculation rates, colleges that students attend, school culture, diversity, and reviews from students and parents. ARTS HIGHLIGHT
50 YEARS OF HINDSIGHT “Meet, interview and take photos of someone at least 50 years older than you,” Upper School teacher Brian Sago told his photography class. The assignment stemmed from one of his own as a high school student, a lesson he calls “the best of my K-12 education.” Sago interviewed his grandmother Eunice, and the two talked about her life when she was her grandson’s age. “Looking back on it, this was by far the most influential assignment I had in school,” Sago says. Wishing the same experience for his students, Sago created the Fifty Years of Hindsight project, which calls for students to create artistic representations of a parent, grandparent, teacher or other meaningful person in their lives. (Photo by Ryan Whitney ’17)
FACES ON CAMPUS
OTIS ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHOR PUTS EMPHASIS ON LOCAL FOOD
The chicken and the egg. We may never know which came first, but when they’re on our plate, we should know where they came from. So says Douglas Gayeton, this year’s Otis Environmental Author. The award-winning artist, filmmaker, writer and photographer is co-founder of the Lexicon of Sustainability and Project Localize, which help people make informed choices about food. During his Blake visit, Gayeton accompanied students to the Tangletown Gardens Farm in Plato, Minnesota, where they interviewed the owners and photographed the farm. A tightly packed schedule allowed Gayeton to work with students in all divisions and to deliver a Breakfast at Blake presentation, which can be viewed at blake.mn/ gayeton.
Highcroft campus second graders flew into action to help the endangered northern long-eared bat. The winged creature won the students’ devotion during a class visit from Jill Utrup, a scientist with the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service, who explained that the bats suffer from the fatal whitenose syndrome. The students researched and created presentations on the issue and made bat items to sell as a fundraiser for Bat Conservation International. “The students were passionate about this project,” second
grade teacher Lori Thoraldson says. “It was amazing to watch these children, who are engaged in their learning and motivated to make a difference, impact an entire community and serve beyond it.” COMMUNITY
A DAY IN THE LIFE To better understand their students, a handful of brave teachers and administrators volunteered to become Upper Schoolers for a day. Organized by the student-led Challenge Success Club, Freaky Friday allowed adults to participate in a full day of classes and follow a student’s after-school schedule, including that student’s typical bedtime. Upper School Assistant Director Paul Menge — who attended AP English, calculus, Spanish, ceramics, physics and AP European history before
squeezing in a workout and heading to the Blake-Breck dance — says he slept really well that night. “After going from one class to another it was clear that changing my focus to a different discipline throughout the day is challenging,” Menge says. “My other observation is that in every class I attended the students were engaged. They wanted to learn. They liked their teachers. Not surprising, but it’s really something that makes me proud.” AWARDS
LEARNINGWORKS MENTOR TEACHER WINS MINNESOTA TEACHER OF THE YEAR During the school year, Abdul Wright teaches language arts at Best Academy, a charter school in Minneapolis.
During the summer, he’s a LearningWorks mentor teacher, inspiring future teachers and current students in this partnership between Blake and Minneapolis Public Schools. Education Minnesota named Wright its 2016 Teacher of Year, making him the first African-American male and first charter school teacher to earn the honor. (Photo by Janet Hostetter of Education Minnesota)
Minneapolis since 1980, often sends elementary student artwork for display in our local schools. This year, thanks to the efforts of Middle School art teacher Seexeng Lee, Blake’s Bovey Commons displayed work from Japanese students. In exchange, several of Lee’s students created art to display in Ibaraki City.
ART EXCHANGE Japan’s Ibaraki City, which has been a Sister City of
Tula is a prolific photographer, sometimes taking over 6,000 pictures in an hour. Tula is also a dog. She and her human sister, Susie Kixmoeller ‘17, have found themselves in the limelight thanks to their Instagram account, Canine Happy Hour, where Susie posts photos that Tula takes (with a GoPro strapped to her chest) while playing at offleash dog parks. The duo has received widespread media attention from local, national and international outlets. Summer 2016 3
IN BRIEF PROGRAM
HOME TURF The Bears’ home field advantage will soon be boosted by state-of-the-art turf at Gordy Aamoth Jr. Stadium. Here are a few numbers behind the massive project. 130 games canceled or rescheduled in past school years due to grass field wear and tear or inclement weather ACADEMIC HIGHLIGHT
WATERSHED MOMENT Want to learn about water pollutants? Just ask a Blake fourth grader. The students so impressed a representative of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District with their knowledge that he invited them to present at the organization’s board meeting. Their expertise came from an assignment in which the students worked in small groups, each one assigned to a different area of the watershed district. Using Google Maps, they created a model of their assigned area then considered which pollutants impact that area. The students found ways to mimic the pollutants within their models, which were connected by a clear rubber tube representing Minnehaha Creek. Once attached to a faucet, water ran through the models and a watering can simulated rain to create runoff. The pollutants washed off in the rain and formed runoff to the creek, where students could see their impact on water quality. FACES ON CAMPUS
CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFINGS ON CUBA In advance of Blake’s global immersion experience in Cuba this summer, two U. S. congressmen visited Blake to share their insights about the country. Representative Tom Emmer (pictured at right) talked with
30+: Number of sports and programs that will use the new field PK-12: Grades that will have access to the turf 80: Percentage of Upper School students who participate in athletics 29,000 cubic yards of soil removed 87,400 square feet of turf installed To learn more and see a time-lapse video of the field’s construction, visit blake.mn/turfproject.
Upper School students about his historic trip to Cuba with President Obama and shared his rationale behind sponsoring legislation in the U.S. House to lift the decades-long trade embargo against Cuba.
Later in the spring, Representative Keith Ellison stopped by to brief the travellers about his take on political relations with the country.
SPRING BREAK IN INDIA This spring break, 10 Upper School students and two teachers experienced life at the Lawrence School in Sanawar, India, and surrounding areas, including a visit to the famed Taj Mahal. In 2013, the two schools participated in an exchange when Blake students visited over spring break and welcomed 19 Lawrence School students to Minneapolis.
Dining at Blake
Under the heading “Lunch,” a 1950 Blake catalog explained, “Careful consideration is given to the problem of diet, and every effort is exerted to make the meal one that will prove healthful as well as enjoyable.” True to this claim, the Blake dining experience remains a significant memory for alumni of the era. Hot meals consisting of meat, vegetables, dessert and “plenty of bread, butter and milk” were dished on plates emblazoned with the school’s logo alongside engraved flatware and served by the lucky upperclassmen selected for the coveted role of waiter. In 1916, Head of School Charles Bertram Newton established the waiter system at Blake after a visit to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Blake’s waiters served food to long tables with backless benches, where faculty dined with students. Throughout the meal waiters would bring bread and milk and return plates to the kitchen for second helpings before serving dessert and clearing the milk and water pitchers. The job came with perks including free lunches, extra food, eating at an unsupervised table and joking around with the other waiters. The student head waiters saw to it that each table had the proper number of settings, helped the kitchen staff with dirty dishes and brought coffee to the faculty lounge before returning to keep order at the waiters’ table. The dining room pictured above was located below Blake’s Bovey chapel, where it stayed until the current dining room was built in 1963.
