Class of 2021 Maintains Tradition of Annual Senior Gift

Senior leaders sustain tradition of graduating gift


Betsy Fries

Kyra Reese ‘21 makes a donation to the senior class gift in the senior lounge.

James Prince, Games & Ads Editor

A bench, a window, and even a wooden bear are examples of the long-standing tradition of a graduating class gift. Some of these, like the gothic pew from the Class of 1924 that resides in the senior lounge, are still in everyday use. According to Blake School archivist, Alex Bentely, Blake’s tradition of a class gift dates all the way back to when the Blake School was called Graham Hall. Graham Hall existed until the early 1910s, before new headmaster William Blake changed its name.

Bentley quotes a passage, in the June 1917 edition of The Blake Torch, Blake’s original school newspaper, that summarizes the origin story of senior class gifts: “Throughout the country there has developed a very happy custom in our educational institutions whereby the graduating classes leave to their alma mater some memento of their gratitude, love and appreciation. This practice took root with the first graduation at Blake.”

The Class of 2021’s gift will follow that tradition. Ian Acheson ’21, a member of the Senior Class Giving Committee, shares, “In the past, classes have pitched physical objects such as new furniture in the senior lounge or an update to the math learning center. However, given the immensely stressful last year we’ve had, we wanted to put the money toward the broad theme of “access to education”. What we decided on this year was to support LearningWorks, which is an organization funded by Blake that has a partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools to help seventh and eighth graders who opt into more rigorous summer and weekend programming on a path to college.”

Yolanda Pauly ’21 adds, “We know that in past years, there have been classes that have made their senior gift for LearningWorks, and we took a little from that, but mainly from the passion and love that the seniors on the committee have for LearningWorks. It has been a really fun time getting to make this gift possible, and seeing how all the working parts function together.”