Polars only strive for the best, and here are some examples of Polars who have gone above and beyond.
If you have any information on a former student that you would like to change or add to the list, please email us with the graduation year, a photo, and bio
William Anderson | Class of 1907
William became a professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota and has Anderson Hall dedicated in his memory on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus
Floyd B. Olson | Class of 1909
In 1930, the firebrand was elected to the first of three terms as governor. Olson served as the governor of Minnesota from 1931-1936. As a leader of the Farmer-Labor Party, Olson got the Legislature to adopt: A state income tax, a state employee pension plan, and a moratorium on farm foreclosures
Russell Gaylord | Class of 1911
Russell, served in W.W.I, and was killed in action. The Russell Gaylord VFW is named in his honor
Alice Mengelkoch | Class of 1921
A graduate of the commercial department, won the highest honor in shorthand that can be paid to an amateur writer. Alice was invited to National Shorthand Convention held at Niagara Falls New York two months after she graduated from North High. Alice competed and broke the worlds record for an amateur by writing 175 words per minute
Max Winter | Class of 1922
In 1946, he became the general manager of the Lakers. In 1959, Winter landed a franchise in the new American Football League, only to switch his allegiance to the NFL when it agreed to make Minnesota its 14th franchise. Winter was part of the original five-person ownership group of the Minnesota Vikings, eventually becoming the biggest single shareholder and team president. He was the No.1 advocate for the construction of the Metrodome. Winter was voted as one of Minnesota’s 100 Most Important Sports Figures of The Century by a poll at the Minneapolis Star Tribune
Morris Chalfen | Class of 1924
Chalfen was an international impresario and sports entertainment executive. He founded the Holiday On Ice show, and later purchased and relocated a near-extinct National Basketball League (NBL) franchise which became the Los Angeles Lakers.
Harrison E. Salisbury | Class of 1925
Salisbury was an American journalist and the first regular New York Times correspondent in Moscow after World War II. Salisbury constantly battled Soviet censorship and won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1955. He twice (in 1957 and 1966) received the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting.
Aalbu Sisters (Loraine, Aileene, Fern, and Harriet ) | Class of Mid-1920’s*
From 1924 to 1937 Fern and Harriet along with sisters Aileene and Loraine performed at vaudeville theaters throughout the country. The sisters traveled across the country via an automobile driven by their mother Anna. At North High School the Aalbu sisters met the Andrew sisters although they were a few years younger. The sisters also were features in some 1930s films including Young Man of Manhattan, and Turn off the Moon. Fern and Lorraine later went on to be regular performers at Charlie’s Cafe Exceptionale in the 1940’s. The sisters adopted the more pronounceable “Albee” for their stage names.
The Andrew Sisters (Maxine, Patti, Laverne) | Class of 1930’s*
The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. They left school early to pursue their singing career. The sisters have sold an estimated 80 million records. Their 1941 hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” can be considered an early example of jump blues. The group was among the inaugural inductees to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame upon its opening in 1998. Mark Schoifet said the sisters became the most popular female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century. They are still widely acclaimed today for their famous close harmonies. They were inducted into the Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame in May 2006.
Sidney Gillman | Class of 1930
Gillman was an American football player, coach and executive. After serving as an assistant coach at Ohio State, Gillman was the head football coach at Miami University and at the University of Cincinnati. He then moved to the ranks of professional football, where he headed the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams (1955–1959), the American Football League’s Los Angeles and San Diego Chargers (1960–1969), and the NFL’s Houston Oilers (1973–1974), amassing a career record of 123–104–7 in the National Football League and the American Football League. Gillman was inducted as a coach into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989. He is the sole coach in the history of American football to have earned both honors.
Herbert (Herb) Schapter | Class of 1931
Herb created the game “Cootie”, which has sold over 50 million games since 1948. He started out by carving 200 wooden versions on his mothers front porch.
Bob Short | Class of 1936
Short was a business man who owned the Leamington Hotel in Minneapolis and was instrumental in bringing professional baseball to Minnesota. Was owner of the: Washington Senators Texas Rangers. Recognized by President Johnson, who named him “Promoter of U.S. Tourism.”