Summer 2016 5
In 2005, guided by an eclectic background in radio, folklore, upholstery and business, Nina Hale founded Minnesota’s largest search engine marketing agency. In the years that followed, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named her an Industry Leader and she hit the Minnesota Business (Real) Power 50 list. In 2014, she sold the agency to her employees. Now Hale’s transitioning away from the company she founded and contemplating her next move.
AGENT OF HER OWN DESIGN NINA HALE ’85
Written by Lori L. Ferguson Illustrated by Owen Davey
Summer 2016 7
or Hale, this career arc feels perfectly normal, a natural curve that envelops her two central passions: social communities and constant learning. It’s these twin threads, she says, that have enabled her to parlay an interest in human behavior and data into a thriving career helping clients boost their bottom line through lead generation and ecommerce initiatives. Although many are now wise to the importance of digital strategy, the field was still in its nascent stage when Hale got her start. After completing her MBA, she embarked on a series of online marketing positions, working with clients from the National Geographic Society to Cisco Systems to Time Warner Cable. Within five years, Hale was senior marketing manager– online for Capella University, managing a five-person team and a $10 million budget. Then in 2005, she made the leap to her own consulting firm, the eponymous Nina Hale, Inc., a data-driven digital marketing firm launched with an
investment of just $2,700. Hale’s agency was among the early in Minneapolis to offer digital marketing services, employing search engine optimization as well as digital strategy, web analytics, paid media, content marketing and social media to help companies connect with clients in meaningful ways. It was a natural fit. “So much of what happens online revolves around social communities and issues of popular culture and storytelling, which I love, and you can measure absolutely everything!” Hale says. “You can analyze how people are gathering information by looking at what they’re searching — themes, words, ideas. It’s quite interesting.” And quite lucrative — a lot of money can hinge on a company using the right words to describe its product to consumers. Get it wrong, however, and companies and clients can pass online like ships in the night. Hale throws out a few examples. “The company talks about its ‘hot melt applicator,’ but people are
searching for ‘industrial glue gun.’ Or the company promotes its ‘water resort’ when people are looking for a ‘water park.’” One of Hale’s clients, a trailer manufacturer, retained the agency to increase traffic and sales to its website. The product, it said, was a Sport Utility Recreational Vehicle or “SURV.” When Hale and her team began to do the research, however, they found that very few people were searching for a “SURV,” but lots were looking for a “toy hauler.” Once the client had that information in hand, its whole marketing approach changed and sales began to increase. A foaming bath gel client was treated to a similar epiphany; after a bit of research, Hale’s agency was able to show that only 80 people per month were searching for a “foaming bath gel,” while over 6,000 were searching for “bubble bath.” The data moved the client to reconfigure its product labeling and website.
CEASELESSLY CURIOUS Quirky discoveries such as these delight Hale, who readily admits
to an insatiable curiosity and love of learning. “When I was at Brown, I took all sorts of esoteric courses — classes on folklore, African storytelling and Renaissance poetry. It was great fun.” Then Hale tackled a course in upholstery at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. “I love that type of work because it’s incredibly tangible,” she says. Unfortunately none of these courses proved terribly helpful in getting a job, Hale concedes, a realization that led her to enroll in Carlson’s MBA program to “fill in the business gaps.” But Hale possessed considerable business savvy long before she reached graduate school. The daughter of Roger Hale ’52, a highly regarded CEO and business leader, Hale says she has been lovingly mentored throughout her life. She recalls fielding business pop quizzes from her father anytime they found themselves together in the car. Clearly, the lessons stuck. While still a youngster, the enterprising Hale started a babysitter’s union among her friends and set up a lemonade
“WHEN ASKED WHAT MAKES NINA HALE, INC. SUCH A SPECIAL PLACE TO WORK, HALE SAYS SIMPLY, ‘IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO TWO THINGS: WE’RE COMMITTED TO RESULTS, AND WE HIRE ONLY THOSE WHO WANT TO BE THE BEST.’”
stand that netted $200 in profit every weekend. When they grew too old for the business, Hale and her friends hired younger children to take over the lemonade sales. Hale continues to be grateful for the entrepreneurial acumen those car rides cultivated. “My dad is amazing. He never gives advice, solicited or unsolicited, and he never gives me the answers to the questions or challenges I’m facing. Instead, he asks probing questions, which enables me to come to realizations and conclusions myself.” Hale’s ability to tackle challenges and sort through problems has served her well. Today, Nina Hale, Inc., which began as a single-person shop, employs nearly 60 employees, yields revenues approaching $10 million annually, has landed on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies three years running, and recently claimed a spot on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2015 list of the Twin Cities’ fastest-growing
private companies. The agency’s client list reads like a who’s who — 3M, Honeywell, Renewal by Andersen, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Room & Board — yet Hale remains humble. “I called the business Nina Hale because I never thought it would be any bigger
growth. I’ve just been lucky enough to find my dream job.”
EMPLOYEE FOCUSED As it turns out, employment at Nina Hale, Inc. is a dream job for many others as well. The company has made the Best Places to Work lists of
Nina Hale ’85
than me, and I certainly never imagined it would develop into a large agency,” she says. Hale shrugs off the label of entrepreneur. “I don’t see myself that way,” she asserts. “I’m risk averse and believe in slow
Minnesota Business Magazine and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal eight times since 2011 and consistently attracts top talent in the field of digital marketing. When asked what makes Nina Hale, Inc. such
a special place to work, Hale says simply, “It really comes down to two things: we’re committed to results, and we hire only those who want to be the best.” That said, Hale has no time for divas. “We’re absolutely committed to quality and integrity in our employees, but it really comes down to being a nice person.” The company never offers a job to someone who doesn’t send a thank you note after an interview and never hires those who describe themselves as digital “ninjas,” “Jedi” or “visionaries,” says Hale candidly. “It just never works out. We work as a team, and some sense of humility is important.” Hale has also cultivated an extraordinarily strong, valuecentered approach within the organization and places great stock on “business karma.” “We’re focused on integrity; our attitude is ‘Always do right by the client and good things will happen.’” She holds her employees in equally high esteem. “We care about each other — we’re a
Summer 2016 9
“... A LOT OF MONEY CAN HINGE ON A COMPANY USING THE RIGHT WORDS TO DESCRIBE ITS PRODUCT TO CONSUMERS. GET IT WRONG, HOWEVER, AND COMPANIES AND CLIENTS CAN PASS ONLINE LIKE SHIPS IN THE NIGHT.”
family,” she says. Demand for top-quality employees in the digital marketing sector is high, Hale continues, and there’s a shortage of people with the skills and experience necessary to do the type of work the agency does. “We have employees who are being recruited by competing firms several times a week. So in order to maintain our talent, we must not only provide an
environment that’s conducive to a good work-life balance, but also recognize people and reward them for their contributions.”
