Cyrus a magazine for alumni and friends of The Blake School
Jennifer Connor â€™91 works hard to be put on the shelf
Bears in Havana Students bring Cuba home in photographs
Khyle Eastin â€™12 keeps his mind open and passport ready
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 Cate Hubbard Thanks to the many Blake community members who have contributed to this publication. Our Mission The Blake School provides students with an excellent,
Comfort and Courage
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
There’s joy in doing our work well. It’s fun to do something familiar or practiced, knowing we will be pleased with the result. It’s one reason we return to old hobbies. It’s also why developing and sharing our expertise feels so rewarding in our work lives. But there’s a downside to sticking to what we know. Comfort can lead to complacency. Fear of failure can keep us boxed in. The confidence we enjoy from being accomplished can be shortchanged by all we gain through new challenges — a deeper confidence, a more nuanced perspective and a wider network of friends and colleagues. Relationships are at the heart of branching out. This issue of Cyrus is about those who, as Jennifer Connor ’91 says, “keep going strong” and, per Khyle Eastin ’12, “don’t get too comfortable.” This issue is also about the gratitude we feel for those who help make our growth possible. At Blake, we strive to help students get comfortable with the unknown by encouraging them to explore fresh territory in their classes, co-curriculars and lives. Our photo essay invites you to join our students as they explore Cuba. Their photos convey an appreciation of both the familiar and unfamiliar aspects of another culture. Tom Heffelfinger ’66 closes our issue, calling us to work directly in service with those whom we seek to help. Like so many of us, he values the relationships that make up our community at Blake and beyond.
founding institutions. In 1915, Northrop Collegiate School was named in his honor to recognize Dr. Northrop’s achievements as 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 Winter 2018
THE MIGHTY MUSTARD GIRL
From a tiny mustard seed, Jennifer Connor ’91 grows enormous opportunity. PAGE 6
La Vida Cotidiana
In Brief 2
Everyday life in Cuba through the eyes of Blake students.
Cover Story 6
Have Wonder, Will Travel Khyle Eastin ’12 has a curiosity that knows no borders. PAGE 18
In Photos 12 In Print & Production 20 Class Notes 21 Voices 29
IN BRIEF ACADEMIC HIGHLIGHT
LIGHTS OUT IN THE LIBRARY In recent years, the Friday before winter break has become known as “Lights Out in the Library Day.” Cozy forts bathed in warm holiday lights welcome students to curl up with a good book among friends. The beloved tradition began in the Lower School and now includes the Middle School library.
BEARS HERE FOR YOU The first day in a new school can be intimidating. With this in mind, a crew of veteran Middle School students found a way to help put their new classmates at 2 Cyrus
ease on the first day of school. Sporting neon T-shirts with “Bears here for you” printed on the front, the students stood ready to answer questions, give directions, lend support or just offer a smile to anyone who needed it.
FACES ON CAMPUS
collaboration. During talks with Blake fifth graders, the Middle and Upper School student bodies and the wider Blake community, Patel stressed the importance of leaning in, listening and respecting differences while acknowledging this isn’t always easy. He sees interfaith leaders as the key to bridging differences: “We’re at a hinge time in American history,” Patel told students. “We’re more religious than ever before. It’s a time of authorship. Who’s going to write the next chapter? I hope it’s interfaith leaders. I hope it’s you.”
FACES ON CAMPUS
GLOBAL FIGURE INSPIRES PEACE AND FORGIVENESS
FACES ON CAMPUS
EBOO PATEL: BUILDING LEADERS, BUILDING BRIDGES “All of you have had moments when you’ve been inspired by someone who has beliefs different from your own. Reflect on these,” Eboo Patel told students during a twoday visit to campus as the Northrop and Blake Classes of 1955 Speaker. As founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, Patel encourages youth to recognize how their own and others’ identities can inspire leadership and
war, global warming, music, terrorism, culture, family, happiness, religion and the future. Blake’s teachers recalled getting braces, family pets, what they wanted to be when they grew up, moments of historical importance and how awkward they looked and felt.
TEACHERS SHARE ‘WHEN I WAS ELEVEN’ MOMENTS Middle School teachers and administrators shared a bit about their 11-year-old selves after their students watched a screening of “I Am Eleven.” The documentary explores the age in which we’re “not quite kids, not quite teenagers” and captures 11-year-olds from around the world offering thoughts on a range of subjects including love,
A powerful moment for a small group of Blake travelers led to a meaningful experience for the entire Upper School. While on a summer global immersion trip to Vietnam, a group of Blake students found themselves in a cafe watching a documentary about a napalm attack that occurred during the Vietnam War on the street just outside where they were sitting. One photo, taken in the moments following the attack, quickly became a symbol of civilian suffering. Nick Ut’s The Terror of War captured a group of children running from the blast, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, who
BIRD EXHIBIT TAKES FLIGHT
Printmaking meets environmental science meets service learning in an exhibit created by Upper School students. Troubled Flight: Human Threats to Minnesota Migratory Birds features a suite of prints and informational plaques highlighting 18 breeds that face threats to their habitats and ways people can help mitigate the hazards. Environmental science students provided the research while printmaking students created the images. The works were displayed at the Upper School and in the gallery of a Minneapolis park. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will host the exhibit next. survived the attack and now, as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, travels the world sharing her story and speaking to the importance of peace and forgiveness. This fall she visited Blake, where she met with the student travelers who were so taken with her story. She also spoke to the Upper School student body, talking about her pain and struggle in the years after the attack and about how, when she finally learned to forgive, her “heart was set free. It was heaven on earth for me.”
BLAKE BY THE BOOK: LIBRARY STATS UPPER SCHOOL
Items currently checked out
Types of cameras that circulate (film, digital, GoPro, 360, Holgas, etc.)
21,985 Articles accessed through databases
Items currently checked out
Kindergartners brightened the darkest day of the year by preparing a winter solstice feast for outdoor friends. On a table set outside the classroom window, a scurry of squirrels helped themselves to carrots, pretzels, bread, cheese and other tasty snacks. Some enjoyed their nosh immediately while others decided on take out, hauling their bounty up a tree.
Red: A Crayon’s Story
Elephant and Piggie
DINE IN OR TAKE OUT?
MOST POPULAR LOWER SCHOOL TITLES
Databases available for research
Books checked out during the 2016–17 school year
I Survived Series
Out of My Mind GRADE 5
MOST POPULAR MIDDLE SCHOOL TITLES Highcroft campus
Books checked out during the 2016–2017 school year
Any graphic novel
Items currently checked out
Magic Tree House Series
Items currently checked out
Books checked out during the 2016–2017 school year
Booked GRADE 6
The Selection (tie)
Ready Player One (tie)
Warcross GRADE 8
MOST POPULAR UPPER SCHOOL TITLES Turtles All the Way Down
Annals of America
The Hate You Give
Winter 2018 3
letter to teacher Nick Seme, MCWD administrator Lars Erdahl wrote, “Your contribution toward protecting and improving water and natural resources has left a lasting legacy.” AWARDS
HEROES AMONG US Every five years, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) recognizes community members who have made significant contributions to improve the quality of water and, by extension, the quality of life in the district. This year, Blake’s fourth grade class was selected to receive the Watershed Hero Award in the Young Naturalist category. Students and their teachers (pictured above) were honored for their creativity and enthusiasm in learning about how to protect water resources from stormwater runoff. One teacher-designed project so impressed a MCWD representative that he invited a group from Blake to present at the organization’s board meeting. In his
BATTLING THE BINARY EFFECT As sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein began making daily headlines, students in Anne Rubin’s gender studies class were examining rape culture and what the Upper School community thinks about it. Their interviews with faculty, staff and students revealed most people don’t understand the root of the problem: gender binary, which classifies sex and gender into two distinct, opposite and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine. Rubin explains, “Our culture is filled with very subtle practices aimed at regulating gender performances.
At first, the kids were interested in thinking about the media messaging around masculinity identity, but then we got more interested in how the female identity also perpetuates the binary.” The students created a display illustrating the messages and how they contribute to a culture that perpetuates sexual violence. “It was meant to be a small display at first,” Rubin says, “but then the Weinstein allegations broke, and we thought it needed to be more significant. The goal was to start a conversation about what kids see every day and how we might begin to unpack it. The result was a display that shows how the binary hurts everyone.”
NEPHEW POSTS FIRST GOAL TO SCOREBOARD NAMED FOR UNCLE The boys’ hockey team celebrated a 4–1 win in its home opener, and the first goal to light up the new Art Saunders ’69 Scoreboard held special significance; it came from Saunders’ nephew Jackson Saunders. After making the shot, the Bears senior forward and team captain gestured to the sky, dedicating his goal — one of two that night — to the memory of his uncle, who died of brain cancer in 2012. “My uncle meant a lot to me, and still means a lot to me,” Jackson says. “He was a leader on and off the ice, and the 4 Cyrus
biggest thing was he played with heart, he played with a love for the game, and that’s what I play for.”
