What Makes a Global Citizen?

Salmah and Ms. Murr talking togetherThis message is from MPA’s Office of Admission from the September 21, 2023 issue of InsideMPA. Click here to get in touch with Admission and learn more!

At MPA, we are nurturing dreamers, doers, and right-makers. We are equipping students with academic knowledge to be change agents and world-shakers. In fact, in MPA’s Code of Ethics, our community acknowledges the responsibility of being a global citizen by advocating for social justice, caring for the welfare of others, and promoting human equality, among other pillars rooted in respect.

“Right-making is a seed that is planted in each student and cultivated as they journey through MPA. Not only do we teach character traits like inclusiveness and integrity, we promote a do-right attitude through our actions and words while we learn and grow together. This inspires us to dream big and impact others positively at home and in the world,” Kristine Petersen, MPA Kindergarten teacher says of global citizenship at MPA.

Through rigorous curriculum with meaning and purpose, and an educational blueprint with character education at its heart, MPA pushes students to realize that their identities are measured by the depth and decency of their impact on the world–our world. Perhaps Ms. Murr and Salmah ’21 could illustrate what this means.

Global citizenship at MPA is all about students discovering how to make a positive difference in our world, helping one another, and feeling connected. We emphasize character education. We require service projects prior to graduation. We support student-led clubs with cause-based initiatives. We partner with global organizations–The Red Cross and Seeds of Change, for example–for our students as young as first grade to realize their responsibility to positively impact our world. This is what makes a global citizen–and cultivating a service-based mindset in students is key to unlocking a larger worldview, while also preparing them for all that lies ahead.

Message from Alumni Board Member and MPA Third Grade Teacher, Annie Stewart ‘11

As an educator in Minnesota, the month of September brings many transitions—the end of the State Fair and, therefore, summer vacation, begrudgingly getting back into a school sleep schedule, cooler temperatures, and the joys of planning for a new year, and a new set of students. This September was no different, except that I would be officially teaching at MPA. If you had asked me when I graduated twelve years ago if I could see myself teaching, let alone teaching at the academy, I would have scoffed and said, “There is NO WAY I’m doing what my parents do!” Funny how life works out, right? Starting a new school year is always nerve-wracking no matter how long you’ve been teaching, “Are the kids going to like me? Have I done enough lesson planning? What if they hate the room? What if I mess up?” What I’m grateful for during this season of transition is how easy it was for me to handle those nerves, knowing I’d be coming back home. Regardless of your experience at MPA, there is something inherently special about walking the halls of your alma mater. What struck me as I dragged box after box of classroom decorations and school supplies down the Lower School hallway was, “Okay! I guess I’m really doing this… and thank goodness I get to be doing it here.” After spending four years teaching in public schools, I felt a literal weight taken off my shoulders when I walked through my classroom door. I knew that no matter what this school year would bring, I would be supported, cared for, and cheered on by everyone in the building.

As you all go through your own transitions this fall, don’t forget about all of the happenings going on back on campus. Homecoming is right around the corner on September 29 and 30 with the inaugural Hall of Fame induction dinner for outstanding Panther athletics, an all-alumni social gathering, the class of 1994 reunion, and lots of opportunities for you to cheer on Panther sports. You’ll find me cheering on the girls volleyball team! The fall is a great time to reconnect with MPA, and I hope to see many of you on campus, whether you’re here for Homecoming or just for a tour. If you want to see me in action, come down to room #113 and hang out with some awesome 3rd graders!

Joe Kordosky, 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

Launched earlier this year as a way to celebrate MPA’s rich athletic tradition, MPA is proud to announce the 2023 Hall of Fame inductees: Joe Kordosky, athletic director and coach, Bev Docherty, teacher and coach, Mason Ferlic ’11, alum athlete, and Caitlin Lock Coomes ’01, alum athlete. Please take a moment to read thoughts from Joe (Kordo) Kordosky below!

What was your greatest accomplishment in your 28 years as an athletic director and coach at MPA?
My greatest accomplishment was the establishment and development of MPA’s Athletic Program. In 1992-93, MPA was accepted into the Tri-Valley Athletic Conference. This enabled MPA athletes to compete for Conference titles and also earn much-deserved All-Conference recognition. The first MPA team to win a Conference Championship was the 1994 Girls Track Team coached by Bev Docherty.

What is your happiest memory of your time at MPA?
I have so many great memories. The one that made me the proudest was in 2002 when MPA sent both boys’ and girls’ soccer teams to the State Tournament. This created tremendous excitement and school spirit throughout the entire MPA community.

What impact do you hope you had on others at MPA?
I hope my enthusiasm and belief that the MPA Athletic Program could be competitive and successful would encourage others to support the athletes and the program.