VALUE DRIVEN And reward them she has. In 2014, Hale transferred ownership of Nina Hale, Inc. to her employees. She’s still an employee-owner and deeply
invested in the success of the company. But she’s quick to point out that she’s no longer the integral player that she once was. These days, Hale only works about 17 hours per week, a far cry from the 60+ hours per week she put in for eight years straight. And though she admits it’s been challenging to separate herself from a place that was an
intrinsic part of her life for over a decade, she says the time was right. “The company had reached a critical point in size and revenue, and I really wanted to reward the people who made the business what it was and enable them to share in the success. And I also wanted to dictate my own exit strategy,” she adds with a chuckle. So after a great deal of
“HALE SHRUGS OFF THE LABEL OF ENTREPRENEUR. ‘I DON’T SEE MYSELF THAT WAY. I’M RISK AVERSE AND BELIEVE IN SLOW GROWTH. I’VE JUST BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO FIND MY DREAM JOB.’”
forethought and planning, Hale handed over the reins, naming Donna Robinson as the new CEO. “I spent a lot of time backing out of the company, transitioning clients and defining roles, and I was very thoughtful about who the new CEO would be,” she says. “Donna became the obvious choice, and she’s been truly excellent. Getting the right person in that position was a crucial element in making the switch, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.” Despite the fact that Hale’s decision to step down as CEO was both voluntary and wellplanned, the path forward wasn’t always clear. For example, Hale says, as she slowly moved out of the corner office, it wasn’t always easy to determine who was running the show, and backing away from day-to-day decision making was tough at times. “Even though I’ve stepped down as CEO, I’m still an employee-owner, and the company’s success continues to be very important to me. So I’ve had to get very clear on what
issues I must have the final word and what I can let go.” This is where having a strong company value system proves helpful, says Hale. “If you know what your values are, these decisions become easier.” As the business grows and roles change, an inevitable shift in tone has occurred. Hale ran headfirst into this reality when she tweeted several things that her social team deemed off-message, an experience she recounted in a strikingly candid 2015 article for Advertising Age entitled “What Do You Mean I’m Off-Brand? I’m the Founder.” But Hale is very proud of the fact that she has successfully evolved her company into a thriving, employee-owned enterprise in which she still has a role. “Transitioning the agency was a big-time goal for me. Digging my heels in would have been counterproductive. I was ready for the next challenge.” These days, Hale is reveling in the newfound time for herself and her family: husband Dylan Hicks and son Jackson. Hale, of course, is back in school, this
time studying clothing design and manufacturing. “I’ve always wanted to know how to sew, and when you’re raised by a hardcore feminist, it’s not something you learn,” she says with a chuckle. “I’m super excited. There’s just something about creating magic out of flat things that I love.” Hale insists that she has no professional goals in mind for this latest undertaking; she just wants to learn something new, make a few signature dresses for herself and enjoy the extra free time — for now. Lori L. Ferguson (writerloriferguson.com) is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire. She enjoys writing on lifestyle and human interest topics as well as all things artistic.
Cyrus Monthly Subscribe to Blake’s alumni e-newsletter, Cyrus Monthly (formerly Alma Matters), for updates on classmates in the news, upcoming alumni events, current school highlights and new features like Bear Pause, a fun, 10-question Q&A featuring a different alum each month. To receive Cyrus Monthly, send your preferred email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer 2016 11
PASS Photos by Connor Nelson
BEHIND THE SCENES OF BLAKEâ€™S SPRING MUSICALS
Song and Dance (Photos 1, 12) The Middle School cast of “Ellis Island: The American Dream” rehearses a scene with help from choreographer Michelle Lemon. (Photos 2-5, 11) The Upper School cast of “Urinetown” learns its music during a rehearsal with choir director Carrie Enstad, then heads to the auditorium to work on dance steps with choreographer Linda Talcott Lee.
Setting the Stage (Photos 6-10) Middle and Upper School students learn the technical aspects of play production, including sound, lighting and set construction.
Summer 2016 15
17 It’s Time to Put on Makeup (Photos 13, 15) “Urinetown” cast members try on costumes for director Diane Landis to adjust and approve; a Middle School crew member threads the sewing machine. (Photos 14, 16, 18 ) Some cast members apply their own makeup while others get help from the crew. (Photo 17 ) A Middle School crew member takes photos during set construction for inclusion in the program.
23 Places Everyone! (Photos 19-21 ) Middle School director Lynn Ellingboe runs through her performance notes from the final dress rehearsal; the Middle School crew makes sure the stage is ready for the final performance while cast members warm up for the show in the green room. (Photos 22, 23) Diane Landis talks with her cast before actors take the stage for their first performance; the cast and crew of â€œUrinetownâ€? celebrate a job well done.
Summer 2016 17
CHAMPION OF CHANGE
RORY TAYLOR ’14 WANTS FELLOW NATIVE AMERICAN YOUTH TO SEE THEMSELVES IN COLLEGE AND OFFERS THE TOOLS TO HELP THEM GET THERE.
Photo by Jeff Hing, Pomona College
As a Pomona College freshman, Taylor founded IndigeNATION, a program that pairs Native high school students with college mentors who offer support throughout the college application and enrollment process and provide cultural education to help Native students stay connected to their tribal communities.
Question: What unique challenges do Native American students face when it comes to college prep? Answer: One of the biggest issues is legacy. I don’t know that you’ll find any indigenous family who over the course of two or three generations doesn’t have an issue with formal education. When I was in high school, I was interested in playing Division I lacrosse, and I thought attending an East Coast prep school was the best way to pursue it. But because my paternal grandparents, who are the indigenous side of my family, were forcibly removed from their home and put into boarding school my parents asked, “Why would you leave home? We fought for so long as indigenous nations to keep our kids at home.” How do I reconcile being Indian and being an academic when for so long
“HOW DO I RECONCILE BEING INDIAN AND BEING AN ACADEMIC WHEN FOR SO LONG EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WERE A FORM OF CULTURAL AND ACADEMIC ASSIMILATION?”
educational institutions were a form of cultural and academic assimilation? Q: How do you address this challenge? A: My hope is that our students begin to recognize that academic institutions can be a springboard to advance their own ideas. Tara Houska, Native American advisor to the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, recently met with our students and talked about her experience going through college and law school and how she’s now using her position to elevate Native American issues on a national level. At Pomona, we have indigenous students throughout several departments. We’re all Indian. We’re all trying to address problems in our community through different lenses and developing our ideas about how to improve our communities through the skills we’ve gained at college. Q: Do you see your work in Native American educational equity aligning with other efforts to address educational
disparities (racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender)? A: Yes. There’s an intersectionality issue. A lot of the students we work with are mixed race or low income or a first generation college student. I don’t know that if we were planning to just focus on indigenous education that we would get anywhere, because our communities are too small. We need allies. We need partnerships. And I think we’d be doing a disservice to those groups, to ourselves and to academic institutions if we didn’t try to incorporate those themes. Q: Last year, you were named a Champion of Change by the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY). What has this experience meant to you? A: It’s meant a lot on campus because CNAY is a national policy organization. Before, IndigeNATION was just another club. Now it’s recognized on a national level. I spent a week in Washington, D.C. doing advocacy work for my tribe and for indigenous policy and was
also a summer intern for CNAY. It was a great way to network. I met Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell several times. The experience has elevated me to think about what we do on campus and how it relates to a national conversation: how Pomona can be an academic center for policy change; how academia in general can be a motivator for policy change as well as indigenous communities. Q: You also were the first youth to speak at the White House Tribal Nations Conference general convention, where you said the U.S. “can no longer afford to put forth a failing effort when it comes to Native American students and their graduation rates.” Can you share a bit about this experience? A: I was actually sitting in the backroom with a couple cabinet secretaries, the U.S. ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council and all their staffers and was thinking, ‘Hey, I’m a secondyear undergrad.’ But getting this privileged access, you learn that people in these high-up
positions at one point were undergraduate students too, and now, whatever their role is, they just want to help. I don’t know that I said anything new. I just shared my experience, the positives and negatives and where we need to go forward. Q: You’re a rising junior at Pomona. Will the IndigeNATION program continue after you’ve graduated? A: We’re fortunate to work really well with the admissions offices at a couple of the Claremont Colleges, so we’re getting more Native students. We’ve talked to college freshmen and high school seniors who are really interested in the program and excited to take on that mantel. It’s been self-sustaining in that way. And we’ve really worked hard this year to create an institutional legacy for the program. Do you know Blake alumni who are doing interesting work? Let us know at email@example.com.
