All School News
MPA Alumnus Newell Hill ('99) announced the release his new book, Octaves of Success: 88 Keys to a Passion-Centered Career. Octaves of Success shares insights and wisdom from the journey of his local nonprofit, Keys 4/4 Kids, an organization that accepts, restores, and sells donated pianos. The money from these sales is used to support four charitable programs that strive to inspire young people to believe in themselves through arts and mentorship. The book provides readers with 88 lessons, or "keys," that Hill has learned over the past decade of moving, fixing, and selling pianos.
Hill's story begins during his days at MPA, sitting in the classroom of Upper School History teacher Maureen Conway. After transferring to MPA from a large Woodbury High School, Hill noted that he found himself struggling with his self confidence.
"Ms. Conway must have noticed that I needed a little support and emotional encouragement," he said. "We'd meet during her lunch time and talk about my tests and papers. She was just so positive with me, and it was something I had never received from teachers in the past -- they would give me grades and tell me what I had done wrong, but she tried to instill a sense of confidence in what I was already doing. She made an effort to connect with me and really help me discover my talents."
Her overwhelming support and encouragement gave him hope for a bright future, and inspired him to look beyond himself for an opportunity to make a difference, he said. "Looking back on my time at MPA, the community as a whole is very encouraging of giving back and striving to make a difference in your community. MPA really believes in that philosophy, and it instilled that belief system in me and gave me the foundation to eventually do something like this. That ideology is still with me every day."
During the summer of 2000, Hill began teaching music and art to kids in North Minneapolis in a program called MUSE. He said he wanted to inspire children to believe in themselves, just as Ms. Conway had done for him. In order to raise money for the after school program, Hill began fixing and selling used pianos out of his parent's garage. During the first year, Hill fixed and sold over $10,000 worth of pianos. Though the profits from these sales were impressive, and MUSE continued to grow, the loss of several key funders resulted in the program closing its doors in 2005.
"At one point, I was basically broke. I had lost funding for the non-profit, the real estate market had collapsed, I had no money, I had to sell my car, and I was living in the basement of Keys 4/4 Kids when it was just beginning with a tiny storefront," he said. "And I remember thinking... I am not going to give up. I am going to push through this. And I am so proud that I didn't give up and that I fought back."
In 2008, Hill focused his energy on finding a way to generate income for his mission. Hill thought the collecting, repairing and reselling of used pianos could provide the consistent and reliable income source he needed. Hill began working full time on his piano business, incorporating it as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, and calling it Keys 4/4 Kids (K44K). Instead of taking a salary from K44K, however, Hill started a piano moving business and charged K44K a competitive rate for all of its piano moves. As the business model flourished, Hill expanded to Chicago, then Kansas City. Gross annual sales grew from $100,000 to more than $500,000 during a two-year time span.
K44K is located in a warehouse on Grand Avenue at Hamline Avenue in Saint Paul. At this time, they sell approximately 30 pianos per month, with 100 percent of the profits going to the Maureen Conway Foundation (MCF). MCF supports several programs in the Twin Cities area that offer music and arts-based opportunities for young people. In the Fall of 2011, Hill and his board created four programs (Pianos on Parade, Paint a Piano, Piano Placement Program and the Maureen Conway "I Inspire Kids to Believe in Themselves" Award) that use the profits from piano sales to further the K44K mission of inspiring young people to believe in themselves through arts and mentorship.
Join Newell in celebrating the release of his book on May 18th, at 7pm in the Rotunda at the Mall of America.
Bonjour, MPA families,
We are very excited to announce that we have invited Laure Giannotta from France to serve as our Amity aid for the Fall semester. She will be helping in the French department in all divisions to give students an authentic linguistic and cultural experience. She is a PhD student of Italian literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, but is taking a sabbatical to come to the US to work on her English and get some teaching experience.
We are looking for a family to host her from the end of August to mid-January, and no French language experience is necessary. If you have room in your home and would like to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity, please consider hosting Laure! If you're intersted, please contact Jessica Blue to discuss details.
