Blake Alumna Wins Film Festival
"Future Children," a short film by Emily Eaglin ('13) won her the Best Director and Best Actress award at the CMF Campus MovieFest, the world's largest student film festival. According to Eaglin, the video is a comedy/documentary about race relations especially pertaining to racial micro-aggressions of those who are more than one race. Eaglin currently attends the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Eaglin's video also features Blake Alumni such as Paul Choi ('13) and Amy Hoang ('12).
Blake Alumni Takes Talents to Google and Beyond
Chad Sanders, a 2006 Blake alum, fits right into the innovative world of the present as he uses his talents and skills to pursue his interests. After graduating high school, Sanders attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he wanted to create a plan for the rest of his life. “Like so many high school graduating seniors, I was unsure of exactly what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’.” However, Sanders was well equipped with backgrounds of music, athletics, media, and writing going into college.
At Blake, Sanders played boys’ basketball for all four of his years and was an avid sports fanatic. He learned a lot about basketball and about life from Mr. Pigrom, the former coach, who is described as “an excellent role model, teacher, and mentor.” His versatility does not end there, as he played trumpet for the school band and independently played piano for the majority of his life. Blake was a significant factor in shaping Sanders’ identity and provided him many opportunities to grow as a person.
Sanders continued to succeed during his time in college. The freedom allowed him to live the life he always had wanted, and he learned how to work hard for whatever he wanted. Sanders was not alone though, as he had “several of my closest friends from high school join me at Morehouse.” At Morehouse, Sanders joined the Alpha Rho fraternity which helped him to network and create many more lifelong friendships. He is grateful for all of the people he was able to meet in college and for all of the connections he established. Sanders says that “Morehouse is an amazing place…I would describe my experience there as nothing short of phenomenal.”
Since graduating from Morehouse, Sanders has been on the staff of the prestigious search engine, Google. He has been working for Google for the past three and a half years, and describes his experiences there as magical. Sanders currently works in the Global Staffing organization, specifically in the campus outreach pod of Google’s University Programs Team. “My job is to build relationships in the education space that can open up channels for Google employment as well as branding on campus for Google.” Other than being on the University Program Team, he works with YouTube music partnerships and builds relationships with film and music companies. Sanders is responsible for a substantial amount of data analysis as well as working with Google's many business partners. It is the perfect place for young, innovative minds, as Google “empowers brilliant young people to take the lead on making change.” Google is international, and Sanders has traveled around the world for business. He currently works in Google's New York City office, but has also worked in the Mountain View, California and London headquarters in the past. As Sanders describes, Google encourages employees to test their limits and experience failure, because success is never reached without defeat. Google preps its workers for the world, and “as corny as this sounds, working at Google is magical.”
Now, Sanders is tackling something he has never done before—writing a movie script. During his time in high school, Sanders was a part of the journalism program under the instruction of the legendary Mr. Keegan. Sanders put his writing passion into practice as a sports editor for the Blake Beat. While at Morehouse, Sanders had a random conversation with a friend that eventually led to the production of his own film, Heaven Hath No Fury. Sanders and his business partner, Leon Chills, are working on the film with their recently created production company, “it.Pictures,” a company focused on filmmakers of color and independent and upcoming artists. They are working with Dexter Davis to make this dream a reality.
Sanders has continued to succeed through high school, college, and in the professional world. He remembers his time at Blake and still thinks about the things he learned, both in and out of the classroom. The Blake community helped him create an identity for himself and gave him many opportunities to succeed. Sanders also accredits his success to the Peoples Community Baptist Church, which is only a short drive away from Blake. He says that his spirituality and the relationships and friendships he created there helped him create even more connections that led to success. Whether it is working in a new department of Google, negotiating with new business leaders, or progressing with his latest film, we can always expect great things from Chad Sanders. As he says, and as we can all agree, “I love BHS.” Once a Bengal, always a Bengal!
Blake Alumna Gets Paid for Art and Design Skills
Myoung Shim, alumna of the class of 2010, uses her creativity to make different advertisements and posters. Shim studied at Montgomery College and received her Associates in Illustration. She is currently enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park, but is also taking classes at Montgomery College. She was given the opportunity to design posters for the Theatre department, for three different shows! The Theatre department paid her for these posters, and Shim is continuing to pursue her artistic career.