Summer 2016 19
JUDY BRADFORD MCCONNELL ’52
Just Keep Shooting: My Youth in Manhattan
The sequel to “A Penny a Kiss: Memoir of a Minnesota Girl in the Forties and Fifties,” “Just Keep Shooting” finds Judy McConnell fresh from college and anxious to shake off the past as she strikes out to forge a career in New York City. Her offbeat adventures and struggles with propitious career turns, roommates and relationships are told with honesty and sincerity.
CHARLES BAXTER ’65
There’s Something I Want You to Do (Pantheon Books/Random House)
Penetrating and prophetic, the 10 interrelated stories in “There’s Something I Want You to Do” are held together by a surreally intricate web of cause and effect — one that slowly ensnares both fictional bystanders and enraptured readers. The stories’ characters appear and reappear, performing praiseworthy and loathsome acts in equal measure in response to the request — or demand — lodged in each story’s center. The result is a portrait of human nature as seen from the tightrope that spans the distance between dreams and waking life.
JEFF DAYTON ’71
Back To You
Pam Forman Reitman ’65
(Beach Creek Records)
(The Alabama Literary Review)
Nashville artist and guitarist Jeff Dayton brings his latest album, “Back To You,” backed by top Music City studio musicians and background vocalists. The 12-song collection includes fresh and current themes, strong lyrics and fun, catchy grooves. Each song comes from the heart in Dayton’s inimitable style and distinctive baritone voice.
A woman artist, walking down a noisy San Francisco street, takes a call on her cell, then seeks refuge from the shocking news. She finds herself in an art museum, funneled into a compelling exhibit. The time she spends there transforms denial into an ability to confront her family tragedy. This short story is available online at http://spectrum.troy.edu/alr/ v24/v24Reitman.pdf.
Rowan Pope ’99 Six Chairs: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story (Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Council)
AMANDA SUMMER SLAVIN ’74
100 Places in Greece Every Woman Should Go (Travelers’ Tales)
With style, intelligence and personal anecdotes, archaeologist and award-winning travel writer Amanda Summer acts as personal guide to the best of Greece. Crisp, humorous storytelling introduces the temples, shrines, grottos and churches of this magnificent country, intricately woven with stories of the women — from goddesses to artistic legends like Melina Mercouri and Maria Callas. Sexy, scholarly and spiritual, “100 Places in Greece Every Woman Should Go” is a must for every traveler.
Alumni are encouraged to inform Blake of their publications, recordings, films, etc., and, when possible, to send copies of books and articles. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In “Six Chairs,” Rowan Pope shares true-life stories as recounted by Holocaust survivor Joe Grosnacht. In collaboration with students and teachers from Breck School, Pope recorded Grosnacht’s experiences and created a book illustrated by Breck students, who used a variety of media to illustrate the stories that particularly impacted them.
Scott Leistiko ’04 The Ending The latest EP by Denver five-piece band The Whiskey Masons — featuring Scott Leistiko — is available on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud and on the group’s Facebook page. The group’s sound is a classic and alternative rockinspired “fast casual” dance music that features synth, piano and electric-guitar-driven hooks.
CLASS NOTES Class notes and photos received after May 2016 will appear in the next issue of Cyrus. Notes are provided by alumni or their friends and family, and some have been edited for length and style.
Dwight Holcombe is happy to announce the birth of his new great-grandson, Bradley Steven Holcombe. Dwight notes the baby’s initials, BS, stand for Blake School class of 1947.
accomplishment this past year was becoming a great-grandpa to Silas David LaBerge, grandson of Andre and Laura Heegaard LaBerge ʼ82. If you are in Wayzata, look him up and he’ll take you to the muni for a beer.
Burton Hersh reports that he and his wife, Ellen, spent a couple of weeks in Israel. He writes, “The trip was so organized that I got the chance to talk with characters from an ultra-orthodox rabbi’s wife to a spokesman for the PLO. I have dealt with many of my conclusions in my blog” (burtonhersh.blogspot. com). Burton, an Edward Kennedy biographer, is also a commentator on the Asylum Productions 10-part documentary “The Kennedy Files.” He has just completed and will publish a personal memoir, which includes “a long and lively chapter about my years at Blake.”
Larry Corbett and his wife, Joan, checked another adventure off their bucket list with a cruise on the St. Lawrence and maritime Canada from Quebec City to Boston. Polly Case Grose’s play “Whistle Cabaret” was rehearsed and stage read at a performance at Normandale Community College. This winter, Polly wrote a number of short plays, which she is submitting to dramatic festivals around the country. REUNION
David Heegaard is enjoying life and staying busy volunteering, playing backgammon and bridge, traveling to Naples, Florida, and “up north” to the cabin (depending on the season). He lives at Folkstone in Wayzata, Minnesota, where he helps organize social events and often runs into Blake schoolmates. His biggest
Judy Bradford McConnell (See In Print & Production)
Amos Deinard was honored with a national lifetime achievement award for public health dentistry. Known as “The Fluoride Guy,” Dr. Deinard has made it his mission to promote dental health for low-income children and teens.
Sam Marfield and his wife, Joyce, moved to Naples, Florida, five years ago and love it there. He writes, “I still dabble in commercial real estate. Our health is excellent.”
Anice Wishart Flesh reports, “Barby Rice Young and I went to Lampang, Thailand, with Fuller Center Global Builders. Along with with nine other U.S. volunteers, we built a cement brick home for a widow with three children. After that Barby headed to Mexico with Flossie Potter Mann, and then she went to Iran. You can’t keep a good girl down.” Carla Kopietz Paxton and her husband have moved to a continuing care retirement community in Florida, where they love living near two of their three children and grandchildren. Rod Winget and his wife, Carol, live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they have been living on and off since 2006. Rod’s daughters, Carol and Laura, and his five grandchildren all live in Washington state. He and his wife are partners in a film business (longevityfilms. com) that focuses on motivational stories about senior citizens. The two love to travel, and last
year spent four months in Latin America.