Who at MPA had the greatest influence on you?
The school’s founder, Bob Kreischer. He instilled in me the importance of always creating the best student opportunities and programs.

How would your fellow students or staffers describe you?
Kordo was approachable, with a great sense of humor. He thoroughly enjoyed the numerous student interactions throughout each day. He had an open-door policy and was always working to improve the athletics experience at MPA.

Bev Docherty, 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

Launched earlier this year as a way to celebrate MPA’s rich athletic tradition, MPA is proud to announce the 2023 Hall of Fame inductees: Joe Kordosky, athletic director and coach, Bev Docherty, teacher and coach, Mason Ferlic ’11, alum athlete, and Caitlin Lock Coomes ’01, alum athlete. Please take a moment to read thoughts from Bev Docherty below!

What was your greatest accomplishment in your 35 years of teaching and coaching at MPA?
Developing a consistently strong, enjoyable, competitive track and field team was the goal I was trying to accomplish throughout my time at MPA. The MPA track and field records are outstanding in every event and are a testament to the program’s quality. Taking an entire bus full of State Qualifiers to practice at the venue before the big meet in 2019 was such a memorable accomplishment. We qualified for three relays and several individual events on the girls’ and boys’ teams: sprints, distance, and field events. We came away from State that year with six All-State performers!

What is your happiest memory of your time at MPA?
So many happy memories from so many decades! Coaching the first MPA State Champion (Lauren LaRoche-400m), the first Girls Conference Championship as a team (Tri-Valley Conference by 1/2 point, highlighted by four women coaches), the first boys State Champion—then in multiple events (Mason Ferlic-1600m, 3200m), our first Relay State Champion (4 x 800m; Kethan Dahlberg, Nick Gardner, Nolan Ferlic, Evan Ferlic), our first Field Event State Champion (Yahya Madar-High Jump, tied State Record) were all awesome memories. But hosting the co-ed relays on the new Schilling Track, working with student-athletes and families who supported track and field throughout our journey with celebrations, and surviving long, cold meets with smiles are also happy memories. Watching so many student-athletes reach their goals at every level, in every event, is probably the most rewarding.

How did your time at MPA shape your future?
Our home life revolved around MPA track and field in the spring. Schedules were set with my husband and family making adjustments to support me in my love of coaching track and field. It seemed to work out all right as all four of our children went on to compete in track and field in college, shaping their lives as well. Also, when I coached cross country, members of the team babysat for our children, providing me with a night out with my husband—not at a track!

What is one piece of advice that you would share with MPA athletes?
I’ve always encouraged my athletes to “trust your training.” I think this could speak to all of their endeavors as they trust their well-rounded MPA education. The education gained from needing resilience, hard work, and leadership on the track and in their classroom prepared them for reaching their goals. MPA athletes have had experience/practice with meeting challenges and finding success. I hope they trust that experience as they take on new goals.

What impact do you hope you had on others at MPA?
I hope I helped the MPA community understand and support athletics as a valuable part of each student-athlete’s total education.

Caitlin Lock Coomes ’01, 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

Launched earlier this year as a way to celebrate MPA’s rich athletic tradition, MPA is proud to announce the 2023 Hall of Fame inductees: Joe Kordosky, athletic director and coach, Bev Docherty, teacher and coach, Mason Ferlic ’11, alum athlete, and Caitlin Lock Coomes ’01, alum athlete. Please take a moment to read thoughts from Caitlin below!

What is your happiest memory of 13 years at MPA?
Sitting on the steps outside the Upper School, putting on shin guards and cleats with my friends and teammates before soccer practice on fall afternoons. Or maybe the anticipation of preseason practices, the excitement of being back together again? Or Back To School Night when we got to meet our new teachers each year. Sitting on the carpet as Ms. Lage read pictures books to us in the library. Pie at Baker’s Square after choir concerts. The Heritage Fair in the cafeteria. Too many happy memories to choose just one!

How did your time at MPA shape your future?
The most important things I got out of my time at MPA were enthusiasm for learning and school, and the deep-rooted sense of self that continues to guide me. The supportive, positive environment MPA provided during those early years created a stable foundation for everything that came after.

In what ways did the school support you during your time at MPA?
I remember how good it felt to have teachers congratulate me after the soccer team had a good game, or after a track meet went well—to know that these adults really cared. The school was also supportive and flexible about our family living in rural Chile for three months during my sophomore year. My teachers adapted their curriculums to help me make the most of that unique life experience.

Who at MPA had the greatest influence on you?
I can’t say enough about the positive impact of the soccer and track coaches, Mike Scinto, Al Greimel, and Bev Docherty. Their encouragement and confidence in me allowed me to be myself and grow in the most joyful way possible. I can only hope that my own kids find coaches/human beings of the same caliber to nurture them in the same way. In fact, I can say the same thing about every single one of my teachers and coaches at MPA.