HORSING AROUND Members of the Middle School Horse Club channeled their love of all things equestrian into a service opportunity. The group visited We Can Ride, a nonprofit that pairs individuals with disabilities or special needs with gentle horses, where they groomed the therapeutic animals and dropped off a donation of blankets. ACADEMIC HIGHLIGHT
NOTE TO (FUTURE) SELF So much can change over the course of a high school career. Each year, Blake seniors discover this truth as they play back a two-minute video they recorded as ninth graders. For the Video to Future Self project, which began with the class of 2012, students talk about whatever they wish, though prompts are provided for those who want them. Suggested topics include academic, artistic and athletic goals, concerns and fears about high school, school-sponsored trips or clubs they hope to participate in and songs they think they’ll still be listening to as seniors.
The first formal school dance at Blake occurred in January 1913. “About 25 fellows from the upper three forms [grades] assembled with their partners in the dining room,” reported the 1913 Call O’ Pan. “The music was furnished by an orchestra of three pieces from the city … When the dance was over, those attending went home on a special streetcar provided for the occasion.” At the first Blake prom in June 1914, the orchestra played in the gym, decorated lavishly for the occasion. “Surely dull care had no place in the building,” bubbled the 1914 Call O’ Pan. “Not until the whir of the last motor died away did the sound of merriment leave the school.” Dates at Blake dances were mostly Northrop students, including girls who had gone away to boarding school but were back for the holidays. Northrop also had dances — usually two parent group-sponsored events in the fall and winter and a junior-senior dance in May. The junior-senior dance required a special effort — juniors started decorating early Saturday morning and finished just in time for the gala affair. The 1926 Tatler described one transformation: “The lights and radiators in the dining room were decorated with bridal wreath and leaves. At one end the orchestra was cooped in by a circle of palms, and at the other, were some chairs and lamps for the chaperones.” Northrop dances, like their Blake counterparts, were “program dances” where the girls would sign up for dances with each others’ dates. Remembered one 1932 alumna, “The thought of dancing with the same boy all night was just disaster.” This article was taken from Expecting Good Things of All: 100 Years of Academic Excellence by Janet Woolman.
Winter 2018 5
The seed of the mustard plant is among the smallest in the world. But for Jennifer Connor ’91, mustard seeds have grown into an enormous business opportunity. A dozen years ago, Connor bought the rights to a batch of handcrafted mustard recipes. Today, the self-proclaimed “Mustard Girl” is the owner, chief cheerleader and tenacious promoter behind a small Chicago-based condiment company that has turned five varieties of award-winning mustard into golden profits.
THE MIGHTY MUSTARD GIRL JENNIFER CONNOR ’91
Written by Joel Hoekstra Illustrated by Owen Davey – Folio Art
Winter 2018 7
ou’re probably familiar with the Jolly Green Giant, Swiss Miss, Mr. Peanut and the Geico Gecko. If you’re of a certain age, you know the sound the Pillsbury Doughboy makes when poked and the tune the California Raisins groove to. You may even recognize such iconic characters as Captain Morgan, Mr. Clean, the Michelin Man and Mr. Whipple. How about Mustard Girl? Dressed in a blue dirndl with a crown of flowers woven into her flaxen hair and a heart-shaped locket around her neck, Mustard Girl can perhaps be found on a shelf in the condiment aisle at your local grocery store. But unlike the aforementioned characters, Mustard Girl is real. Look closely at the sticker on any bottle of Mustard Girl mustard, and you’ll notice an uncanny resemblance between the smiling lass on the label and Blake alumna Jennifer Connor. “It’s definitely me,” Connor says with a grin. Connor is the founder, CEO and passionate promotional 8 Cyrus
dynamo behind Mustard Girl All American Mustards. The company, based in Chicago with manufacturing in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, has sold over 4 million bottles of mustard since its 2008 launch, offering five varieties: honey, Dijon, stone ground, horseradish and fancy yellow. Connor’s customers include such grocery chains as Publix, Jewel, Whole Foods, Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalski’s and Woodman’s Markets, retail giants Costco and Target, numerous restaurants throughout the Midwest, hotels, minor league baseball parks, a cruise line and even the U.S. military. Her condiments have won multiple awards in the World-Wide Mustard Competition, sponsored by the National Mustard Museum. And the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Epicurious have all recommended Mustard Girl varieties to their readers. Changing culinary tastes among Americans account for some of Mustard Girl’s success. In recent years, consumer interest in all-natural, gluten-free, farm-to-table products has
surged to new heights. But the biggest factor in the success of the Mustard Girl brand is clearly Connor herself. Personable, perky and persuasive, the entrepreneur is a tireless advocate for mustard in general and her products in particular. Most days, she’s on the road, doing demos at festivals and cheese shops, talking to potential vendors, handing out free samples at grocery stores and even throwing out the opening pitch at a ball game. “I have a big truck that's always filled with mustard,” Connor says. “When I started, I would stop at every deli, grocery store or restaurant I saw. I’d give them samples and tell my story. Of course, not everyone's going to take it. I was cut down so many times, but I didn't let that bother me. I didn’t give up; I just kept going strong.”
A SEED IS PLANTED Connor never intended to get into the mustard business. But entrepreneurship is part of her family heritage: her great-great grandfather, who emigrated from Scotland to
America in 1872, found work as a lumberjack in Wisconsin and established a timber business that still exists today. (It is run by Connor’s cousin and Blake alumnus Peter Connor ’90.) “Working at the lumber mill was my first job,” she says. Her father ran the company until 1978, when he died in a small plane crash. Shortly after that tragic accident, Connor’s mother moved the family to Minneapolis and sent Connor and her brother to Blake. “My teachers were so inspirational,” Connor says. “They never gave up on me, even though I had learning disabilities that made things hard and frustrating for me. At Blake, I got the tools, patience and guidance I needed to get where I am today. Now I see ADHD as a gift because it allows me to wear so many hats. There’s no way I could be Mustard Girl without that.” Nonetheless, those learning disabilities sometimes made it hard for Connor to focus. After graduation, she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin– Madison. She loved her classes and campus life but struggled
“I KNEW I HAD A GIFT IN MY HEART, THAT’S ALL. I WANTED TO SPREAD SUNSHINE AND MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY.”
to identify a clear career path. “There are some people in this world who know they’re going to be doctors or lawyers or whatever they’re going to be,” Connor says. “But I didn’t have a clue. I knew I had a gift in my heart, that’s all. I wanted to spread sunshine and make people happy.” She decided to major in art history and acting, but her interests were varied and not particularly job-focused. As it happened, Connor often visited a popular eatery located on the city’s main drag, Stillwaters on State Street. The tavern served burgers with a side of locally made mustard — and Connor was wowed by the flavor. Rendall’s Gourmet Mustard was mixed in small batches by Dave Rendall, who started handcrafting mustard according to an old family recipe passed down to him when he was a cook in the U.S. Army. Connor couldn’t get enough of the stuff. “It was like the Fourth of July on my taste buds,” she recalls. She slathered it on everything she ordered at Stillwaters and begged the wait staff tosell her jars of the condiment.
Shortly after graduation, Connor got word that Rendall was moving to Oregon and wanted to sell his business. She contacted him, professed her love for his product and asked about the purchase price.
make everybody happy!’ “And he said, ‘Uh, no. Absolutely not.’” In fact, Rendall was worried that the young art history major lacked the business experience to keep the operations afloat.
Jennifer Connor ’91
“I said, ‘You don't know how much I love your mustard,’” Connor recalls saying. “‘It keeps me going every time I have a bad day and makes me smile. The world cannot exist without your mustards! I really want to figure out a way to buy your recipes and spread the sunshine across America and
He insisted she find a financial partner. Which she did. And then, at the last minute, the partner backed out.
SEEKING A SIGN Dismayed, Connor drove north to her family’s cabin to contemplate her next step. Was Rendall right? Was this a boondoggle?
How could it feel so right if it wasn’t what she was destined to do? “I kept looking for a sign, like a rainbow or shooting star or a four-leaf clover. But there was nothing,” Connor recalls. That Sunday, she found herself in church. “I decided that if the priest said the word ‘yellow’ — like the color of mustard — that would be my definitive sign,” she recalls. “The priest got up and said, ‘There comes a time in life we're all in a little bit of doubt.’ And I looked up, and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. He's talking to me. Forget the yellow.’ And then he said, ‘But you must have faith like a mustard seed. If your faith grows like a mustard seed, you will move mountains.’ I almost fell out of my pew.” Connor had never heard the parable of the mustard seed, a Biblical story in which Jesus likens the power of religious faith to the growth of a tiny mustard seed, which yields an enormous plant. But the message behind the story seemed self-evident to Connor, who took it as an omen. She drove back to her family’s cabin and Winter 2018 9
“OUR FIRST BATCH TURNED OUT LIKE MUSTARD SOUP. ALL I COULD THINK WAS, ‘WHAT HAVE I DONE?’”
phoned the gourmet mustard maker. “I said, ‘Mr. Rendall, I don't have a business plan, but I know I can make this happen.’ I told him the whole story,” Connor recalls. “There was a long silence on the other end of the line before I heard him say, ‘It looks like you have a couple of good business partners up
in heaven looking out for you. Plus, I don’t want to be struck down by lightning for not selling you these recipes.’” Over the next few weeks, Connor and Rendall went over the particulars of the mustard recipes. “I remember him walking into Starbucks and pulling these wrinkled yellow
pieces of paper out of his worn brown-leather briefcase. Our first batch turned out like mustard soup. All I could think was, ‘What have I done?’”