Sid Hartman | Class of 1939
Sid has been the venerable sports columnist and news breaker for the Star Tribune for 55+ years. In the days when newspaper reporters did such things, Hartman ran the Minneapolis Lakers with Max Winter from 1946 through 1957 and then served as the behind-the-scenes general manager for Baltimore Bullets in the early ’60s. Voted as one of Minnesota’s Top 100 Sports figures of the Century (#31) by a poll at the Minneapolis Star Tribune
John Gallos | Class of 1940
For 46 years he was a versatile WCCO Television personality, and for 20 of those years he entertained thousands of Baby Boomers as Commodore Cappy and Clancy the Cop. He was known to children and adults alike as producer/host of the “Laurel and Hardy Show.” He also produced and hosted “Sunday Morning with John Gallos,” a talk show dealing with important social, political and economic issues, with emphasis on religion, which aired on Channel 4 for 31 years. During World War II, John served with the United States Army in Europe and received the combat infantry badge for service with the 66th Black Panther Division in France, moving into Germany on V.E. Day
Richard Bowl | Class of 1941
“Appeared in about 12 feature films such as: Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, The Ann Southern Show, The Wrangler, Wanted Dead Or Alive, Palladin, Wagon Train, Wyatt Earp, Death Valley Days, The Untouchables. His latest work in 1985: Johnny Bull with Jason Robards, Coleen Dewhurst and Cathy Bates. Also: Last Dance with Sharon Stone, The Specialist with Jeff Speakman, Attica,”
Bert Smith | Class of 1941
Better known as pro wrestler Stan (The Krusher) Kowalski from 1955 to 1976. Stan has been very supportive of community and civic duties in his neighborhood since he retired from wrestling and is still going strong. Another polar alum committed to civic duties, for 30 years Stan has promoted the United Way.
Harold Brown | Class of 1942
Harold was one of many to serve during Word War II from North High School. The distinction Harold had, he was one of the first 60 Tuskegee airmen and flew over 30 combat missions. He earned a degree in mathematics at Ohio University and taught at the Columbus Area Technician School (now Columbus State Community College), later becoming vice president of academic affairs. Brown and other Tuskegee Airman were invited to the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009.
Harry Davis | Class of 1942
School board member, mayoral candidate, and Urban Coalition official; Davis’ true love was boxing. He started in 1943 as coach at Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and went on to become the leader, fundraiser and organizer of the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves championships for 50 years. He was the manager of the 1984 U.S. Olympic boxing team. In 1971 he unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of Minneapolis. Voted as one of Minnesota’s 100 Most Important Sports Figures of The Century; (#96) by a poll at the Minneapolis Star tribune, and voted again by the Star Tribune as one of the most influential educators of the century in their poll of the 100 Most Influential Minnesotans of the Century
Howard Viken | Class of 1942
A former Marine who fought in World War II in Guam and Iwo Jima, Viken returned to study speech and journalism at the University of Minnesota, and then continued on to further study broadcasting at Brown College. Viken was the first to successfully transition into the creative and high-energy morning show format that is commonplace today. His 39-year career at WCCO Radio began as host of “Mr. Nobody,” yet Howard Viken went on to become one of the most recognized names in his home state of Minnesota. He was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2004.
Melvin William (Junior) Ohman | Class of 1943
After graduating from North High School, he joined the US Army and fought in WWll in Europe. He served with the heavy artillery during the Battle of the Ardennes, better known as the Battle of the Bulge. Mel joined the Army Reserves and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. After earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Mel worked for several companies including Haynes-Stellite, Lithium and Sperry Univac / Unisys. Mel was a life-long member of the American Legion serving as Commander of North Side Post #230, Commander of the 5th District for the State of Minnesota and Statewide Legion Historian. Mel was also a Councilman for the Village of New Hope and a volunteer for KARE 11’s Health Fair.
