Join Us On Saturday For MPA Talks

Purchase your tickets for MPA Talks to join us on Saturday as four members of our community share their meaningful, impactful, and inspiring stories! MPA Talks is a tradition that brings our community together, and we can’t wait to share the evening with you. Below is just a glimpse of the stories you’ll be inspired by on Saturday evening and tickets are still available!

Laurel Schwartz ’11 will be discussing stories passed down through generations, and how they tell us about the past and also shape the future. As human beings we are predisposed to sharing our life and our histories with others. For so long, the narratives in the news, in books and on the big screen have highlighted a single story that often left many people and identities in the margins. Now, every person has the capacity and the platform to be a storyteller with an audience. And, with that, comes our ability to change the world.

Kelly Turpin ’04’s talk will be covering her journey as an opera singer to artistic activist, which is how Arbeit Opera Theatre came to be. She has always wanted to make a difference, be at the forefront of change and societal progress, but only recently discovered how she could do that with her background in opera.

For years, MPA senior Julia Portis saw Breakthrough’s offices she passed them in the hallway; however, before her junior year she did not know what the program entailed. Upon learning about Breakthrough’s mission and curriculum, she excitedly applied to be a teaching fellow. The 9-week program brought several things to her attention: there are serious flaws in the educational system, and Minnesota suffers from one of the highest opportunity gaps in America. She believes it is imperative that we bring attention to this issue and start a conversation.

MPA Senior Gabby Law is going to talk about education–if education is the “key to success in life,” why is the system failing so many people? As a teaching fellow for Breakthrough Twin Cities, Gabby saw the incredible students in our community that the education system is leaving behind. Through her experience, Gabby will explain how we can make school a place for everyone and show just how powerful and joyful learning is for those who need it the most.

The ticket price of $20 includes passed hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and the presentations. Tickets are limited to 50. Visit for more details on each speaker and to purchase tickets.

Your Gifts Make College Counseling Possible

college decision day 2018This article is the fourth in a series called “The Fall Campaign Stories of Impact: Five Weeks, Five Stories, Five Reasons to Give.”

Think of a list of common fears, and a familiar few come to mind. Public speaking. Air travel. Spiders. And here in Minnesota, an early snow! Another typical source of anxiety is the college application process—a journey in U.S. culture that’s often driven by worries about attending the “best” school, instead of the right school.

Lisa Pederson, MPA’s director of College Counseling, addresses that sense of dread head-on, with compassion, expertise, and a proven program that empowers students to customize their college search based on their unique strengths, interests, and long-term goals. “The best fit for one is not the right fit for the next, even among high-achieving, academically strong, and otherwise talented students,” says Pederson. “Today’s college admissions professionals are looking for the authentic voice in their applicants, not a packaged one that checks every box.” Read More

Why Does Participation Matter?

fourth graders give presentations to lower schoolHere at MPA, we’re so thankful for the commitment of our parents, grandparents, alumni, and community supporters. We’re also proud of the way our students grow during their time with us. We encourage students of all ages to participate in the things that matter most to them and to push themselves outside of their comfort zone to find out who they truly are through involvement in a wide range of opportunities.

Just like our students’ participation in their own learning and development, we challenge our supporters to participate through our Joyful Learning, Joyful Giving Fall Campaign. Every gift adds up to a big impact. Learn more about that impact on individual students and on big projects. Your gift ensures a top-notch education and joyful experience for every student here at MPA. Click here to make a gift! Read More

Nate Bander ’09 Named Assistant Coach Of The Year

coach bander with runnersCongratulations to MPA Cross Country coach Nate Bander ’09 for being named the Section 4A Assistant Cross Country Coach of the Year! To celebrate his accomplishment, we interviewed Coach Bander about why coaching and athletics are so important to him.

What led you to coach at MPA? And why cross country? 

Remembering back on all the joy that I had competing for MPA, I knew I had to come back and give that opportunity to the next generation of athletes. Coaching cross country is totally unique because it’s such a distinct sport. It’s an interesting blend of team and individual competition where athletes are competing as much against themselves as against one another or other teams. I coach cross country because I love our team’s culture of emphasizing collaboration as much as competition. Read More

MPA Alumni In The News

Amber Washington '12Four MPA alumni were featured in the news this week for a variety of accomplishments! From athletics to community engagement, and arts to cooking, we are so proud of these individuals for representing MPA!

This past Saturday, MPA alum Amber Washington ’12 won the International Tennis Federation’s Sharm El Sheikh Pro Circuit Doubles Championship alongside her partner Chelsea Vanhoutte of Belgium. At MPA, Amber set a state record for most tennis championships in a career with four in doubles and two in singles. She competed collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh.

Liberty SchoolChristian Holmen ’90, Teaching Head of School at Liberty School, speaks on how Liberty is shaping the way students who are dyslexic, gifted, or both, are taught. “The first goal for the teachers and administrators at Liberty is to break down the social and emotional barriers that many of the kids have because of similar experiences,” he said. Read the full article here!

Andrea Goldberg '09Andrea Goldberg ’09 was one of the artists that contributed to the 5,000 carved Halloween pumpkins light up the Minnesota Zoo! Andrea was heavily involved in the arts at MPA, having work selected for the Best 100 Art Exhibition and the Tri-Metro Conference Art Exhibition while in high school. She graduated from MCAD and is now a professional artist. Read the full article here!

matt bander '11Matt Bander ‘11 was in the Mississippi Market’s magazine, “The Medley.” Matt is the Market’s Meat and Seafood manager and is featured on page 5 of the Fall 2018 edition in an interview called “Get To Know Your Co-Op family!” Matt is also currently back at MPA as an assistant boys’ basketball coach! Read the full article here!

