Welcome To The Family, Ms. Drake!

Lauren DrakeMeet Lauren Drake, who is joining MPA’s faculty as an Upper School English teacher! A veteran English teacher, she has taught in both Northern California and in Colorado and recently relocated back to Minnesota. After graduating from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., Ms. Drake matriculated to Carlton College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English (magna cum laude) and then received a Master of Arts in British and American literature from Mills College. Learn more about her below!

What did you love about MPA right away?
I loved how MPA felt like a close-knit community that was warm and inviting. Everyone I met, from teachers, to administrators, to students, was incredibly friendly and I felt at home immediately. I also really enjoyed the portion of my interview with students. They were thoughtful, engaging, mature, and funny–I feel so grateful that I’ll get to work with students like that every day at MPA.

What’s your big dream?
My big dream is to start an experiential learning school on a farm. Through farming, students would learn about sustainability and biology. They then would learn about math, economics, and marketing by selling the produce. Of course, we’d read a lot of nature literature as well!

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
I am passionate about connecting with the land–through gardening, hiking, and environmental stewardship. I love spending time outside and now I get to show the beauty of the outdoors to my two young sons.

What’s your secret talent?
I am really good at making up songs on the spot!

We can’t wait for our entire community to meet you, Ms. Drake! Stay tuned for more extended Q&A profiles of the amazing faculty and staff joining our community in the 2019-20 school year!


Cleaning Up Our Waste System

Ms. Meras washing trash binsIn May 2018, Middle School faculty members Ms. Meras, Ms. Powell, and Ms. Nagle first began thinking of ways to eliminate the food waste in the cafeteria. With the help of a Ramsey County grant and members of EcoConsilium, MPA was able to purchase a food recycling system and larger waste bins. MPA’s food waste is now sent to a pig farm, where it can all be recycled. There are two other bins available for trash and recyclable materials. While it was a change from simply dumping all lunch garbage into three bins instead of one, our school has  received positive feedback and high remarks that we are doing an impactful and excellent job of sorting our food waste.

In an effort to further the sustainable waste program, we are upgrading all the recycling bins in the building. The new bins will be a solid blue color and all bins will now be clearly labeled for either garbage and recycling. Overall, MPA received $10,220 in grants from Ramsey County to fund these exciting changes. During the first week of summer break, Ms. Meras, Ms. Powell, and Ms. Nagle along with help from facilities staff members Mr. Connors, Mr. Schneider, and Mr. McLees collected and cleaned all of the existing bins on campus. We are grateful for their enthusiasm and hard work to make MPA a greener, more environmentally-conscious place. Look out for brand new garbage and recycling bins in the fall, Panthers!


Panthers Shine In State Tennis Individuals

Parker Law competing in the 2019 state tennis tournamentMPA senior Parker Law entered the 2019 Class A Singles State Tennis Tournament as the #1 seed. Parker’s path to the State Championship included four matches, in which he defeated Worthington High School’s Blaine Doeden in the opening round of 16, St. Paul Academy and Summit School’s Kai Sih, the #4 ranked player from the Breck School Ishan Nadkarni in the final four, and the #2 ranked player from Redwood Valley Rikard Wilkens in the Championship match. After these crucial wins, Parker finished as the 2019 MSHSL State Class A Singles Champion!

Freshman Justin Prochnow entered the 2019 Class A Singles State Tournament as the #3 seed. Justin’s path to the third place medal included four matches, beginning with his victory over St. Paul Academy and Summit School’s Nathan Sobotka and Benson/KMS’s Eric Hoium. Redwood Valley’s Rikard Wilkens defeated Justin Prochnow, placing Justin in the third place match, where he then defeated the Breck School’s Ishan Nadkarni for the third place medal in the 2019 MSHSL State Class A Singles Tournament. Read More


Panthers Excel At State Track & Field

Congratulations to all of the Panthers who participated in the State Track & Field Meet, held June 7-8. These seven athletes all earned All-State Honors and were medalists by placing in the top nine in Minnesota, Class A:

  • Isak Nightingale, Cullen Moore, Henry Snider, Matthew Bourne – Ninth in Boys 4 x 800m Relay, 8:20.17
  • Henry Snider – Seventh in the 3200m Run, 9:53.34
  • Sofia  Walker – Fifth in the 800m Run, 2:18.40 with a new school record!
  • Yahya Madar – First in the High Jump, 6’ 10 with a new school record and tied the MN Class A State Record! Only 18 high school students have jumped this high in the United States this year.

Others qualifying for the State Meet, competing, but not placing in the top nine include:

  • Katie Dahiya, Gabby Law, Margo N., Izzy Quam – 17th in the 4 x 800m Relay
  • Tae’Vion Wilkins, Ian Olson, Nathan Harvanko, Flynn Opatz – 14th in the 4 x 200m Relay

They all had remarkable seasons! Go Panthers!

Photos by MN Prep Photo/www.mnprepphoto.com and Nate Bander ’09. 


