MPA Book Festival Ends May 3!

perk students on story walkThe book festival has started and runs through Monday, May 3. Its goal is to encourage the love of reading and to contribute to the MPA Library. Books are available for purchase from two local booksellers, Usborne Books and Valley Bookseller in Stillwater. Our theme this year is Earth Day, which was April 22. We have opportunities to participate in book and Earth-related fun activities, including story times and prize giveaways!

Below are helpful links with book recommendations and direct links to our book vendors to place your orders.

If you have any questions about this year’s Virtual Book Festival, please contact DeeDee at deedeeclendenning@gmail.com or Michelle Mick at michelle_wessely@yahoo.com.


Parents Association Members Share Why They Volunteer

MPA parents having coffee outsideWe invite you to join the MPA Parents Association Board! The Parents Association board is looking for volunteers to fill several positions next year. There are varying time commitments, but the experience is consistently rewarding. Over the next few weeks the current PA Board would like to share our reasons for volunteering.

Please reach out to Kim Jakway, Susan Knapp, or any of the current board members with questions or to express interest.

Why I Volunteer
by Yukiko Miyokawa (parent of Eilam, 9th Grade)
I have been volunteering my time as a Treasurer for the Parent Association for the past one and a half years and it has been a very rewarding experience.

Initially, I was nervous to volunteer at MPA since English was not my first language and I came from a different culture.  Moreover, since I was born and raised in Japan, I had no idea what student life was like and how teachers interacted with students and their parents in the U.S. I wondered what I could do as a parent to be involved and help. Read More


Dhruv Muppidi ’21 Named Presidential Scholar Semifinalist

photo of DhruvCongratulations to senior Dhruv Muppidi on being named one of 625 Presidential Scholar semifinalists from out of 3.6 million seniors across the country! Since 1964, the Presidential Scholars Program has honored the nation’s most distinguished high school seniors based on academic success, leadership, and service to school and community. Dhruv is one of only 10 semifinalists from Minnesota. He will find out if he is selected as one of 160 Presidential Scholarship recipients in early May!

Meet Dhruv Muppidi ’21

What prompted your application to the Presidential Scholars Program?
After receiving the invitation to apply to the Presidential Scholars Program, I decided to apply mostly on a whim to eliminate any regret I may have had if I didn’t at least test my chances. I never once expected to be a semifinalist, and to be considered alongside some of the most accomplished high school seniors in the country is extremely humbling. It’s a testament to the wonderful work being done at MPA by the teachers and the student body.

What’s your big dream?
If we’re talking long-term (and perhaps a tad idealistically), NBA commissioner is my ultimate dream, combining my love of business management, economics, and sports. However, I’m also passionate about combating educational inequities, and I would love to continue working in the non-profit sector during college and beyond.

Read More


Sixth Grader Josh M. Finds Success at Math Masters Competition

Josh Murr in front of math trophy case wearing medalCongratulations to MPA sixth grader Josh M. on placing 4th out of 111 middle school competitors from across Minnesota at the Math Masters Competition’s Virtual Fact Drill and Order Of Operations Round on March 30 and 31! “It is quite a challenge for a sixth grade student to finish that highly because there are over one hundred students competing that are all very good in math,” says Middle School math teacher and Math Masters coach Chris Peterson. “As far I know, Josh is the only fifth or sixth grader from MPA to ever place in the top six in the Fact Drill and Order of Operations Round at Math Masters!” Way to go, Josh!


Congratulations MPA Speech Champions!

MPA Speech class A ChampsCongratulations to MPA Speech, the Class A State Team Champions! In the 2021 Speech Season, Mounds Park Academy had ten state finalists, two state runner-ups, and four State Champions. They also broke the prior Class A team points record. We are so proud of these students!

Individual results:
Hana Miller: sixth in Humorous
Charlotte Bergh: fifth in Ex Reading
Rohit Iyer: fourth in Ex Speaking
Lucy Schwieger: third in Poetry
Lilly Gasterland-Gustafsson/Garrett Hollihan: second in Duo
Emma Cohen: second in Oratory
Salmah Elmasry: champion in Ex Speaking
Ryan Ghose: champion in Humor
Livia Wooldridge: champion in Poetry
Anna Gaudio: champion in Prose


MPA Book Festival Has Begun!

