Class of 2019: José Varela Castillo, Woodbury

Jose Varela CastilloAs 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. MPA has been a great fit and I’ve really enjoyed my time here.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I chose Tulane because I wanted to be in a place that was warm and close to home. Also, I wanted to be in a five-year architecture program, and Tulane was my favorite school in the south that offered it. I also was looking for a medium size school, but one that still had lots of school spirit and D1 athletics. Tulane also allows me to double or switch majors because admission is not school specific giving me more options if architecture is not the path I ultimately want to take.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am really looking forward to taking more art classes and doing more hands-on projects. I am also looking forward to more independence and the ability to have more control over my schedule. College will also give me the opportunity to find out what I really want in life and discover new paths. I am excited to meet new people who have had different life experiences than I have. Studying abroad is another thing that I am excited for, since I love to travel and like living in different countries. Read More


Class of 2019: Gabby Law, White Bear Lake

Gabby LawAs 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’m proud to call myself an MPA lifer. It’s crazy to think only 13 years ago I was sitting in Ms. P’s class learning the alphabet!

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I first heard about Georgetown through Ms. Kunze, my Spanish teacher and speech coach, who said a previous MPA student, Aniket Naravane, had just graduated from Georgetown and loved it. In particular, she mentioned how Aniket loved the global outlook on learning, their focus on care for others, and the overall happiness of the students. After researching Georgetown, my mom and I visited the campus, and I immediately fell in love. The students were engaged and weren’t afraid to speak their mind, but they were incredibly kind too. Having a community of older students who mentor younger students and professors closely bonded to their students was very important to me, and I could clearly see that exemplified during my visit.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am so excited to live in D.C.! As someone who loves museums and politics, I can’t think of a better place to live. D.C. also has a lot of great opportunities for internships; I’ve listened to NPR since I was a young child, so I’m hoping I can intern at their headquarters or at the Capitol sometime over the next four years.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?
Ms. Peterson makes the college counseling process so manageable and enjoyable. She gets to know her students well throughout high school, so when we start applying to colleges and writing essays, she personalizes our experiences to help us find the best fit. Also, she is just the sweetest! I love stopping in her room to have a cup of coffee and chat.

What about your MPA experience has best prepared you for college?
MPA has helped me learn how to speak my mind and be open to debate. I know at college I won’t be afraid to present my ideas and defend them, too. By creating a space where I can take risks and make mistakes, MPA has inspired me to think independently and try new things. Read More


Deepening Our Global Connections

dr. Hudson's trip to Chinaby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Planes, trains, and automobiles—and even a boat. I write this message while flying over the northern Pacific Ocean on my way back from a one-week trip to China. It was a fantastic experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of the Chinese people and delighted in the wonderful culture and cuisine. Together with several other heads of school from the Midwest, I visited a number of schools in Nanjing, Beijing, and Guangzhou to learn more about the Chinese educational system.

The Chinese educational system is very different than ours in a number of ways. The National College Entrance Examination, Gaokao, is required for college entrance and the score dictates a future path for each student. There is tremendous pressure to earn a high score and get into a top college. Teaching is focused on preparing students for the exam, particularly in math and science, leaving much less time for other subjects or critical thinking. Curriculum is limited, and Chinese pedagogy is very teacher-centered. There is far less attention paid to student engagement and agency. Read More


An MPA Soccer Reunion

MPA Soccer alumni reunionA group of former MPA girls soccer players, some of their partners, eight little ones, and coaches Mike Scinto and Al Greimel recently got together for an MPA soccer reunion!

Thank you to Caitlin Coomes ’01, Beth Dunbar ’01, Victoria Simmonds ’01, Anna Kelly ’02, Karli (Gastezoro) McGill ’03, Kate Allen ’03, Clare Halloran ’03, Kelsey Suddard ’03, Stephanie Eyerly-Webb ’03, Amelia Lyle ’03, Mary Brainerd Dujovski ’05, and Sara Coomes ’07 for the group photo!


Pa Chia Thao ’13 Speaks At Booyah Bash 2019

Pa Chia Thao '13 speaking at the Booyah Bash galaMPA alum Pa Chia Thao ’13 was a featured speaker at this year’s Breakthrough Twin Cities annual gala, the Booyah Bash. Pa Chia is a Mount Holyoke College Class of 2017 alumna majoring in astronomy and physics. She shared about the impact of Breakthrough Twin Cities and Mounds Park Academy during her remarks.