From top to bottom; photo courtesy of Amber Washington; photo by Stephen Eginoire, “The Durango Telegraph”; photo by Jeff Wheeler, “The Star Tribune”; photo by “The Medley” magazine.

Meet MPA Talks Speaker Kelly Turpin ’04

kelly turpin '04Kelly Turpin is an art producer in Minneapolis. She is an advocate of opera and art as a social movement and strives to produce work that is accessible, inclusive, and challenging, in ways that engage and educate communities. She received opera performance degrees from Ithaca College (BM) and Arizona State University (MM) and continues to perform locally. At MPA Talks, Kelly will be discussing her journey as an opera singer to artistic activist, which is how Arbeit Opera Theatre came to be. She has always wanted to make a difference, be at the forefront of change and societal progress, but only recently discovered how she could do that with her background in opera.

We asked Kelly several questions so that you could get to know her better prior to MPA Talks!

We ask our students to dream big and do right. Do you feel that call to action is important to the future of our society and if so, why?

Yes! And it’s something I don’t think should or will ever change. However, I think it should begin with doing right. Acting with integrity sometimes comes with more of a risk than it should. It’s a guarantee of difficult situations and decisions along the way but in striving to live with integrity through every action and choice it’s also a guarantee of progress and positive change. With determination to do right and uphold truth through passion there’s nothing that can hold you back on achieving those big dreams. Read More

Meet MPA Talks Speaker Laurel Schwartz ’11

laurel Schwartz at a film festival for her documentaryLaurel Schwartz ’11 is currently a multimedia producer and social advocacy student at Columbia University. “Or, [I’m] a social scientist with a track record for getting things done,” she says.

After graduating from Mounds Park Academy, Laurel attended Scripps College, where she studied American studies and media studies. She has spent the last several years work at advertising agencies and PR firms creating media both for fortune 500 brands and for social advocacy causes. Additionally, her self-produced documentary about chronic illness appeared in several film festivals last spring.

We asked Laurel several questions so that you could get to know her better prior to MPA Talks!

What do you believe will be the greatest challenge our current students will face in their lifetimes and how do you see MPA equipping them to face that challenge? 

When I graduated from high school, I knew two things: first, that I was passionate about history and social change, and, second, that creativity made me tick. What I didn’t know was that one day, there would be a job that would allow me to use my creativity to make a difference in the world. MPA is so remarkable because it is an institution that truly allows each student to find what uniquely gets them fired up in the morning and helps students imagine opportunities, solutions, and even jobs that don’t exist yet. MPA equips students to follow their curiosity for the world. Read More

Thank You For An Amazing Homecoming!

lower school with panther at homecomingThank you to all our athletes, parents and families, volunteers, alumni, faculty and staff, and students who made Homecoming such a success! We had a great turnout at the Fun Runs and our Lower School National Anthem singers made several of us tear up at their performances. The food trucks served good smells along with their yummy food and our athletic teams had strong, competitive showings. The community laughed, shared stories, decorated faces, grabbed fun swag, threw beanbags and frisbees, and jumped in the bouncies. The air was crisp and the sounds of fun and laughter carried from the soccer field to Lansing Center.

It takes teamwork to bring all of the marvelous fun, good food, great sports, and community connections together. Thank you, everyone, for being a part of the team! Enjoy the joyful moments with our photo collection!

Happy Homecoming, Panthers!

homecoming spirit weekIt’s Homecoming! Fall has arrived, campus-wide Homecoming decorations are underway, and the Panther even made a guest appearance at the South Entrance this morning.

We can’t wait for you to join us for a full day of activities and athletic events this Saturday, September 29. The day starts bright and early with our 200M Fun Run at 8:30 AM, followed immediately by our 2-Mile race. Join us in the Lansing Center for coffee and breakfast treats at the Concessions stand, hosted by the MPA Spirit Committee. Head into the Lansing Center at 9 AM to hear our 3rd and 4th graders sing the National Anthem to kick off our annual Volleyball tournament. Go back outside and warm up as you race a friend through the obstacle course bouncy house. Make your way over to the tennis courts to cheer on our Panthers as they compete against Cretin Derham Hall and Woodbury! After tennis, go to the big tent and decorate your face, get a tattoo, pick up a t-shirt, claim a frisbee, or sip from a Homecoming cup. Read More

Meet Cameron Meyer-Mueller ’13

MPA alum holding a dessertWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally? I graduated from college last spring, and I am applying to medical school for the fall of 2019. However, I am currently spending two gap years abroad in the southern French port city of Marseille, where I’m taking full advantage of all the opportunities this city and country have to offer. I spend two days a week working as an English language assistant for a preschool and primary school, where I teach English lessons to little ones. When I’m not in the schools, I’m either in the hospital or laboratory and take part in a weekly shadowing internship with a French neonatologist. I’ve even started to sit in on births in the operating and delivery rooms! I also volunteer weekly at another local children’s hospital, where I play board games with patients. The rest of my time is spent working in a neuroscience lab at the local university, where I will start conducting spatial navigation experiments on rats. The best part of my time in France is that I can do all of things I love in the clinical and laboratory settings all while speaking French!

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 received my undergraduate degree from Barnard College, the women’s college of Columbia University in New York City, where I majored in neuroscience and behavior and minored in French. I spent one semester abroad in France in a program that emphasized cultural integration into the community and placed me in a homestay. This experience solidified my decision to take a few years off before medical school and return to France to seek opportunities to interact with people different than myself. I am adamant that homestays are one of the best ways to learn about and live like the local population. Read More