Marvin Earle Wolfenson | Class of 1944
Upon graduation, Marvin was drafted into the U.S. Army where he served in the 1st Cavalry 82nd Field Artillery in the Pacific Theater in WW ll. He fought in the Battle of Luzon in the Philippines where he earned a Bronze Battle Star and was part of the first group of soldiers to occupy Japan after the surrender. Marvin’s business career began at Penn Realty where he sold homes as a real estate agent. He soon decided to start his own real estate business naming it Marvin Realty. In 1951 a beautiful partnership began with his childhood friend, Harvey Ratner, spanning over 50 years. “Marv and Harv” had an illustrious career, they proudly brought NBA Basketball back to Minnesota when they were awarded the Minnesota Timberwolves expansion franchise and built Target Center to house the team.
James Gilbert | Class of 1947
He served in the Navy during the Korean War. Jim retired as President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis after a 38-year career. He is a past member of Rotary, the Minneapolis Club, Skylight Club, Gyro, Fox and Hounds, and Y’s Men. He was also President of the USS Epperson Association.
Robert Vaughn | Class of 1950
After high school, he enrolled in the University of Minnesota as a journalism major. However, he dropped out after a year and moved to Los Angeles with his mother. He studied at Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences, earning a master’s degree in theater. Vaughn was an American actor noted for his stage, film and television work. His television roles include suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
David Holmberg | Class of 1956
Newspaper reporter and editor. Was a reporter for New York Newsday and a senior editor of the Village Voice. Covered the AIDS crisis in New York for Newsday. Covered the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement for The Washington Star and The Washington Daily News. For the Philadelphia Daily News, covered the war in El Salvador and the Mumia Jahmal case. Served as press secretary to Congressman Allard K. Lowenstein, and Sen. John Heinz.
David Lebedoff | Class of 1956
Graduate of Harvard Law School, wrote three books: 21st Ballot, Ward Number Six, The New Elite and has written articles for many national magazines. Lebedoff served on the Guthrie Theater Board and was Chairman of the board of Regents at the University of Minnesota
Irwin Jacobs | Class of 1959
Once a 1980s-vintage takeover guy, Irwin built Genmar into the nation’s second-largest boat manufacturer (now bankrupt). In 1973, Jacobs founded COMB (“Close-out Merchandise Buyers”), a catalog-based mail-order retailer. In 1986, COMB and several cable television operators created the Cable Value Network (CVN), a pioneering television shopping channel which was later purchased by Joseph Segel’s QVC.
Shirley Witherspoon | Class of 1960
After graduating from North High School, Witherspoon got her start singing in local jazz clubs such as the Blue Note. Witherspoon was a jazz vocalist with a heavy gospel influence, who was often compared to blues shouter Etta James and jazz legend Dinah Washington. Her first big break came as a vocalist with Duke Ellington in 1969. Although the engagement was brief, it did include some memorable moments, including a performance at the inauguration of President Nixon. Named to the Minnesota Jazz Awards Hall of Fame in 1987.
Andrea Hricko (Hjelm) | Class of 1961
Today, Andrea is president and owner of Moore Creative Talent, Inc., one of the most established modeling and talent agencies in the Midwest. With her entrepreneurial spirit, she gives back enthusiastically to causes she is passionate about. That has included serving on and leading as president of the University’s Alumni Association National Board of Directors, serving on the Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Board, organizing the Masonic Children’s Hospital Fashion Fest, and cofounding the CEHD Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle.
Bob Bevard | Class of 1971
Internationally renowned motivational speaker. Board of Directors, American Mensa: Development Officer. President, South Texas Mensa. 2007 Mensan of the Year, STM. Poet Fellow. Bob Bevard is “the Speaker With Solutions.” One of the most people pleasing presenters using the English language. 2000+ presentations since 1982. Bob brings exceptional people skills combined with a fine intellect, superior analytical skills, strategic ideation, and a passion for excellence. With Bob, you can feel the electricity in the room. Bob has mastered the art of motivating by combining a just-right mix of practical, how-to applications with humor and thought-provoking insights
Gary N. Sudduth | Class of 1971
Longtime Northside resident, he was a widely respected civil rights leader, a champion of public libraries, and a strong believer in the importance and power of books and reading for all people, especially children. He served as president of the library board in 1991 and 1992, and was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science in 1994. As head of the Minneapolis Urban League, he was instrumental in organizing a cooperative effort between the Urban League and Minneapolis Public Library to motivate African American students to read more and improve reading skills. The Glover-Sudduth Urban League building in Minneapolis is named in his honor as well as the Gary N. Sudduth African American History and Culture Collection located at Sumner library.
