News Post

Winter 2019 Applause


The following seniors advanced to the finalist level in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program: Chris Chang, Sarina Dev, Jade Dombroski, Jordan Dombroski, Thomas Gill, Ben Lee, Zachary Marmet, Nathaniel Ronan, Lily Sell and Grace Vojta. These students now have an opportunity to continue in the competition.

Blake's DECA student business club earned five top 10 awards at the annual Minnesota DECA State Career Development Conference in Minneapolis. These 18 students also set a school record at districts with seven podium appearances. DECA students compete in entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, marketing and other related fields designed to simulate real-life business scenarios. The team is led by Blake Chief Financial and Operating Officer Dan Kelley and Blake Director of Finance Raj Mallawaaratchy.

Blake's math team took second place in the Tri-Metro division and 14th in the state, which qualified them to compete at the state tournament. At state, the team finished in a 13th-place tie, with Jason Wang '21 being named the third-place individual student for the season. In the Tri-Metro division, Jason ranked first and Gemily Wang '20 tenth. Team coaches are Upper School math teachers Alex Fisher and Jonathan Osters.

Twenty Blake Upper School students traveled to New York City to participate in the WFUNA International Model UN (WIMUN) conference where they represented several countries and attended opening ceremonies in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations building. Gwyneth Alexander '20 and Kaitlyn Saldanha '20 applied for and were elected as vice chairs of their committees. Andrew Chang '21 received a Diplomacy Award, and Miki Rierson '19 earned a Position Paper Award. The students are pictured in front of the New York Public Library. They also toured Midtown, the Tenement Museum, China Town, Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The North American Invitational Model UN (NAIMUN) conference in Washington, D.C. was attended by 21 Upper School students who represented countries including Albania, Iceland and Italy and served on mock parliaments from India and the United Kingdom. Juniors Joe Gustaferro and Kaitlyn Saldanha won awards for their work on the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and Spanish Joint Cooperation Council. The students are pictured at the Italian Embassy where they met with the head of the cultural affairs department.


Becky Perkins '22 has been singing with Angelica Cantanti's choirs for five years — Cantabile Choir, Concert Choir and now the Treble Singers. As part of the Treble Singers, her choir auditioned and was selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kai '25, Chizoro '25, Gabriella '27 and Isha '29 were selected to perform in MacPhail Center for Music's Junior Honors Recital. They played the following piano pieces: Kai — "Dance of the Aborigines and Song of Twilight" by Yoshinao Nakada; Chizoro — "Remember When" by Melody Bober; Gabriella — "Le Petit Noir" by Claude Debussy; Isha — "Waltz" by Dmitri Kabalevsky and "Crazy Comics" by Christine Donkin.

Vladimir '24 was selected to perform at MacPhail Center for Music's Concerto and Aria Recital. He played "Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216, Mvt. I: Allegro" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Congratulations to the casts and crews of the Upper School and Middle School theater departments' spring musicals. See photos from "Fiddler on the Roof" and the "Pirates of Penzance."

Seniors Robbie Grace, Morgan Phillips and Alyssa Story were part of this year's reintroduced inaugural Twin Cities debutante program. At the ballroom event, Morgan was crowned cotillion queen.

Max Hankins '22 auditioned and was accepted into the Honors Performance Series High School Honors Choir where he performed at Carnegie Hall under the direction of conductor André Thomas.

Sixth graders Shireen, Romare and Joaquin auditioned and were chosen to participate in the American Choral Directors Association State 4-5-6 Honor Choir. They performed at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.


Lower School counselor Jon Halpern and his business partner Jeff Fink co-authored, "Responding to Student Behavior: Preparing for Teaching." The manual on class management is designed for teacher candidates and student teachers. This is their eleventh audio and training booklet.

Upper School Associate Librarian Kali Olson chaired the Alex Awards committee, which selects 10 books each year that are written for adults and have crossover appeal for young adult readers (ages 12-18).

Minnesota Scholastic Writing Awards were earned by 19 Blake Middle and Upper School students.


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

Madeline Wethington '19 is the Star Tribune girls' hockey Metro Player of the Year and the recipient of the 24th annual Ms. Hockey Award.

Madeleine '28 skated as part of the Mariposa Trio in the 2019 Skate Parade Competition where she took second place.

Piper '26 was selected to represent the United States at the Irish Dance World Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she will compete in hard and soft shoe individual rounds. Piper dances with Corda Mor Irish Dance School in Edina.

William Taylor '19 is one of six teenage athletes who qualified and earned the opportunity to represent the United States in Alpine snowboarding in Slovenia. William is part of Minnesota G Team snowboard and free ski club team that participates in races around the country. Read more.

Awards and Honors

Blake topped the list of best private high schools in Minnesota for 2019 as determined by Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools across the country. The 2019 Best Private High Schools ranking is based on analysis of key statistics and reviews from students and parents.

Aeon Bashir '28 was invited to speak as a special guest at the American Cetacean Society Student Coalition–UW Madison's "Captivity: A Multidisciplinary Approach" event. Aeon started the nonprofit Aeon for Ocean and works to raise awareness of ocean conservation and marine life.


Upper School media arts teacher J Jolton is the art director and game designer for a new Windows video game from Excalibur Games called Universal Space Station Inc. His work emerged from the relationships and connections forged during his Blake 2017-18 Donaldson Sabbatical in England. The game is slated to be released later this year.

Upper School English teacher Mike Bazzett (top) and Upper School art teacher Brian Sago (bottom) were awarded 2019-20 Donaldson Sabbaticals.

Lower School Engineering and Programming teacher William Watkins is the recipient of the 2019 Hersey Summer Sabbatical.

To submit an item for the spring edition of Applause, email