Mike Abramson has been retired for more than 20 years, giving him time to work on his poetry and try new foods. He has 10 grandchildren and has also written a reference book, “A Timeless Classification of BuchererRolex Demitasse Spoons for the Collector.” REUNION
David Fischer has retired from San Francisco State University where he taught international relations for the past 16 years. He writes that he is currently lecturing at the Fromm Institute, the adult education program at the University of San Francisco. “I have over 300 students in my eight-part lecture series on the role of intelligence in foreign policy decision-making. So far, the adults are a lot more responsive than my undergraduates!”
Harris LeRoy reports, “Baltusrol, Pebble, Pinehurst, Doonbeg, St. Andrews, Cypress, Olympic, Plantation, the Challenge at Manele Bay and Whistling Straits are but
Summer 2016 21
ELEANOR ELWELL ZEFF ’61 AT THE INTERNATIONAL STUDIES ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE IN ATLANTA WITH THE BOOK SHE RECENTLY EDITED AND PUBLISHED
ANNE DALRYMPLE HULL ’33 TURNED 100 YEARS OLD ON APRIL 30, SURROUNDED BY HER FAMILY.
a few spots on my bucket list of golf courses that my son and I have played. I’m still running my medical consulting business. I live just outside of Princeton, New Jersey, but spend as much time as possible in Wailea on Maui.”
Charlie Luther writes. “Hockey has been a big part of my life. After playing on successful teams at Blake, I played during my college years at Cornell University, then moved to Denver in 1965 and played on a semi-pro team before switching to coaching youth hockey. I just finished my 47th year coaching and running a local hockey program. I was honored with a proclamation by Mayor (now Governor) John Hickenlooper declaring May 9, 2009, Charlie Luther Day. I estimate that I’ve coached 1,400 youngsters (ages 5-15), including a number of girls, over the years.” Wendy Silvermann Nathanson writes, “I have been fortunate to connect with some of the girls from my Northrop class — Sally Nash Iorillo, Nona Anderson Greene and Judy English. We try to get together for lunch once a month, unless one of us is incapacitated.”
Rick Gilmore is founder and chairman of the Global Food Safety Forum, a nonprofit privatepublic platform to advance food safety in Asian markets. The organization has 400 corporate members and an office in Beijing. He also serves as chairman of the Harold Rosenthal Fellowship in International Relations as well as other boards and trusteeships. He has been an adjunct professor in economics on and off for the last 20 years.
John Reid completed a yoga teacher training course and leads several mindful yoga classes each week. He writes, “Often and with gratitude, I reflect on the subtle ways in which my Blake education prepared me for my current path of quiet and peace.”
Charles Baxter was awarded the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in the Novel and Short Story division for his book “There’s Something I Want You to Do.” (Also see In Print & Production) Pam Forman Reitman (See In Print & Production)
Kathy Adelsheim writes from Santa Fe, New Mexico, “As Laurel and I are about to celebrate our 34th anniversary, it was a thrill to be able to file our taxes jointly for the second year in a row, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court and being legally married. I am looking forward to the NCS 50th reunion in September and another installment of our annual trip to Paris in November.” Ames Sheldon’s novel, “Eleanor’s Wars,” received the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal Award for Best New Voice in Fiction from the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). Nearly 1,400 entries from across the publishing industry were submitted. IBPA is the largest publishers’ association in the U.S.
Liz Keating Schroeder and her husband, Hap, have downsized their life to winters in Florida and summers in Rhode Island. She reports, “With all three children and five grands living on I-95 (in D.C. and N.Y. environs) we are planning an itinerant existence.”
Jane Geltman Gordon and husband, Jon, are the proud grandparents of Madeline Elizabeth Liegel, who was born last year. Maddie’s parents are Kate Gordon Liegel ʼ97 and her husband, Matthew Liegel. Katie, Matt and Maddie reside in Morristown, New Jersey, where Matt is a partner at PwC and Katie practices law.
Marcia McNutt became president of the National Academy of Sciences, the first woman elected to the post in the 153-year history of the organization. Her oldest daughter, Meredith, and her husband, Julian Scurci, added twins, Dominic and Marcella, to their family. Marcia’s youngest daughter, Dana, will marry David Dunford of Nairobi, Kenya, in a beachside ceremony in Sayulita, Mexico, in the fall. Peter Riley was awarded the Masters in Trial Award by the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and was elected as a trustee of the ABOTA foundation. ABOTA is an invitation-only national organization of experienced trial lawyers.
TOM SKRAMSTAD, PETER ALBRECHT AND WINT RITCHIE, ALL CLASS OF 1963, PERFORM AT THE NICOLLET ISLAND PAVILION IN MINNEAPOLIS WITH THEIR BAND RHUBARB.
ALUMNAE FROM THE CLASS OF 1970 CELEBRATE THEIR 45TH REUNION. PICTURED, FRONT ROW (L TO R) HEIDI JEROME, JUDY THOMPSON FISCHER, CINDY SHARK BROWN, LINDSAY COSGROVE GORMAN, FRANCI SILVERMAN, LUCY LUND MOODY AND MEG RICE BLAKE. BACK ROW, (L TO R) MARCIA MCNUTT, CHRISTINE THOMPSON LEE, DARIA STEC, LUCIA NEWELL, SALLY KINGMAN HORNIG, LIBBY WARNER LUBIN, ANNIE DEARDORFF, ANN FINLEY AND SUSIE CORWIN KULLER.
Shanly Heffelfinger Weber lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she has a private therapy practice and specializes in trauma work. She is a somatic therapist and incorporates Buddhist practices into her work. She writes, “My husband, John Weber, works at Naropa University and daughter Chloe just finished her freshman year at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. John and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this May. If you are ever in the Boulder area, please look me up. And check out my website (shiftingawareness.com) so you have a better sense of my work.”
Charles Dunne adopted a child from Russia in 2009, now 15 years old. His older child is 19 and working full time during a gap year from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Charles is a scholar with the Middle East Institute, and his wife is head of the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C. Charles left the U.S. Foreign Service in 2008, then served as the Middle East program director for Freedom House, a 75-year-old human rights organization. He is currently an independent consultant, writer and opiner.
Thomas Long was appointed as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
This summer, Jeff Dayton is on a two-month tour in the Twin Cities to promote his latest album. His Salute to Glen Campbell show recently enjoyed two sold-out nights at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. As Campbell’s long-time bandleader, Jeff joined fellow band alumni to sing the hits and tell the stories behind the songs and from the road with a Hall of Fame artist. (Also see In Print & Production)
Amanda Summer Slavin (See In Print & Production)
Doug Poole and his wife, Sonia DiMaria, have opened ATMOS Luxe, a “luxury hostel” in Milan, Italy. He writes, “ATMOS Luxe is in the Naviglio zone, the entertaining canal district of Milan, full of life and vibrant activity. And easy walking distance to the great Sforzesco Castle, the Duomo and da Vinci’s Last Supper — not to mention world-class shopping ... If you head to Italy please be sure to visit. We have something special for Blakies!”
Dee Eggers Yohn was recently promoted to chief operating officer of North Star Resource Group, where she has worked for more than 28 years. She has taken over 11 international trips. Dee continues to live in Bloomington, Minnesota, with her husband, Garry, and has two sons and two granddaughters.
