Founders’ Day 2022

middle school students playing in the leavesby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

I invite you and your family to our annual pancake breakfast next Wednesday, December 7, from 7-8 AM to celebrate Founders’ Day. Founders’ Day celebrates the official date that the school was established. This is a very special celebration, and what better way to mark the school’s founding than with a delicious pancake breakfast made by members of the MPA Board of Trustees?! This year, the day is being made extra special with an all-school pajama day in honor of the Book Festival.

My family spent a quiet Thanksgiving with my husband Ross’ brother and sister-in-law. We gathered for the annual Olson Family Lefse and Flatbread Making Day on Saturday. True North Dakotan Norwegians Willard and Vernita would spend a day making lefse and flatbread for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to enjoy over the Christmas holidays. Now that they have both passed away, we started a new tradition of getting together as a family to make the lefse and flatbread. It is a beautiful day of remembering, telling stories, arguing over which of Vernita’s lefse recipes we should use, working together to roll the perfectly rounded lefse, nurturing a shared identity, and sharing a meal. Read More


College Years Social

After a two year pause for the pandemic, the MPA Parents of Alumni annual College Years Social made a return in November. Parents reunited at Keller Clubhouse to reminisce, catch up and meet other POA. To make the gathering even more enjoyable, Melissa Peacock, won Carmel Chocolate Turtle Cocktail gift basket!

“We were so happy to be meeting all the new Parents of Alumni at MPA from 2017 to 2022,” stated Lindo Goodno, POA Board Chair classes of ’16, ’18 and ’20. ” The College Years Social is POA’s cornerstone annual event to keep in touch with MPA families. It’s just a fun time!”


POA Board Holiday Gathering

Ho, ho, ho…..the holidays have begun and the board members of MPA Parents of Alumni met at Jax Cafe on November 17 to kick off the season.

“Our role as board members of Parents of Alumni is planning, fun and fun planning!” states POA Board Chair, Linda Goodno. “We enjoy a holiday event every year in addition to our regular four board meetings. It’s such a great way to keep connected with MPA as well as meet new friends.” Every parent is a member of Parents of Alumni when their student graduates. No dues, no fundraising, just fun and connection. If you have an interest and would like to join the fun, please contact POA Secretary Amanda Campbell at a.m.ploog@gmail.com.


Alumni Connect with Phillipe Thao

We’re catching up with Phillipe Thao ’14 in the first episode of our new video series “Alumni Connect.” While at MPA, Phillipe discovered his love of writing thanks to MPA’s English teachers. After attending DePaul University, Phillipe has been pursuing his passion for creative writing and now works on exciting projects for Netflix and has been published in the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, and more! Phillipe is a testament to the incredible achievements of our alumni! Check out the full instastory here. If you are interested in being our next featured alum contact alumni@moundsparkacademy.org, we would love to hear your update!


Alumni Holiday Shopping Guide

Tis the season for holiday shopping. Submit your business to be featured in the 2022 Alumni Holiday Shopping Guide! We’ll be featuring submissions all season long. Take advantage of this free promotional opportunity! Do you have videos or photos to include in your feature? Please email them to agoetzke@moundsparkacademy.org.

Steps for Submission:
1. Visit the @alumnimpa page on Instagram, click the link in the bio and select 2022 Holiday Shopping Guide.
2. Fill out your detailed information.
3. Stay tuned for updates on your submission!


Host Family Needed For Semester Two

Dear MPA Community,

Do you have a desire to expand your family’s perspective of the world? A room to spare? Space in your heart for another family member? MPA is seeking a host family for a new Upper School international students for the second half of the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

As you and your family consider hosting, please review the MPA Host Family Recruitment Flyer and Host Family Application.

STIPEND

  • A monthly stipend will be directly deposited in installments of $900/month on the first of each month for the previous month, January through June. January and June will be prorated.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Host families are responsible for providing transportation to and from school and school-related activities.
  • Host families will work with their student in scheduling rides for social events.

MEALS

  • All international students will receive the MPA school lunch. Host families and students do not need to pack lunches.
  • Host families are responsible for providing two meals on all weekdays and three meals on all weekend days.

We hope you’ll consider opening your hearts and homes to one of our international students! Give it some thought, and if interested, please reach out to me for additional information and/or to begin the process of becoming a host family. I would love to have a conversation with you!

Thank you so much for considering,

Cory Becker-Kim
International Student Program Coordinator
Advanced Language and Culture Teacher
cbeckerkim@moundsparkacademy.org


Meet William Kim ’20

William Kim '20What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
I am a student at the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University in London, Ontario, Canada (also where I currently live), studying Percussion Performance and entering my third year.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?
I was able to get to where I am today because of the numerous opportunities MPA and the Twin Cities provided for me. While in the Twin Cities, I got to play in the Symphony Orchestra of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies organization. I got to perform in venues such as Orchestra Hall and Ted Mann Concert Hall, mentor younger musicians in other orchestras, and tour internationally in Eastern Europe (2018). This past June, I was invited by GTCYS as an alum to come back to Minnesota to perform and tour internationally with them in Southern Italy–it was wonderful to come back and visit all my old friends and relive fond memories at MPA!

