“St. Albans Gave Me So Much”: Blake Sparrow ’00
on Why He Supports Annual Giving
Blake Sparrow ’00 currently works as a litigation associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s Washington, D.C., office. Prior to joining Simpson Thacher, Blake served as a law clerk to the Hon. Gerald Bruce Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He attended Amherst College and graduated from Howard University School of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Howard Law Journal. A native Washingtonian, Blake currently serves on St. Albans’ Alumni Association Board and as an Annual Giving decade captain.
Describe St. Albans in three words.
Brotherhood. Excellence. Game-changing.
Now describe yourself in three words.
Thoughtful. Gregarious. Bighearted.
What was your St. Albans “a-ha” moment?
I sat beside Elliot Nacke ’00 in math class every day for nearly three years and never exchanged a word with him. One day our junior year, while I was falling asleep in my book, he turned to me and said, “Hey, you wanna go to Burger King?” I agreed, and from that day on, we were best friends. I stayed at his house during holiday breaks, and his parents invited me over for formal Southern-style dinners—the kind with multiple courses that last three or four hours. What started out as just a trip to Burger King transitioned into a lasting friendship. That’s just one example of how throughout my time as a student and an alumnus, St. Albans has reached out and pulled me into the community.
What makes St. Albans so memorable?
Without a question, the most memorable aspect of St. Albans is the community—whether chatting with Dr. Piazza in his iconic office or being greeted by Señora Rusher with a hug. After graduation, you carry these parts of the School with you for the rest of your life. Compared with my collegiate and post-grad experiences, St. Albans is without a doubt the most tightly knit community I belong to. I don’t think you fully understand the depth of this brotherhood, this absolute acceptance, until you graduate and come back.
Tell us something we probably don’t know about you.
At one point, I was teaching at the Collegiate School in New York, and Collegiate sponsored many trips as part of my professional development. My most memorable experience was backpacking through Western Africa and visiting the port town that my aunt had traced our African ancestors to: Fort Amsterdam in Ghana, a major slave-trading location. It was such a pivotal experience; it was 2005 when I walked into those buildings, and I could still feel the presence and the misery of those who had been there centuries before. I made a mini-documentary and developed that into a curriculum for my class. My students were extremely responsive because they were so interested to learn something about my life—to see behind the curtain.
Why do you give to St. Albans?
I give because St. Albans gave me so much—from a place to live in the dorm to teachers who cared, from my first job to my current one. I can’t possibly repay all of the kindness St. Albans has shown me, but I can do a small part by contributing to and volunteering for Annual Giving.