TAPPING MARKET TRENDS Mustard, by definition, has a bit of tang. Connor’s versions contain vinegar, turmeric, paprika
or horseradish, depending on the variety. “I used Mr. Rendall's recipes as a base and then recreated them as my own,” Connor says. “I wanted to make sure the mustards were like a symphony on the taste buds: a wonderful beginning and a wonderful finish, leaving you with a feeling of happiness.”
“I DEALT WITH A LOT OF REJECTION, BUT I USED THOSE CHALLENGES LIKE YOU’D USE WEIGHTS AT THE GYM: TO MAKE ME STRONGER.”
That zing gives Mustard Girl an edge in today’s marketplace. Tastes are changing: aging Baby Boomers with burnt-out taste buds are increasingly interested in spicy foods. Millennials reach for Sriracha instead of ketchup, and ingredients like curry, garlic and even ghost peppers are increasingly touted on today’s menus and ingredient lists. Zingy contenders like Connor’s mustard blends are a fast-growing category in the $1.22 billion ketchup-and-mustard market. But in the highly competitive, thin-margin grocery business, having a good product isn’t always enough. Connor faced financial challenges almost immediately upon launching her company; the economy took a nosedive, banks weren’t lending and retailers were unwilling to try any products that weren’t proven sellers. She used her personal savings and loans from family members to finance the venture. And she depended on the kindness of strangers when it came to getting her product on the shelf: “I had to start
with literally mom-and-pop businesses that believed in the local movement, which was just beginning to make headway into the mainstream marketplace. My product was made locally in Wisconsin, so that gave me a foot in the door with many small businesses.” Many retailers were sympathetic to Connor because she was a woman-owned company. “Plus, there was a great story behind the brand, which made for an inspirational, heart-andsoul product,” she says. Connor hand-delivered much of the product, a necessity because she didn’t have a delivery service but also an asset because it gave her a personal connection with her customers. She also faced pressure from competitors. Big players strike deals with retailers to get the best shelf space, squeezing out smaller producers or relegating them to the lowest rungs. Connor has had to learn the rules the hard way: “I had to deal with old-school entrenched buyers who didn't have a vision for new and innovative mustard products,” Connor says. “They
were heavily locked into their relationship with grocery brokers, so I had to work hard to build interest in my product and nurture relationships. I dealt with a lot of rejection, but I used those challenges like you’d use weights at the gym: to make me stronger. “I think the hardest thing to learn was understanding how to do and manage everything at the same time. Understanding manufacturing costs and their related components, finding the magic competitive price, dealing with hard-nosed buyers, how to find balance in a shifting market and manage relationships within an ever-changing industry all have been acutely challenging.” Connor has chosen to see a silver lining in her challenges. “There were times when I was eating beans, rice and mustard and had to duct-tape my shoes, but it all was part of the deal,” she says. “It helped make me a stronger person and really value life. It helped me grow.” She also keeps resetting the bar, aspiring to further her reach with each additional success. She wants to be in
every grocery store in America within five years. She is weighing the idea of getting into ketchup, pickles, maybe maple syrup. She’d like to take her brands overseas. (The French tell her that Mustard Girl Dijon is incroyable, and the Germans swoon over her stone ground varieties.) She’s currently working on a cookbook and plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to charity when it is published. Connor also gives back by donating some of Mustard Girl’s proceeds to local and global nonprofits. But most of the time, Connor is simply telling her story — a modern day parable of the mustard seed. “My goal is to inspire people to believe in their dreams,” she says. “Everyone has a tiny mustard seed in their heart, and they too can make a difference.” Joel Hoekstra is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis.
Winter 2018 11
LA VIDA COTIDIANA IN PHOTOS
STUDENT PHOTOGRAPHERS CAPTURE EVERYDAY LIFE (LA VIDA COTIDIANA ) IN CUBA AS PART OF A THREE-WEEK GLOBAL IMMERSION TRIP.
Captions include student name, photo essay topic and a quote from their accompanying reflections. Penelope Winton ’18: Orange & Blue. “For the next three weeks, these bold hues in blue and orange presented themselves to me wherever I went, perhaps due to the seemingly small significance they held during that first, fateful day.”
(Photo 1) Hannah Jones ʼ18: Las Calles Cubanas. “Truthfully, these images with the sunset slipping down the sky are few and far between and fail to depict the Cuba we as a group got to understand and experience.” (Photo 2) Sarah DeMane ʼ18: Animales de Cuba. “As we grew to know the country and its people better, the way that animals simply roamed the streets began to make much more sense.” (Photo 3) Maddie Tix ʼ19: Cuban Dream. “I realized the Cuban dream is chasing the sunset to find the happiness that the warmth provides.” (Photo 4) Emma Swenson ʼ18: Tiempo Limitado, Limited Time. “There was a man at the church one day. He looked like my grandpa with a mustache … I did not get a picture of him. I think that’s one thing I regret the most about Cuba.”
7 (Photo 5) Steven Nye ʼ18: Ingeniería Eléctrica. “I found it fascinating how the Cubans incorporated [electricity] in their homes and how many exposed wires were present on every corner. This is a symbol of the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the Cuban people.” (Photo 6) Arden Shannon ʼ18: Architecture in Cuba. “As I sat in our bright yellow school bus and peered out the window, I saw house after house. All seemed to be so similar at first glance, but after three weeks each proved its individuality.” (Photo 7) Anabella Walser ʼ18: Friendship. “The friendships my group made with other Cubans, with animals and with each other may have been fleeting but will stand out as the most significant parts of our trip.”
Winter 2018 15
(Photo 8) Anabella Walser ’18: Friendship. (Photo 9) Ben Lee ʼ19: From the Line: A Lookbook. “In making photographs of clothing and fabrics that modeled them selves on a clothesline, I looked to create a narrative of what an average citizen of Havana or Ciego de Ávila would wear.” (Photo 10) Matthew Martinez Sutton ʼ18: Transportation. “As a self proclaimed ‘car guy,’ I was instantly fascinated and enamored with the plethora of beautiful vintage cars and motorcycles in Cuba, but the value of seeing all these beautiful vehicles goes deeper than their physical appearance.” (Photo 11) Jessie Kang ʼ18: Decaying Beauty. “I made an effort to capture the beauty in these structures, as well as the deterioration, and demonstrate they could be beautiful despite the flaws.” (Photo 12) Arden Shannon ʼ18: Architecture in Cuba.
(Photo 13) Emma Swenson ʼ18: Las Calles, The Streets. (Photo 14) Elizabeth Opp ʼ18: Cuba in White. “I chose a color scheme of white to contradict the usual assumption of Cuba being vibrant at every corner while still photographing quintessential Cuban images, such as the old Russian car or the decorative grate on a door.” (Photo 15) Anne Jayasuriya ʼ18: Looking Through. “Taking paths we normally didn’t take always led to places we otherwise wouldn’t have noticed and a different encounter with Cuba as a whole.” (Photo 16) Josie Lagerstrom ʼ18: Childhood. “When I saw kids in the street in Ciego de Ávila, I wondered what my life could have been like in this country.”
Winter 2018 17
HAVE WONDER, WILL TRAVEL KHYLE EASTIN ’12 KEEPS HIS OPTIONS OPEN AND HIS PASSPORT AT THE READY BECAUSE HIS CURIOSITY OF THE WORLD KNOWS NO BORDERS.
As a Peace Corps volunteer in China, Eastin constantly pushes beyond his comfort zone to gain the skills and insights he believes will serve him well in a career in international relations and conflict resolution. With his Corps service ending in July, Eastin eyes a return to the U.S. for graduate school and the chance to build his network in Washington, D.C. Question: Why did you join the Peace Corps and what type of work are you doing? Answer: A close friend who I talk with a lot about career interests mentioned how great joining the Peace Corps would be, so I looked into it. I wanted more work experience outside of the U.S., and I wanted to continue working on my Chinese. So it was great to find out Peace Corps had an option to serve in China. I’m currently teaching first-year oral English to English majors at the Sichuan University of Science and Engineering. Q: You’re also a Sichuan Province Volunteer Advisory Committee (VAC) representative. Can you talk about that? A: VAC was formed to work with Peace Corps China Administration on issues of Peace Corps policy and overall volunteer service 18 Cyrus
“SO IT’S IMPORTANT TO ABIDE BY THIS REALITY THAT YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, NO MATTER HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE YOU MIGHT HAVE. THIS MOTIVATES ME TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND, TO KEEP LEARNING AND TO NOT GET TOO COMFORTABLE.”
experience. Representatives are peer-elected. Pursuing the role was a move to push me out of my comfort zone, practice diplomacy skills and act as a bridge to understand both the volunteer side and the administrator side of an issue. It’s pushed me to be proactive in terms of meeting new people. It’s been a great experience. Q: You began your Peace Corps work in June 2016 and your service ends in July 2018. What’s next for you? A: I am applying to grad school programs, focusing on area studies. I’m interested in China as a region and its growing economic, military and strategic interests in Central Asia [and how those] link to the Middle East. Specifically, I’m focused on China’s politics and security and how the country is becoming a regional power in Central Asia. I’m mainly applying to schools in Washington, D.C. because there are a lot of opportunities in my field there. Q: You have lived in both China and the Middle East.
