MPA Dreamers: Lessons From Lifers

MPA Class of 2023 LifersIn the spring of 2011, some of the littlest dreamers in the school were wrapping up their first year together. These members of the Class of 2023 were sprinting around the track and testing their throwing skills at Track and Field Day, graduating from kindergarten, and nestling together to watch the seniors, the biggest kids in the school, say their bittersweet goodbyes at the Yearbook Assembly.

This week, they are those seniors, concluding their time at the only school they’ve been at for their entire academic career. As they graduate on June 3, 11 of them join MPA’s Joanne Olson Club, reserved for students whose entire K-12 or PreK-12 journey has taken place here at MPA.

Recently, members of this group–Henry Galicich, Aidan Harms, Griffin Jones, Nicholas Larson, Gabby Magistad, Jack Peterson, Freya Rahm, Henry Seum, Siri Springer, William Tan, and Anthony Troullier–gathered together for a group reflection on their MPA journeys. After all, who knows more about the MPA community than the students who joined in kindergarten and now leave the school as young adults, each bound for college and charting their own paths?

MPA teachers foster the ability to solve authentic, real-world problems. Students are empowered to be architects of their education, and furthermore, their lives. So we asked,

How has being a student at MPA shaped you?

Freya: My communication skills have definitely developed because of MPA. I’m able to express how I feel and what I need to say. I feel prepared to answer questions, and when I was applying for jobs, I felt ready.

Nicholas: Adding on that, we do a lot of class presentations and public speaking, and I think that’s an aspect that MPA students are really good at. On my swim team, we have to do something similar to senior speeches–when you graduate, you give a speech to the whole swim club at the end-of-the-year banquet. And a lot of my teammates were really nervous. But it was just another speech for me.

Siri: Also, we have so much one-on-one time with our teachers. Talking to them helps. You learn to talk to adults and it’s encouraging for things like interviewing for jobs. Read More

College Athlete Celebration Day

This Monday was an exciting day for Class of 2023 student-athletes and their families! Fifteen members of the class are moving on to participate in college athletics—that’s 25%! The entire Upper School student body gathered in the Lansing Sports Center to celebrate their selections and wish them well. Go Panthers! For the full album of photos, click here.

Congratulations to the following Class of 2023 student-athletes!

  • Alex Appleton: Rowing at Bates College
  • Kensi Binstadt: Track at Pomona College
  • Cameron Collister: Cross Country and Track at Whitman College
  • Audrey Jakway: Basketball at Haverford College
  • Owen Lafferty: Track at Macalester College
  • Nicholas Larson: Track and Cross Country at Colgate University
  • Michael Mairs: Tennis at St. Olaf College
  • Gabriel Messner: Rowing at University of Edinburgh
  • Zoe Mulvihill: Track at Amherst College
  • Lola Pilon: Volleyball and Softball at Augsburg University
  • Andrew Platz: Baseball at Hamline University
  • Freya Rahm: Tennis at Oberlin College
  • Henry Seum: Sailing at Jacksonville University
  • Siri Springer: Softball at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  • Annabelle Vale: Swimming at Grinnell College

MPA Freethinkers: Student Leaders

MPA varsity basketball celebrating their playoff run

“Leadership is being in the middle of the herd, moving it roughly westward.”

This is one of Head of School Dr. Hudson’s favorite metaphors that he learned from a mentor years ago. Dr. Hudson meets with the current senior class throughout the school year to walk them through various leadership theories and ideologies as they prepare for their journey after MPA. He shares this one with them, asking them to think about how it applies to leadership in their own hands. When they unpack it together, common themes arise:

  • If a leader is at the tail end, the herd lacks direction. On the other hand, sometimes a leader needs to step back in order to consider crafting a broader vision.
  • Those who lead from the middle are often better in touch with other members of the herd and can nudge them forward in a common direction. They help others feel valued as a part of the solution as the team moves ahead.
  • Sometimes a leader needs to be bold and chart a new path.

We teach our students that leadership requires adaptability, responsiveness, and resilience. When we look at the freethinkers among our student community, student leaders do not come one-size-fits-all. They are leaders of clubs, team captains, and thought leaders. In Lower School, fourth graders are the conflict managers to help resolve conflicts on the playground. In Middle School, eighth graders set an example for all other grades, and are the peers who make themselves available and approachable for help. In Upper School, Peer Leaders take on being role models for the school, teaching others what leadership is to them. At every stage of their education, empowering students to live, learn, and thrive means guiding them and infusing their education with leadership skills–many of which are learned through experience. Read More

New Conference Swimming Record!


Congratulations to The MPA Swim Club for incredible performances at last weekend’s CAA Championship. A big shout-out goes to Neva Sanders, who set a new record time of 30.14 in the 5-6 Girls 50 Back event!

This was a huge meet and, most importantly, another opportunity for these swimmers to shine. All of their hard work, determination, and progress throughout the season were exemplified in these races. What started out as a team of three in 2004 has evolved into a team of champions. We are so proud of our young athletes and can’t wait for them to continue doing what they love. Click here for full boys meet results; click here for full girls meet results; and view photos from the meet here. Give our swimmers a big congratulations!

