kindergartners with the canvas bags that they madeby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Last week was extremely exciting as the community pulled together in support of our Girls Volleyball Team and their quest for a state championship. And although they were ultimately not successful, their incredible season will remain in the memories of MPA students and families. More than 250 students in grades eight through 12 filled five buses for the trip to the Xcel Energy Center last Thursday. Meanwhile, on campus, many Lower and Middle School students, faculty, and staff gathered in the new Family Commons to watch the game on the big screen. There was singing, cheering, and even a “wave” making itself across the fans in the commons.

The school spirit of last week is just one of many indications that our school year is off to a great start. We have wonderful new students and families who are enriching our community. Our newly built and renovated spaces have made it easier to come together as a family over a meal or an event. In the classroom, on the court, and on the stage, students are excelling and truly making an impact, locally, and globally.

Earlier this week, I happened upon a group of Middle School students learning to sew in the Makerspace. You might wonder: Why teach sewing? In an article from BBC News, a professor of surgery in the United Kingdom believes that today’s students have spent so much time in front of screens and so little time using their hands that they have lost the dexterity that’s essential for surgery. The professor, who teaches surgery to medical students, says young people need to have a more well-rounded education, including creative and artistic subjects where they learn how to use their hands.

Upon further inspection, I discovered they were learning to sew by designing and making canvas bags. Posing a few more questions, I discovered the project was part of a worldwide program called Design for Change, which asks students to turn “empathy into action” and address one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. At MPA, an organic partnership formed between Middle School science students and kindergartners and they are collaboratively and effectively addressing the sustainability goal, “Life Below Water.”

By lessening the environmental impact of plastic bags in our oceans, students hope to reduce the number of sea turtle deaths and increase awareness of the impact plastic is having on our world. Additionally, students are discovering everyone has a responsibility to make informed choices about the products they use and the choices they make. The canvas bags will be sold at the Kowalski’s Market in Oak Park Heights with the dual purpose of raising awareness and funds to be donated to a non-profit that our Upper School students visited last summer when they traveled to Costa Rica. This is rigor with purpose.

I am quite confident you are aware that today is Give to the Max Day across Minnesota. Millions of dollars will be raised in just one day, benefiting many non-profits throughout the state. This is a very important day for MPA as the Fall Campaign ends tomorrow. Raising the funds necessary to bridge the gap between tuition and the true cost of an MPA education is crucial to the ongoing health and vitality of our school.

If you haven’t already, or you’d like to make another gift today, I am hoping you will consider MPA. Every dollar raised will go directly toward the type of classroom experiences described above. Across all grade levels at MPA, students are finding their voices, discovering they have agency, and creatively addressing problems our world is facing—all while seeing that our form of academic rigor has meaning and purpose. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support.

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PS: Please join us today at 2:20 PM in the Lansing Center for this year’s Lip Sync Assembly in celebration of Give to the Max Day. If it is anything like past events, there will be stories to be told!

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