Reflections From the Inauguration

by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School
Editor’s note: We will be adding updates here as they are available! All photos courtesy of Jarvis Zhang, MPA Class of 2017.

Day One: January 19, 2017

IMG_0721webThe Upper School trip to the presidential inauguration began at 4:15 AM on Thursday morning as 43 students arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. There was great excitement and energy despite the early hour. KARE 11 was there to greet us:

We arrived safely and were quickly on our way for a brief meeting with Minnesota United States Senator Al Franken. We were honored that Senator Franken left the confirmation hearing of Governor Rick Perry’s nomination as Secretary of Energy to meet with us. Senator Franken couldn’t have been more gracious greeting students, posing for a picture, and answering some tough questions put forward by MPA students.

There was certainly a buzz in the District, felt by students as we traversed the National Mall for a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. After a brief boxed lunch on the grounds of the Museum in the warm, D.C., students spent several hours moving through the powerful and sobering depiction of the Holocaust. Our visit ended with a chance to debrief the experience and ask questions with Warren Marcus, an official of the Museum and friend and former colleague of Upper School Director Mark Segal. Once again, students asked thoughtful questions as they wrestled with making sense of the incomprehensible.

IMG_0720webOur day ended with a bang, literally, in Foggy Bottom. As we exited our restaurant, we were treated with a fireworks display just blocks away that marked the ended of the special concert for President-elect Trump on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Tired, but ebullient students and adults found their way to our hotel for another short night before making our way to the steps of the United States Capital to witness the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the Unites States.

Day Two: January 20, 2017

After a short night, students and chaperones answered an early wake-up call at 4:15 AM for a hearty breakfast before embarking on a busy day. We were honored to see MPA and one of our chaperones, Jennifer Lindrud, in the New York Times:

Our bus parked near Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium and walked three miles only to wait nearly four hours to enter the National Mall to view the inauguration. Inching forward slower than a snail’s pace, we were unaware that protesters were blocking several entrances to the Mall. We were never in any danger, but there were reminders all around us that not everyone arrived with the intent of celebrating.

We finally entered near the Washington Memorial and viewed the inauguration from a distance, but with a beautiful vista of the Capitol and the White House. A jumbo-tron brought the events within view. The mood on the Mall was generally joyful but often solemn. There were both cheers and tears. As the weather wavered between rain and brief bursts of sun, power peacefully transferred from one president to another.

After the conclusion of the inaugural address, we toured the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War Memorials. I thought it was particularly meaningful, paying reverence to those who gave their lives for freedom and democracy. As we left the District, we made a brief visit to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial where 184 individuals lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

Our day ended with dinner in Alexandria, Virginia where were joined by six alumni who live and work in the area. We all enjoyed hearing about their work and their appreciation for how MPA prepared them for college and career.

The students were fantastic today. They walked more than 10 miles today and stood patiently, and respectfully, in line for many hours. They are a wonderful group of young people and I was glad to witness history with them. It was a good day—one we will certainly remember.

Posted: January 20, 2017 at 8:18 AM in:  All School, Heads Message, Upper School

Alumni Basketball Night

Alumni BB 2016-17ppThank you basketball alumni for another great Alumni Basketball Night! On December 26, the tradition lived on another year with a great turnout: Mark Miller ‘14, Austin Smith ‘12, Quintin Smith ‘13, Jacob Schwartz ‘09, Nate Bander ‘09, Matt Bander ‘11, Matt Miller ‘09, Adam Frudden ‘08, Ross Kigner ‘08, Rees Winga ‘16, Cole Montour ‘16, Eli Grabanski ‘16, Cooper Olson ‘16, Dylan Merchant ‘16, Jacqui Gray ‘16, Amin Mahamoud ‘16, David Omestad ‘09, Amir Nadimi ‘16, Peter Kieselbach ‘06.

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 6:58 PM in:  Alumni, Athletics

Chicago Reunion

ChicagoCoverPlease join Mounds Park Academy’s Head of School, Dr. Bill Hudson, at the Chicago Regional Reunion on January 27. Connect with fellow alumni and learn more about what’s happening at MPA!

Where: Public House Chicago
400 N State St
Chicago, Illinois 60654
When: Friday, January 27 at 6PM

Please RSVP to Susan Robertson, Development and Alumni Relations Coordinator, via email or on Facebook.

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 6:57 PM in:  Alumni

Alumnus Update: Mark Holmquist ’08

MPA alumnus, Mark Holmquist ’08, is one of more than 200 worldwide employees of San Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia and its many sister projects. Working remotely from his home in Saint Paul, Mark serves as a tech lead in multimedia and contributes to this important open-source global community with a mission to build “a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” One of Mark’s passions is to help newer Wikimedia programmers as they gain their footing. He’s paying it forward in honor of the people who graciously took time to help him learn the ropes when he started several years ago.