Join MPA’s 7-12 Sailing Team

Did you know that MPA has a highly-competitive and successful sailing team? While sailing is not an MSHL sport, and it is run as a club, not as a sport at MPA, our sailors have gone on to compete at the regional and national levels annually for many years. No experience or boat is needed to join, and all are welcome from grades seven through 12. Sailing is a lifelong sport that is both technical and physical and it is a great way to make friends from other schools.


  • Practices are held starting April 4 (weather permitting) at White Bear Sailing School.
    MPA’s team is coached and practices alongside sailors from Mahtomedi Public Schools, White Bear Public Schools, and other area schools.
  • Practices are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30-6:30 PM.
  • Regattas are optional but encouraged and held on Saturdays on lakes and rivers throughout the Twin Cities.
  • Sailing is a spring and/or fall sport and students can participate in one or both seasons.
    Some personal gear is required to ensure safety on the water—some gear may be available to borrow.
  • The cost is $500 per season and includes coaching and the use of boats and other equipment.

Registration and more information can be found here. If you have any questions, please reach out to team captain, Henry Seum at or MPA’s sailing team advisor, Natalie Waters Seum at

We hope to see you on the water!

Afterschool Activities and Care Canceled This Afternoon

Due to the weather, all afterschool activities, including games, practices, Panther Club/Den, Middle School study hall, and meetings are canceled this afternoon, Tuesday, November 29. MPA will remain in session until our regular dismissal time of 3 PM.

The families of District 622 and Minneapolis bus riders will be communicated with directly as soon as possible regarding modified bus schedules. All other buses will run as usual, although they may be running late.

PreK Panther, Panther Club, and Panther Den will remain open until all children are picked up; however, families are asked to arrive as quickly as possible after 3 PM so our faculty and staff can travel home as well.

Email if you have any questions. Please drive safely!

Meet Sophia Spisak ’23

Sophia Spisak '23What do you love about MPA?
I love how MPA is such a close-knit community. I really value the relationships I have with my teachers and friends, and I still keep in touch with some of my Middle School teachers. It’s wonderful to have such close connections. I also love that MPA gives students the opportunity to try so many different things–most students aren’t just known for one passion.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Since MPA is a PreK-12 school, I’m able to learn from students of different ages. When I was in Middle School, I always looked up to my team captains as my role models, and I wanted to be just like them because they were so kind and caring. Being the older kid now lets me learn from younger teammates and set a positive example.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
It is very clear how much MPA teachers care about their students; they always teach with joy and authenticity. I believe they teach this way because they care about us so deeply and want to see us succeed outside of the classroom. Read More

Evan Fraser Wins Class A Singles State Championship

Evan FraserCongratulations to Evan Fraser, the 2022 Class A Singles State Champion in Boys Tennis! Evan is from Nova Classical Academy and a member of the Panthers Co-op. reports, “Fraser’s was the third individual Class A title and second in three years (for MPA). Parker Law won the 2019 crown, and Bryan Kelly was the 2007 champ.” Click here to read the full article. Go Panthers!

Understanding MPA Athletics

Danfrom Dan Haase, Athletic Director

One Thursday per month you will see a guest Head’s Message from a member of the Institutional Advancement Team. We hope these additional perspectives will help you catch a glimpse inside the innerworkings of your school.

At Mounds Park Academy, we believe athletics compliments the total academic experience and development of the student. Students learn a great deal from their participation in interscholastic athletics. Concepts such as teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, self-confidence, self-esteem, and developing a healthy body are all vital components of our Upper School athletic programs.

Athletics at MPA strive to provide an opportunity to all students to discover their interests, improve their skills, and have fun enjoying the activity with their friends. To accomplish this, MPA practices a no-cut policy in all athletic programs. A no-cut athletic policy allows inclusion to all interested students who would like to become a member of a team. Teams are established based on the interests and registrations of each of our programs.

MPA is proud to offer 23 Upper School athletic offerings for students in grades 9-12 and is a member of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL). The MSHSL provides uniform and equitable rules for students in extracurricular activities, and they promote, manage, and administer athletic programs for students at members schools on a Subsection, Section and State level.

MPA is also a member of the Independent Metro Athletic Conference (IMAC). The IMAC consists of six mission-driven independent college preparatory schools. The IMAC conference was formed in 2014 based upon an agreement with the Blake School, Breck School, Minnehaha Academy, Providence Academy, and St. Paul Academy. The conference was formed in the interest of keeping an appropriate perspective on the role of athletics in secondary education. Read More

Cross Country State Bound!

MPA’s Athletics are having a great year so far. Today we celebrate the fact that we have three Panthers who have qualified for State!

Isak Nightingale placed fourth in Section 4A
Margo Nightingale placed tenth in Section 4A
Teagan O’Keefe place ninth in Section 4A

MPA Boys 5th Place Section 4A & MPA Girls 6th Place Section 4A

Sections advances the top two teams plus the next ten individuals. Sections took place at Highland 9 Golf Course and the State race will be November 6 at St. Olaf College. This season the MSHSL has moved to 3 classes for Cross Country running. AAA–Largest, AA–Middle, A–Smallest. MPA athletes will run Boys at 12 PM, Girls at 1 PM and Awards at 1:45 PM!