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.

TwinCities.com 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!


Congratulations MPA Volleyball Conference Champs!

MPA is acknowledging the volleyball team’s overwhelming success this year, finishing 18-3 overall, and undefeated in the IMAC conference! This is the second time in three years that we have swept the conference without losing a single set. Good luck tonight against SPA! We will be celebrating our seniors Kaija, Jenna Sherwood, Maddie Black, and Vienna Schreifels.

Congratulations to all of the players and coaches, go Panthers!

Great job to our stat leaders from this season:

Kills–Kaija Kunze-Hoeg with 248 and Lola Pilon with 227
Aces–Else Kunze-Hoeg with 73, second in the state.
Assists–Else with 580, currently fifth in the state
Digs–Kaija with 236, Lola with 197, and Violette Cammack with 175


Homecoming Celebration And Spirit Week Reimagined

Homecoming September 27 – October 2
Join us as we reimagine our annual Homecoming festivities in light of COVID-19 health and safety concerns. We are offering division-specific opportunities for students as a part of a weeklong celebration, building spirit for MPA Athletics and our entire community.

Upper School Activities:

  • MPA Student Council Spirit Week Dress Up Days: September 27 – October 1
  • Upper School student only BBQ: October 1, 5-8 PM, Benz Courtyard
  • Upper School student dance: October 2, 8-11 PM, Benz Courtyard
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Upper School students

Middle School Activities:

  • Middle School Game Day: October 1, 10 AM-3 PM, South Lawn (Parent Volunteers needed!)
  • Spirit Week Dress Up Days September 27-October 1
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Middle School students

Lower School Activities:

  • Pajama Day for all Lower School Students: September 27
  • Spirit Wear Day with Homecoming T-shirt and non-uniform bottom: October 1
  • Homecoming Spirit Photo Booth and Special Appearances by the MPA Panther: September 27-October 1
  • Homecoming Panther Coloring Sheets available for students
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Lower School students

MPA Athletics Schedule Saturday, October 2
Please note: Only athlete household members may attend in person. Join in the fun and cheer on our Panthers by streaming games live! Learn more at https://www.moundsparkacademy.org/athletics/

  • Varsity Girls Soccer vs New Life Academy 11 AM (available for streaming)
  • Varsity Boys Soccer New Life Academy 1 PM (available for streaming)
  • Varsity Volleyball 9 AM-2 PM (continuous streaming viewing)
  • JV Boys Soccer New Life Academy 11 AM (not available for streaming)
  • Varsity Girls Tennis vs Como Park and Cretin Derham Hall (not available for streaming)

Homecoming Parent Gathering 
Parents, would you like to share your MPA Spirit and support our student athletes? Join the MPA Parents Association for an all-parent coffee and community building meet-up on Friday, October 1 from 7:45 to 10 AM. You’ll find us under the big white tent in the west parking lot, rain or shine. Meet other MPA parents, help to decorate the outdoor fields, and write messages of encouragement for our athletes. Go Panthers!


MPA Athletes Swept The Podium

MPA Student-Athletes/Lake Phalen Rowing Club take on the Iowa Games RegattaThe Lake Phalen Rowing swept the podium at the Iowa Games Regatta on July 31st with MPA student/athletes bringing home multiple victories. We’re so glad to see that our student community is remaining active in the summer months, and winning simultaneously! Please refer to the information below to see the results from this competitive regatta.

Men’s Novice 1x:
2nd place—Finn Zeruhn
3rd place—Alex Appleton

Men’s Jr 4x:
2nd place—Collin Steinberger ‘21, Grant Steinberger, David Steinberger, Matt Duerr

Women’s Novice 1x:
1st place—Sonia Olk
3rd place—Abby Appleton

Appleton siblings with their medalsMen’s Jr 1x:
1st—Grant Steinberger
7th—David Steinberger
8th—Collin Steinberger ‘21
16th—Alex Appleton
17th—Finn Zeruhn

Men’s Jr 2x:
Tied for 2nd place—Collin Steinberger ‘21, Grant Steinberger
5th place—Matt Duerr, David
10th place—Finn Zeruhn

Medal totals:
Gold—5
Silver—4
Bronze—2


A Night Of Panther Pride

Mason's Parents at the Watch PartyMason Ferlic ’11 Competes in Olympic Games 

MPA community members from alumni, faculty, and current families gathered to celebrate and support Mason’s olympic accomplishments. We launched the event with pizza and ‘Go Mason’ poster making, then concluded with a personal FaceTime from Mason after he crossed the finish line. The Ferlic family and the rest of the MPA community expressed their immense pride and happiness for Mason as we wished him a restful remainder of his evening. Enjoy this reflection piece written by Nate Bander ’09, one of Mason’s teammates and click through our photos from that night.

by Nate Bander, Class of 2009

Mason Ferlic ran a near personal best in the 3000m Steeplechase at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on July 30, placing 21st in 8:20.23, an exciting and historic day for MPA! Mason came to MPA in ninth grade and joined the track and field team in his first year. He found success right away, and his coaches and teammates encouraged him to sign up for cross country running. The problem was that he was already registered for soccer! But, with a little arm twisting, he decided to give cross country a try. The rest is pretty much history, he went on to win four MSHSL state championships, break three school records, and appear on MPA’s track and field top 10 list 11 times (though fun fact, Nolan, his younger brother, appears 13).