What is something about you or your time at MPA that few people know?
The morning of my first day of kindergarten, I woke up at 3 AM, put on my uniform and my backpack, and woke my parents up to let them know I was ready to go to school.

Mason Ferlic ’11, 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

Launched earlier this year as a way to celebrate MPA’s rich athletic tradition, MPA is proud to announce the 2023 Hall of Fame inductees: Joe Kordosky, athletic director and coach, Bev Docherty, teacher and coach, Mason Ferlic ’11, alum athlete, and Caitlin Lock Coomes ’01, alum athlete. Please take a moment to read thoughts from Mason below!

What was your greatest accomplishment in your four years at MPA?
After a successful junior year track season, I set the lofty goal of winning the state cross country championships. It was the first time I called my “shot” and let everyone know that was my goal for the season. When the day came, I defeated my rival in a duel over the last kilometer. Winning that race transformed my mentality as an athlete and opened my eyes to what was possible with self-belief and work ethic. I also have very fond memories of that time with the team—every day was a blast, and we all trained with a purpose.

How did your time at MPA shape your future?
Without the excellent coaching and supportive environment, I would not have had the same level of success that got me recruited to the University of Michigan and eventually make an Olympic team. MPA fostered my love for running and competing—I grew as an athlete and a person. Looking back, much of my success can be attributed to my formative years in high school. I learned to win, lose, and deal with challenges. MPA started my athletic career, but it certainly did not end there.

What is one piece of advice that you would share with MPA athletes?
Be bold and set ambitious goals. Real challenges require real sacrifices; hold yourself accountable to achieving those dreams. I spent many weekends, holiday vacations, and after-school hours training and preparing so that when the opportunity came, I could truly test my limits. When you wholeheartedly commit to a goal, do so with conviction and clarity. Remember, the journey is the ultimate reward.

Who at MPA had the greatest influence on you?
My MPA coaches, Bev Docherty and Dan Ethier, profoundly impacted my development as an athlete and person. They were the first to recognize my talent for running and cultivate the drive to be a champion. They were not just mentors on the track or cross country course but also in life. They instilled in me the essence of being a true athlete, emphasizing the importance of physical and mental preparation. Like all great coaches, their wisdom revolved around the power of patience, teaching me not to rush toward short-term achievements but rather to trust the process and focus on long-term growth. They were always there to balance my enthusiasm and disappointment, imparting valuable life lessons that extend far beyond the realm of sports. Their guidance has left a lasting mark on my character and approach to challenges.

Alumni Association Welcomes New Members

As the new year approaches the Alumni Association welcomes new members. Join us in welcoming the new alumni board members!

Isabel (McKeown) O’Branski ’14

For what grades did you attend MPA?

Why did you choose to pursue a position on the Alumni Association Board?
MPA made a great impact on my childhood (being there since kindergarten!), growing up and preparation for college – I want to help keep it the great school it was for me!

In what ways do you see yourself as a supporter of MPA and its mission?
At MPA I never felt anything was out of reach, excelling in sports, pursuing your passions, achieving good grades in the hardest classes, because I was so well supported! I hope to give support to current and future students to dream big.

What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
I currently work at Topgolf Callaway Brands (formerly Callaway Golf Company) as a Project Manager. I just got married in June in San Diego where I’ve lived the last 3 years, but will be moving in August to NYC with my husband and mini golden doodle.

How did you get to where you are in your career? Did you attend college and if so, where? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?
After MPA, I went to the College of Saint Benedict where I studied Global Business. After graduation I worked at 3M (right down the road from MPA!) in their Global Sourcing Department until moving to my current role.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA help you dream big and do right?
MPA helped me immensely in preparation for college – I felt extremely ready for the college curriculum and professor expectations. MPA prepared me for my liberal art college since I was ready to study multiple topics, be involved in sports on top of academics, and stay well-rounded. Today, I still feel inspired to stay well-rounded, focusing on both work, my health, and relationships all at once—just as I did at MPA. Read More

MPA Alum Receives Award Posthumously

The MPA Alumni Association Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2023 MPA Alumni Association Award recipient, Jaye Sinkfield ’12. This award honors 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. Award recipients are real-world inspirations for both current students and fellow alums to dream big and do right.

Jaye was nominated posthumously in honor of their impact on the world. Tragically, Jaye passed away in January 2023, leaving behind lifelong friends, family members, and hundreds of people who felt their impact and were inspired by Jaye. We sat down with Tammy Sinkfield, Jaye’s mother, to learn more about how and why Jaye lived and the legacy they left behind.

