US newsfrom Mark Segal, Upper School director

Mark Your Calendars

  • Friday, March 8: Spring Break Begins at 3 PM
  • Monday, March 11-24: No Classes, Spring Break
  • Monday, March 25: Classes Resume at 8 AM
  • Tuesday, April 2: World Language Final Exams During Scheduled Class Time
  • Wednesday, April 3: World Language Final Exams During Scheduled Class Time
  • Thursday, April 4: Science Final Exams, 8:45-10:15 AM
  • Thursday, April 4: English Final Exams, 12-1:30 PM
  • Friday, April 5: Math Final Exams, 8:45-10:15 AM
  • Friday, April 5: Social Studies Final Exams, 12-1:30 PM
  • Friday, April 5: End of Quarter 3
  • Monday, April 8: Quarter 4 Begins
  • Wednesday, April 10: No Classes, Eid al-Fitr
  • Thursday, April 11: Parents Association Cultural Celebration Day
  • Saturday, April 13: National ACT Test Date, 8 AM-1 PM, Lansing Sports Center
  • Thursday, April 18: Senior Performances, 8-9:15 AM, Nicholson Center
  • Friday, April 19: MPA Spring Auction, 6:30-11 PM, Dellwood Golf Club
  • Friday, April 26: Spring Musical, The Hello Girls, 7-9 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Saturday, April 27: Spring Musical, The Hello Girls, 7-9 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Sunday, April 28: Spring Musical, The Hello Girls, 2-4 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Friday, May 3: Upper School Parent’s Association Coffee, 8-9:30 AM, PCR

Important Information

  1. If your student will be absent, late, or needs to be excused early from school, please reach out to the Upper School office via
  2. On Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5, there are no regular Upper School classes. There are only final exams these two days. Upper School students may be on campus before and after their final exams, and lunch will be available for those students on the MPA lunch plan
    11:20-11:45 AM. Light breakfast and snack items will be available throughout the day to all Upper School students outside of the Upper School office. Please note that Middle and Lower School students will follow their regular class schedule all week and only Upper School has a modified schedule for final exams.
  3. Be on the lookout for information about the 2024 MPA Spring Auction, Together We Can Move Mountains, scheduled for Friday, April 19 at Dellwood Golf Club. This is your chance to attend a night of fun, inspiration, and community building while supporting MPA with fellow parents, alumni, and friends.

High school is one of the best times of a student’s life. Friendships are solidified, passions and future aspirations are explored and realized, and liberties are often earned and granted. High school can also be one of the most dangerous times in a student’s life. Beliefs of invincibility and that rules may not always apply are normal and developmentally in line with their peers. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Although the brain stops growing in size by early adolescence, the prefrontal cortex, responsible for planning, prioritizing, and making good decisions, doesn’t finish developing until an individual is in their mid-to-late 20s.” As someone who works with teenagers in a school setting, this information is confirmed daily.

I share the above information as I met with members of the senior class recently as I learned that the annual game of “Nerf Wars” is staring up again. A version of tag, “Nerf Wars,” involves using high-powered Nerf guns to shoot foam projectiles at other participants. Once a player is hit, they are out of the game. During the games, however, good decision-making is often traded for impulsive actions that can have tragic outcomes. According to an organizer of a Nerf War game at a local high school, “the game includes people flying down alleys, running and jumping into cars, no one is wearing their seat belts, as you have to be ready to go.” Unfortunately, several local students from the Twin Cities metro area have been injured in automobile accidents in recent years, and in 2015 two high school students from Lakeville died when their car crashed while playing the game. Dangers also exist as some participants “go into stealth mode” by dressing in black and sneaking around at nighttime in neighborhoods that they are not familiar with or where people are unaware of the game. Unaware neighbors have been known to call the police, scared that there are people lurking around their homes, and police officers have shown up with guns drawn to address the situation.

I shared with the seniors that we care about them and implore them to make good choices and to be safe if they decide to participate. It is also important to pass this information to you, and the adults in their lives, as I am sure that this game is not limited to only members of the senior class and want to make you aware of the possibility of your child participating.

As we head off into Spring Break, I hope your families find time to rest, refresh, and spend time together. I look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

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