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July 14
LearningWorks Visitors Day
Northrop campus


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Bear Pause:
10 Questions in 10 Minutes

Yolanda Pauly ʼ21Yolanda Pauly ʼ21 describes herself as “a pretty outgoing and smiley person.” When she’s not dancing, she can be found cuddling with her cat Buttercup. Yolanda admits she had some commencement day jitters, but she didn’t trip once while crossing the stage to receive her diploma! Read more about the new Blake graduate 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.

2021 Alumni Award Recipients

Stephen Hoge ʼ94, Lucy Cosgrove ʼ01, Malcolm McDonald ’54

The Alumni Board Recognition and Nominations Committee is proud to announce the recipients of this year's alumni awards. Blake congratulates Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Stephen Hoge ʼ94, Young Alumna of the Year Lucy Cosgrove ʼ01 and Jenny Stephens Hagen Spirit Award recipient Malcolm McDonald ’54.

Read more about this year’s recipients. Stephen will be the featured speaker at Breakfast at Blake: Reunion Edition on Friday, Oct. 1, when both he and Malcolm will be honored. Lucy will speak at the February 2022 Breakfast and Blake, and Jenifer Neils '68, our 2020 Outstanding Alumna of the Year, will be the featured speaker at Breakfast at Blake on Thursday, Nov. 11.

Alumni Spotlight

Maxine Kaye Bédat ʼ01In her new book, “Unraveled,” Maxine Kaye Bédat ʼ01 follows the life of a pair of jeans—from birth to death—to reveal what really happens to give us our clothes. The director of New Standard Institute, a nonprofit working with scientists and citizens to make the fashion industry more sustainable, ethical and equitable, Maxine traveled around the world researching how our clothes are made and meeting the people who make them. She writes about her visits to a Texas cotton farm, dyeing and weaving factories in China, sewing floors in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Amazon warehouses in America and secondhand markets and landfills in Africa. “What began as a story about a pair or jeans,” she says, “has ended up as a story about our world, how it got to this place and what we can and must do to address many of its most urgent challenges.” Learn more about “Unraveled” and read Maxine’s recent article in Vogue in which she urges the fashion industry to make immediate change toward sustainability. Maxine and 2001 Blake classmate Poppy Harlow are hosting a book event on Tuesday, July 6 in Minneapolis. For more information contact

Charles Baxter ʼ65 was named the winner of the 2021 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, which recognizes writers who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in the short story form.

Chan Poling ʼ75 and his band the Suburbs are releasing a new album, “Poets Party,” this summer. The first single off the 12-track album, “Summertime,” is now available. Chan was featured in the fall 2018 issue of Cyrus (“A New Standard”).

Tori Lowe Gagne ʼ78 took second place in the 16th Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers (Culture and Daily Life category) for her series about the Great American Horse Drive. She also received three honorable mentions in this international competition: one for a nature series on wild horses, a second for a series on moods of land and sea and another for her work with western portraits of people who work with horses.

Stephen Hoge ʼ94, president of Moderna Therapeutics, spoke with CBS News about his company’s use of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) to quickly rewrite COVID vaccines to address new variants of the disease and the ways it can be used to treat or prevent other diseases. (Read more about Stephen, Blake’s 2021 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, in his award bio.)

Alex Strauss ʼ97, a psychiatrist who has worked with professional, collegiate and high school athletes, discussed tennis player Naomi Osaka and the anxiety that contributed to her withdrawal from the French Open on an episode of the podcast “Sports Medicine On Tap.”

Tara Ward ʼ99 was recognized in the 2021 edition of “Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in the area of government contracts.

In an opinion published by The Hill, Ben Gitis ʼ09, a senior policy analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and co-author Jason Fichtner write that Congress should offer return-to-work bonuses to address the current labor shortage.

Ethan Roe ʼ18, a catcher for Saint John's University’s baseball team, was named All-Midwest Region, making both and the American Baseball Coaches' Association (ABCA)/Rawlings second team lists.

Alyssa Story ‘19, editor-in-chief of Loyola Marymount University's student newspaper, the Los Angeles Loyolan, received a national Gold Circle Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for her opinion piece “On George” in which she talks about the impact of systemic racism in Minnesota.

Tristan Broz ʼ21, a forward for the Fargo Force and a signed Gopher men’s hockey prospect, is among the top players eligible for this year’s National Hockey League entry draft, which will be held virtually July 23-24.

Joe Miller '21 plays forward for the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel, which won the 2021 Clark Cup Final at Scheels Arena in North Dakota last month.

Today at Blake

Make Your Blake Fund Gift Before Fiscal Year Ends June 30!

Teacher watching student work at laptop

Thanks to the Blake community, the Blake Fund for this fiscal year is 95% funded—we are so close! Join alumni who have already participated by making your gift before Wednesday, June 30 to help us reach 100%. Your support has a positive impact on the daily life of our students and teachers and the one-of-a-kind experiences that happen on campus.

Celebrating Our Newest Alumni

Graduates watching fireworks

Congratulations to the class of 2021, whose members have officially joined the ranks of Blake alumni! A video from this year’s commencement ceremony is available on YouTube and photos from the event are posted on Flickr. See which colleges and universities our graduates will be attending.

Retiree Tributes 2021

Deborah Weiss, Woody Woodward. Ann Bellin, David Graham, and Stacy Swearingen

Read highlights from the notes Blake community members wrote to this year's faculty retirees: Ann Bellin, David Graham '95, Stacy Swearingen, Deborah Weiss and Woody Woodward.

Two New Bettels Scholars Join the Team

Amy Geller and Max Ramsey

Established in 1992, the Chub Bettels Endowed Scholarship benefits Upper School student-athletes who exhibit the qualities Chub, a beloved coach and teacher, encouraged and taught: honesty, pride and leadership. Each year two rising juniors are selected; congratulations to this year's scholars from the class of 2023, Amy Geller and Max Ramsey. They join class of 2022 scholars Mallika Malaviya and Spencer Okoronkwo. Congratulations to the 2021 graduating scholars Morgan Ramsey and MaKenna Vavrichek who are joining the team of 42 Bettels scholar alumni.

Notes and Reminders

LearningWorks Visitors Day July 14

LearningWorks students

Whether you are a staunch LearningWorks (LW) champion or just curious about this public-private partnership between Blake and Minneapolis Public Schools, you are welcome to this summer’s Visitors Day on Wednesday, July 14, 9:15-10:45am on the Northrop campus (511 Kenwood Parkway, Minneapolis). Meet LW’s new staff, be part of the infectiously joyous LW all-school meeting, learn about the innovations implemented this past year and get a glimpse of what makes LW so special. Please note: visitors will be required to wear masks. Register to attend. If you can’t make this event but want to see LW in action, contact Tricia Crossman. to schedule your visit.

Reunion & Homecoming Weekend 2021

Blake alumni

We look forward to welcoming all alumni back to campus Sept. 30-Oct. 2! Check out the Reunion and Homecoming web page to see what exciting Blake-hosted alumni events are taking place. Registration will begin in early August. Reunion committees are planning class-specific activities, so stay tuned for more information. To learn more or to get involved, contact Jon Friedell '85 P '24, '28.

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