What drew you to these parts of the world? A: I took Mandarin at Blake, and I spent my junior year of high school in China. While I was there, I fell in love with Arabic when I met an imam who did Arabic calligraphy. He talked about the beauty of Islam using both Chinese and Arabic, which I thought was really cool. I liked the sound of the language and the alphabet was really pretty and very different from Chinese. I started learning the alphabet toward the end of my time in China, then did an independent study in Arabic while continuing Chinese my senior year of high school. I continued Arabic my freshman year at Pomona College and later spent a year abroad in the Middle East — half in Amman, Jordan, half in Jerusalem. Q: Your degree is in international relations with an emphasis on conflict resolution. Why did you decide on this focus? A: One of my international relations seminars focused on war: why conflicts start and ways they
can end. We discussed insurgency, terrorism and political violence in general. It wasn’t for everybody, but I was really drawn to it. Now, as I’m writing my grad school apps, one of the things I talk about is how people who come from oppressed backgrounds feel they’re not properly represented by the state. You can find examples where sections of oppressed communities feel their only option to be heard is through violence or intimidation. I’m not saying that was something I ever considered, but I did grow up respecting the ideals of Malcolm X, the Black Panther party and the Black Power movement, which was more a defensive than offensive movement. That experience helped me when we’d have conversations in class and students would ask, “Why do people fight so dirty?” or “Why are these people so angry?” or “Why do terrorist groups pop up?” I’d often respond by asking, “Have you looked at the conditions they’ve been living in? Have you looked at how the state responds when they try to go through legal channels to bring up these issues? Have you
considered the apathy society has toward their issues?” Q: What advice do you have for someone hoping to have a meaningful cultural experience? A: Never stop challenging yourself. One thing I always tell my students is the teachers I respected the most were the ones who never stopped learning and who made it clear they didn’t know everything. They might be experts or they might have studied extensively in a certain field. People might reach out to them for insights. But that doesn’t mean they have all the answers. So it’s important to abide by this reality that you don’t know everything, no matter how much experience you might have. This motivates me to keep an open mind, to keep learning and to not get too comfortable. Do you know Blake alumni who are doing interesting work? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter 2018 19
ALAN PAGE AND KAMIE PAGE, SECOND GRADE TEACHER
Grandpa Alan’s Sugar Shack (Page Education Foundation)
In their third book for children, father-anddaughter co-authors Alan and Kamie Page tell the story of a granddaughter discovering one of the great joys of her grandfather’s youth: spring in the North Woods when the maple trees are bursting with sap. Grandfather and granddaughter make their way out into the chilly pre-dawn woods to find and tap maple trees, hang buckets and collect sap. And then patiently (or not!), they wait for the sap to boil into syrup back at the sugar shack.
CATHERINE STOCK LEFEbER ’76
Rural Radicals: Righteous Rage in the American Grain (Cornell University Press)
Through its history, populism has meant hope and progress, as well as hate and a desire to turn back the clock on American history. In her new preface, Catherine McNicol Stock provides an update and overview of the conservative face of rural America. She paints a comprehensive portrait of a long line of rural activists whose crusades against big government, big business and big banks sometimes spoke in a language of progressive populism and sometimes in a language of hate and bigotry. Rural Radicals breaks down the populism expressed by activists, confronts our conventional notions of right and left and allows us to understand political factionalism differently.
MICHAEL bAZZETT, UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER
The Interrogation (Milkweed Editions)
This uncanny collection of poems plumbs our capacity for cruelty and for wonder. Suffused in psychology, uncertainty and desire, The Interrogation is a catechism of the self — or selves. Inside this collection’s hall of mirrors, faces double and multiply endlessly, and voices echo, laugh and taunt. “Why?” these poems ask. Why does art demand sacrifice? Why does the heart want what it wants? And how do we escape loneliness? The Interrogation is an accomplished collection, unsparingly honest, infused with yearning and laced with dark humor. DION CRUSHSHON ’88, DIRECTOR OF GLObAL PROGRAMS MARIE MICHAEL, INTERIM DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF EQUITY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ZEAM PORTER ’16
The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys (Corwin)
Schools that fail black boys are not extraordinary. When schools fail black boys, it’s because they are doing school the way that school has always been done. White women make up 65 percent of the teaching force in America. If we succeed in shifting outcomes for black boys, it will be because white women responded to the call to change. Dion Crushshon ’88, Marie Michael and Zeam Porter ’16 each contribute a chapter to The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys, which brings together research, activities, personal stories and links to video interviews to help teachers rise to the challenge.
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 email@example.com.
Burton Hersh ’51 Wet Work and Comanche Country (Tree Farm Books) Wet Work and Comanche Country, released last year, complete the trilogy of books in Burton Hersh’s Landau family series. The first book, The Hedge Fund, was published in 2014.
Judy Bradford McConnell ’52 Dreamhouse (Selfpublished) Part family drama, part recent history, Dreamhouse traces one woman’s journey from her role as a giddy new bride steeped in the conventions of the early 1960s to a mature woman who understands that compromise is not a dead end but a doorway to a new understanding.
Scott Forbes ’82 Dreamwalking (Selfpublished) Dreamwalking is based on the true story of a gifted young man who is left paralyzed from the waist down when he is accidentally pushed off a cliff and ends up moving to a state-run nursing home where he meets a cast of characters.
Linda Barrows, College Counseling liaison and essay coach Amazing MN: State Ranking and Unusual Information (Beaver’s Pond Press) Linda Barrows’ essay Winter Eyes, about the visual experience of Minnesota winters, accompanies a full-page spread photograph of a snowy winter scene in Lee Lynch’s book Amazing MN.
CLASS NOTES Class notes and photos received after November 2017 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.
Larry Corbett writes, “Joan and I celebrated our 60th anniversary with a coastal cruise of the Golden Isles of Georgia, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Charleston, South Carolina. Beaufort, Savannah and Charleston are quite a change from Oregon.”
Burton Hersh was named a recipient of the 2017 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor conferred by the publisher of Who’s Who. (Also see In Print & Production)
Judy Bradford McConnell (See In Print & Production)
Steve Olmsted writes, “Mary and I are enjoying our retirement. I still do some consulting, and I continue as secretary on a national board and organization for psychotherapists. Mary and I became first-time great-grandparents in July, courtesy of our granddaughter Breann Stazel.”
In 2003, Mike Rusten and his wife, Sharon, wrote The One Year Christian History, which highlights an event that happened in church history on each day of the year, spanning from Biblical times and the ancient Roman Empire to the 21st century. The book has more than 140,000 copies in print. John Wilder reports that he was able to tour the Northwest Angle of Minnesota, visit Quebec City, canoe rivers in Louisiana and Minnesota, attend Susan Phelps Pearson’s 80 for 80 art exhibit, visit his daughter and her family in Argentina and attend his granddaughter’s graduation at Georgetown University. He continues his volunteer work as elected “mayor” of his subdivision and as leader of fundraising for his Carleton class. He was elected president of the Friends of the Old State Capitol of Louisiana. He and his daughter had a joint birthday celebration with a neighborhood street dance and Cajun band to celebrate their 80th and 50th birthdays. John writes, “I am blessed with good health, employed children and 11 healthy grandchildren.”
Regina Sigal Anavy traveled to Israel and Cyprus in October for a reunion of friends and to Mexico in November on a nature trip. “My English translation of Amir Valle’s Habana Babilonia (Havana Babylonia), about prostitution in Cuba, was published in December.” In September, Carolyn Light Bell enjoyed her first international publication when her short story Skateboards and a Sheepdog was included in Adelaide Literary Magazine. Visit Carolyn’s website for details and to read her blog at www.onelightsource.net. Dick Caswell and his wife, Mary, love to travel. He writes, “Last year we did a driving trip across Western Canada. Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Calgary, Alberta to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper National Park. Then over the mountains to Vancouver and Victoria B.C. Then we returned to the U.S. via ferry to Friday Harbor, Washington, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and on to the Black Hills of South Dakota. It was a month of wonderful travel in September and early October. We typically spend much of the winter in Coronado, California.
Our first grandchild (and only granddaughter) is engaged to be married in May 2018.”
John Hanson has spent the past two years in Erd, a suburb of Budapest, with his wife, Brigitta, and younger daughter, Jazmin (16). He has been working on two novels. He writes, “I finally have a grandchild, who lives with mom and dad, Lara and John Barrett, in the wilds of western Connecticut. Guessing most of my peers now have one such for each finger and each toe!”