Michele Hodgson | Class of 1972
Michele spent 16 years at MSP Communications, as an assistant, associate and then managing editor of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine. She left in 2001 to begin a new career in book editing, and served as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas’ School of Journalism. She volunteered for the Inland Lake Yachting Association, editing The History of the Inland Lake Yachting Association, for which she was honored as 1998 Member of the Year.
Susan Hartfiel | Class of 1972
Susan has been teaching and coaching since graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1976. A head coach for volleyball her teams have won 9 conference championships and for track, her teams have won 11 conference championships. She has coached 13 individual state track champions, 10 individual statetrack runner-ups, 3 time track team state runner ups, and 2 times coach of the year. She has also been a collegiate head volleyball coach. She has been a clinician at athlete camps and coaches clinics as well as publishing articles in coaching journals.
Ron Henderson | Class of 1972
“The Fitness King”, began his pursuit of personal fitness training almost three decades ago. Ron was the first fitness professional in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area to work with clients and help them define, develop, and pursue their fitness goals as a personal trainer. Henderson’s book is his latest accomplishment, reaching national audiences. He currently hosts “Fitness and Faith,” a cable exercise series. He also hosted a talk radio program called “Feeling Fit.” Ron’s first TV cable series was “Winning Workouts.” The Fitness King has established a reputation for being articulate, motivating and entertaining.
Karen McKinney | Class of 1972
As chief equity officer, Dr. Karen McKinney is working to make the Minnesota Department of Human Services an anti-racist institution. For the last five years she also served as the community liaison to communities of color for the university’s Office of Diversity. Prior to that, she held a variety of positions in youth ministry, health care and education and served as a consultant on anti-racism, equity and diversity.
Margaret Yurick | Class of 1972
A former seasoned forest ranger, for nine seasons (1979 through 1990), Maggie worked for the National Park Service at Denali, Gates of the Artie, Lake Clark, Glacier Bay and Katmai. She also served as an Alaska state park ranger on the Kenai Peninsula for two seasons. In any uniform, Maggie was respected for her skills and was loved for her good humor and enthusiasm. She was committed to exploring and protecting the Alaskan wilderness. Margaret has a trail named after her in the Danali National Park.
Dale A. Bevard (AKA Weber, Dale A.) | Class of 1973
Chief Master Sergeant, United States Air Force (Retired). Veteran of Vietnam, Desert Storm/Southern Watch and in 1999, served as Command Chief Master Sergeant for Operations Northern Watch and Allied Force—historic first time two separate campaigns were conducted in two separate theaters from one single location.
Albert (Al) Garcia, Jr. | Class of 1978
Al was one of Minnesota’s most successful political campaign consultants since 1979 for Presidential, Congressional, Gubernatorial races, State Legislature, County Bds., Judicial and local elections, having won over 45 elections as lead advisor/consultant. Previously named as “Super Lawyer” and best lawyer by 3 different Minnesota publications. Additionally, he was very involved with the community, founding Young Hispanic Democrats and being named as one of the Young Democrats of America. He also founded and sat on the chair of Chicano Venceran (later called Central Cultural Chicano). Al was also a chair on the Mpls. Civil Rights Department, Mpls. Econ. and Redev.t Council, NERC, and the Met Council.
Jerome Benton | Class of 1979
Jerome along with Terry Lewis started the music production business FLYTE TYME. Better known as “Jam and Lewis”, they have been subtly building their legend and are currently ranked #5 of all time in producing #1 hit records (tied with Quincy Jones). They have written and/or produced nearly 100 singles and albums that have reached gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales. Jam and Lewis have scored 12 #1 Pop Singles (over 30 Top 10 singles) and 25 #1 R&B singles (65 Top 10 singles) including artists such as Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Patti Labelle and Mary J. Blige. They have produced for the likes of Janet Jackson and have a star on the Hollywood Board walk.