Liz Lee Olson passed her board certification as a hospital chaplain and serves at two hospitals in the Rogue River Valley in Oregon. She moved to Ashland, Oregon, last summer and serves as an associate minister-at-large for the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, the country’s first interracial, interfaith church, which started during World War II. Sara Schilling Swift is teaching elementary Spanish at a private school in Dayton, Ohio.
Cecilia Beach currently holds the Hagar Chair in Humanities at Alfred University where she has been a French professor for nearly 20 years. Last year she was elected president of Women in French, an international association that
SHANLY HEFFELFINGER WEBER ’70 WITH HER HUSBAND, JOHN, AND DAUGHTER, CHLOE
promotes the study of French and Francophone women authors, the study of women’s place in French and Francophone cultures and feminist literary criticism. She has been a certified yoga instructor for the past five years and recently completed a 500-hour yoga teaching certification from Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. REUNION
Jocelyn Hale has started a new company with her husband. MillerHale Associates works with clients to guide strategic planning, messaging and communication.
Finn-Olaf Jones’s story “A Traveler’s Guide to Tokyo’s Secret Bars” appeared in the April 15 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Brad Klein’s movie, “Legends of Ska,” was featured at Cariba Days in Minneapolis. Laura Heegaard LaBerge recently became a grandmother with the birth of grandson Silas David. Silas and his parents live in Duluth, Minnesota, but will soon be moving to Minneapolis, where he will be closer to his grandparents.
Summer 2016 23
CLASS OF 1971 ALUMNI TOM MEYERS, JEFF KOLE, RED SMITH, BEN SHERMAN AND JIM MACGREGOR CATCH THE MINNESOTA TWINS ON THE ROAD AS THEY TAKE ON THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS.
Debra Rappaport has returned to Minneapolis after living in Vail, Colorado. Lindsay Willette Utter and her family took a trip to Cuba. Photographer Stacy Westly particularly enjoys the photos she takes of the wolves at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley, California. She recently celebrated her fifth year of being cancer-free.
Peter Thompson has joined Deutsche Bank in global markets and has been appointed to the board of directors of a principal investment for a new financial industry technology platform, Symphony Communications. Justin Whitlock writes that he had a wonderful visit in New York City with Alison Townley, Brad Bowman and his wife, Serena, Jerry Erickson and his partner, Ben, and Shelly Heithoff Andrews. “Delightful to catch up after so many years.”
Roopa Dhanalal writes, “My husband of 20 years, Folke Lichtenberg, passed away on November 30. He was an amazing individual, full of energy and loved soccer, the outdoors and us. Family
FRIENDS FROM THE CLASS OF 1976 CLARE SAVAGE ROBINSON, HARRIETT ANKENY CHUTE, SARAH BOWMAN, DAVID CHUTE, LUCI WALDRON CHORLEY AND MINDY SANFORD ENJOY GETTING TOGETHER.
and friends have been incredibly supportive. I have taken the last four months as an opportunity to reconnect with relatives and friends. We spent a quiet New Year’s in Miami and the Keys, went to Norway to chase the Northern Lights and go dog sledding. We recently came back from a trip to India where the children met their 99-year-old great-grandmother, visited the Taj Mahal and rode an elephant in the historic city of Mysore. We are now looking forward to spending five weeks in Connecticut and New York with family.” Harold Hagen has been promoted to partner at the international law firm Bryan Cave LLP, where he practices out of the San Francisco office. He has more than 16 years of experience representing commercial real estate finance and capital markets clients. REUNION
Andrew Rosen was named president of Angel Foundation, a Twin Cities nonprofit that provides emergency financial assistance, education and support for adults with cancer and their families. He writes, “We’re a great organization, and I’m honored to be doing muchneeded work.”
TOKI SHOBOWALE ’88 ENJOYS LIFE IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, WITH HIS WIFE, SHEETHAL, THEIR SONS, HUDSON AND RAFAEL, AND THEIR ARGENTINIAN AU PAIR, AGUSTINA.
After 11 years away from the Twin Cities, Mark Segal and his family (wife Judith and son Logan) will return for Mark’s new position as Upper School director at Mounds Park Academy. He writes, “For the past 20 years, I have solely worked with middle school students, faculty and families and am looking forward to the wonderful opportunity that lies ahead. We are excited to return to the Twin Cities and spend time with family and friends whom we have been apart from.”
Bob Piper and his wife will soon be celebrating 21 years of marriage. He writes, “We had always dreamed of a big trip to celebrate our 20th, but instead I’ve cofounded a startup called MPIRICA Health, which scores surgeons and hospitals on the quality of their surgeries based on the outcomes they’ve achieved over the past four years. MPIRICA has been in business since 2014, and we are beginning to see some success. After almost 10 years working at Microsoft, it is extremely rewarding to be building something new that helps people find better quality health care. Aside from that, we have kept busy with three teenage boys who, unfortunately, are doing all of the
things I remember doing while at Blake. But they have managed to keep pretty good grades and stay out of police custody, so I consider that a win. If any Blakies are ever in Seattle please look me up. I would love to catch up.” Toki Shobowale continues to enjoy an urban life in Brooklyn, New York, and has yet to own or even lease a car (other than while on vacation). He reports, “After a decade working in economic development for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, I have spent the past two and a half years as chief operating officer of the New School, a 10,000-student university in Manhattan, anchored by the Parsons School of Design. It’s a creative and progressive institution, and one of the highlights of my tenure has been facilitating the university’s divestment of fossil fuel holdings and helping create a climate action plan. In an effort to reduce my own carbon footprint (and remain in shape with small kids), I have switched from commuting by subway to commuting by bicycle. The highlight of life is our justturned-4- and 2-year-old boys, Hudson and Rafael. I look forward to connecting with any classmates passing through NYC.”
LUCY HUNT ’90 AND ROSS NELSON ’90 MARRIED IN OCTOBER AND TRAVELED WITH THEIR DAUGHTERS TO TOBAGO IN JANUARY.
Lucy Hunt married Ross Nelson last fall. Earlier this year the couple took their two daughters to Tobago on an extended family trip/honeymoon to celebrate. They currently live in Wayzata, Minnesota, and are looking at property in the area to build a new home.
Heather Daniels Cariveau moved to Denver with her husband, Jason, to take on a new role as the vice president of human resources for Zimmer Biomet, a global medical device company. She and her husband are loving Denver and all that it has to offer. REUNION
Dan Slater’s book about a Mexican drug cartel, “Wolf Boys,” will be released by Simon & Schuster this year. Following a competitive auction, TriStar Pictures won the rights to the book, with Antoine Fuqua set to direct and produce the film.
Carolyn Moos has been working as an athletic director and marketing specialist and providing personal training, yoga workouts, weight room training, nutrition menu planning and health services
CRISTINA HARTNETT ’98 WITH DAUGHTER JOSEPHINE, WHO WAS BORN IN APRIL
in person and on her website, fitforlivinglife.com. She writes, “I really enjoy all demographics, especially student-athletes and parents. I look forward to chapters that have yet to be experienced and hope to have a family and children of my own as well.”