Doug Dunsheath writes, “For the sixth summer, I made another multi-month bicycle trip with my ex — this time from Amsterdam to Portugal — which included our second crossing of the beautiful Pyrénées where the climbs were formidable and breathtaking (in both senses of the word). And, of course, the descents were thrilling. Aloha to all!” Bill Ratner is a voiceover announcer for the Smithsonian Channel, Discovery ID, Paramount Studios and Walt Disney Pictures narrating movie trailers and documentaries. He also works as a live Winter 2018 21
NORTHROP CLASSMATES OF JOLLEY FULLERTON WHITE ’51 GATHERED AT WOODHILL COUNTRY CLUb TO CELEbRATE HER LIFE. JOLLEY PASSED AWAY PEACEFULLY JULY 24, 2017, IN MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA. ANGLING ENTHUSIAST JACK MITHUN ’55 MODELS THE LATEST IN FISHING FASHION.
storyteller and recently performed in the Ojai Storytelling Festival in Ojai, California, and the Living History Tour in Los Angeles. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 32 years, Aleka Corwin. They have two adult children: an artist and a voiceover performer.
Scott LaBounta is news director for a nine-station radio group in Helena, Montana, and also provides high school football play-by-play. He has cut down on stage work but has done some community theater in My Fair Lady, Music Man and 1776. He writes, “I married the girl I took to the Blake prom, and my daughter just made me a grandfather at the ripe old age of 68.” REUNION
Jim Colburn traveled to England in September 2016 to visit friends in Devon, Cornwall and Wales. He is enjoying being a grandparent.
Shanly Heffelfinger Weber lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she teaches and is involved in both the Naropa University and Somatic Experiencing Institute
communities. Her daughter, Chloe Peavey Weber, is a junior at Naropa University after studying for two years at the University of Puget Sound. She writes, “I have been traveling extensively, teaching with Peter Levine’s work (Waking the Tiger) and connecting with old friends. I am honored to work in the field of trauma and help others with the tragedies of this past decade. Please look me up if you are ever in the Colorado area (Shanly@shiftingawareness.com) and please check out my website www.shiftingawareness.com.”
Katherine Dunn and her husband, Martyn, relocated their Apifera Farm from Oregon to mid-coast Maine in 2016. For the past 13 years, Katherine has taken in elderly and special-needs creatures and given them hospice care or a forever home. In May, they loaded up 33 animals and drove from Oregon to Maine, spending each of the five nights in a different barn along the way and sleeping in stalls with the animals. Once they settled in Maine, Apifera Farm became a 501[c] so they could expand their work to help elderly and special-needs people by sharing the animals with them during eldercare visits and farm
MEMbERS OF THE NORTHROP CLASS OF 1961 GATHERED IN JUNE TO CELEbRATE THEIR 56TH REUNION. PICTURED (FRONT ROW, L TO R) LAWNY WITCHER PFLAUM, CYNTHIA SPENCER, RICKI KUTCHER GREEN, PAM ODENDAHL JOHNSON, MARY EGERMAYER O'ROURKE (MIDDLE ROW, L TO R) JEANNE WILLIAMS, CINDY LARSON LACKEY, ELEANOR ELWELL ZEFF, KATIE bROOKS FLANNERY, MIMI HEERSEMA SMITH (bACK ROW, L TO R) JUDY CRAbTREE STARbUCK, NINA KNObLAUCH, LUCY WARNER bRUNTJEN, CYNNIE bINGER bOYNTON, LISA REED, LAURIE SYVERTON SHULL AND JOY FLINSCH HOWARD.
healing days. Katherine has been a full-time artist and writer since 1996 and is the author and illustrator of four books. She shares her experiences through her blog (apiferafarm.blogspot.com) and has many book ideas percolating. Catherine Stock Lefeber (See In Print & Production) Ted Snelgrove has taken on a new role as chief commercial officer at Guardant Health, a biotechnology company in Redwood City, California, that sells blood tests to track and, potentially, detect cancer.
Sally Ankeny Reiley started racing in 2014 at age 54 with the goal of running the Boston Marathon to raise money for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital. Since then she has run three more Bostons and raised $132,000 for eye research.
Laura Sahr Schmit reports all her kids are off to college and beyond. She recently opened a family law firm, Nancy Zalusky Berg, LLC, with colleagues in Minneapolis’ North Loop, where she specializes in divorce and
custody matters. Laura writes, “Even though it is a tough and sometimes heartbreaking area of law, my favorite part of the job is helping families through difficult transitions.” She continues to pursue her love of theater, directing two shows a year at Jefferson High School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A couple of years ago, Eddie Villaume taught himself to write and file patents, and he hasn’t looked back. In 2016, he received his first U.S. patent for an automated bicycle seat and handlebar mechanisms application through which a rider can make adjustments during a workout by pressing a button. Since then, he has received two more patents, one for a programmable noise cancellation device and another for an emergency light system. He will soon file patents for a new video game platform; another noise cancellation system; a motor vehicle safe driving device and system; and a new method to manufacture bottles and containers. Eddie also writes creatively and is in the process of starting a nonprofit.
DOUG DUNSHEATH ’65 bICYCLED FROM AMSTERDAM TO PORTUGAL, CROSSING THE PYRÉNÉES MOUNTAINS FOR THE SECOND TIME AND STOPPING FOR A PHOTO NEAR SEGOVIA, SPAIN.
Scott Forbes (See In Print & Production)
Stacy Westly recently moved to Portland, Oregon, and is involved in the development of the largest master-planned urban community in the state. She and her husband continue to pursue their respective artistic endeavors and sample “all the good eats in the area.” She would be delighted if any classmates wish to contact her at email@example.com or view her photography at stacywestly.com. REUNION
In September, Alaska Governor Bill Walker appointed Michael Franciosi to a three-year term as 3rd District Court judge in Anchorage. Mike has lived and worked as an attorney and magistrate in Alaska for 23 years. Libby Forbes Utter was named the executive director of Gilda’s Club Twin Cities, a nonprofit dedicated to providing free, customized emotional and social support to people living with cancer. Libby is responsible for managing the organization’s operations and fundraising.
bOb OWENS ’73 ATTENDS A COLORADO ROCKIES GAME AT COORS FIELD, COURTESY OF CLASSMATE STEVE WYMAN ’73. PROUD GRANDFATHERS AND 1966 CLASSMATES ROLF TURNQUIST AND bILL ALLEN SHOW OFF THEIR GRANDbAbIES, ELLISON GUILD AND ANNA SWAGGERT.
Max Grossman has been awarded tenure at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he is associate professor of art history, teaching courses on the period from the Roman Republic to the Baroque. During summers he conducts research in Rome and Tuscany on the architecture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. He writes, “Every so often my old classmate Fritz Rahr drops in for a beer. I would love to catch up with other classmates who find themselves in West Texas or Central Italy. This summer I had dinner with Lissie Rappaport Schifman in Rome, which was awesome.”
Amy Bergquist visited Blake to speak with students in Frank Sachs’ U.S. Constitutional Law class about her experience as a clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is currently a staff attorney with the Advocates for Human Rights’ International Justice Program through which she coordinates advocacy at the United Nations and regional human rights bodies. Her substantive areas of focus include LGBTI rights and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,
Bringing It All Into Focus Inspired by the opportunity to create positive change, Peter Heegaard ’54 has devoted the last decade to creating, developing and growing the Allina Health Phillips Eye Institute’s Early Youth Eyecare (E.Y.E.) initiative. A 2008 founding member, Heegaard was recently honored by the Phillips Eye Institute for his dedication to E.Y.E., which provides nocost vision screenings and treatment services to Minneapolis and St. Paul school children. E.Y.E. serves 27,000 students annually and also offers families interpreter services, transportation and financial support to improve access to care. Heegaard’s passion for pediatric eye care comes from his own experience as an 8yearold when he wasn’t able to read the blackboard and felt lost in class because of it. He says his three terms on the Phillips Eye Institute board have provided many rewarding experiences. “There’s joy in seeing kids have their eyes tested and then get excited when they try on glasses of different colors,” says Heegaard. Heegaard and his wife, Anne Mintener ’54, were honored as Blake’s Outstanding Alumni of the Year in 2010 for their philanthropic and business leadership. Their three children, Susan Heegaard ’79, Peter Heegaard ’81 and Kate Heegaard Hartfiel ’84, and two of their grand children, Ned Hartfiel ’13 and Johnny Hartfiel ’17, attended Blake.
“We all have periods in our life when we’ve needed and received help,” says Heegaard. “I think the old saying ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ applies as I realize how lucky I have been with good health, a wonderful family, challenging work and life in a progressive state like Minnesota.” There are ample opportunities to contribute, says Heegaard. “Creating change requires courage, imagination and teamwork.” He offers some advice for those looking to get involved: “Read, research and expose yourself to a range of community issues — affordable housing, job skill training, education, youth programs — then pick an area that captures your passion and invest yourself.”
Winter 2018 23
MARSHALL AND WINSTON, INC. CEO STEVE WYMAN ’73
rights of minorities and noncitizens, and the death penalty. Arthur Phillips’ novel Angelica has been made into a movie, which was released in November.