Benjamin Coleman | Class of 1979
First basketball player from North High to receive an NCAA Division I scholarship. Played at the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland. He was also the first African-American player from a Minneapolis City Conference school to play for Minnesota. At Maryland, Coleman teamed up with Len Bias, who went on to be the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. He won two All-ACC honors and helped the team to the 1984 Atlantic Coast Conference championship and to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the 1984 NCAA Tournament. First Polar grad to play in the NBA: Philadelphia 76’rs and the Milwaukee Bucks
Ellen Stewart | Class of 1985
Stewart served as Miss Black Minnesota from 1988-1989. She was in the WBA league serving as the Minnesota Starts team captain in 1996. After playing, Stewart helped with scouting and player evaluation when the Minnesota Lynx were first formed. She says her educational and athletic background combined create her strong desire for a challenge and to give back to others. Afterwards she transitioned and is in her 27th year in education, where she has served as principle for mulitple schools, including North High in 2016
Terry Lewis | Class of 1987
Terry along with Jerome Benton started the music production business FLYTE TYME. Better known as “Jam and Lewis”, they have been subtly building their legend and are currently ranked #5 of all time in producing #1 hit records (tied with Quincy Jones). They have written and/or produced nearly 100 singles and albums that have reached gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales. Jam and Lewis have scored 12 #1 Pop Singles (over 30 Top 10 singles) and 25 #1 R&B singles (65 Top 10 singles) including artists such as Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Patti Labelle and Mary J. Blige. They have produced for the likes of Janet Jackson and have a star on the Hollywood Board walk.
Chad Groth | Class of 1988
Groth is one of the most well-connected basketball scouts in the country for college coaches, he has run youth basketball camps all over the world, including in Japan, Cambodia, the Philippines, Germany, Thailand and Hong Kong. He was one of the original ball boys for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989 and moved to Arizona in 1995, when he was working for the Harlem Globetrotters as a talent scout.
Peter Macon | Class of 1988
While a senior at North, he landed a part with the Children’s Theatre Company and went on tour. That was followed by years of study at the College of Art and Design, the University of Minnesota and the Yale School of Drama. Macon acted for nearly 30 years at Twin Cities theaters including Penumbra, Illusion and Children’s Theatre Company, and starred in the title role of Othello at the Guthrie Theater, as well as productions of the play in Dublin, Colorado, and Oregon. Macon has appeared in episodes of Nash Bridges, Law & Order, Without a Trace, Supernatural, The Shield, Dexter, Bosch, SEAL Team and Shameless. He is currently appearing as the character Bortus in The Orville, a comedy-drama science fiction television series
Khalid El-Amin | Class of 1997
Khalid helped lead North High to three Consecutive state boys basketball championships 1995-1997. Instrumental in the Connecticut Huskies NCAA men’s basketball championship in 1999. “Arguably the finest point guard Minnesota has ever produced.” Voted as one of Minnesota’s 100 Most Important Sports Figures of The Century by a poll at the Star Tribune. After retiring from professional basketball, El-Amin became an assistant coach for the boys’ basketball team at Minneapolis North High School and opened El-Amin’s Fish Shop in North Minneapolis
Tamara Moore | Class of 1998
Moore played for Minneapolis North High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she was named a 1998 WBCA All-American. Graduating from Minneapolis North in 1998, Moore guided the Lady Polars to a state championship and was named Minnesota Miss Basketball. Moore is the current men’s basketball head coach at Mesabi Range College in Virginia, Minnesota. Moore was a professional basketball player who competed in the WNBA and Europe, and is the only female head coach of a collegiate men’s basketball team.
Walter Banks | Class of xxxx
Better known as “Q – Bear”, Q (Walter) is a radio personality on radio station 89.9 KMOJ since the nonprofit station first aired. Banks has been broadcasting the Minneapolis sound at the station for 40 years. Before taking to the airwaves, Banks learned all kinds of music, working at the Wax Museum record store on Lake Street and singing in different groups. He joins a list of distinguished Polars through the years, like alum Tom Barnard, KQRS, Class of 1969, who have gone into the radio business.
Tyler Johnson | Class of 2016
He was voted 1st team All-Big Ten by the media, and 2nd team by the coaches. Johnson returned to Minnesota for his senior season in 2019 rather than enter the 2019 NFL Draft. Johnson was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 161st pick in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.