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Cyrus Monthly Winter Masthead
FEBRUARY 2021 NEWS FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS

Upcoming Events

March 2
The Equity Lab Presents “Artistic Maps”
Zoom
5:30pm (CT)

March 10
The Equity Lab Presents “Intentional Engagement in the Hiring Process”
Zoom
5:30pm (CT)

March 11
The Equity Lab Presents “Talking to Kids about Race and Skin Color” (Part 2 of 4)
Zoom
5:30pm (CT)

April 22
Lunch Break at Blake with Anne Stavney
Zoom
Noon (CT)

May 15
Alumni Service Day
Appetite For Change
7am-11am or 11am-3pm

Quicklinks

Alumni Homepage

Alumni Events

Cyrus Magazine

BearWear

Give to Blake

Reunion and Homecoming

Bear Pause:
10 Questions in 10 Minutes

George Karos ‘93George Karos ‘93 is grateful to be back in Minnesota with his wife, two girls and two shichons, even though he's faced with his childhood at every turn. George realized his 15 minutes of fame at a picnic back in 1982. Learn what happened and discover more about George in the latest edition of Bear Pause.

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

Great Minds Think Alike (And Like to Win!)

In January, Blake held its first Alumni Trivia Night with co-host Trivia Mafia. Over 100 alumni participated virtually and represented every decade from 1963-2020. As promised, here are the winners of the coveted bragging rights. Congratulations to these teams and thank you to everyone who played along at home!

First place/Smarter Than the Average Bear
Winner: Livin La Vida Lockdown (includes class of 2004 teammates Laura Mandile Area, Celia Boren, Camille Byars, Kate Cowley, Maggie Herfurth and Alison Spencer)

Other awards
Bearing Down (fastest team) = 70s
Ready for Hibernation (slowest team) = Win and Bear It
Best Blake Historians = Classic Sixties
Circus Bear (funniest team name) = Beary Stable Geniuses

Alumni Spotlight

Mark Webster Jr. ‘01Mark Webster Jr. ‘01 is owner and operator of the Fatburger Food Truck in Los Angeles. Like many others, the pandemic has had a profound impact on his business and his family. (Mark’s wife, infant daughter and two sons moved back to Minnesota while he stayed in LA trying to “keep the wheels rolling with the Fatmobile.”) In August, Mark received a loan through EquiTrust, former NBA player Magic Johnson’s life insurance company, which has partnered with MBE Capital Partners and Carver Federal Savings Bank to provide loans geared specifically for minority and women-owned businesses in underserved communities, most of whom, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, were shut out of the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Mark’s story was featured on NBC LA and, he shares, “One cool thing that came from this is I was able to use my truck to serve over 10,000 health care heroes early on during the pandemic—10,000 is a special number being from Minnesota.”

Haley Schaffer ‘93, who serves as assistant general counsel, litigation for 3M, talked about the company’s work with law enforcement to stop COVID-19 counterfeiting in a CBS local interview. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a surge in fraud and counterfeit PPE cases.

Alex Strauss ‘97, a psychiatrist treating children, adolescents and adults including athletes at Temple University, says he’s seen a 20% increase in requests from people seeking help with “pandemic-related difficulties.” He spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer about the nationwide shortage of therapists and the struggle to keep up with the demand for mental health services.

Musician Javi Reyes ‘10 is a member of the band Post Animal, which had just begun a tour with dates in Europe and Canada when COVID-19 brought travel to a halt. Since then, Javi has been recording music and is releasing a new solo album, one song at a time, on streaming services.

Bailey Dunning ‘12, a front-end engineering student at the Turing School of Software and Design, is part of a three-member team that took first place in the school’s demo competition for its application, National Parkfinder.

Cole Norgaarden ‘13 is an organizer with the Debt Collective, a national union of indebted people working to combat the predatory loan servicing and debt collection industry. He was one of three people profiled in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about their participation in a student loan debt strike to pressure President Biden to cancel all existing federal student loan debt within his first 100 days in office.

Michael Mitchell ‘17, a senior on Lehigh University’s men’s cross country team, was named a Patriot League Athlete of the Week. He opened the cross country season by winning the 5K cross country race with a time 14:36, 11 seconds in front of the second-place finisher.

Today at Blake

Blake Announces Lower School Project: Fall 2023

Lower School watching teacher show a cardBeginning in the 2023-24 school year, Blake will bring together its two Lower School campuses and open an Early Learning Center in Hopkins. Uniting the entire Lower School community on one campus will foster community for students, families and educators, create an environment tailored to young learners and early childhood educators, support collaboration among teachers and provide Lower Schoolers with campus familiarity as they transition to Middle School. Both the shared Lower School campus and ELC will honor the legacy of the Highcroft campus and bring hallmarks of its culture to this new chapter in Blake’s 120-year history. For more information, visit the LSP 2023: FAQ.

Students Seek Solutions in ‘Our Inheritance’ Podcast

American flagThis fall, Upper School teacher Will Bohrnsen asked his Environmental Science students to create a podcast exploring different solutions for drawing down the amount of carbon in our atmosphere to a level that is sustainable to all life on earth. It became a learning experience for teacher and students alike. Seniors Solveig Bingham, Emily Carlisle and Matt Carlson talk about what they learned while producing their own episode for this 12-part series.

Notes and Reminders

Class Notes Due March 1

Please submit class notes and photos for inclusion in the spring 2021 issue of Cyrus to classnotes@blakeschool.org.

The Equity Lab Presents ‘Artistic Maps’ March 2

Jennings MergenthalJennings Mergenthal, a senior at Macalester College majoring in Indigenous studies, will share a series of original maps to show a history of Indigenous people and lands in the area we now call Minnesota in his Equity Lab presentation, “Artistic Maps: An Unprovoked, Aggressive and Most Savage War.” Register here for this virtual event on Tuesday, March 2, 5:30pm (CT) via Zoom.

‘Intentional Engagement in the Hiring Process’ with Varghese Alexander

If you are looking to break out of the traditional model of hiring, you have to create non-traditional systems that are not based on financial return. Facilitator Varghese Alexander from the Pipeline Collaborative shares an approach to increasing the presence of employees of color in independent schools. Register here for this virtual event, presented by Blake's Equity Lab on Wednesday, March 10, 5:30pm (CT) via Zoom.

See Your Blake Fund Contributions at Work

Thank you! Your gifts to the Blake Fund are making a daily impact and helping students and faculty navigate this school year with confidence. View the Midyear Impact Report for examples of your generosity at work in every aspect of life at Blake.

Tim Baylor's ‘The Color of Law’ Presentation Available on YouTube

Tim Baylor GP’32In his Breakfast at Blake talk, residential and commercial developer Tim Baylor GP’32 shared his most recent effort, a $60 million project in north Minneapolis designed to bring a much-needed mix of market-rate and affordable apartments to the area, and discussed how federal laws have created and impacted segregation and how they are still active at the Twin Cities' state and local levels.

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