Mounds Park Academy was chosen as one of only 240 schools nationwide to achieve Gold Level Status in the 2013 MATHCOUNTS Club Program! This is MPA's 5th Gold Level Status in the past six years. The MATHCOUNTS Club Program is a math enrichment program designed to inspire excellence, confidence and curiosity in U.S. middle school students.
According to a letter from Kristen Chandler, Deputy Director and Program Director, "Achieving Gold Level Status is an impressive accomplishment requiring hard work and dedication; the students in the math club at Mounds Park Academy successfully completed a total of six rigorous math challenges throughout the school year. Our math challenges contain creative problems aligned with the middle school math curriculum and are designed to promote critical thinking."
Congratulations to all MPA MATHCOUNTS math club members and coach Dan Ethier, on this achievement. Mounds Park Academy's MATHCOUNTS math club will receive a Gold Level trophy and banner to display at the school.
2012-2013 MPA MATHCOUNTS math club members are:
Abdullahi Abdullahi (7th)
Salman Aden (7th)
Amanda Baumgart (8th)
Ian Beauchane (7th)
Bryan Boehnke (7th)
Brendan Connolly (8th)
Declan Dahlberg (7th)
Alexandra Esch (7th)
Isaac Esch (8th)
Thomas Michael FitzGerald (7th)
Eleanor Galicich (8th)
Molly Gardner (8th)
Abigail Goodno (7th)
Nicholas Guiang (7th)
Rosalind Haas (7th)
Violet Haas (8th)
Katherine Hands (8th)
Olivia Hawley (7th)
Devin Hill (7th)
Charles Kramer (8th)
Anthony Kuba (7th)
Ley, Sarah (7th)
Lukas Lindgren (8th)
Rachel Lindrud (7th)
Peter Millerhagen (8th)
Kelly Myers (7th)
Will Olson (8th)
Aidan Perrault (8th)
Sylvia Rani (8th)
Chad Sardi (8th)
Pranay Somayajula (6th)
Jesica Springer (8th)
William Thao (7th)
John Townsend (8th)
Teja Upadhyaya (8th)
Sumner Wu (7th)
Benjamin Yoch (7th)
Mounds Park Academy sent three teams to compete in National Academic Quiz Tournament's (NAQT) Middle School National Championship Tournament. It was held on April 27-28 in Chicago, Illinois. 96 teams from 37 states competed in the tournament. These MPA teams qualified via two tournaments in the Twin Cities earlier in the school year. We had some great results this past weekend:
The A Team - Cole Staples (8th), Charlie Kramer (8th), Aidan Opatz (8th), Jack Indritz (8th), and William Amendola Bye (8th) - finished 7th out of 96 teams. They were the highest placing team from Minnesota. This was the highest finish by an MPA team in a National Quiz Bowl Tournament!
The B team - Amanda Baumgart (8th), Ryan Guggenheim (7th), Kate Van Hecke (7th), Nick Samsel (8th) - finished 53rd out of 96, and just missed the playoff round.
The C Team - Travis Mudge (7th), Sumner Wu(7th), Paige Indritz (5th), Pranay Somayajula (7th), Teja Upadhyaya (8th) - finished 51st out of 96 and also missed the playoffs by one match.
In addition Kate Van Hecke (7th) won the "Top Rising Player" Award at the tournament. She was the top player not currently in 8th Grade.
These Quiz Bowlers should be very proud of the preparation and hard work they have put in this year.
- Wade Peterson
MPA Quiz Bowl Coach
The MPAror Robotics Team attended their first FIRST National Competition April 24-27, 2013, in St. Louis, MO. An estimated 20,000 spectators, team members, and mentors attended the event, and teams from all around the world competed for many awards and honors. The MPArors played a total of eight matches, winning two in their division. Our climbing robot scored points during almost every match. The experience was incredibly inspiring because students were rewarded for their innovative ideas in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Witnessing hundreds of teams coming together for this one purpose was amazing. Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and founder of FIRST, and Black Eyed Peas member, will.i.am, addressed the students on a couple occasions, commending both students and mentors for their accomplishments.
