Today at MPA
BOOKS FESTIVAL 2018
The theme of this year's MPA Parents Association Book Festival, "What's Your Story?," allowed so much room for discovery for our little ones. The goal was to encourage reading and celebrate the strength, influence, and inspiration of storytelling among the Lower School.
Perhaps it was the compelling artwork and stories of famous people who overcame adversity and pursued their dreams adorning our walls. Maybe it was seeing their peers, ninth grader Maya Peterson and eighth grader Ruby S., signing and talking about the journey of their own publications. Wherever the encouragement came from, the Lower School students proudly wrote and shared their stories, which were displayed and read by our community passing by all Book Festival week.
On Book Festival Family Night, the most special moments captured how members of the community took on roles different from the ones we usually recognize them in. Eighth grader Charlotte B. was not an attendee, but rather the designer for the beautiful hand-drawn Book Festival logo on everyone's badges and tote bags. Lower Schoolers transitioned from students to the presenters as they read to their listener, a reading therapy dog. And Upper School students switched from mentors to cheerleaders as they helped Lower and Middle schoolers play and win festival games.
At MPA, it feels more incredible each time that all of us, and our stories, come together as one. The 2018 Book Festival, through fun and through community, represented the power of storytelling to those who it was intended for—the Lower School—but also undeniably, and maybe even unexpectedly, every one of us.
Coming up on the Makerspace's first birthday, we've seen how children absolutely flourish in it. They are in there growing, creating, learning, and playing every day. But Ms. Koen developed an invention herself—a way to showcase the brilliance of Makers among our entire community. Thus, the first annual Maker Fest came to be on February 24, 2018, and it was an unforgettable Saturday at MPA. Maker Fest brought together students from every division, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and parents of alumni, all connected by MPA and their passionate creativity. Everything from handmade clothing out of found materials to robots and LED circuits lit up the Makerspace and cafeteria, with help, of course, from the smiles of admiring guests and Makers.
EIGHTH GRADE CHARACTER PRESENTATIONS
It is fascinating to see how comfortable MPA eighth graders are in front of a crowd. Perhaps it is because MPA students are introduced to public speaking early on to create that comfort. But when it comes to the Eighth Grade Character Presentations, a speech is more than just speaking. It may very well be the most personal students have ever been with their peers. With poise, pride, and a little bit of humor, the eighth grade students are giving their annual rounds of character presentations. The concept of the speech is simple. As you exit Middle School and enter your journey into Upper School, how has your character developed? But the content the students present is much deeper than that. They must first establish their interpretations of the nine character pillars: collaboration, communication, courage, creativity, curiosity, gratitude, integrity, perseverance, and respect. They dig into questions about themselves and how they exhibit, or don't exhibit, any of the nine. They then analyze and share the character traits they live and breathe every day and the ones they hope to possess as they begin these new stages of growing.
The 2018 MPA Talks brought new perspectives, approaches, and stories as we gathered to hear from three of our insightful community members. MPA Parent Dr. Sheneeta White spoke to empower young women and motivate them to add value everywhere they go in life. Junior Ling DeBellis told her personal story, how her dedication, perseverance, and optimism helped her accomplish her dreams. Science faculty Hannah Sullivan opened our eyes to create opportunities out of our passions. These incredible women have written their own histories, and we are proud to have them as part of ours.