Family Additions Donald Jackson ʼ87 a daughter, Kennedy “Elle” Eldredge September 25, 2017 Rachel Goldenberg Hanson ʼ96 a son, Theodore “Teddy” Kokie July 12, 2017 Darce Swaggert ʼ97 a daughter, Margot Romano June 29, 2017
Wendy Helgemo has joined the George Washington University as inaugural director of the AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy, a research and advocacy center that provides
Madeline Hornig Frécon ʼ04 a daughter, Skiles “Poppy” Maria August 16, 2017 Fred Steiner ʼ05 a son, Theodore “Teddy” Ross October 28, 2017
Marriages Lauren Frank ʼ02 and Daniel Barta October 14, 2017
Andy Rich ʼ99 a daughter, Daphne June August 8, 2017
Andrew Berg ʼ05 and Madison Kelley August 18, 2017
Amanda Allen Swaggert ʼ99 and Nick Swaggert ʼ99 a daughter, Anna Bell April 17, 2017
Kathryn Davis ʼ05 and Jeremy Malhotra June 21, 2016
Ayla Turnquist Guild ʼ01 a son, Ellison Daniel October 17, 2016 Andrea Kay McFarland ʼ01 a daughter, Alexandra Grace October 5, 2017 Billy Meyers ʼ03 a daughter, Evelyn Joy May 10, 2017
EDDIE VILLAUME ’81
Annie Massie ʼ05 and John Manning August 26, 2017 Berit Johnson ʼ06 and Mike Hoffmann August 26, 2017 Ronni Peterson ʼ08 and Eugene Plimpton October 28, 2017 Kebu Johnson ʼ13 and Ali Kauss July 29, 2017
AMY bERGQUIST ’86 TALKED WITH UPPER SCHOOL STUDENTS AbOUT HER EXPERIENCE AS A CLERK FOR U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH bADER GINSbURG.
support to tribal leaders and promotes public awareness on issues of national significance to indigenous communities, including public health, housing, economic security and education. Donald Jackson writes, “We welcomed a daughter, Kennedy Eldredge ‘Elle’ Jackson, on September 25, 2017. My wife, Christina, 14-year-old daughter and Elle live in Cincinnati, Ohio. And we are all very excited about my longtime friend and Blake classmate Dean Phillips’ run for Congress in 2018.” REUNION
Dion Crushshon (See In Print & Production)
Steve Nilsen is lifestyle marketing manager for Pabst Brewing Company. One of his recent projects has been collaborating with the technical apparel company 686 to create a jacket that doubles as a cooler and holds up to 12 beers.
Nate Jensen is assistant secretary of strategy, planning, analysis and risk in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Jon Kirsch is currently in Cali, Colombia, with his wife and three children, taking a sabbatical from his job at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Visit his blog at drkirschsabbatical. wordpress.com. Anne Marie Ruff Grewal is experiencing her first Minnesota winter in 27 years. She moved from Los Angeles to Orono with her husband, Lali, and their two sons, William and Josh. She continues creative work as a novelist and corporate work as the global editor for the law firm Latham and Watkins.
Stu Howell reports he still serves as a naval aviator in the United States Marine Corps, in which he is a lieutenant colonel. He writes, “I just finished a four-year tour at Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) in Quantico, Virginia. I served as Marine One aircraft commander, helicopter pilot for the president of the United States, an incredible opportunity that allowed me to travel the world and represent the United States. I am now back in North Carolina flying the aircraft I flew while deployed overseas. I am lead operational test pilot for the new CH-53K King
STU HOWELL ’94 SERVED AS MARINE ONE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER, THE HELICOPTER PILOT FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Stallion, the new replacement for the CH-53E. My Marine Corps career is starting to wind down. It has been a crazy 20 years. I hope everyone is doing well.”
Emily Chambers Blejwas writes, “I had a great time presenting my new novel, Once You Know This, to Blake sixth graders in September. The students were so attentive and engaged.” Cindy Sher got engaged to Kurt Anderson in Chicago. They are planning a wedding for summer 2018.
Alison Brueggemann is entering her 10th year as founder and creative director for her boutique graphic design studio, Storied Creative. Alison loves assisting businesses with their branding and recently partnered with classmate Stephanie Payne to create the brand for her new venture, Vine Times Events. You can check out some of Alison’s work at StoriedCreative.com. Carolyn Moos is working with Equinox in Washington, D.C. She continues to work with
CINDY SHER ’96 AND HER FIANCE, KURT ANDERSON, ARE PLANNING A SUMMER WEDDING.
youth basketball players in yoga, nutrition and skills. REUNION
Michelle Horovitz is co-founder of Appetite for Change, a north Minneapolis organization that uses food as a community development tool. Appetite for Change was among seven regional organizations awarded the 2017 Bush Prize for Community Innovation and will receive nearly $471,000 to help transform an area that has been called one of the largest “food deserts” in the country into a culturally based, community-driven food center. Michelle and her fellow co-founders also received a 2017 Jaffe Award, a financial award granted to everyday heroes making the world a better place for women and children, specifically in the areas of health, education, social reform and esteem.
Andy Rich and his wife, Sophie, welcomed their first child, Daphne June Rich, on August 8. He writes, “She is already growing so fast!”
NICK SWAGGERT ’99 (LEFT) AND ANDY RICH ’99 WITH THEIR bAbIES, ANNA SWAGGERT AND DAPHNE RICH
Blake Johnson moved from Somerville, Massachusetts, to El Cerrito, California, where he started a job as director of quantum engineering at Rigetti Computing, a quantum computing startup in Berkeley.
In November, Stitch Fix founder and CEO Katrina Lake became the youngest female founder to take a company public and the first woman to take an internet company public in 2017, an IPO milestone that was lauded by fellow women in the tech industry.
Cassidy Blackwell was named to Brand Innovators fifth annual list of 40 Under 40 brand marketers in the Northwestern U.S. for her work as brand engagement director for Walker and Company Brands, which creates health and beauty products for people of color. Elise Bonner received her Ph.D. from Princeton University this year and is currently teaching at Columbia University.
Lauren Frank married Daniel Barta on October 14, 2017. Lindsay Frank Schultz ʼ97 and Laura Freeman Gordon were in the bridal party. Classmates Justina Roberts, Mike Brennan, John Smida and Matt Hobbs also helped celebrate. Lauren is a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, and Daniel is an attorney at H.B. Fuller. REUNION
Billy Meyers and his wife, Jingyi, welcomed baby Evelyn Joy on May 10, 2017. Billy and his family are enjoying life in St. Louis, Missouri, where he leads the front-end e-commerce development team for Panerabread.com and Jingyi teaches undergraduate Chinese at Washington University. Their son, Caleb, joined the class of 2031 at MICDS, an independent private school in St. Louis headed by former Blake assistant Head of School Lisa Lyle.
Sormeh Mahjouri celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary in October. She and her husband recently moved from the Bay Area to Sacramento, where she is a project manager with Sutter Health. Winter 2018 25
bILLY MEYERS ’03 AND HIS WIFE, JINGYI, WITH THEIR SON, CALEb, AND DAUGHTER, EVELYN
LAUREN FRANK ’02 MARRIED DANIEL bARTA ON OCTObER 14, 2017.
On August 18, 2017, Andrew Berg wed the woman of his dreams, Madison Kelley, in Des Moines, Iowa. The happy couple currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Native American health advocate Sasha Houston Brown is a leader in a grassroots movement to improve community health by reviving the active lifestyle of their Native ancestors. In particular, she advocates for the revival of lacrosse among Native Americans. Kathryn Davis Malhotra married Jeremy Malhotra on June 21, 2016, in New York. The couple celebrated with family and friends, including sister Beth Davis ʼ07 and Blake classmates Kate Hoops and Susie Lipinski Siegel, at Dumbarton House in Washington, D.C. in October. Kathryn and Jeremy met while serving as community health volunteers with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa. The couple currently resides in Washington, D.C. Annie Massie married John Manning on August 26, 2017. The weekend was spent on Lake Minnetonka. The couple currently
lives in Rye, New York, where Annie teaches fourth grade at a school for boys. Samantha Porter joined the University of Minnesota as a digital preservation specialist. As a member of Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services, she helps faculty and students integrate technologies such as 3D scanning, 3D printing and virtual reality into research and teaching.
Sydney Robbins Baker writes, “I left my role as a marketing director and changed careers to become a recruiter two babies ago (bringing my grand total to five kids — yep, five). Knowing that I am the family breadwinner, my support system discouraged a career change with three kids at home and one on the way. ‘You’re doing so well,’ my peers would say. ‘Your family needs the stability,’ my parents would remind me. Then, I called my mentor since college; she’s never given me bad advice. Without hesitation, she said, ‘Do it.’ So I did. Since I started, I’ve had my head down, kept my eye on the prize, and doubted myself the whole way. But, thanks to the support of a fantastic company and a great boss, I’m picking up
ANNIE MASSIE ’05 MARRIED JOHN MANNING ON AUGUST 26, 2017, SURROUNDED bY bLAKE FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
more new searches and placing more candidates than ever before. Without a doubt, I’m more successful, happier and busier(!) than I’ve ever been. I’m thankful to Sara Geneva Noreau Kerr for giving me a push. I’m thankful to SkyWater Search Partners for giving me a runway.”
at CSIS and completed field research in 2017 in Lebanon, Turkey, Greece and Malta. Katy Marshall graduated from Harvard Business School in May 2017 and is now a brand manager at Kraft-Heinz in Chicago.