MPA librariansThe book festival has started and runs through Monday, May 3. Its goal is to encourage the love of reading and to contribute to the MPA Library fund. Books are available for purchase from two local booksellers, Usborne Books, and Valley Bookseller in Stillwater. Our theme this year is Earth Day, which is today, April 22! We have opportunities to participate in book and Earth-related fun activities, including story times and prize giveaways!

If you have any questions about this year’s Virtual Book Festival, please contact Michelle Mick at michelle_wessely@yahoo.com.


Look Ahead To Back To School Events

students at 2021 back to school eventsMark your calendars! Back To School events are currently being scheduled and can be viewed on the online calendar on the “Families” page of our website.

Click here to look ahead to August 2021 on the online calendar and save the dates for Back To School events! These events will guide your journey into your child’s next grade level by getting to know the teachers, connecting with other parents, and becoming even more excited for what’s in store for next year!


Debuting A Special, Collaborative Piece Of Art

the finished painted pianoSpecial thanks to Renee Sonka, MPA visual arts teacher

Upper School Applied Painting Class paints a piano together every year, as part of an in-depth collaborative project in conjunction with a local non-profit, Keys 4/4 Kids.

Last year, they barely began when virtual school halted their progress, making this type of group painting temporarily impossible. They carefully resumed this semester, and they finally have the exciting results to share!

This, their ninth collaborative piano, references a mural by Xavier Gonzalez. The mural originally hung at Dixie’s Bar of Music in New Orleans. It was damaged during Hurricane Katrina, restored in 2018, and now hangs at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. See the mural and learn more here.

Before painting, they prepared for weeks, learning about the history of the mural, building context by studying a timeline of related regional murals that led to this one. They considered racial relations then and now, wove in jazz history, and factored in economic trends (it was painted post-depression and so is a celebratory shift from Gonzalez’s previous work). They learned about every person featured in the full mural as they discussed at length why these individuals may have been included as well as why they are portrayed as they are. Look closely and you will see Lena Horne, Glen Miller, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, and so many more. The historians at the New Orleans Jazz Museum have been very supportive of this project, approving MPA’s request to reference the mural and sharing much information about it. While students worked on this painted piano in shifts, they simultaneously worked on their own individual paintings, inspired by the musicians featured in the mural.

Being it took two years to complete under such challenging circumstances, Ms. Sonka says, “it feels like a birth of some sort to see it finally come to life. Drawing connections between art, music, and history, while reading, writing, discussing, and painting, this beautiful piece is a grand culmination of interdisciplinary, hands on, content rich, interest driven, project-based learning!”

The piano is currently on display in the study room in the Upper School Commons, along with the related individual paintings done by the same students.


The MPA Spring Auction Is Tomorrow!

Spring Auction time is one of our favorites every year! We feel the excitement every day, from gathering donations from those within our very own community who want to share their time and talents, to the local businesses that have partnered with us for many years, to all of our new donors– the energy is palpable. With more than 200 items to bid on and a special Fund-A-Need, we are excited for you to participate in whatever way is right for you. You won’t want to miss out!  Because this is a virtual event, when you join our live Zoom program Friday evening at 6:30 PM, be ready for our very own MPA student co-emcees, some amazing guest speakers, and live performances that are sure to impress. This event is open to all whether near or far, so be sure to share an invite for this once-a-year fundraiser within your network of family and friends! The more the merrier as we build community to fund important needs for our students, faculty and staff, and incredible school. We can’t do what we are able to without your unbelievable support and the love we share for MPA.

Thank you,
The MPA Development Team


MPA Book Festival Agenda & Activities

two students reading in the library in 2019The MPA Book Festival is a beloved tradition and the Parents Association is looking forward to making it possible virtually! The annual Book Festival provides our MPA community with opportunities to participate in reading activities, purchase great books, and support our local booksellers. The MPA Library will use the donations from the booksellers to purchase books for teachers, classrooms, and the library. Books will be available for purchase from two local booksellers, Usborne Books and Valley Bookseller. Since our event is virtual, you have the ability to purchase any books available through their distributors. You can even purchase a gift certificate for a teacher! Our theme this year is Earth Day, which occurs on April 22. There will also be opportunities to participate in book and Earth-related fun activities, including prize giveaways! If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Mick at michelle_wessely@yahoo.com. Read More