EDTalks: Education Beyond the Classroom

Join us for our winter EDTalks event featuring Sandy Bolton Barrientos and Coach Larry McKenzie. Our program will feature two dynamic presentations followed by time for audience Q & A with our presenters. Pre-registration encouraged; walk-ins welcome!

Register today
EDTalks logo

Event details

Mon. February 26 2024
Doors at 5:30 p.m.; program 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Icehouse Minneapolis
2528 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404
I want to come!
Walk-ins welcome.


Join us to hear about the importance of engaging with young people outside of the classroom to increase their academic success.

What High School Debate Can Teach Us about the Power of Abolitionist Education

Young people are feeling increasingly disempowered and disengaged as they see and experience structural injustices in their communities and persistent uncertainty about their futures. But Sandy Bolton Barrientos, the community coach for South High School’s debate team, sees a way forward. Sandy believes debate offers a unique space where students can freedom-dream institutions that affirm their livelihoods, visualize a future of joy and liberation for all people, and ultimately begin to formulate imaginative and realistic solutions for the big problems facing their communities. Sandy will present testimonials from current and former students on the impact of debate on their lives and argue strongly for additional resources and support for debate in Minneapolis Public Schools.


Sandy Bolton Barrientos (they/them) is community coach for the South High School debate team and member of the Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL) community, where they focus on curriculum design. An abolitionist organizer in South Minneapolis, they are a studio trainer for REP MN, where they teach workshops that build networks of community crisis support, and co-founder of Futures Beyond Criminalization, which hosts events on public safety, harm reduction and policing alternatives. Sandy is an alum of Minneapolis Public Schools and a student in the University of Minnesota’s DirecTrack to Teaching program with a concentration in second languages and cultures.

Change their Minds, Change Their Lives on the Court and in the Classroom

Coach, author and educator Larry McKenzie is the first coach to win four straight state titles in the 100-year history of Minnesota State Boys Basketball, and the first coach in Minnesota high school basketball history to lead two separate schools to multiple titles. But beyond the trophies and medals, Coach McKenzie has accomplished something even more impressive: coaching and supporting his athletes to increase their academic performance alongside their athletic skills. Using basketball as a tool, he has led his players to 100% high school graduation and a 3.4 team GPA. Coach McKenzie will share stories about his journey at Minneapolis high schools and how he helps his student athletes become champions on the basketball court, in the classroom, in their families and in their communities.


Coaching almost exclusively in North Minneapolis, Coach Larry McKenzie has graduated every single player in his basketball programs and supported more than 90% in pursuing postsecondary education. On the court, he led Patrick Henry and North Community high schools to six combined state championships, the third most in state history. He is the only coach to win four state titles in a row and has the highest winning percentage of any coach to coach in at least ten games in the state tournament. Coach McKenzie was first African American coach named to the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and has been honored as an NCAA Living Legend. He is co-founder of the Above the Rim Youth Sports Foundation and a deeply respected speaker, advocate and author of “Basketball: Much More Than Just a Game.”

EDTalks tickets are $5, but all are welcome. If this event is cost-prohibitive but you would like to attend, please reach out to us!

For more information on this event, contact Heidi Draskoci-Fricke. We look forward to seeing you there!

EDTalks is co-presented by Achieve Twin Cities and Graves Ventures (a project of The Graves Foundation)

Achieve logo
Graves Foundation logo