News Post

Fall 2018 Applause


After taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, the following seniors earned semifinalist designation in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program: Paige Bernstein, Chris Chang, Sarina Dev, Jade Dombroski, Jordan Dombroski, Thomas Gill, Ben Lee, Zachary Marmet, Charles Mortenson, Nathaniel Ronan, Lily Sell, Sonal Sinha and Grace Vojta. These students now have an opportunity to continue in the competition.

Nineteen members of Blake's senior class were commended by the National Merit Scholarship Program for outstanding academic promise: Julia Abraham, Addison Anderson, Jon Carlson, Lola Chamberlain, Rachel Eggert, Brent Florine, Aodhtan Gross, Jai Kademani, Ashlyn Kehoe, Adrian Lapadat, Lane Lipschultz, Elisa Lopez, Mike Palaskas, Josh Power, Samantha Stocking, Jade Sund, Kyle Weatherly, Blake Weyerhaeuser and Isabella Wu.

Elisa Lopez '19 was selected as a National Hispanic Scholar. She scored in the top 2.5 percent among Hispanic and Latino PSAT/NMSQT test takers in the region.

Individual and Team Honors and Awards

Julia Lucas '20 won the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Student of the Year Award for a seven-week LLS Students of the Year fundraising competition where her efforts raised over $73,000. She also received a Fundraiser Recognition Award that connects her mother, Betsy Lucas, with one of LLS's Research Portfolios. Pictured is Julia and her mom, Betsy.

Jack Johnson '20 is one of 12 high school students nationwide selected for 2018-19 USA Debate Team. Johnson and his team competed with the USA Blue team at the EuroOpen in Germany where they finished third and he was named the tournament's eleventh best speaker.

Aeon Bashir '28 founded Aeon for Ocean, a nonprofit focused on ocean conservation. He was named a 2018 Sustainable Eden Prairie Award recipient in the water category. Bashir presented "Educating kids about oceans in their habitat" at the American Cetacean Society International Conference in Newport Beach, California, where he exhibited his work and met with marine scientists.

Seniors Maddie Tix and Grace Vojta received the Hennepin County Community Leadership Award, along with Blake 2018 graduates Olivia Bizal and C.C. Wallin, for raising awareness and $120,000 to fight sex trafficking. The money was given to the Women's Foundation, which then provided a grant to the County Attorney's Office to hire an analyst to assist with felony sex trafficking prosecutions.

After placing in their division, the following Middle School robotics teams will advance to compete at sectionals: The Astro Marines and The Orbiting Growl won the Core Values Award and Thriving Excellence earned awards in robot performance and programming. Although not advancing, the Project Pluto team competed in the semi-final round. View tournament photos here and here.


Organized by Will McDonald '21, Blake families participated in the Tools for School program by putting together 28 backpacks for students served by Simpson Housing Services.

Students in Bill Colburn's Advanced Drawing – Human Condition class created relationships and portraits with residents of Jones-Harrison assisted living facility in Minneapolis. Read more and see photos.

The Upper School DECA student business club invited members of the Blake community to join them at Second Harvest Heartland the day before Thanksgiving. The 80 volunteers packed 12,058 pounds of potatoes and Nestle Crunch bars for food shelves in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Writing and Publication

Two seniors were published in Minnesota Women's Press. Maya Chadda profiled actress, writer and producer Kate Nowlin and Alyssa Story wrote a profile on author Shannon Gibney.

New York Times Book Review's poetry columnist David Orr named Upper School English teacher and poet Mike Bazzett's most recent book, "The Popol Vuh," one of this year's top 10 poetry collections. Bazzett's research in Chiapas, Mexico in 2011 on a Blake Hersey Summer Sabbatical prepared him to translate into English a text that originated from a centuries old Mayan oral narrative. Read more.

Visual and Performing Arts

Blake students entered artwork at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair. Collectively, last year's Lower School Blake campus kindergarten students took first place for a mural they created in Lower School art teacher Kim Lane's class (pictured). Zoey '30 earned first place for a sculpture and second place for a collage. Keira '28 received third place for her age group in the drawing-markers category and second place in the weaving and other fibers category. Ben '28 and Keira received third place in the group project category. Adam '28 earned first place in the second-grade diorama category, and Bennett '26 earned third place for a seam ripper constructed out of wood. Toby Wieland '23 earned honorable mention for a mbira (thumb piano), and Elizabeth Terveen '23 earned third place for both a whirligig and mbira constructed in Middle School industrial arts teacher Jon Van Bergen's class. Leon Xue '22 received two third-place awards for an acrylic painting and a sketch.

