Alumni Stories

LeRoy Carlson '55

LeRoy Carlson finds new vision after retirement starting 'The Warner E. Sallman Art Collection, Inc.'

Kris head shot in a red shirt and necklace

Kris (Rosdahl) Ehresmann '80 shares her past year of challenges and encouragement with COVID-19 as the Director of Infectious Disease at the MN Department of Health. 

Jim in '85, sitting at his desk with a row of books behind him

Jim Wald shares the story of his legacy of three distinctly different careers during his 35 years at MA, and how he was initially recruited as the new shop teacher. 

Polly and Brian Wright sitting outside with grass and trees in background

Polly shares about the journey of God planting seeds in her life, starting at MA and coming to fruition in her life, her children and her family. 

Brian and Polly sitting on a haybale dressed in overalls

Brian shares how God used his time at MA to make two of the most important decisions of his life. 

Kari's Face Shot wearing a black sweater

Kari (Glenn) Fields '90 shares her legacy at MA.  "I've never had a desire to look elsewhere because I am so happy at MA." 

Tricia Hall standing against a wall, with a red sweater, necklace and earrings

Tricia shares the story of how her interests, passions, and calling combined in medicine, international health, and ministry. 

 

Jim Gilbert 's head shot, wearing  a suit and tie

Jim shares how a traumatic event as a junior in high school was life changing in realizing his calling and career in public service.  

 

Hugh Mayo in a suit and tie in front of a college building

Hugo Mayo shares why, as a student, he chose MA for the 'best academic programs in the city'.  

Cal and his wife Sarmita

Cal Peterson '58 comes to MA in 9th grade, after being in a one-room schoolhouse in Stillwater, MN.  He learns construction and woodworking as a trade, and dedicates his time volunteering at Covenant Pines Bible Camp, where he met his wife Sarmita. 

Shawn Zobel's professional photo

Shawn Zobel '08 began his first company, 'Draft Headquarters' while in High School at MA. He later also started a company called Zobel Sports Consulting. 

Picture of Catherine Lovass Stulken at her 100th birthday party

Kate attended Minnehaha Academy her senior year and graduated in 1937. She was born in May of 1919, and will turn 101 years old this month!  To our knowledge, this makes her the oldest living Minnehaha Academy Alum and former faculty member.

FranedaWilliams

“Don’t hold fast to any plan that you might have in your hand. Hold it loosely and let God lead you where He wants you to go.”

Virginia Taylor Photo

Ginny Taylor recently celebrated her 80th birthday and 60th wedding anniversary.  She has spent the majority of her life serving around the world with her husband Clyde, who was in the Foreign Service. As a retiree, Ginny loves to volunteer with local missions. 

Tom Evans Krause holds trophy

Tom had a 21 year career in broadcasting, and then another 26 years in his second career: teaching broadcasting!  He loves baseball, and helped make the 1,100 member Puget Sound Senior Baseball League one of the premier leagues in the national Men’s Senior Baseball League. 

James Barnett '04 professional head shot

James Barnett '04 finds community and inspiration at MA for his future career as educator.

Mark Ireland '92 sits in his chair as a judge

Mark Ireland '92 lives out his faith and values as a judge in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Michelle Thompson head shot photo  in front of brick wall

Michelle Thompson '86 began 'Nonna's' with fellow MA Alumni Lisa Terhaar '88 and their spouses, wanting to create a new Christian Montessori concept where they work with both infant/toddlers and those with aging and dementia.

Lisa TerHaar '88 profile photo with a black background

Lisa Terhaar '88 along with fellow MA alumni Michelle Thompson '86 and their spouses created a new Christian Montessori concept called 'Nonna's', where they work with both infant/toddlers and those with aging and dementia.

Eli Aronsen '19 head shot with a lighter green metal background

Eli Aronson '17 finds his love of the performing arts at MA, and goes on to study vocal performance at St. Olaf college. 

Stephen Swanson profile photo with white wall

Stephen Swanson '63 shares his love of opera singing and music, and how Harry Opel was his biggest influence at MA. 

