May 31, 2018
by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School
If you happened to drive through the north parking last Friday, you no doubt noticed the playfulness of the seniors as they celebrated their last day of school. From filling the parking lot with cars parked askew, to the American Ninja obstacle course inside the north entrance that we all needed to traverse, to serving ice cream at 8 AM in the morning, the seniors showed a bit of mischievous humor. For that to serve as a last impression would be a mistake. They are a group of accomplished, multi-faceted, enormously talented, and genuinely good people.
For me, one of the most poignant moments of the senior’s last day was gathering in the Upper School Commons with the kindergarten students. Seniors paired with the kindergarteners to record their hopes and dreams for themselves and the world when they will be graduating. They finished their time with one another by singing the school song with one voice. I’ve spoken many times about how special it is to have grades PreK-12 under one roof. Hearing them sing with one voice captures exactly why that is so meaningful.
I’ve had the privilege of watching our seniors excel academically, athletically, and in the arts. They are leaders on the court, the stage, on the playing field, and in the classroom. MPA was founded on the ideal of a balance between academics, the arts, and athletics. It is such a joy to see the same faces performing so beautifully in a band or choir concert that I’ve also witnessed fiercely compete in an athletic match. You may not be aware that one of our seniors, in addition to being an excellent student, is the national Slovak champion in figure skating.
Our seniors are also leaders in the wider community. One group of seniors worked with our local state senator to craft and introduce a bill in the State Legislature to institute stricter labor trafficking laws. One senior received the National Prudential Service Award for his work in bringing dental care to under-resourced and under-served Guatemalans.
During his senior performance last week, Senior Nick Guiang reflected on the role MPA played in his life and the life of his family. “To the Guiang Family, MPA has been a way of life. To live with love, integrity, and respect for all. To work tirelessly for others. To lead with a gentle hand, not an iron fist. To question and speak out when others may stay silent. And most importantly, to follow your passions.”
Nick is the fourth Guiang to graduate from MPA, spanning 24 years. In fact, Nick was just one week old when he first crossed the MPA threshold. “Without regret, my parents would do it all over again just the same because they understood that without you, MPA, my brothers and I would not be who we are. You gave us more than an intellectual education, but an education on how to be a better human being. You molded our character and pushed us as people. You taught us more than to be nice and kind, but how to truly dream big and do right. Our lives are built around those values.”
Another senior with a long family history at MPA is Quinn Campbell. Her father, Ryan Campbell, graduated in 1990 having been part of the class that wrote MPA’s school song. What a feeling she must have had singing it with her kindergarten friends after 13 years of being a student at MPA and a lifetime of being a Panther.
Tomorrow, I will lead the seniors, in cap and gown, in a procession amidst students from all divisions. This new MPA tradition is in celebration of their academic success, an affirmation of their relationships with students across grades, and as an expression of our school culture and unity. Individually and collectively, our seniors are an amazing group of young people who truly embody the MPA mission. They give life to what it means to dream big and do right. As they leave MPA, I have confidence that they will indeed stir the human spirit and shake the world.