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Upcoming Events

May 21
Virtual Breakfast at Blake with Raina Green and Beth Calderone Online

All other spring events have been canceled or postponed. Look for rescheduled events information in future issues of Cyrus Monthly.


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Bear Pause:
10 Questions in 10 Minutes

Sovady Phe Huston '98Sovady Phe Huston '98 loves to spend time with her husband and kids, which turns out to be a blessing as they practice “Safer at Home.” Her ideal day includes sleeping in and wearing fun socks. She’s been keeping busy sewing facemasks to donate to local law enforcement and senior community members, working from home for Medtronic and taking on a part-time role as teacher to her kids. Learn more about Sovady in the latest edition of Bear Pause.

Send recommendations of alumni you would like to see profiled in this monthly feature to Or check out our list of questions and participate yourself! Visit the Bear Pause archives to read past interviews.

Alumni Spotlight

Brett Anderson ‘88As one of America’s preeminent food writers, Brett Anderson ‘88 has published more than 1,000 articles, received three James Beard Awards and spent eight months investigating claims of sexual harassment and coercion that led to a watershed moment within the industry. A recent profile in Artful Living details Brett’s unexpected career path, which included two decades as a food critic with the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Now, as he begins work with the New York Times and on other projects, Brett says, “I thought there would be a limit to how interesting it could be to write about food and restaurants. But to this day, I’m still not even close to sick of it.”

Despite a massive slowdown in the commercial real estate market due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul Hyde ‘84, co-founder of Hyde Development, remains optimistic about his company’s future. Read Paul’s Q&A with Finance & Commerce.

John Ursu '88 joined Faegre Drinker’s Minneapolis office as a partner in the firm’s business litigation group. John previously practiced for 15 years at Greene Espel PLLP.

Maggie Knoke ‘91, an executive coach and founder of FrameWork Consulting, shares her advice for getting unstuck, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emily Chambers Blejwas’s ‘96 latest book, “Like Nothing Amazing Ever Happened,” was released this month from Random House/Delacorte Press. Dedicated to Minnesota, the middle-grade novel is set in a small town on Lake Minnetonka in 1991. Minnesota Monthly included the story on its “30 Local Podcasts and Books for Quarantine” list.

Carolyn Moos ‘97 has partnered with the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy to provide short videos with at-home workout tips. Full workout videos and nutrition services are also available at

Minneapolis restaurant owner Eric Dayton '99 spoke with CNN’s Poppy Harlow '01 for her podcast “Boss Files” about what he is doing for his own employees who lost their jobs amidst the COVID-19 restrictions. Eric also was featured on WCCO Radio’s “Real Talk with Roshini” on which he shared details about a food-relief project his restaurant and other Twin Cities organizations are supporting.

Jon Sherman ‘03, founder and CEO of Sticky’s Finger Joint, a New York-based restaurant chain offering chicken fingers and homemade dipping sauces inspired by cuisines from around the world, was named to Crain’s New York Business 2020 list of 40 Under 40.

In Jeremiah Ellison’s ‘08 New York Times Opinion piece, “Stop Talking About Inequality and Do Something About It,” he writes about how COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting communities of color and shares his personal experience losing his grandmother to the virus. As a Minneapolis city council member, Jeremiah has taken the local lead on a national effort to suspend rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

Lars King ‘12 offers full-spectrum intuitive coaching for those who wish to have a large positive impact in the world. In a recent article, Lars writes about how in 2018 he nearly died from a virus and shares the value of near-death experiences and realizing our inner truth.

Lucy Burton ‘17, a junior forward on the Yale women's hockey team, received the Mandi Schwartz Award for women's student-athlete of the year in ECAC Hockey.

From the Archives

Morse Code and Blake at War

Morse Code class

In 1943, students enrolled in a new course at Blake: the Morse Code class, taught by Harold Hodgkinson. The class served the dual purposes of teaching a universal language and being of use to those entering the armed forces, since the Army required that its service members know Morse code and did not give trainees much time to learn it. The Call O’ Pan yearbook cited that anyone who could send 10 code words per minute — the ultimate goal of the Blake course — had a decided advantage. In the same yearbook, senior Chuck Hanson was declared “a veritable genius in Morse code.”

Draft regulations eased for students by 1945, and wartime courses like Morse code ended. But the world, and Blake, would continue to feel the war’s effects. The 1945 Call O’ Pan was dedicated to the 11 alumni and one faculty member “who died in the service of our country that future generations might live in peace.

Today at Blake

Online Learning Extended to End of School Year

Student at computer

To ensure the health and safety of our students, families and employees, Head of School Anne Stavney announced on April 17 that Blake will continue its Remote Teaching and Learning Plan (RTLP) for the remainder of the school year. Read Dr. Stavney’s letter to the community, which includes the alternative plans for the class of 2020 commencement, under the Blake Community Updates section of the school’s COVID-19 webpage.

Getty Museum Challenge Accepted

Getty challenge entry

Blake’s Lower and Middle School student-artists have been rising to the challenge and recreating famous works of art with objects (and siblings and pets) found at home. First issued by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the challenge has inspired the quarantined around the world, including Blake’s art teachers who assigned the project to their students. The results are impressive!

Winter 2020 Applause

Blake teachers who completed the American Birkebeiner

Read this roundup of Blake students and faculty recognized for accomplishments in academics, arts, athletics and community engagement.

Notes and Reminders

Breakfast at Blake Goes Online

Raina Green and Beth CalderonePlease join us on Thursday, May 21 for a virtual Breakfast at Blake with Middle School history teacher Raina Green and PK-12 Social Studies Department Chair Beth Calderone as they present, “We The People: Government Responses to COVID-19.” In this online session, participants will experience what it is like to be a student in a newly developed and evolving history class. Breakfast at Blake will take place from 7:30 to 9am. Please register by Monday, May 18. Availability is limited, so RSVP today to be a part of this interactive, online class experience.

Otis Environmental Author Program Events Rescheduled

Elizabeth RushThe visit from Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Rush originally scheduled for April 28-May 1, 2020, has been rescheduled to Jan. 19-22, 2021. The related Climate Change Art Show will also be rescheduled. Watch for event details in future issues of Cyrus Monthly.

Save October 8-11 for Reunion and Homecoming Weekend

Alum looking at photos at reunion

While we are all experiencing uncertainty due to COVID-19, Reunion Weekend 2020 is still scheduled to take place Oct. 8-11. We remain hopeful and excited to see you on campus. Alumni whose class years end in 5 or 0 will celebrate milestone reunions this fall. Your class invitation will arrive by mail in August. To ensure you receive your invitation, please confirm your current address and preferred email.

The Blake School, 110 Blake Road South, Hopkins, MN 55343