Class of 2019: Parker Law, White Bear Lake

Parker law, class of 2019As the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA?
I started at MPA in Kindergarten.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I chose Babson for its stellar reputation in business and entrepreneurship, as well as its nationally ranked tennis program. There, I will be able to push myself athletically as well as continue my business passion.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am incredibly excited about the independence that comes with college away from home. Living next to Boston gives me the opportunity to experience a new landscape, meet new people, and find interesting jobs and internships.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?
The amount of time focused on standardized test preparation, college essay writing, and researching colleges starting sophomore year is something I have come to appreciate after the fact. I consistently felt more prepared for the college application process than my peers at other schools. Read More


Panthers Win State Tennis Championship

mpa state tennis champsThe Mounds Park Academy Panthers defeated the St. Paul Academy Spartans 4-3 in the Class A State Tennis Tournament at the Reed-Sweatt Indoor tennis facility in Minneapolis Wednesday. MPA secured wins in first singles, second singles, first doubles, and the deciding win came in a three hour and 30+ minute marathon match in fourth singles. Vlad Vutov (Nova Classical Academy) secured a Panther victory with a 6-4 third set win. This was MPA’s second State Boys Tennis Championship—the last time was in 2006. Congratulations, Panthers!

Read more in the Pioneer Press >

See the bracket >


2019 MPA Alumni Association Award Recipient

mike velin '06 and Claire porter '00Congratulations to Claire Porter ’00! The MPA Alumni Association Board of Directors is pleased to announce this year’s recipient of the MPA Alumni Association Award. This award is intended to honor alumni of outstanding talent pursuing their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations, while embracing the spirit of MPA’s commitment to community and social outreach.

Since graduating from MPA, Claire Porter ’00 has pursued academic excellence and has made a big impact on her field and the world. Claire received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University in 2005 and has earned two Master’s degrees, both from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Since that time, she has authored numerous publications to advance research in the fields of Geographic Information Science and Software Engineering.

Porter currently serves as a Remote Sensing Scientist at the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota, a group that provides geospatial data, derived products, and expertise to polar researchers. She leads the product development team in building automated workflows for production of orthorectified imagery, imagery mosaics, and elevation models from stereoscopic imagery. She serves as a mentor and informal advisor to undergraduate and graduate students and carries on the MPA tradition of supporting others and making an impact on the world. Read More


Class of 2019: Izzie Portoghese, Saint Paul

Izzie PortogheseAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA? 
I came to Mounds Park Academy in ninth grade after years of attending Saint Paul Public Schools because of the welcoming environment and great academics of MPA. One of my sisters came to the school the same year I did when she was in eighth grade and the other came a few months later as a kindergartener. My parents originally were going to wait to bring my youngest sister to MPA until Middle School, but decided to bring her earlier when we saw the positive affect on myself and my middle sister.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I will be attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, this fall. I wanted to attend a small liberal arts college that was close to home. I also was looking for a great nursing program for me to pursue a career in healthcare. St. Olaf allows me to follow the career path I want, while being in the setting and environment that is a good match for me.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am excited about starting the nursing program at St. Olaf. I was directly admitted to the program and I am looking forward to starting healthcare related classes and eventually doing clinicals. St. Olaf has clinical relationships throughout the Twin Cities, at Mayo Clinic, and in rural areas, and I’m so excited to experience all of them.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?
My favorite part about the college counseling process at MPA is that I could sign up to meet with Ms. Pederson to talk about my essays, college decisions, etc. easily and whenever I needed help. Senior year, I met with her about a hundred times to go over the essays I was writing and she always was there to help. I also really appreciated that MPA encouraged us to think and prepare for college starting freshman year. The College Counseling Office has been very helpful throughout my years at MPA. Read More


See Shakespeare & Company This Summer

an image from AFG's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.Ann Frances Gregg, MPA’s Upper School theatre teacher and director, is currently directing “Two Gentlemen of Verona” for Shakespeare & Company in White Bear Lake. S&C, founded by MPA parent of alum George Wade, is an outdoor theatre company, which produces three shows ‘in rep’ each summer. It is the oldest outdoor Shakespeare company in Minnesota. This summer marks the company’s 44th season!

You are invited to bring lawn chairs, picnics, blankets, whatever suits you, and come and enjoy a show on a beautiful summer evening (or not-so-beautiful—shows go on rain or shine). Shakespeare & Company performs on a permanent outdoor stage at Century College in White Bear Lake. Tickets can be bought at the door with cash or check. A show calendar, show information, and directions can all be found here.


Class of 2019: Lindsey Baldwin, Saint Paul

Lindsey BaldwinAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA?
I came to MPA in ninth grade after moving to St. Paul from Marquette, Michigan.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I was first encouraged to visit Wellesley College because it is a women’s college and because of its reputation for academic excellence and social justice. When I visited, I fell in love with the positive, supportive environment and the dedication to feminism among Wellesley students. I ultimately chose Wellesley because it is a perfect fit for me, and I know that the college and my peers there will help me grow as a student and as a person.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
First and foremost, I am excited to study at a women’s college. While it is not representative of the “real world,” the prospect of engaging in learning unencumbered by gender roles and societal expectations is invigorating. I am very passionate about women’s and other social issues, and because Wellesley is committed to exploring and alleviating those burdens, I know that it will be a perfect place for me to grow. Read More