It all started for me with MPA’s ensembles, who inspired and shaped the musician I am today. While at MPA, I participated in Concert Band, Varsity and Concert Choir, and Percussion Ensemble. In addition to developing my musical abilities, each ensemble helped to develop my confidence and teamwork skills, very important skills to have when majoring in music and in life.

While in Minnesota, I also took private lessons at the University of Minnesota under the tutelage of Dr. Adam Rappel. His patience, dedication, and guidance helped to get me to where I am today, and I don’t know where I would be today without him and my MPA teachers Ms. Wantock and Mr. Habermann.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA inspire you to dream big and do right?
MPA’s faculty inspired me to dream big and do right by serving as excellent role models, and leading by example. Every faculty member I interacted with impacted me through their respect, responsibility, leadership, and methods of keeping us engaged and fostering learning through multiple flexible approaches that included Socratic seminars and frequent in-class discussions, a learning environment very few schools have. Given the nature of my current major (Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance), which involves a lot of performing in large ensembles and working in “teams,” MPA has given me the lifelong skills necessary to lead and collaborate with my colleagues effectively.

What’s next? Do you have any aspirations, personal or professional, that you’d like to share?
To keep learning and performing!


From Host Family To Chosen Family

Nastya and Sarah traveling together with their familiesNastya Vershenya ’01 and Sarah Hanson Salgado ’03 are each other’s chosen family. Their story begins in Sarah’s seventh grade year at MPA, when, as an only child, MPA’s call for families to host an international student was appealing and exciting. Both Sarah’s family and Nastya, coming as an international student to MPA from Minsk, were looking for the same thing, but none of them expected to gain a bonus sister/daughter in the process.

“Twenty some years later, she’s still a part of our family,” Sarah said. “Her [Nastya’s] daughter calls my parents her grandparents, and my parents refer to Nastya as their bonus daughter. We truly did gain a family member from the experience.”

We were able to connect with Sarah and Nastya together to share their heartwarming story as a host family and bonus family member.

How did you meet and become family?

Sarah found what she was searching for in a sister and friend in Nastya. “I’m an only child. When I was preschool age, my parents had done a couple college student homestays at our house. As a three, four, and five-year-old, that was really fun for me! I remembered liking that, and the summer after seventh grade, MPA sent out a newsletter looking for host families. I called my mom at work to say ‘Mom, you have to call MPA right now, and we’re gonna do this!’”

Nastya was drawn to MPA after her family’s experience with Friendship Force. Friendship Force connects families with others, staying with each other as host families for weeks at a time. Her family happened to connect with an MPA family, and they presented an opportunity for the international program to her.

The day Nastya was supposed to arrive in Minnesota, there was a massive airline workers’ strike. She couldn’t get to MSP, and had to reroute to Chicago as the closest available airport. Sarah’s family was so adamant about not delaying Nastya’s arrival, that at three in the morning they made the drive to Chicago to personally pick her up. Read More


What’s Happening To MPA’s Pond?

renovations at the pondIf you’ve been on campus lately, you’ve probably noticed something different about MPA’s pond–and not just the seasonal algae. This summer, the pond is adorned with trucks, cranes, bulldozers, gravel, and boulders. We have an exciting update about all of this action and commotion around our beloved outdoor learning lab.

MPA has a long-standing partnership with the Ramsey-Washington Watershed District. Several times per year, they visit our Upper School biology and environmental science classes for lessons regarding the health, importance, and sustainability of water. Many of these lessons use our campus pond as the source of their research and data collection. This summer, we are ecstatic to be continuing our work with them to embark on improvement project for our campus pond, supported by the Watershed District themselves. One of our amazing alumni, Andrea Wedul ’95, is the architect who designed this renovation for us. With the help of Andrea, the Watershed District, and the vibrant ecosystem of the pond, this initiative will enhance a signature space at MPA to become a more advanced and accessible outdoor classroom.

Currently, the renovation crew is removing a row of parking spaces from the west lot to install filters and extend the growth of native plants in that area. This will help protect our pond from harmful runoff throughout every season. We are still in the early stages, but are loving the progress taking shape right before our eyes! See the action for yourself here!


Host Family Experiences: Ms. Stacy

Parent of alumni and fourth grade teacher DeeDee Stacy shares her experience hosting Lyndon Lyu ’20.

How did hosting an international student impact or change your family?
Having an international student in our home enriched our understanding of another culture first hand, and taught us that extending ourselves to those who need a place to live garners many rewards. The laughter, gratitude, and love that our student brought into our home resulted in an ongoing relationship that feels like family.

Do you have a special memorable moment you experienced while hosting your student?
There are countless memories worthy of sharing, because seeing MPA and Minnesota through the eyes of a new comer was delightful. When our student entered our home for the first time, he went into the living room and and twirled around, saying, “Thank you for letting me live here. I just love this house!” At the end of his first year here, when he learned that as a junior he might not have the same Lower School buddy, our student asked if he could write notes to the young student to let him know how much he enjoyed their time together. The connection to the community was obvious in so many ways. Read More