Director of Visual and Performing Arts Jay Broeker was commissioned to write a choral and instrumental arrangement performed at the 50th annual American Orff-Schulwerk Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Broeker's three-movement composition "An Anniversary" was sung by the Indianapolis Children's Choir and the Cincinnati Youth Choir and included piano, metallophones, glockenspiels, xylophones and other rhythmic percussion instruments.

Congratulations to the casts and crews of the Upper School and Middle School theater departments' fall productions. See photos from the Upper School fall play "Rumors" and the Middle School's "Seedfolks."

Vladimir Tsiper '24 earned third prize in violin at the 2018 eMuse International Competition in Athens, Greece, third prize in the ENKOR International Music Competition for 11- to 15-year-olds, and second prize for violin in the Rising Talents of Americas competition. Watch Tsiper's performance here.

Blake students performed and placed at the Mary West Solo Competition: Evelyn Chow '27 won the elementary division (ages 11 and under) for her violin performance; Dennis Eum '22 played cello and captured the intermediate division (ages 12 to 14); Vladimir Tsiper '24 received the intermediate division performance award for his violin solo. The annual competition is sponsored by the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association.

Marcelo Mena '26 starred in the Bell Museum's first original production of "Minnesota in the Cosmos" and was the understudy to the second-lead character Jesús in the Children's Theatre Company's production of "I Come from Arizona." He was cast in "The Three Snow Bears," a production hosted by Stages Theatre Company in collaboration with New Native Theatre.

Kimora Collins '23 starred as Katie Nanna in Mary Poppins, Jr. at Stages Theatre Company, her seventh Stages production. She has also appeared in Children's Theatre Company productions and in the 2017 film "Wilson" with Woody Harrelson.

The work of Middle School visual arts teacher Seexeng Lee was displayed in the Gorecki Gallery at the College of St. Benedict. Learn more about "Connecting the Broken Threads of the Hmong Paj Ntaub."

Conferences and Activities

Global Programs at Blake led trips last summer to China and Sierra Leone. Supporting the students in China were Upper School Mandarin Chinese teachers Lina Jin and Shirley Johnson. Students visiting Sierra Leone were led by Director of Global Programs Dion Crushshon, Upper School Spanish teacher J.J. Kahle and Middle School math teacher Paula Sadler Fuhr.

Lower School Blake campus Spanish teachers Lisselin Díaz and Zvi Geffen and Upper School Spanish teacher Jon Dicus presented at the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures fall conference.

Blake students, faculty and staff members attended the National Association of Independent School 2018 People of Color Conference. Student participants were freshmen Sofia Goodwin-Melo, Rabi Michael-Crushshon and Precious Jones (pictured L to R) and the following faculty and staff members: Upper School English teacher Lester Batiste, Blake Director of the Office of Equity and Community Engagement Tyneeta Canonge, Associate Director of Admissions CJ Eckhardt, LearningWorks Student Services Director Marsille Reed, PK-8 Physical Education Department Chair Alanna Wahl, Engineering and Programming Specialist William Watkins, PK-12 Science Department Chair Ann-Marie White and Lower School Director Raymond Yu.

Middle School and Upper School students, along with ISS System Administrator Mike Smith and Middle School social studies teacher Jayce Alexander, attended the Young Men of Color Symposium at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago. The experience included opportunities for students to explore their identities and learn self-advocacy and community-building skills to effect positive change.


Blake's fall athletics teams had a successful season. Team results can be found on the Blake Bears website.

KK Haug '19 was named Ms. Soccer in Minnesota State High School Class A.

Arlina Shen '20 was named Star Tribune metro girls' tennis player of the year.

Cece Dobbertin '22 qualified for the Midwest Regional Bouldering Championships. She competed with her team from Vertical Endeavors and had a solid performance. Bouldering is a form of rock climbing where competitors do not use ropes or harnesses.

Josslyn Weissman '25 has been invited to play soccer in Madrid, Spain with the Getafe Academy representing Coever Academy. She plays on the Junior Elite Clubs National League team for Minnesota Thunder Academy.

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