Blake Alumni Get Engaged
Kelly Emery, alumna of class of 2003, is now a third grade teacher at Wood Acres Elementary School in Bethesda, MD. After Blake she went to Frostburg State University and received a Bachelors in Elementary Education. As of 2014, she recently graduated with her masters in Elementary Education from Towson University. Chris Romer, also a 2003 alumnus, received his bachelors in psychology from Frostburg State and his masters in school counseling from Johns Hopkins University. He is now a school counselor at Forest Oak Middle School in Gaithersburg, MD.
One day, Chris came to Kelly's third grade class to read a story to them. He later had a coworker of Kelly's to distract her in another room. While she was gone, he organized the students to hold up signs that spelled out "Will you marry me, Kelly?" When she walked in, she was filled with shock and excitement and a lot of tears and smiles came from herself, Chris and students. The students had a great story to take home to their parents. Chris and Kelly plan to have their wedding in June 2015.
Blake Alumna Gets Reality Check en Route to National Competition
2005 alumna Schelgel betting on great results at Las Vegas pageant
by Tomiko Mason
Silver Spring, MD (10/10/08)-- Three years after her graduation and following her coronation as Miss Maryland in June, Class of 2005 alumna Louise Schlegel will compete in the Miss America Pageant January 24.
Schlegel, who is taking a semester off from her senior year at University of Maryland Baltimore County, has only competed for two years, making her relatively new to the world of pageantry. “It was something completely outside of my life and my experiences,” she says.
With aspirations to pursue an acting career, Schlegel transformed physically prior to her debut in pageants, losing about 50 pounds. Competing, she adds, “was a way of me celebrating my hard work…and being proud of my body for what it could do, not how it looked.”
Today Schlegel returns from four weeks of filming in Los Angeles for TLC’s reality show, Miss America Reality Check, which airs in early January. All 52 contestants of the Miss America Pageant will be living together during filming. “I’m actually more nervous for this reality show than for the pageant,” Schlegel adds.
Both the state and national competitions are more than just beauty pageants, despite popular misconceptions. The Miss America Organization sponsors the Children’s Miracle Network and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. “It’s an organization that really cultivates young leaders,” Schlegel says. She additionally supports the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which helps children get out of foster care and into permanent homes.
While preparing for the national pageant, Schlegel is also fulfilling her responsibilities as Miss Maryland, which include making appearances and speeches across the state. “The job of Miss Maryland is going out and being involved in the Maryland community,” she says. “I’ve gone to some places that I never even knew existed in Maryland.”
With multiple tasks at hand, it can be difficult to maintain a balance. “My life…is much more scheduled than a lot of 20-year-olds’,” she says. “Every day is a different day with a different timeline, [and] that’s been challenging for me.”
Luckily, Schlegel’s time spent at Blake helped prepare her for any challenge. The school not only inspired her to major in acting, but helped shape the woman she is today. Immersion into the drama department, she says, “proved to me that when you work hard you will see the results.”
Blankson-Wood Gives Hair-raising Performance in Broadway Show On Great White Way, alumnis wows larger crowd with hippie musical
Blankson-Wood is making his Broadway debut in the musical Hair. The musical focuses on 1960s issues, including race, drug use, environmentalism and the Vietnam War. Playing the role of a hippie tribe member is no challenge for Blankson-Wood though. “I feel as though my character is…close to the person I would have been in 1968,” he says.
After joining the cast of Hair, Blankson-Wood quickly realized that one of the key elements in making a musical successful is the close relationships among the actors on stage. “The show hinges on the group interaction, so it’s really important that we connect every night,” says Blankson-Wood.
Since being cast in the musical, Blankson-Wood has devoted his life to his role. “Every minute of every day for the past few months has been dedicated to this performance in some way,”
He adds. “I feel that the show is with me at all times.”
As a very active member of the Blake Stage Company, Blankson-Wood participated in the school’s productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Grease and Pippin. “I think working on these shows was more of a help to my confidence than to my career,” he says. “I realized I had found something that I was kind of good at, and that was a big turning point for me.”
After graduating in 2002, Blankson-Wood originally had no intentions of pursuing a career in professional acting. However, he spent three years at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, a school well known for producing world renowned actors, studying Musical and Experimental Theater.
