Lucia Simon '22Lucia has been an MPA student for three years.

What do you love about MPA?
MPA gives me the space to be authentically myself, to dive deep into the curriculum through our modified block schedule, and to make real connections with students and faculty. I feel completely supported by the MPA community in moving by myself to Minnesota. I know I always have people to go to for help, advice, or just a fun conversation. To me, MPA really is my family because my own isn’t here. I’m spending the day with my friends learning about things that matter to me.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
The support given at MPA is unparalleled. Teachers and faculty truly care for each student’s experience and well-being. Since day one, I have been encouraged to follow my passions and use my voice to advocate for myself and others. We have been taught that as teenagers we can make meaningful change in the world just as much as any adult. Our level of knowledge, skills, and passion does not hold us back; rather, it gives us room to learn and grow. We can make a difference as long we do the work to go into our communities, build relationships, and make the effort to understand different perspectives.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
Because they really care both about the students and the impact the curriculum has on students. Teachers understand that they aren’t just teaching for us to get through high school but they’re teaching the next generation of change-makers. Everything they teach, they show us why we should care about it and why it’s useful in the world. Even if you’re not a science person, our science teachers will show you how science will help you with what you are passionate about. They make their teaching more specific in moments to help students care about what we’re learning.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
I am no longer a number. No longer a grade. My teachers know who I am. The best example of this is my living situation. I am living with my junior year English teacher for my senior year. When my family had to move back to Montana to be with my grandparents because of COVID, I wanted to continue at MPA. After a semester virtually, I wanted to be back in Minnesota and I had multiple teachers reach out offering to host me. Whenever I tell someone I live with my English teacher they are immediately confused. At MPA, the teachers know who you are and really care for you. The support I’ve gotten from my teachers is unbelievable.

What would you tell another student your age considering MPA?
You won’t dread coming to school every day. The environment that MPA fosters allows you to be comfortable being yourself. You will actually enjoy the classes and know why you’re learning what you’re learning. At MPA, school is more than memorization and sleepless nights. It is experiencing the curriculum hands-on and learning how to apply what you learn in the world. Although you are expected to work hard and try your best, you will have great support.

In what ways has MPA prepared you for life beyond school?
I have learned how to advocate for myself and others.

What’s your big dream?
I want to be passionate about my job. I don’t know exactly what I want to do, although I am beginning college with a psychology major. I honestly just want to help and connect with people. I want to be excited to wake up and go to work. I want it to be life-giving, something that makes me happy and fulfilled.

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