A Breath Of Fresh Air

Panthers first home baseball gameby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

I often say I have one of the best views from my office. That is especially true this year and certainly at this time of year. It is not uncommon for me to see Upper School biology teacher Mitch Thomsen leading a group of students into our reclaimed prairie and rain garden to study its ecology and make observations. If I look in another direction, I can see the tents set up in the west parking lot ready to house classes and lunch. After school, I can take in a boys’ tennis practice or witness the track and field teams trek out to the track.

After months of being cooped up indoors, Minnesotans (and Panthers!) are spending more and more time outdoors. In Minnesota, the arrival of spring is always cause to spend time outside, but it also makes sense as we aim to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of our move to dial stop one, classes, whenever possible, will be held outdoors this spring. Teachers have access to outdoor tents which are being used as flexible, alternative spaces. Although we still need to take precautions, such as wearing masks, keeping physically distant, and avoiding large crowds, moving outside is certainly a breath of fresh air. Read More

Meet Caleb Rhodes ‘21

Caleb Holding His ViolaMusic, particularly singing, has provided me with an opportunity to grow and learn. I attended Minnesota Waldorf School through 8th grade, and music is a significant component of Waldorf education. I learned to play the pentatonic flute in first grade, the C flute in second grade, the viola in third and the Alto recorder in fifth grade. Singing was an everyday activity in elementary school but I didn’t really enjoy it until my freshman year of high school at MPA.

When I made the switch to MPA, music was one of a activities that felt most familiar and comfortable to me, so I decided I would take varsity choir. At the end of my freshman year, my family encouraged me to audition for Madrigal Singers, MPA’s most select singing group. Getting in to Madrigal Singers ignited my love for singing and gave me the opportunity to express myself. Since that point, I have been in Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers for the last three school years, and I have auditioned for, and been accepted to the MMEA All-State Honor Choir the last two years. Singing provides me with an opportunity to confidently express my emotions in a way no other activity has been able to do. I am able to channel my feelings into music through my voice. This has made it much easier for me to open up to those around me and establish close relationships with classmates, and even with students from other schools, who I have met through our shared love of music. Read More

All Are Welcome On MPA’s Sailing Team

MPA Sailing Team on the waterby Samantha Forgosh ’22, team captain

Would you like to have a snowball fight on open water, or race across a lake to the nearest ice cream shop? You can do all of that, and so much more on the MPA sailing team! