The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum


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Grade Retreats Aim To Connect Students, Provide Fun

Twelfth graders bond at camp in Wisconsin | Eleventh graders see animals at Como Zoo | Tenth graders explore Minneapolis landmarks | Ninth graders stay on campus, enjoy carnival
Rowan Wallin
Class of 2023 sings “Sweet Caroline” and “Wonderwall” around the fire pit to end their retreat in Wisconsin.

Senior Retreat     

According to Jim Mahoney, former grade dean, and current college counselor, the senior retreat used to be a weekend-long affair. Despite this overnight tradition ending this year’s retreat proved to be a success. While attendance is ìmandatory,î the retreat was on a Sunday and while most of the class attended, not all seniors participated. 

At noon the class bussed out to Camp St. Croix in Hudson, WI, for a day of phone-free fun and distraction-free communication. Senior advisor David Zalk was a fan of the policy, saying, “that [the phone-free policy] is incredibly valuable, to get people paying attention to who and what is going on around them. I thought it was fun, quite successful, . . . there was a really good vibe among the class.”

Once arriving on the campgrounds, students participated in conversation dyads. For these dyads, students were randomly paired and given a list of reflective and deep questions to ask each other. Next, students returned to their advisories and went to different stations around the campground. Advisories were grouped at each station to compete in various academic and sporting events. Then students had free time and a pasta dinner.

Advisories were then given time to practice skits that would be performed at a lakeside campfire. The spirit as the sun set and the skits were definitely the highlight of the retreat. The night ended with smores and a class rendition of “Wonderwall” and “Sweet Caroline.”  

The retreat was a success and further integrated the class of 2023 for their final year as high school students. 


Junior Retreat

The Class of 2024 started their retreat day on campus in advisory with competitions organized by the grade’s Forum reps: Uma Bhardwaj ’24, Karn Kaura ’24, and Sam Hardy ’24. The advisories all participated in a Kahoot and answered trivia questions about the 11th-grade advisors. Next, there was an “Amazing Race” style scavenger hunt that had juniors running around the Upper School looking for clues. The main event of the day, however, was a trip to Como Zoo. After the morning events, juniors picked up their bagged lunches and loaded the buses. At the zoo, advisories spent time walking around and visiting the different animals while also completing a different zoo-themed scavenger hunt. Most advisories gathered at the Como Harbor to watch the “Sparky Sea Lion Show.” The show featured some of the zoo’s sea lions, none of which were named “Sparky,” and their many impressive tricks. 

Aveline Carroll ’24 adds, “I liked the sea lion show. It was very good and the sea lions are nice. Overall, she enjoyed the day explaining, it was just fun to hang out with people.” After the show, the juniors had lunch at the zoo and did some goal setting before heading back to the Upper School. 

To end their fun day of bonding, juniors joined the rest of the grades at the carnival where they dunked deans and enjoyed popcorn, ice cream, and cotton candy. 


Sophomore Retreat

Earlier this September the class of 2025 headed out on their annual retreat and ventured around Minneapolis on foot. The sophomore class was dropped off at Stone Arch bridge and from there set out to see important Minneapolis landmarks chosen due to their roots in Minneapolisí culture.      

Kirsten Holm’s advisory made their way to the Guthrie, the sculpture garden, and, the Prince Mural all on foot to inform themselves about the history and art of Minneapolis.                                    

Mackenzie Mcilmail’s advisory made their way to First Avenue and then to the Bob Dylan Mural. Each advisory had the liberty to go to any location off a list the school gave them. According to Michelle Jiang ’25, “it was nice to be with my advisory all day and get to bond with them and getting to learn more about the people around me.” And for Meri Harkins ’25, “It was very fun and it was really nice to be able to get out in the sunshine in the last good month in the year. I got to get closer with new people in my advisory.”

In the future, Jiang would prefer to, “choose from a set of different places we wanted to go to.  It would be nice if they gave us a list but not make any requirements to go to [specific locations] to see what you can do around town.”

In all, the sophomore grade retreat was a fun and connective experience for the 10th graders to get a grasp of the city they live in.


Freshman Retreat

The class of 2026 started the day by reflecting on the values that they valued the most. Next, they went outside for a community building bingo, encouraging the class to interact with new classmates to fill their bingo sheet, while letting others discover new traits about them. Then, they went back to advisory to choose a value each advisory preferred the most, writing it on a small paper bear. Together, the class put all their bears together to create a mural of a bear. Nova Stay ’26 found this part very enjoyable, “writing things on the bears was really fun.”

After, students were spread out on the field to create the numbers “2026” with their bodies for a photo. Later on, the other classes joined them on the field and enjoyed a variety of sports such as frisbee and soccer. To finish off the day, a carnival was offered to the school. “My favorite part was the food trucks,” Logan O’Connell ’26 explained. These food trucks included cotton candy, popcorn, and ice cream and were stationed around the parking lot. Despite all of this, many found the lack of beverage options to be disappointing. O’Connell suggested “[providing] actual drinks, even if it was just water.”

Finally, students were given the opportunity to dunk their grade deans by throwing a ball at a target, causing the deans to fall into the pool of water below them. Although the day was incredibly fun, all things have to come to an end. By 2:30, the grade retreat was over, and everyone headed home. 

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About the Contributors
Kate Rekas
Kate Rekas, Opinions Editor
Hi! I’m Kate and I’m a Senior this year. I joined Spectrum in freshman year and wrote articles in almost every section of the paper and became a staff writer. In sophomore year, I continued writing and noticed the amazing creative process that the editors went through to produce such a fantastic publication and I really wanted to join in. Alongside being a member of the Spectrum editorial team, I am also a part of the Blake girls' alpine ski team, and I train year-round as a competitive figure skater. I'm going to Boston University next fall and I hope to continue writing articles for their newspaper!
Mackenzie Higgins
Mackenzie Higgins, Editor Emerita
Hi, my name is Mackenzie and I am a senior this year! I have been writing for Spectrum since my freshman year and last semester, I was a Co-Editor-in-Chief along with the Creative Director and the Front Editor. This semester, I'm helping out with the features page. My favorite part of Spectrum is connecting with the school community and working with others in the newsroom. Outside of Spectrum and school, you can find me skiing, watching Criminal Minds, or drinking cold brew.
Rowan Wallin
Rowan Wallin, Editor Emeritus
Hi, I'm Rowan. This year, I am a senior and current Editor-in-Chief at The Spectrum. My favorite part of journalism is designing pages and the interviewing process. In the past, I edited the Student Life page, the Sports page, and the Front page. This semester I am editing the Sci-Tech page. I love to eat fruit (specifically berries), watch cartoons (especially Scooby-Doo), and spend time on the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior.

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