After graduating from MPA in 2011, Mason competed for the University of Michigan as the first of what have now become four MPA track and field athletes to compete at the Division I level in the last 10 years, all in the Big Ten Conference. He won the 2016 NCAA steeplechase championship and after graduating from Michigan with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering, he is now pursuing a PHD in Applied Statistics, which he does while training with Very Nice Track Club in Ann Arbor. Read More


Mounds Park Academy Closed July 3-11

MPA campusMounds Park Academy, including the building and grounds, business office, heads office, development, admissions, communications, athletics offices, and all division offices will be closed July 3-11, 2021. We appreciate your patience while employees spend time with their families. We will respond to emails and voicemails immediately upon our return!


Celebrating What’s Next To Come

Karen Widerskiby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

As the school year hurries to a close and we look forward to celebrating the graduating Class of 2021, we are also celebrating two employees, payroll and benefits administrator Karen Widerski, and Middle School math teacher Dan Ethier, who are graduating on to other endeavors.

Karen came to MPA in the 2012-2013 school year after a long and successful career in human resources at Target Corporation. In her time at MPA, she has made wonderful impressions with colleagues. Rose Wick, who works alongside Karen in the business office, shares, “Karen is a true friend, the most hilarious person I have ever worked with.” Other coworkers describe Karen as “awesome,” “a hard worker,” “fun,” and “humorous.”

Karen purchased her father’s home on Child Lake in Hackensack, MN, where she will surely continue to the throw the best fourth of July party on the lake, complete with a fireworks show. She is very close with her family and will enjoy spending more time with her husband Jim, daughter Jess, and son Keith. Her father and brother live nearby as well. Karen is a pet lover who has raised several black labs, including her current dog, Jax. Up North, Karen will get to continue her love for the outdoors, especially, snowmobiling and cross country skiing, and she’ll have lots of time for the annual family trip to the Caribbean each winter.

“Karen came at a time when there was much change at MPA. She brought an amazing sense of calm and confidence, and she is always willing to do whatever it takes to get things done,” says CFO Gina Wallraff. “She is a major team player with an amazing can do attitude. We have relied on her tremendously and she just takes care of things. She will be missed.”

We all wish Karen a wonderful and happy retirement.

Mr. Ethier teaching math class

Dan Ethier joined MPA in the fall of 1992, and for 29 years, has been a fundamental part of the Middle School, as well as a highly successful and much loved cross country running and math league coach.

In the classroom, Dan exemplifies MPA’s experiential, hands on approach to learning. He built his curriculum on solving rigorous problems and he’s an expert on crafting open ended problems that require his students to apply their deep content knowledge in creative ways. Rather than giving students problems that have a clear, procedural approach, Dan instead sought ones where the methodology was not obvious nor straight forward from the start.

Dan’s problem solving approach connected academic rigor to real world concepts. Whether it was learning about investing and interest or measuring the depths of craters on the moon using trigonometry, his students have found themselves solving problems that apply mathematics to life.

Dan’s personal sense of curiosity and love for learning made him a great teacher as well. “Students ask good questions. I make sure to spend time pursuing those questions and demonstrating interest in them,” he says. “Sometimes I raise the questions myself. It’s about being curious myself and letting that spill over into the lesson.”

Though a math teacher, Dan fiercely advocated for all subject areas, and especially championed the fine arts. “The arts allow students to see the world in new and different ways, and that new vision will allow them to apply their science, technology, engineering, and math knowledge with the creativity and innovation our 21st century world needs.”

In the end, what most propelled Dan to the upper echelons of the teaching profession was his knack for truly getting to know each student he came across. He was known for writing a comment on every problem that a student answered incorrectly with advice on where they went wrong.

“Dan has been, and always will be, a cultural icon of sorts in the Middle School. From his silly stuffed animals, to his dry sense of humor, students have come to know math and themselves better in this great big world,” says Middle School director Jenn Milam. “We will all be better for having shared this journey with Dan–his passion for mathematics and teaching is out-matched only by his passion and love for Middle Schoolers.”

Dan also poured his heart and soul into Mounds Park Academy cross country. He took over the program in its infancy, and through his guidance and passion, turned it into a perennial contender and one of MPA’s most successful athletic programs. He took three teams to the state meet, placing as high as second in 2013, earned section 4A coach of the year honors in 2008, and coached six all state-athletes and two state champions.

Dan’s connection to his team is clear. He is invited to and attends nearly every graduation party, creates individualized race plans for each varsity runner at every meet, writes detailed recaps of each race, and is a true master of making everyone on the team, from state champions to sixth graders, feel welcomed, included and special. It’s no wonder that so many seniors on the team ask Dan for a letter of recommendation when heading off to college.

Dan coaches the right way, with humor, care, and respect. He instills a terrific work ethic in every athlete and transforms a sport that some find monotonous and difficult into something enjoyable and rewarding. Whether it’s the annual run to Dairy Queen, the game of “Foxes and Hounds” or the professional quality end of season banquets, Dan brings joy, sportsmanship, and camaraderie to the team.

As Dan moves on from MPA into retirement, I hope he will get to enjoy more time with his passions outside of MPA, including drone photography, distance running, astronomy, app development, and current events. And I know he will always be rooting for the next generation of MPA runners.

Please click here to leave farewell messages and well wishes for Dan and Karen!


Save The Date! Homecoming 2021

Alumni at homecoming 2019Save the date to celebrate MPA Homecoming 2021 on Saturday, October 2!

Homecoming weekend is a wonderful way to celebrate who we are, where we come from, and where we are going together. We are thrilled every year to welcome alumni back at home to celebrate a milestone reunion and reconnect with friends. This is an opportunity for all of us to support and celebrate MPA! Come home to connect with us and one another, and to celebrate MPA.