Cristina Hartnett is a veterinarian at the Long Lake Veterinary Clinic in Long Lake, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2014. She married Dr. John Collister a year later and became stepmother to two daughters, Cameron and Olivia (ages 11 and 7). The wedding ceremony took place near Lake Minnetonka, with a celebration in Minneapolis. Cristina recently gave birth to a baby girl named Josephine Olive Hartnett-Collister.
Dan Barsky married Kimberly Prior at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel. The two were partners in the same law firm in Florida. Dan is now a partner at Shutts and Bowen, and Kim is a partner at Baker McKenzie. Amy Edgren is in her seventh year as a financial advisor at Woodhill Financial, Inc. and her 13th in the
insurance and financial services industry. She is president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) Minneapolis, which promotes the value of advisors who serve main street families and businesses. She writes, “This is my sixth year to qualify as a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, an independent association of more than 43,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services
Births & Adoptions Kate Gordon Liegel ʼ97 a daughter, Madeline Elizabeth, September 21, 2015 Cristina Hartnett ʼ98 a daughter, Josephine Olive, April 11, 2016
DAN BARSKY ’99 MARRIED KIMBERLY PRIOR IN APRIL AT THE FONTAINEBLEAU MIAMI BEACH.
professionals from more than 500 companies in 67 countries.” Bly Pope and Rowan Pope returned to Blake this semester — this time as teachers — to cover art classes during Bill Colburn’s ʼ88 sabbatical leave. They have also been teaching art at the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and working on painting and drawing commissions. The brothers live in St. Paul,
Marriages Lucy Hunt ʼ90 and Ross Nelson ʼ90 October 17, 2015 Cristina Hartnett ʼ98 and John Collister June 7, 2015 Dan Barsky ʼ99 and Kimberly Prior April 9, 2016
Liz Tietz ʼ00 a son, Thomas, December 29, 2015
Melissa Diracles ʼ01 and Edward Gonzalez-Lastra October 31, 2015
Poppy Harlow ʼ01 a daughter, Sienna, April 10, 2016
Brigitte Zimmerman ʼ01 and Scott Seim December 31, 2015
Melissa Lee Schuelke ʼ04 a son, Taylor, September 27, 2015
Colby Robertson ʼ03 and Jake Hazewinkel December 31, 2015
Tanya Lindgren Denny ʼ05 a son, William David, March 23, 2016
Ruchi Behl ʼ07 and Arnaud Bezoles April 9, 2016 Julia Vill ʼ08 and Rohan Mehra August 29, 2015
Summer 2016 25
ROWAN POPE ’99 AND BLY POPE ’99 RETURNED TO BLAKE’S UPPER SCHOOL ART ROOM THIS YEAR — THIS TIME AS TEACHERS.
MELISSA DIRACLES ’01 CELEBRATES HER OCTOBER WEDDING TO EDWARD GONZALEZLASTRA WITH FELLOW CLASS OF 2001 ALUMNAE EMILY HUTCHINSON, MAGGIE MOORE NOLAN, CAROLINE STEPHENSON BOUCKAERT AND MAXINE KAYE BÉDAT.
Playwright Uncovers Hidden Gem
POPPY HARLOW ’01 AND HER HUSBAND, SINISA BABCIC, WELCOMED DAUGHTER SIENNA IN APRIL.
Minnesota and are finishing up their fourth original screenplay together. You can check out their work at popebrothersart.org. (Also see In Print & Production)
Liz Tietz and her husband, Rob Windle, welcomed a son last year, Thomas Windle. The family lives in London. REUNION
Mayank Keshaviah ’92 (middle) with the cast of “The United States vs. Bhagat Singh Thind”
In 1923, the United States Supreme Court ruled that all immigrants of South Asian origin be stripped of their citizenship, a decision not completely overturned until 1946. This year, playwright Mayank Keshaviah ‘92 set out to tell the tale of the United States vs. Bhagat Singh Thind with a note from his director: “Keep it fun.” Inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit “Hamilton,” which features rap battles between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, Keshaviah breathed new life into the final scene of his play by turning the testimony into a Supreme Court rap battle. Audiences loved it. Commissioned by the East West Players, the country’s oldest AsianAmerican theater, the play toured Los Angeles-area middle and high schools as part of the organization’s Theatre for Youth program, which annually presents a play that explores AsianAmerican history. Keshaviah found himself in uncharted territory writing for adolescents but drew on his
experience as an educator to create an engaging piece that would connect with younger audiences. “The best part was seeing the students’ reactions to the injustices faced by the main character,” Keshaviah says. “Many of them come from immigrant families, so it resonated with them strongly. And they had some great questions in the talkbacks after the performances.” As a child of immigrants from India, Keshaviah says he also felt a strong connection to the main character, whom he knew little about before the play’s commission. “Part of my fascination with Thind came from the fact that he does not occupy a place of prominence in the Indian-American diaspora,” Keshaviah says, “so I felt as if I were uncovering a hidden gem of a story.” Though its initial run has ended, Keshaviah hopes his play will be produced elsewhere so Thind’s story can continue to connect with a wider audience.
Melissa Diracles was married to Edward Gonzalez-Lastra last fall at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs, California. The two met in graduate school at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Melissa is an architect at Frank Gehry Partners in Los Angeles. Breaking news from CNN’s Poppy Harlow in New York: “My husband, Sinisa Babcic, and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our daughter, Sienna. Sienna was born April 10 (on her due date — making deadline like a true journalist!) She was 8 pounds, 5 ounces when she was born and is keeping us very busy in the best way. We are over the moon and can’t wait to watch her grow up.”
Christina Saunders moved back to the Twin Cities from New York City in 2011 to become the special education director at KIPP Minnesota. In 2014, she became the executive director of the educational nonprofit ACES. She writes, “It’s an organization that provides tutoring and mentoring services for fourth through eighth graders in low-income schools and in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We have a unique partnership with professional sports teams in the Twin Cities (Vikings, Twins, Wild, Timberwolves, Lynx and United FC), which provides our students awesome curriculum and field trip opportunities. Brigitte Zimmerman married Scott Seim on New Year’s Eve at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Andrea Kay McFarland was maid of honor, and classmates Jenny Fields, Soraya Darabi and Sonia Farber attended. Brigitte and Scott live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Brigitte is an assistant professor of public policy and Peter Thacher Grauer Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Cassidy Blackwell was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2016.
CASSIDY BLACKWELL ’02 NEWLYWEDS BRIGITTE ZIMMERMAN ’01 AND SCOTT SEIM CELEBRATE THEIR NEW YEAR’S EVE WEDDING. PHOTO BY LAUREN B PHOTOGRAPHY.
She was recognized for “combining razor-sharp storytelling with product marketing” in her role as brand marketing lead at Walker & Company, a health and beauty company dedicated to making products for people of color. Read more at fastcompany.com/person/ cassidy-blackwell.
Scott Leistiko is operations director at White Orchid Interiors where he’s helping the owners build a national network to provide home staging and real estate services to home sellers. He reports, “I just bought a house in Denver and am loving the Mile High City lifestyle. My band, The Whiskey Masons, is performing at venues around Denver and booking more shows for the summer.” (Also see In Print & Production) Melissa Lee Schuelke and her husband, John, welcomed son Taylor last year, making Blake Middle School physical education teacher Gary Lee a grandparent. Melissa is a project delivery specialist for Accenture and completed her MBA from the University of St. Thomas. She enjoys spending any extra time with her son.