Kimi Goldstein writes, “After three years of healthcare consulting at Oliver Wyman, I recently began working at Bright Health, a startup health insurer headquartered in Minneapolis. I am on the business development and care partnerships team, which is based in New York City, where I currently live. I’m excited for this next chapter, particularly because it means more excuses to travel home to Minnesota.”
Max Markusen took a new job in August 2017 as the associate director and associate fellow for the Transnational Threats (TNT) Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank based in Washington, D.C. TNT conducts field research on a range of issues related to terrorism, insurgency and global criminal networks. Previously, Max was a research associate
Natalie Gould helped found a public charter high school in Washington, D.C. Washington Leadership Academy (WLA) opened last year with 110 ninth graders, serving 85 percent free- and reduced-lunch students, 100 percent students of color and students from more than 30 public middle schools. The school was awarded the $10 million XQ Super School prize for its innovative model. Its 2016–17 test
Michael Lee was named a winner of this year’s Key West Literary Seminar Emerging Writer Awards, which recognize and support writers with exceptional talent and potential for lasting literary careers. REUNION
This November, Jeremiah Ellison was elected to represent Ward 5 on the Minneapolis City Council.
WES AND ANDREA KAY MCFARLAND ’01 WELCOMED THEIR bAbY GIRL, ALEXANDRA GRACE, INTO THE WORLD ON OCTObER 5, 2017. ANDREA WRITES, “WE ARE OVERJOYED!”
FRED STEINER ’05 REPORTS THAT SON THEODORE “TEDDY” ROSS, bORN ON OCTObER 28, 2017, “HAS bEEN AN AbSOLUTE JOY TO OUR FAMILY.” bERIT JOHNSON ’06 MARRIED MIKE HOFFMANN ON AUGUST 26, 2017, IN STEAMbOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO.
scores showed it to be the highest performing high school in the city without a designated feeder middle school. Natalie runs the school’s operations team. She writes, “This year, we have both ninth and tenth graders (205 total) and we’re starting to think about how to best set up our students for success in the college application process. A huge part of the inspiration for WLA was the desire to democratize my own high school experience for the kids in D.C. who need it most.” Susie Marshall spent the summer working on human rights issues in Armenia. She is entering her second year at Harvard Law School.
Alex Barry manages business growth for prooV, an Israel-based tech startup. She is the first employee to inhabit their new American office. Ben Meline graduated in March 2017 from Northwestern University with a master’s degree in computer science. Austin Wahl performed in the 2017 Indiana University Guitar Competition finals in October.
Michael Meline graduated from Tulane University with a master’s degree in architecture. REUNION
Lukey Walden recently had a painting included in the group exhibition TransFabulous: Beyond the Binary, which was recently on view at Hennepin County Central Library. The show was co-curated by Zeam Porter ʼ16. Before the show opened, Lukey presented an artist talk to Blake Upper School students. Since graduating from Colorado College in May 2017, Lukey has had a solo exhibition at Sustain Gallery in Chicago. They are currently an artist-in-residence at AMFM Gallery, also in Chicago. Tomas Yañez leveraged an internship with Nike to land a permanent position with the company as an Android developer after graduating from Lewis and Clark College.
Sarah Waldfogel is a senior at Carleton College where she is a three-year captain of the women’s basketball team. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics.
Karlie Lund is a junior at Princeton University majoring in civil and environmental engineering. She plays center for the women’s hockey team and is serving as an assistant captain this year.
Isabel Hall writes, “Last August, I made the difficult decision not to return to my university but to take the semester off while applying for spring or fall transfer. To be honest, I felt frightened by the idea of uprooting myself from school and doing something unusual. What would my friends think? Would my time off be useful or a waste? However, my need for a more diverse community and larger city experience was one I felt strongly about, and that feeling grew stronger as the school year approached. [Blake's Director of College Counseling] Sara Kyle was so helpful as I worked through these thoughts. I’d been a summer intern at Vogue, and in September
the magazine hired me as an accessories assistant. My co-workers have become good friends, and I love being part of a creative, close-knit team. Living on my own in New York City has been challenging, but also very exciting. I’ve settled into a wonderful, lively and diverse neighborhood that is fairly convenient to my office. It’s daunting to balance a budget in a city that is very expensive, but it has been a memorable learning experience. I’m looking forward to returning to a new school in January.” Zeam Porter (See In Print & Production)
Libby Rickeman, a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claimed the women’s tennis singles championship at the seasonopening MIT Invitational.
Save the Date Reunion & Homecoming 2018 October 4-6 Alumni and their families are invited to Blake's oncampus events. Information on fiveyear milestone reunion celebrations will be arriving in your mailbox soon!
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RONNI PETERSON ’08 MARRIED EUGENE PLIMPTON ON OCTObER 28, 2017, ON THE STEMPLE CREEK RANCH OUTSIDE PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA. OF THE 100 PEOPLE ATTENDING THE WEDDING, 10 WERE FELLOW 2008 CLASSMATES (PICTURED, L TO R) LAUREN GELLMAN, bRITTANY RANDOLPH, ZACH GULLA, JAMIE DONALDSON, PAIGE ESTERKIN, RONNI PETERSON, CAROLYN MORTELL, JILLIAN AVERY, EMILY MOOS AND ERIN DORSEY. KEbU JOHNSON ’13 MARRIED ALI KAUSS ON JULY 29, 2017.
Reece Sanders is at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and reports that he is loving his choice to attend. He writes, “Playing Division 1 Big Ten golf was much more of a commitment than I had anticipated. But if it was easy, I guess everyone could do it.”
For former Blake soccer coach Charlie Seel, Blake soccer continues to be a family affair with his grandson Matthew Carlson ʼ21 (son of Jennifer Seel Carlson ʼ94) now playing for the Bears. Charlie coached from 1968 to 2008, winning 12 conference titles, three state titles and finishing second in three other state tournaments. In 1991, he was inducted into the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. His son Jeffrey Seel ʼ92 played four years on the varsity team and later served as an assistant coach. Charlie writes, “I guess that could be looked at as three generations connected to Blake boys’ varsity soccer. This family fact is the one that I am most proud of and one that is most important to me.”
In Memoriam Mary Trisko Anderson ’53 former grandparent, October 25, 2016 Pamela Gibbs Bacon ’55 former parent, former grandparent, August 21, 2017 J. Steven Bergerson ’61 June 20, 2017 John Brooks ’38 August 20, 2017 Susan Mithun Duncan ’64 August 19, 2017 Kurtiss Erickson former employee, December 26, 2017 Thomas Fullerton Jr. ’71 November 2017 Andrew Hardenbergh ’68 November 15, 2017
Marnie Rogers Hartmann ’53 December 2017 McGill Hawley ’57 September 13, 2016
Julian McCaull ’54 December 16, 2017
Joyce Samuelson ’55 July 16, 2016
Walter Mills ’62 November 1, 2017
Livinia Alder Savage ’33 January 24, 2017
Lucia Tearse Louise Heffelfinger ’50 Morison ’43 former parent, former parent, June 19, 2016 former grandparent, May 27, 2017 Dwight Holcombe ’47 December 15, 2016 Ross Nelson ’90 October 12, 2017 J. Thomas Holzer ’65 July 8, 2017 William Pearson ’49 January 27, 2017 Clinton Knudson former faculty, Marjorie Peterson former parent, former parent, September 9, 2017 former trustee, September 16, 2017 Nancy Burnett Luke ’50 John Price Jr. ’58 December 8, 2017 June 17, 2016 Norton Lyman ’44 September 23, 2017
David Rausch ’82 October 2017
Donald McCarthy Sr. ’40 former parent, January 5, 2018
Georgiana Carleton Rider ’39 former parent, former trustee, August 29, 2017
Michael Sheffels former parent, mentor, November 15, 2017 Paul Tietz ’67 former parent, October 1, 2017 Thomas Vennum, Jr. ’52 September 24, 2017 Jolley Fullerton White ’51 July 24, 2017 McDonald Winton ’51 former parent, December 26, 2017 Angus Wurtele ’52 former parent, former trustee, September 3, 2017
Please inform the Institutional Advancement Office of Blake community member deaths by calling (952) 9883430 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUBMIT YOUR CLASS NOTES AND PHOTOS TO CLASSNOTES@BLAKESCHOOL.ORG. 28 Cyrus
FORMER bLAKE bOYS’ SOCCER COACH CHARLIE SEEL CONTINUES TO CHEER ON THE bEARS, INCLUDING GRANDSON MATTHEW CARLSON ’21.