Jaye and their twin brother, Jordan, were born to Tammy, a single parent who never dreamed of having children due in part to fibroids that prevented pregnancy. “That’s why I say, ‘They are my blessings, because God saw it fitting that I should be their mom,’” says Tammy, an inpatient nursing supervisor at Gillette Children’s where she has been for more than 25 years. “At their birth, from the moment Jaye came into my view as the doctor lifted them from my womb, Jaye was the most beautiful androgynous precious being. Though I hardly knew what androgyny meant, I understood in that instant what it was when I saw my first born baby, Jaye, this beautiful combination of beauty, grace, masculine, and feminine. Everything about this baby was symmetrical, balanced, beautiful, and perfect. Jaye was like the Black Gerber Baby. Everybody commented on what a calm and gentle spirit that Jaye had at birth. That carried them through life.”

When the time came, Tammy took great care to find a school for Jaye and Jordan, interviewing more than 12 and selecting Four Seasons A+ Elementary. “We knew we wanted private schools. I was always in private schools. But I couldn’t afford MPA at the time,” she shares. The twins thrived in elementary school, often serving as the leads in the annual plays. They were excellent performers. They came to MPA in Middle School—Tammy took a second job, the twins received a scholarship, and they got here. “I wanted them to have opportunities.” Read More

MPA Dreamers: Parents Of Lifers

Quote from Kelsi Picture yourself in the position of a parent of a PreK or kindergartener, perhaps anxiously, but jovially, beginning your school search. If you are looking at a school like Mounds Park Academy, you want your child to grow into a free spirit, a risk taker, a right maker, a dreamer, and a doer. You want an independent thinker. You want your child to be known. You want your child to love school. Your role, as the parent in the school search process, will determine the foundational years of your child’s education. It seems that for parents of the Class of 2023 Lifers, the memory remains clear as day.

Parents of MPA Lifers, the students whose entire K-12 or PreK-12 journey has taken place here at MPA, made a choice for their students and continued to choose MPA every year for all 13 years of their education. Right before they graduated from MPA, we interviewed the Class of 2023 Lifers in a group reflection on their MPA journeys. Their responses and recollections, punctuated with gratitude, nostalgia, and undeniably helpful feedback, led us to further expand on the conversation. We decided we needed to hear from the Lifer parents, as well.

An MPA education emphasizes the value of purposeful academic rigor in a hands-on, experiential, college-prep environment with the goal of instilling a lifelong love for learning. So we asked:

How has MPA accomplished this for your children, helping them find personal and academic success?

Christine (Anthony ’23): Anthony’s a quiet kid, more on the introverted side. And I think one of the things, from preparing personally, is being somewhere this many years and really knowing people and having those longitudinal relationships with teachers, classmates, and other staff at school. It has really been beneficial for him as far as building confidence and being comfortable–coming out of his shell a little bit. The first time he came here, he was 10 days old, so by the time he came as a student, he was super comfortable and felt like it was somewhere that he was familiar with. I definitely think that’s made a difference for him.

John (Freya ’23): When it comes to Freya, one thing that I think has been beneficial for her academic success is the small size of the school and the exceptional students that she’s with. And some of those kids being so exceptional and doing such exceptional work has forced her to become a better student.

Natalie (Henry S. ’23): I couldn’t agree more. One thing I’ve been really pleased about and so proud of is the diversity that Henry’s experienced here. It’s something he was looking for in his college search, which I was just so profoundly impacted by. He’d say, “mom, that’s just not what I’m used to, and I’m looking for a school with more diversity.” That is MPA. I love that. Read More

Meet The Johnston Family

The Johnston FamilyKate Johnston is an MPA Class of 1998 alum. Now, her son Emmett is a ninth grader at MPA.

What do you love about MPA?
MPA has a special energy that is warm and welcoming. It is an inclusive community that truly cultivates joy and a love of learning. I love that MPA prioritizes music and art. I also love that MPA encourages curiosity and creativity and is committed to teaching the whole child. I love the small class sizes and amazing teachers that make it a school where each child is truly seen, heard, and valued. MPA teachers and staff build strong relationships with students and encourage them to shine their unique light.

What initially attracted you to MPA?
I graduated from MPA and have always been grateful for the amazing education I received. When my husband and I were considering a school change for our oldest son, we decided to look at MPA. We wanted small class sizes and a school that was inclusive and committed to growth and progress. When we visited the school, I was happy to see that MPA continued to grow and change in many ways while staying committed to its mission and values. The energy was wonderful, and it felt like a place that could be an incredible partner for us as we raise our boys. Our son is in his second year at MPA, and we feel blessed to have him there. Read More