We had a vey special visitor on Thursday night! Dr. Jeff Suzik, our new Head of School, stopped by Team 3926 pit area to check out our robot and meet the team. Thank you, Dr. Suzik, for taking the time to visit the MPArors!
Participating in this event was an honor! MPA recognizes these students for their efforts during the FIRST National Competition:
Ninth graders Connor Olson of Woodbury, Mike Wilke of Maplewood, Amin Mahamoud of St. Paul, 11th graders Brendan Boyle of Woodbury, Brock Bigalke of Stillwater, CJ Kramer of St. Paul, Sam Wilson of Mahtomedi, and Ryder Marsden of St. Paul, and 12th graders Sean Springer of Shoreview, Alex Grabanski of Hudson, and Vince Thao of St. Paul. Sixth graders Will Kramer and Jordan Grabanski also attended, providing support for their older sibling and for the team!
I would like to extend a special thank you to the following mentors and parents who helped to organize the trip, drive students to and from the competition, and provide support for the team: Steve Olson and Diane Gobran, Dana Boyle, Aaron Koen, Joy Danielson, Sue Wilke, Jeff Kramer, and Jon Tomaszewski.
Lastly, we would like to thank Dan and Heidi McKeown, who financially supported the team, covering our entry fee into the competition. This gesture of financial support made it possible for the MPArors to even consider accepting the invitation to the competition. Your generosity is appreciated McKeown Family!
The MPArors success at Nationals was a team effort! Several team members were not able to attend Nationals for various reasons and we would like to recognize their efforts throughout the season as well! Michelle Galbavy of Stillwater (10th grade), Angela Gerdts of Minneapolis (11th grade), Collin Hill of Vadnais Heights (9th grade), Jack Holter of Roseville (11th grade), Betsy Krenkel of St. Paul (12th grade), Riley Lannon of Woodbury (9th grade), Jake Levesque of Stillwater (12th grade), Liam Lu of Woodbury (11th grade), Schuyler Rosefield Woodbury (12th grade), Jamie Sobalvarro of St. Paul (11th grade), Megan Wright of Afton (11th grade), Megan Zhao of Stillwater (11th grade), Margaret Lee of St. Paul (11th grade), and Theo Honda of Oakdale (9th grade).
Check out a video recap of the 2013 National Championship Competition in St. Louis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNGzTg53zDY
We are already recruiting for next year. If you are a student who wants to be on the team, please send me an email! The team is open to students in 9th-12th grade. We are also looking for engineering mentors. If you know someone who may be interested, please send them my way. There are many opportunities to be involved over the summer too! It is never to early to join our team.
- Nicole Koen
Mounds Park Academy will be sending three teams to the NAQT Middle School National Championship in Chicago on April 27-28 in Chicago. The teams qualified based on "Top-2" performances at tournaments in December and April. Go Panthers!
The teams are as follows:
Cole Staples (8th)
William Amendola Bye (8th)
Aiden Opatz (8th)Charlie Kramer (8th)
Amanda Baumgart (8th)
Nick Samsel (8th)
Kate Van Hecke (7th)
Ryan Guggenheim (7th)
Theo Janke-Furman (8th- will not be competing due to a role in the Spring Musical)
Travis Mudge (7th)
Sumner Wu (7th)
Pranay Somayajula (7th)
Teja Upadhyaya (8th)
Congratulations to MPA's Speech Team members who competed at the 2013 State Tournament April 19-20 at Blaine High School. The State Tournament was the end to a successful season for this year's team, including a first place finish at the Class 4A Sub-Section Competition as well as a first place finish at the Section Tournament. With a large number of members in 9th and 10th grade, this team promises continued success in the coming years. Go Panthers!