Blankson-Wood’s role in Hair has marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life. As for his future, he says, “Hopefully this is the first of many [performances], and I couldn’t be happier.”
Blake Parent Elected to Board of Education Seat
By Melissa Goldberg & Ian Nyanin
Silver Spring, MD (11/14/08)-- Phil Kauffman, father of Blake alumnae Rachel and Jordi Kauffman, was elected to the Board of Education November 4 after winning 67 percent of the vote against opponent, Tommy Le.
“I’m excited to serve; I am looking forward to bringing what I have to offer to the students of Montgomery County,” says Mr. Kauffman. “Nothing is more important than the education of children and trying to bridge the divide between people.”
The first tasks the Board will face after he is sworn in December 4 will include settling the school system’s budget and appointing a new superintendent. At the top of his personal agenda, however, is improving pre-established middle school reforms. “I think [it] is an important initiative that we need to continue and figure out how exactly we can reach kids who are starting to fall behind at middle school level,” he says.
“We have a lot of very active parents and community members that value education and support our system,” adds Mr. Kauffman. For this reason he hopes to foster increased communication between general public and their elected officials through new means like town hall meetings. “I would like to see the Board of Education be more open in terms of having a process that allows for more community parents to be interested in how decisions are made.”
Throughout the election process, Mr. Kauffman’s family has been an integral part of his campaign, handing out campaign literature and attending public events. Says Jordi Kauffman, “He has worked so hard to get elected and it really is fulfilling to see him finally doing what he wants to do.”
Adds Rachel Kauffman “I think he’s going to make a big difference on the Board and do amazing things given the opportunity to do so.”
Although the Kauffman family is excited about his win, they remain cautious about the future. “We’re very thrilled but we’re scared because it’s a very big undertaking,” says his wife, Child Development teacher Beth Kauffman. “Whenever you have a family structure and you’re in the public eye, you worry.”
“It was a huge responsibility but it was fun,” says Mr. Kauffman, looking back on his campaign, “As long as I was able to say I was having fun, it made it all worthwhile. And now it’s really fun.”
Eubie TV students record “Your Body is Meant to Move” exercise DVD
Seniors stay healthy, energetic with help from Howe, Dandridge
by Christine Lien
Silver Spring, MD (11/14/08)-- If your grandma passes her time knitting scarves, tell her to drop those knitting needles, whip out an elastic band and pop in a “Your Body is Meant to Move” DVD so she can continue to stay healthy and send you that birthday money year after year.
Last year Cindy Kardeman, Co-Director of Dave Reynolds and Associates, LLC, Personal Fitness Specialist and Physical Therapist, asked TV production students to produce an exercise video tailoring to the needs of senior citizens. Says Ms. Kardeman, “We felt it would be a great opportunity for the TV production students to gain some valuable experience filming, producing and editing this DVD.”
Senior Patrick Howe and junior Jazmine Dandridge signed up to shoot the DVD to fulfill the TV production requirement that students have two hours of outside of school production. Howe and Dandridge were assisted by alumni Stefon McDaniel and Jennifer Haymaker. Says Howe, “Old people and exercising struck an interest.”
The production team shot the “Your Body is Meant to Move” DVD in two-and-a-half hours, while instructor Dave Reynolds and two other senior citizens performed the exercises. “It was just amazing to watch people at their age move like they do,” says McDaniel.
The 45 minute DVD can be bought by contacting email@example.com. It has been selling for $24.99 at and it even comes with a free exercise resistance band. “The image I most vividly remember is the elastic band exercise…[it] was riveting,” says Howe.
To thank the students for producing the DVD, Eubie TV received money for new equipment. “We feel that the students both behind the cameras and others involved in this project at Blake conducted themselves in a professional manner,” says Ms. Kardeman.
Says TV production teacher Susan Knott, “The students knew more than the client [and the client] was amazed at what the high school students could do.”
The DVD has been distributed to local physicians, fitness trainers, exercise classes and health fairs. “The feedback we received has been wonderful.” says Ms. Kardeman. With such a great response, Kardeman is thinking of producing a second DVD with Blake TV production. “We have several ideas…possibly one that focuses on balance with senior citizens [or] one concentrating on exercises for overweight youth.”