RUCHI BEHL ’07 MARRIED ARNAUD BEZOLES IN JAIPUR, INDIA. FELLOW BLAKE ALUMNAE ERIN SCHNETTLER ’07, JULIA HEFFELFINGER ’07, EMMA BRUGGEMAN IACONO ’07 AND LAURA HEFFELFINGER ’01 ATTENDED THE THREE-DAY CELEBRATION.
Divya Chari is a second-year resident in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) at the University of California, San Francisco.
Alisha Reynolds earned a doctor of dental surgery degree from Howard University this spring. Following graduation, she began a residency in pediatric dentistry at the Howard University College of Dentistry.
Julia Vill and Rohan Mehra were married in Napa, California. Blake Bears in attendance included Lindsay Strand ʼ08 and Stephanie Swanson ʼ01. Julia and Rohan live in Palo Alto, where Julia is finishing her second year at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Rohan works in investment banking at Morgan Stanley.
Michael Melamed bought his first house, in Excelsior, Minnesota, and currently lives with fellow Blake alumnus Dixon Pettengill.
In Memoriam Michael Bosanko ’48 January 20, 2016
Stephen Kilgore ’58 December 10, 2015
Nicholas Peterson ’99 February 23, 2016
Martin “Skip” Burke ’55 former parent, current grandparent, January 12, 2016
Frank Knoblauch ’65 January 24, 2016
Robert Priest ’54 December 16, 2015
Robert Lowry ’63 January 14, 2016
William Rottschaefer ’38 March 8, 2016
Irving MacDonald ’68 May 22, 2016
Edward Schlampp ’43 former parent, May 21, 2016
Malcolm Clark ’39 April 17, 2016 Mary Michael Connolly ’64 May 19, 2016 Kenneth “Jeff” Dahlberg ’71 December 21, 2015 Robert Dayton ’59 former trustee, former parent, current grandparent, January 17, 2016 William “Jim” Dorrans ’54 former parent, February 23, 2016 Jacquelyn Page Gardner ’50 April 7, 2016 Harold Hodgkinson ’49 March 4, 2016 Marion Morse Hoffman ’47 January 28, 2016
Molly McKenna ’90 February 7, 2016 Kathryn Mooers ’58 April 7, 2016 Angus Morrison ’37 former trustee, former parent and grandparent, February 13, 2016 Henry “Nick” Morrison ’58 April 17, 2016 Glen Nelson, former trustee, former parent, current grandparent, May 14, 2016 Grace Mariette Norris ’43 April 17, 2016
Barbara Ericson Schwarz ‘47 June 10, 2016 Charles Siftar ’78 February 17, 2016 Frances Silverman ’70 May 3, 2016 Harold “Sandy” Tearse ’45 former parent, January 31, 2016 Willis “Lampert” Walling ’40 former trustee, former parent, December 8, 2015 William West former employee, former parent, February 26, 2016
Mark Pearson ’78 June 4, 2016
Please inform the Institutional Advancement Office of Blake community member deaths by calling 952-988-3430 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Summer 2016 27
ELEANOR GILMORE-SZOTT ’08 CONTINUES HER DOCTORAL WORK IN BIOETHICS AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, WHILE SKIING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
JULIA VILL ’08 AND ROHAN MEHRA WERE MARRIED IN AUGUST IN NAPA, CALIFORNIA.
SAM LAGERSTROM ’14
ALISHA REYNOLDS ’07
Shelly Griffin is a graduate of St. Catherine University in St. Paul and the student recruitment manager for KIPP Minnesota, a network of public schools that battles educational inequity by helping students develop the knowledge, skills, character and habits to succeed in college and beyond. Heather Pearson writes, “Through my work as a public health analyst, I presented my research findings regarding hospital financial performance across the state of Maryland to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” REUNION
Marielle Foster graduated from Carleton College with a double major in mathematics and computer science. She is relocating to New York City to attend the Recurse Center, a three-month educational retreat for people who want to improve programming skills. She will then join the ontology team at Crowdstrike, a computer security company.
James Thornton graduated from Whittier College in
California with a double major in French and psychology. He plans to pursue a doctorate of psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California.
TOGETHER, WE MOVE FORWARD.
Sam Lagerstrom finished his sophomore year at Bates College as a psychology major, pursuing an interest in law by interning at Pine Tree Legal in Lewiston, Maine. This summer he has a legal internship at Gender Justice, a nonprofit in St. Paul. During the fall semester, he will study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, to learn about psychology in a different cultural context.
We are committed to building a future of excellence. So we forge ahead relying on our strengths today to invest in a stronger tomorrow.
Our past is storied and inspirational. Our school’s present and future are up to every single one of us.
Simone Maddox, a Rice University sophomore, will spend the summer studying primate behavioral patterns in Peru.
For our students, our faculty, our campus. TOGETHER, WE MOVE FORWARD. At the same time, we look back to honor and respect a legacy of generations before us. The ones who made our school better, brighter and stronger.
LET’S MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER. JOIN US.
Former Faculty Former Upper School physical education teacher Corky Carl writes, “This will be my last year of teaching water exercise and swimming. Time to play! I’m fine as is my family.”
SUBMIT YOUR CLASS NOTES AND PHOTOS TO CLASSNOTES@BLAKESCHOOL.ORG. 28 Cyrus
At Blake, we are devotion in motion.
THE CAMPAIGN FOR BLAKE
Learn more at blakeschool.org/excellence
VOICES The Art of Creation
Chapel Puckett ’17 is pursuing her passion for journalism and horseback riding this summer as an intern for the national equestrian magazine The Plaid Horse. She also volunteers weekly for the Children’s Hospital of Minnesota.
When I was little, I looked at a construction site and said to my mom, “I’m never going to be a construction worker. How can you build something from scratch? How do you start from nothing and end up with something?” Construction sites still fill me with a sort of worry when I think about the notion of an “unknown” finish line. But I’ve gained a new perspective on construction work due to my time working on Spectrum, Blake’s student-led newspaper. Saying that Spectrum changed my life is an understatement. Of course, that sounds out-of-this-world cheesy, but it’s true. I didn’t necessarily have a place until I found Spectrum. Becoming an editor brought me one step closer to feeling a part of something collective. I began as a nervous and unsure editor in my tenth grade year. But now, close to a year-and-a-half later, I am the editor-in-chief; the experience has been truly transformative. I have become incredibly self-aware as a leader and a person throughout my Spectrum journey. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be who I am today without the newspaper and the editors I work with to create the monthly publication. I have realized that Spectrum is the ultimate construction site. Every month we start with a clean slate. Much like the way a building is created, we start from the ground up, adding piece after piece, until we somehow manage to cross the finish line. Of course, there are many moving parts that go into this process, and we are always building off of what we learned from previous months. But there is definitely a cumulative catharsis that happens after a paper is published. Even though we may start with little idea of how we will finish, at the end of every month we all look back at this building we created and say, “We did that.”
Summer 2016 29
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