This fall, Pa Chia will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholar. Her current research is in understanding how planets beyond our own solar system formed and evolved throughout their lifetime. Congrats to Pa Chia as she continues to make an impact on the world through her studies and research! Read Pa Chia’s full speech here.


Class of 2019: Aneesh Syal, North Oaks

Aneesh SyalAs 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 Kindergarten. My sister was in third grade when I enrolled, so my family was familiar with the school. My parents wanted to provide me an education that they never had the opportunity to have, a place where both intellect and character and valued and developed equally.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
After touring numerous colleges, Washington University in St. Louis remained on my mind for many months. I enjoyed the resources of the institution, the strong emphasis on science and humanities. However, what ended up causing me to apply Early Decision to WashU were the people. I visited the college twice and the students were incredibly kind and reminded me of MPA students. I remember talking to one current student, and she said that everyone here works together because we acknowledge that collaboration fosters stronger solutions. Read More


Thank You For Your Impact And Support

MPA parents and board members at the auction Thank you to our entire community for helping to make the 2019 Spring Auction – Once Upon a Time a big success. Together, current parents, alumni families, grandparents, faculty and staff, and friends raised a grand total of $200,584!

Our community also ensured that this year’s Fund A Need project, Together We Dream of High Tech Spaces, was fully funded. By raising their paddles and generously supporting the Fund A Need, MPA will be able to provide the best technology and tools in our newly renovated commons and library next year. Thank you to everyone who donated to this very special project. Read More


Carrying On The MPA Tradition Of Excellence

Ms. Rossbach's group hug at the lower school art and music showby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

It is hard to put into words how I feel about coming to school each day. I am incredibly fortunate to work with amazing people who inspire me by their professionalism and by their character. They are kind and caring people who love their area of expertise, their craft, and most certainly, the children they teach. MPA English teachers indeed love literature, but they also love engaging students in the exploration of the most fundamental questions about humanity and meaning. Our math teachers undoubtedly enjoy the intricacies of the relationships of numbers, but they also love awakening the curiosity and problem-solving abilities of their students. The very best teachers do not teach math, or science, or art. They teach students.

Whether by retirement or life changes, we will say goodbye to several of these remarkable MPA educators in a few short weeks. Most of us have left jobs behind because we were dissatisfied with working conditions, or because we were bored or underappreciated. Rather than leave MPA behind, these educators move toward new chapters in their lives. While it is difficult to bid farewell to them, I do so with gratitude for the mark they have had on this community and with joy for what lies ahead of them.

Read More


Class of 2019: Henry Peterson, Stillwater

Henry PetersonAs 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 third grade.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I grew up knowing I wanted to attend a small college. Both of my parents attended liberal arts colleges for their undergraduate education and loved it. Looking for a liberal arts college with nice weather narrowed my field of options drastically, and Pomona was the first college where I felt at home during my visit—it became my first choice very quickly.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am most excited to live away from home, meet new people with different backgrounds from my own, and learn about topics I haven’t yet had the opportunity to study in an academic setting.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?
As I reflect on my college process, I believe my letters of recommendation may have been the strongest part of my applications. And although I will never read them, they represent what I’m most grateful for: my teachers taking the time to form meaningful relationships with me and my classmates throughout my time at MPA. As I meet more people who are going through the college process, I’ve realized the many benefits of strong student-teacher relationships (including the help they provide during the college application process). Read More


See You Saturday At The Spring Auction!

Auction volunteers hard at workOur volunteers are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the 2019 Spring Auction—Once Upon a Time! It’s not too late to get your tickets to this fun, entertaining, and important event in support of MPA. We’re so thankful for all of the hours that so many of our MPA community members have put in to make this year’s event our best yet.

We have silent auction items with starting bids as low as $35! You may preview them here. In addition, you’ll find mystery boxes, a wine toss where you’re sure to be a winner, a game of heads or tails with a cash prize, incredible live auction packages, a live band, and great food—what more could you want for a fun night out?! Perhaps most importantly, we want to build community and raise funds in support of our teachers and students in the classroom.

Contact us with questions and grab your tickets before it’s too late!

A special thank you to Lisa Vale for the progress photo above! Pictured: Reese Manger, Sarah McFarland, Renee Roach, Jen MacDonald, Billi Jo Aamodt. Volunteers not pictured: Jen Holloway, Amanda Platson, Sally Richie, Lisa Vale, Christi Zweig.