News Post

Summer 2018 Applause

Student Awards and Honors

End-of-year 2017-18 student award recipients and information can be found by following these links for the Middle School and Upper School.

Janet Kang '18 received a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship. Recipients were chosen from a pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Maya Chadda '19 was recognized for her leadership and gregarious team player spirit at YMCA's Camp Warren. "I believe I can be the change because progress is simply small choices made by enthusiastic people," Chadda said. Read more here.

Writing and Literature

Samuel Gelb '18 and Timo Hemphill '20 were featured in a story in the U.S. Department of Education's HomeRoom blog. Both students offered their perspective on the importance of financial education and their work with the Asset Management Group, a club Sam founded at Blake.

Middle and Upper School students garnered 45 Minnesota Regional Scholastic Writing Awards. Go here to see the full list.

2018 graduates (l-r) Chris Gill, Sam Gelb, Nick Crosby and Kyra Willoughby (not pictured) were named finalists in this year's Federal Reserve Bank essay contest, which asked students to analyze whether the federal minimum wage should be raised to $15. The students wrote essays for an economics course taught by Upper School social studies teacher David Zalk '66 (at far right) and each received a $100 cash prize.

Arts and Cultural Experiences

Billy Dunlap '21 participated in The New York Times Student Journeys New York to Milan: Fashion Design and Trends in Two Style Capitals program.

Sarah Weinshel '18, placed second in photography in the Rimon: Minnesota Jewish Arts Council Keren Or (Ray of Light) creative arts youth contest and was a presenter at the seventh annual P'Chotchka event.

Shreya Mohan '22 performed a two-hour dance recital at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center in Bloomington. The recital, also known as Arangetram, consists of dances spanning four Indian languages with short breaks for introductions to the pieces. Shreya has been studying the classical Indian dance form Bharatanatyam since she was 3 years old.


Abbott '24 raised more than $5,000 for the American Heart Association through his participation in the Twin Cities Heart Walk.

Kennedy Rupert '20 is a member of girlsBEST (girls Building Economic Success Together), a program of the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, which engages, explores, reviews and awards grants to girl-led programs around the state. In addition to being a member of girlsBest, Ruppert chaired one of its committee meetings.


Anish Aggarwal '18, Thomas Gill '19, Joel Jude '18, Elisa Lopez '19 and Eva Motolinia '18 were awarded the National Forensic League honorary designation of Academic All American by the National Speech and Debate Association.

Six Blake students attended the National Debate Coaches Association championship in Atlanta, Georgia (l to r): Eva Motolinia '18, Nicolas Barra '18, Thomas Gill '19, Morgan Swigert '20, Jack Johnson '20 and Isabella Wu '19 . Nicolas and Morgan finished second at the tournament. Jack and Isabella also advanced to the semifinals but because they faced the Blake team of Nicolas and Morgan, a coaches' decision blocked them from advancing to the final round. Thomas and Eva finished in the quarterfinals where Eva placed individually as the tournament's third best speaker.

Thomas Gill '19 and Eva Motolinia '18 placed 11th out of nearly 400 teams at the National Speech and Debate Association Tournament where Blake had teams competing in World Schools Debate and Public Forum Debate. Sierra Erdman-Luntz '19, Jack Johnson '20, Cole Mathews '20, Isabella Wu '19 and Brian Zhang '20 represented the district as Southern Minnesota Blue and placed in the top 50. (Pictured, l to r): Director of Forensics Shane Stafford, Eva Motolinia '18, Thomas Gill '19 and Assistant Coaches Ellie Singer '17 and Christian Vasque.


Results from Blake's spring athletic season can be found on the Blake Bears website.

Jessie Kang '18 was awarded the Gold Level Graduating Seniors Award by U.S. Figure Skating.

Sofia Perri '23 took first place in the beam and vault Xcel Gold events and then earned the All Around State Championship title at the USA Gymnastics Xcel state competition. Her team placed second overall. Sofia competes with Legacy Gymnastics in Eden Prairie.

Anisa Thompson '22 took first place for her uneven bar routine at the USA Gymnastics Regional Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Anisa competes with Classic Gymnastics in Chanhassen.

Truman Morsman '23 earned his second-degree black belt from American Karate Studio, where he has studied since 2011.

Madeleine '28 was awarded a certificate of achievement from the SQSA Parade Ice Skating Club recognizing her successful completion of ISI (Ice Skating Institute) testing requirements for Pre Alpha, Alpha, Beta and Gamma levels.

Max '26 qualified for Team USA in the World Karate and Kickboxing Union circuit. He is one of only four competitors in his age category and division to be selected from the United States. Max will travel to Athens, Greece to represent the United States.

Faculty and Staff Awards and Honors

Congratulations to faculty and staff who received Blake 2017-18 end-of-year awards. Recipient names and award descriptions can be found here.

David Graham (Upper School social studies), Scott Hollander (Upper School English), Matt Paterakis (Middle School, science), Paula Sadler (grade 7 coordinator, math), Shane Stafford (Upper School, director of forensics) were recognized for their contributions to Blake and named recipients of summer grants and sabbaticals.

Anne Rubin, grade 11 dean and social studies teacher, had her blog "Dispatches from Sophomore Island" posted online in Psychology Today.

Second grade teacher Kamie Page and her dad, Justice Alan Page, co-authors of "Grandpa Alan's Sugar Shack," won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for Children's Literature. Read more here.

To submit an item for the fall/winter edition of Applause, email