Below are MPA's State Speech Tournament results (in alphabetical order by student):
Phil Acito (Grade 10) - Competed in Humor
Matt Ehren (Grade 10) - Competed in Extemporaneous Speaking
Aaron Hathaway (Grade 11) - 3rd in Duo
Kip Hathaway (Grade 12) - 3rd in Duo
Munira Khalif (Grade 10) - 4th in Poetry
Riley Lannon (Grade 9) - 7th in Duo
Shailagh Lannon (Grade 11) - 6th in Creative
Allison Leopold (Grade 9) - 7th in Duo
Rebecca Millberg (Grade 12) - 4th in Informative
Aniket Naravane (Grade 11) - 2nd in Original Oratory
Emma Stacy (Grade 10) - 6th in Humorous Interpretation
Hena Vadher (Grade 12) - 3rd in Original Oratory
Interested in being a host family for an exchange student next year? Host families are needed for several exchange students who will be attending MPA for the 2013-2014 school year. This is an excellent opportunity for families to enhance their global perspective by opening their homes to these exceptional students. Please contact Renette Stinson in the Admission Office for details if you are interested. Thank you!
Summer@MPA is here! We are excited to offer another season of fun learning experiences during the 2013 summer! Please take a look at some of the wonderful classes and camps we have to offer. We are confident we have something for every child!
Our summer program was born from a desire to fuel the same intellectual curiosity that is nurtured at MPA during the school year. Each Summer@MPA class and camp offers high-quality instruction, whether in academics, sports or artistic endeavors. Our excellent teachers and staff create a caring, active and fun environment in which children are free to explore and learn.
We offer specialized classes open to all age students during the weeks of: June 17-21, June 24-28 and August 12-16. Full Day classes run from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and costs $400 per week (four classes per day except where noted). Half Day classes are offered in either Morning (9:00 AM to 12:10 PM) or Afternoon (12:50 PM to 4:00 PM) and costs $200 per week for each session (two classes per day per session). During the three weeks of Summer@MPA, students enrolled in Summer@MPA classes can also use before and after care at no extra charge. Extended day is open at 7:00 AM and closes at 6:00 PM. Extended day is not available for students participating in our licensed PK program. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Summer@MPA is proud to offer some wonderful NEW or improved programs for the summer of 2013!
- Camp Invention is a week long summer enrichment program partnering with Mounds Park Academy for 32.5 hours of programming designed to challenge students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities through inquiry-based, hands-on activities. This program is open to students entering grades 1-6. Enrollment is through Camp Invention at the attached link: Students must register through the camp invention site: campinvention.org or by calling 1-800-968-4332.
- Summer@MPA also includes MS Adventure Weeks running throughout the summer, open to students entering grades 5-8 including CSI Week and Outdoor Adventures!
- Please look for NEW class offerings, including drama, arts, academics and more!
- The Summer@MPA classes and application are online with TADS. New families will need to create a new login with TADS to begin the application process. Current families will login using their existing TADS account by selecting the attached link to enroll http://mytads.com/a/mpasummerprogram. You will be considered registered and financially responsible for payment at the time of submitting the application. Payment will not be due until classes are confirmed on or after May 15. You will be sent a billing agreement for signature and asked for payment during that time.
Panther Camp is a separate application process, but also online with TADS. Again, new families will create a new login. Current families will login using their existing TADS account by selecting the attached link to enroll http://mytads.com/a/mpapanthercamp. Panther Camp is open to students entering grades KG-6 next fall. We provide theme based educational experiences including field trips, weekly swimming lessons at the Maplewood Community Center, and loads of hands-on learning activities to enrich and engage your student throughout the summer. Panther Camp runs from June 10 through August 23, with the exception of the three weeks that we offer summer enrichment classes: June 17-21, June 24-28 and August 12-16.
Please free to call or email me if you would like additional information, or if you have questions regarding our summer programs. We hope you can join us for an exciting summer!
Summer Programs Coordinator, Mounds Park Academy
Congratulations to the Mounds Park Academy Speech Team. They won the Sub-Section tournament held at MPA on April 4! The final tally was 131 points for MPA and 41 points for the second place team, Christ Household of Faith.
Students advancing to the Section Tournament on April 9 at Belle Plaine are:
Pa Chia Thao
Allison Leopold and Riley Lannon
Kip Hathaway and Aaron Hathaway
Andrew Grant and Billy LeMire