VOICES Value in Service Over the past 40 years, I have helped victims of crime and people affected by natural disasters, abuse and devastating loss. Throughout these experiences I have seen how direct, hands-on support can result in tangible benefits for both those in need and those in service. For over 20 years, I served as a local, state and federal prosecutor, helping crime victims throughout the state and country. My volunteer service has focused on working with victims of child abuse and individuals recovering from the havoc caused by natural disasters. I appreciate how this direct interaction provides a real-time barometer for gauging my own efforts. And, personally, it is wonderful to go home at night knowing you have made someone’s life better. Many years ago, I prosecuted a sexual assault case involving a young woman. I’ll never forget what she said to me outside the courtroom after her testimony. With great Tom Heffelfinger ’66 is the father of two Blake alumnae, Laura ’01 and Julia ’07. He spent most of his professional career as a criminal prosecutor, including two terms as the presidentially appointed United States Attorney for Minnesota.
emotion she thanked me for the opportunity to tell her assailant he would no longer be able to hurt her and for the chance to move on with her life. Another time, while working as a Red Cross volunteer, I met in a restaurant with a woman who had lost her home to fire. While sitting with her, a young man saw my red vest and asked if I was with the Red Cross. When I said yes, he thanked me for my service and told me his family had been aided by the Red Cross when their home was destroyed by a fire several years earlier and said the support they received allowed them to recover from the loss. Financial support to philanthropic and nonprofit organizations is critical to their ability to carry out their mission. In addition to monetary donations, serving, face-to-face, the people you hope to help is invaluable. This sort of direct service provides immediate and life-changing aid. At the same time, it allows you to witness the impact of that service in a way that may also be life-changing. When thinking of how you want to contribute to the world around you, I urge you to consider working directly in service to others.
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110 Blake Road South Hopkins, Minnesota 55343 952-988-3420 blakeschool.org
Non Profit Org. US Postage PAID Twin Cities, MN Permit No. 32266
Every Blake story is a story of connections. Excellence Accelerated is our campaign to invest in each other on a whole new level and to realize all we can become. Let’s celebrate the stories that bind us together.
BISI WILSON ’97 (P ’27, ’29) “Kamie Page’s love for children, learning and growth permeates the hallways of Blake. Each day, my son was excited to go to her class. She has a way of sharing her energy and passion with each child — and sometimes even parents — in a way that brightens their day and increases their engagement. Forever patient, her positive energy is a force to be reckoned with.”
THE CAMPAIGN FOR BLAKE
I AM PROUD AND PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL to report that as of February 2018, 3,897 community members have raised $75 million of our $80 million goal for Excellence Accelerated: The Campaign for Blake. Many thanks to our alumni, parents, grandparents, faculty, staff and friends, whose generosity has brought us to this exciting stage in our comprehensive campaign. Our efforts have already led to impressive changes. The percentage of our student body that receives need-based financial assistance has grown from 15 to 25 over the past five years. Faculty and administrators are bringing fresh skills and perspectives to the classroom through new professional development programs. New and improved facilities in arts, athletics and academics are providing transformational learning spaces for our students. As board chair, I understand the vital role the campaign plays in Blake’s ability to attract and retain excellent faculty, develop leading curriculum and support talented and committed students. As a parent, I have experienced firsthand the impact of these investments, as I watch my children grow and thrive. Our family dinner conversations frequently focus on the teachers, peers and coaches who inspire and challenge my kids to learn, analyze, question the world and pursue excellence in and out of the classroom. These final months mark a pivotal moment in our campaign’s five-year timeline. Blake’s future calls for the support of our entire community. If you haven’t yet, I hope you will support Excellence Accelerated in a way that is meaningful to you. Please join me in getting over the finish line. Sincerely,
Darren Acheson, P ’18, ’21 Chair of the Board of Trustees
Together we move forward.
LOWER SCHOOL TEACHER “Jim Van Dyne is an unsung hero. Whether it’s a hot steamy sunrise in August or the dawn of a bitter cold morning in January, he is out and about, making sure the Hopkins campus is a place you feel lucky coming to each and every day. He is a master gardener, and he drives an ATV like nobody’s business. While his job is not easy, and is often behind-the-scenes, you get the sense he puts his heart and soul into it. Just look around the next time you’re here … and then thank Jim.”
The Impact of Financial Assistance
Entry Hall Exterior
Blake Entry Hall Preview Following the completion of the Blake Commons in fall 2019, Blake will begin the next phase of construction with a new Entry Hall. The second phase of improvements will focus on one of the busiest hubs on Blake’s largest campus. If fundraising goals are met, the project will begin in late 2019 or spring 2020. The Entry Hall project includes: • A Better Arrival Entry Hall Interior An improved drive into campus will better accommodate traffic flow and provide a more pleasant welcome. • Entry Hall This new structure offers a gateway to our Lower School, Middle School, MacMillan Performing Arts Center and inner campus. With friendly reception and clear connections, the hall will serve as the “front door” for our busiest campus. • Smarter, Safer Parking A new parking lot will provide space for efficient drop-off and pick-up and increased capacity to better accommodate special events. The lot will also give buses their own entry and parking spaces.
JIM VAN DYNE BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS “I would like to recognize [food services director] Nicolle Thomas and the entire Taher crew for providing a delicious hot meal every day.”
Blake’s need-based financial assistance program helps students participate in transformative experiences in and beyond the classroom. Support for Excellence Accelerated has raised the number of students receiving need-based financial assistance from 200 to 304. Here, alumni share what Blake means to them. Claire Goebel ’08, partner at the Wildflower Foundation I am grateful for the incredible support system of friends, faculty, mentors, coaches and families I built at Blake. As a student, I was encouraged and supported by this group to think expansively about my life’s possibilities. This is a tremendous, rare privilege so few can claim when they reflect on their schooling. It’s one that motivates me in my work and my commitment to build more just, sustainable and equitable communities. [Former associate director of admissions] Cheryl Boyd was a true partner to my family — from day one of the admissions process — but most notably during unpredictable circumstances. Thanks to her unwavering support and her team’s efforts, I got to experience a life-changing high school education.
Kebu Johnson ’13, court research and verifications specialist at the McDowell Agency [Athletic director] Nick Rathmann has made one of the greatest impacts on my life through sports and education. As a former teacher and coach, he helped me develop the character needed to take on challenges and embrace change. Most importantly, I appreciate how much he cares for the Blake community. If only people knew how much work the teachers and coaches put in behind the scenes for students at Blake. It’s something I realized when I began at Blake in Middle School. That dedication has kept me motivated to learn and grow, both then and now. Continued on back
Campaign Volunteers 2017–2018
Sarah Carthen Watson ’11, student at Washington University School of Law Blake was home for me from age 3 to 17. Blake gave me a place to discover myself, to be in an environment that nourished my love of learning and provided me with access to educational and social opportunities to make sure I was successful in whatever I wanted to do. I was on the track team from seventh through twelfth grade, and it was such an incredible family to be a part of. My teammates and coaches were a constant source of love, laughter and support both on and off the track. Martha Long [Lower School teacher] remains one of my favorite people in the world to this day. She helped us find ourselves and guided us through tough times with warmth and love, as if we were her own children.
Margaret Jones (Chair)
Brian Lucas ’86
Elizabeth Winton (Chair)
Jeb Morrison ’90
David Lyman ’84
Darren Acheson (Board Chair)
Joan Nolan ’81
Kathryn Miller ’86
Kelly Morrison ’87
Anne Stavney (Head of School)
Ellie Pidot ’93
Pete ’50 and Margie ’51 Ankeny (Honorary Chairs)
Alene Grossman Sussman ’95
Fritz ’60 and Glenda Corrigan (Honorary Chairs)
Jamie Wilson ’82
Chris ’65 and Jack ’63 Morrison (Honorary Chairs)
Parent Outreach Committee Chairs
Bruce ’48 and Martha Atwater (Honorary Chairs)
Joan Nolan ’81 Trustee
Richard and Carrie Higgins
Tom Heffelfinger ’66 Decade Chair Ellen Archibald ’65 Decade Chair Malcolm McDonald ’54 Decade Chair Scott Forbes ’82 Decade Chair Will Peterson ’05 Decade Chair Hudson Van Slooten ’12 Decade Chair
Margot Graham ’14 Decade Chair
Brian Stanchfield ’92 Linda Thrasher Meredith Tutterow Mary Susan Vorbrich Amy Wagner-Wieland
Richard Higgins Trustee
Parent Outreach Committee
Laura Mark Campaign Director
Joy Bhardwaj Sachin Bhardwaj
Alumni Campaign Committee Chairs
Rebecca Schubring Chief Advancement Officer
Randall Barry ’86
Lauren Frank Barta ’02
Blake Board of Trustees
Stewart Crosby ’87
Andrew Arthur ’92
George Bodem ’54
John Nilsen ’77
Lesley Crosby Chad Eckes
Alumni Campaign Committe Nora Anderson ’96
John Owens ’74 Mark Pihlstrom ’88 Thomas Skramstad ’63 Alene Grossman Sussman ’95
Learn More About Excellence Accelerated Laura Mark Campaign Director email@example.com 952-988-3439 Rebecca Schubring Chief Advancement Officer firstname.lastname@example.org 952-988-3432
110 Blake Road South Hopkins, MN 55343 blakeschool.org/excellence
A magazine for alumni and friends of The Blake School