Jenny (Ekstedt) Johnson '99 profile photo with white background

Jenny (Ekstedt) Johnson '99 takes her experiences of volunteerism and and meaningful change at MA into her career at the Minneapolis Foundation. 

Casey Franklin '87 preaching with a headset microphone and a screen behind him.

Casey Franklin '87 felt called to plant a Covenant church to reach unreached people in Denver, Colorado. 

Lara Hammel '86 standig in front of their 'Izzy's Ice Cream' store logo

Lara Hammel '86 and her husband Jeff start a well-loved ice cream shop in the Twin Cities called 'Izzy's'.  

Conner Wray '10 stands in front of a boarded wall with his arms folded, wearing a JonnyPops polo.

Conner Wray '10 is a co-founder of JonnyPops, a simple, 'good for you' frozen treat with real fruit and nothing artificial. 

Andy Birdsong '05 in a grey suit in front of a blue-grey wall

Every step of Andy’s journey has been about people investing in him, and him investing in others. God places people in our lives, and God gave Andy opportunity after opportunity for intentional relationship building.  Andy says, “You just need to keep your eyes open and your heart open to see what happens.  Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Don’t do it to make money, to gain power or influence, just do it because it is the right thing to do.  If we could all do that, we would be in a much better place than we sometimes find ourselves.”  

Barbara (Patterson) Chapman '83 and her family in front of a forest of pine trees

Barbara (Patterson) Chapman's '83 journey includes a calling to Japan as a missionary for over 20 years, with God showing her his provision and care for her. 

David Anderson '67 photo wearing a suit and tie with a grey background

David Anderson '67 was the Chair of the Board of Trustees on August 2nd, 2017, the day of the explosion.  This profile explores 'why' decisions were made as the school was rebuilt. 

Cheryl Marker '95 profile photo with blue dress and a grey background

As a figure skater for most of her life, Cheryl Marker '95 shares how mentoring and tutoring from MA teachers helped her excel in both figure skating and her future career. 

Janet and her husband Woody

Janet (Valine) Larson '46 shares about her time at MA and meeting her husband Woody in High School.  They were married, and she pursued her dream of being an RN, while helping Woody with the ministry he founded, 'Hospitality House Youth Development'.  

Tim Carlson '91 and his wife Erin sitting on a cement wall with a view of the city behind them

Tim Carlson '91 shares an MA parents perspective on the August 2nd, 2017 explosion and future plans for the school.  

Elaine Ekstedt '69 standing in the front lawn of MA next to the parkway, wearing a bright blue shirt.

Elaine (Olson) Ekstedt '69, MA's most tenured alumni and faculty, shares about what was salvaged from the explosion that would be meaningful for all alumni. 

A painting of Zoey's that includes a long bridge over water

Zoey (Cohen) Leege '97 finds renewed inspiration in her art as she copes with a disability in her life. 

Nate Stromberg standing with his arms folded in front of a mulicolored wall.

Nate Stromberg '96 comes full circle as a student, and now a teacher of Art at the Upper School campus.  He created the art program and also designed many of the art pieces around campus.  

Kirk Militzer '80 expressively speaking to a group of students

“My education at Minnehaha in the late 70’s offered a Christian worldview that has made a huge difference in my life.”

Preston looking intently at a piece of wood

Preston gives back to MA with woodworking projects from the trees that needed to be cut down on campus after the explosion. 

Linda (Swanson) Wismer '70 head shot with red glasses.

When Linda was only 29 and their two sons were four and two, her husband Stephen was walking in downtown Minneapolis when he was struck and killed by a careening car.  “Everything about my life changed in an instant, and I learned what it meant to live by faith.” 

Tom Kamp '79 head shot with white shirt and tie

“MA had such a big impact on my life. I had an excellent experience as a student, made lifelong friends, and had huge respect for my teachers.  It was incredibly formative for me. Being on the capital campaign committee was an opportunity for me to get involved and to try to help encourage others to recognize the impact that MA had in their lives--and indicate that we should be stepping up like the people of MA did 100 years ago…in forming the school, giving sacrificially to enable the school to be formed, and ultimately serve us.  In the same way, we should be stepping up today so that we can be putting in place the buildings, facilities, programs and endowments that can carry the school forward for the next 100 years.”

