Athletes, Actors, Musicians And Bagel Boy: Notable Minnetonka Alumni

Aileen Dosev, Managing Editor, Student Life

Minnetonka High School is known for being one of the best public schools in Minnesota and has a reputation of strong academics, countless opportunities and hard-working students. The people may change over time, but there are some things that make this community truly Minnetonka. Part of that MHS culture is the strong and successful alumni community. Minnetonka schools have consistently produced notable alumni throughout the years. Several have risen to fame in fields such as music, performance and professional athletics; others remain a happy memory in MHS culture. Here are some of their stories.

Ryan McCartan, ‘11, ranks among one of the most well-known Minnetonka alumni. 

“He was in Liv & Maddie, he played J.D. in Heathers, and he was also in Wicked,” Azriel A, ‘23, said. Indeed, McCartan has played multiple well known roles and has been cast in several Broadway productions. The list includes Disney’s High School Musical, Frozen and many others.

Zac Barnett, ‘05, is another famous person who once attended MHS. Barnett is the lead singer for the band American Authors. The group debuted with their single, “Believer” and later produced the hit song, “Best Day of My Life.” American Authors is still an active band, making waves in the alternative rock genre. Who knew that a Minnetonka alum held a place in everyone’s 2000s nostalgia playlist?

Minnetonka has produced several professional athletes as well, including Jim Brower, ‘91, a former MLB pitcher, Jake Gardiner, ‘08, an NHL defenseman, and Will Leer, ‘03, a professional runner for Nike. 

Our current student body also recalled alumni that stood out from the crowd. 

“That guy, Jeff Erickson? Yeah, his Power of Five book is great,” said Tommy Robben, ‘22, “Really changed my life.”

The persona that likely drew the most excitement was Alec Gougebas, commonly known as Bagel Boy. Gougebas is remembered for handing out hundreds of free Bruegger’s bagels to fellow classmates every day, nourishing hungry students and preventing food waste at his place of work at the same time. In a 2019 Writing Center blog post, Gougebas expressed that his favorite thing is the simple feeling of happiness a bagel can give someone.

Other Minnetonka High School alumni have played the keyboard for the Jonas Brothers, served as United States Chief of Protocol and acted as a senior political adviser to a New York mayor. The sky really is the limit.

While MHS continues to develop its environment and educational program, it’s safe to say that students can be proud to be Skippers. At MHS, students receive a high-quality education and hundreds of opportunities to which many other students in Minnesota and across the United States lack access. The unique amenities and pathways the high school provides has helped many students to succeed and will continue to do so in the future.

“I would like to say how proud I am to be an MHS graduate,” said Cornell Anderson, who was made president of the Minnetonka Alumni Association in 2010 and is part of the Class of 1966. “I feel each of us received an outstanding education from Minnetonka and […] this tradition is continuing today.”