aka King of Cardboard
Jim Schwieger wears many hats at MPA—retired teacher, grandparent, and now, volunteer. After 40 years of teaching science, 26 of which were at MPA, he couldn't stay away from the school environment.
"People retire and are supposed to go do what they love. What I really love is what's here. To retire and come back is just a continuation of what really gives me enjoyment," he shared.
Jim's foray into volunteering was in the Library, managing books and spearheading projects for librarian, Nancy Lage. His latest work involves a model of the Chrysler Building and constructing a wall to better define the Upper School Library space. Jim found his volunteer place: "I immediately loved it—I loved helping her in particular because she is such an interesting and professional person."
Middle School-age students hold a special place in his heart, and he delights in chaperoning nearly all of their fieldtrips. "My kind of humor works best with seventh and eighth grade students," Jim explained.
Jim is often called upon to volunteer in the Middle School science classrooms as well. Bill Madigan, science teacher, recently invited him in to evaluate his students' work. They had researched possible locations to build a research station within Yellowstone National Park. In groups of three or four, they prepared a proposal to pitch to Mr. Schwieger, who listened, asked clarifying questions, and ultimately selected the best proposal from each of the three classes. "He comes in wearing a park ranger's shirt complete with homemade ranger badge. Who else but Schwieger?!" said Madigan.
MPA is incredibly thankful for the immeasurable impact Jim has left, and continues to leave, on this school and its children.
aka Obstacle Course Guy
Pat and his wife Jill researched many schools before choosing MPA for their son Jake who is now in second grade. "We knew right away when we came here that this was the place for all of us," he said. "MPA promotes kindness, respect, inclusion—qualities we want to raise Jake to have."
As a stay-at-home dad, Pat has become a dedicated volunteer. On any given day, he could be found setting up the obstacle course for a Parents Association party, volunteering in the classroom or on the playground, leading the Lower School Hockey Club, organizing an activity for STEAM Club, or serving on the Makerspace Advisory Committee. With a background in information technology, he loves that MPA gives students exposure to a wide variety of engaging science and technology curricula, in high, low, and no tech ways.
"What I do here through volunteering aligns with my passions," he said. "And, I love getting to know Jake's friends, his teachers, and other parents." MPA couldn't be more grateful for the dedication and passion Pat brings to our campus.
aka Spelling List Extraordinaire
"I want my boys to know how strongly I believe in their education—that investing in it is worth my time," said Cari, mom to Ethan in third grade, Colin in eighth grade, and Henry in 11th grade.
Cari loves to spend her time volunteering in the classrooms with reading groups and spelling test preparation. She also helps coordinate a variety of Parents Association initiatives, and serves on the Parents Association board as its secretary. Add in her work with the Spring Auction, duty free lunch, and her time in the Library and she is at MPA more days than not.
"My boys aren't very forthcoming with information, so it's really nice for me to be on campus and get a feel for what's happening. Across all ages, everybody always seems happy here and looking out for each other—just generally so happy to be at school. It's nice to be in the middle of that," she said.
"Cari is such a passionate volunteer! She willingly jumps into any activity and works to benefit all students," said Renette Stinson, third grade teacher. Cari is remarkably generous with her time, patience, and creativity. This entire community benefits from all that she gives.
Mounds Park Academy extends its gratitude to the Parents Association for its leadership in promoting community and supporting MPA's mission. Countless volunteers demonstrate their commitment to the school's mission and values on a daily basis through their work.
New this year, the Parents Association organized multiple cultural celebrations designed to bring our diverse community together. They helped families
celebrate holidays such as Diwali, Chinese New Year,
and Feliz Navidad to rave reviews. These events opened minds to traditions not celebrated before at MPA in inclusive and joyful ways.
Other traditional Parents Association projects continued including Microfunding, Book Festival, Middle School Café, the Grade Representative Program, Faculty & Staff Appreciation, Lower School classrooom parties and
If you are interested in getting more involved with the Parents Association, please email Christine Larson and Amanda Campbell, co-presidents, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer at MPA
Volunteers are so important to the fabric of our community! Whether you have a little time or a lot, there is an opportunity on campus that aligns with your interests and passions. Please contact LaTasha St. Arnault, director of development and community engagement, at 651-748-5532 to express your interest in volunteering at MPA!