Sora Oh '03 sitting at a piano

“My three years at MA were very significant for my whole life in setting up my path, my personality, and all of the ideas that grew up in me. I appreciated my friends and teachers, and their support and help. They treated me not as a foreigner but just as a person. They thought my piano talent was special and unique, a valuable gift and I learned that gift was something I could use for the rest of my life.”

Jack Albinson '50 head shot with a black suit, white shirt and tie

“I may be one of the only surviving classmates of the class of 1950—that generation has mainly passed.“ Jack was born in 1932 and he is now 87 years old. The average man who entered the workforce in the early 1900’s lived to be 52 years old.

Don DuBois '82 standing outside of the North Campus on a sunny day with trees in the background

Don DuBois '82 stays close to MA, first as an alumni, and now as a maintenance engineer for the school. 

Brian J. Anderson '77 Alumni Profile

Brian J. Anderson's title is “Principal Professional Staff Physicist.” Brian has had opportunities that very few people, or even scientists, have, and they were the highlights of his career.  One was working on the Mercury Surface Space Environment Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission to Mercury. Brian said, “I was a part of the first ever mission to send a spacecraft into Mercury orbit --and you only get to say that once!”

Holly standing next to a younger boy outside of Minnehaha Academy

Holly (Larson) Abramson '08 came to Minnehaha for high school, calling the experience “transformational ”. Holly was struck by the differences between her public school experience and what she found at Minnehaha. “MA provided so many opportunities to discover what you were passionate about." 

Amy (Bragg) Carey '80 with her academic regalia, standing in front of a college building

Amy (Bragg) Carey's '80 personal vision is to ‘lift a people’ through Christian Education. “To see that happen day in and day out is the most exciting thing. At the end of the day, what really matters is who we are in our relationship with the Creator.”

Alan Law '62 sitting with his back to a wall and sky in the background.

Allan Law, '62 says “God put me on this earth to help the poor.” Allan is on the streets of Minneapolis 20 hours a day, and on call 24 hours a day with his ministry called 'Loved One Another', partnering with churches, non-profits and individuals to help people in Jesus name with food, blankets, and other necessities.

Brad Person '89 standing next to his friend and ministry partner Luis Palau.

Brad Person '80 finds his calling in photography, with an amazing calling to serve Luis Palau, an international evangelist, at festivals around the world. 

Diana Wallin '03 standing in front of a large scientific lab instrument

The human brain is three pounds of mystery that scientists have wanted to understand for decades.  Diana Wallin’s '03 fascinating research as a neuroscientist focuses on the brain and its development from an early age.

Mark Stromberg '74 headshot, wearing a blue striped shirt and blue blazer.

As a Minnehaha student, Mark Stromberg '74 had no idea that he would go on to pastor Covenant churches, and ultimately serve as Northwest Conference Superintendent. Minnehaha Academy was founded by the Northwest Conference in 1913 and has been a ministry of the conference ever since.

Andy walking in front of his art collage


In the eighth grade, Andy Ness knew he was going to be an artist when he grew up but he had a hard time ‘seeing’ how that was possible. That year, Carrie Johnson (his 5th grade teacher) scheduled a day where he got to “skip” school and spend the day with her father, an actor at the Children’s Theatre. Andy shadowed him for the day, meeting actors, set and costume designers, and others who worked in the arts. “This was a pivotal experience for me. Mrs. Johnson saw potential in me, and showed me that there are jobs in the arts and a place for me out in the world.”

Mona Rae (Eckelberry) '54 standing in front of a microphone with Cliff Barrows

Minnehaha was when my belief took root and I really committed my life to Jesus.  It changed the entire direction of my life,” Monie says.

Louis wearing  his military gear

Louis's advice to current students?  “If you want to do something, do it.  Don’t take no for an answer. There were many times along the way that people told me ‘no–you can’t do that–you’re not good enough’ or ‘you’re not strong enough.’  Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you to be the person you can be. If you can’t surround yourself with those people, work hard to prove the naysayers wrong.”