Mark, who majored in computer science at Redlands College, also took core classes in government. He credits a few of his MPA teachers for supporting his passions in technology and government—specifically, Ms. Reardon-Offerman and the Tech Center (where he tinkered with technology), and Ms. Conway. About the latter, he said, “I don’t know how you could’ve taken a class from her and not been massively inspired.”

Asked, as a Wikimedia insider, what the rest of us should explore, Mark suggested a few cool sites: Wikivoyage (a travel web site), Wikibooks (and, specifically, the cookbook section—where his big contribution was a Lefse-from-scratch recipe that includes using a heritage grill).

Mark is willing to talk to MPA community members about programming and free, open source software. He’s a great example of how being smart, motivated, and generous can be woven into a fulfilling career. Connect with him via MPA’s Office of Alumni Relations.

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 6:56 PM in:  Alumni

Open Gym Through February 25

OpenGymEscape the cold and ice and bring your friends to the Lansing Sports Center Saturday mornings from 9 AM–12 PM through February 25. You are welcome to use the track, sports center and fitness center! Balls and other gym equipment will be available for the little ones too!

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 6:52 PM in:  All School, Athletics

Parents Association Update

CulturalCelebrationRoosterChinese New Year “Spring Festival” Luncheon
The Parents Association would like to extend a warm invitation to all MPA friends and families to join us for the next Cultural Celebration. Celebrate the Year of the Red Rooster with your student during their normal lunch hour on Thursday, January 26 and experience a special Chinese New Year menu created by Sage. There is no cost to celebrate, but please email to RSVP, including your name, your child’s name, and grade, so we can plan accordingly.

Please help create the next and final Cultural Celebration, focusing on the Jewish holiday Passover! If this is a special time for your family and you would like to share with the community, email to let us know your interest. The Passover Celebration is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 14 from 3:10–5 PM.

Middle School Parent Coffee
Join us for coffee and discussion this Friday, January 20 in the Porter Conference Room starting at 8 AM.

Please contact Christine Larson or Amanda Campbell, Parents Association Co-Presidents, via email if you have any questions.

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 6:51 PM in:  All School, Parents Association

Hands On Coding Lab

MPA Fall 2016-228Students in grades four through 12 are invited to campus on Saturday, January 28 from 13 PM in the Lower School lab (room 133) to learn how to build a mobile app from start to finish. MPA parent, Gunnar Peterson, and seventh grader, Soren Peterson, will lead the class. No coding experience is necessary.

We will work with MIT’s App Inventor coding tools to develop real Android apps that you can install and run on Android devices. You can build mobile apps that send text messages, use GPS, play games, or any other function available on a smartphone. While not required, please bring a new or old Android phone or tablet if possible. Learn more and register!

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 6:47 PM in:  All School

Winter Show: Inherit The Wind

InheritTheWindHeadJoin us in the Black Box Theatre at 7 PM on January 27 and 28, and February 3 and 4, for a performance of the play Inherit The Wind. This play had its genesis in the events of the famous Scopes Trial in which the teaching of creationism came head to head against the teaching of scientific fact. Written during the height of the McCarthy Era, the play highlights the bravery it takes to stand up for what is right, while also pinpointing the loneliness of such an endeavor. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit here.

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 6:46 PM in:  All School, Fine Arts, Upper School

Birthday Boxes Bring Lower Schoolers Together

CHAMPHeaderOn Wednesday, the CHAMP assembly celebrated the culmination of the Birthday Box service project—a Lower School tradition that has grown and evolved over many years. Students worked in mixed-age groups to decorate the boxes and make cards, and boxes were then packed with items such as small toys, cake mix, frosting, candles, and books. The items in each Birthday Box were selected by faculty members with change donated by Lower School students. The boxes will be sent to Emma’s Place, a local Maplewood residence that helps women and children “get healthy and get ahead.” See more images from this important work here.

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 6:45 PM in:  All School, Lower School

Head’s Message: Witnessing History With Our Freethinkers and Right Makers

By Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

WPInaugurationIt is rare that we have an opportunity to be a part of history. On Friday, I will be with 43 Upper School students witnessing the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Our road to Washington D.C. had its genesis in the Upper School Election Club and has been in the works for nearly a year. No one could have predicted the outcome then, but along the journey, MPA students have learned a great deal about themselves and their place in the world. While it hasn’t been an easy road, they have debated ideas, sought understanding, grappled with difficult issues, and explored the privilege and responsibility that comes with citizenship. Students have wrestled with the balance between respectful discourse and passionate advocacy for social justice and the common good.

Continue reading

Posted: January 19, 2017 at 2:17 PM in:  All School, Heads Message, Upper School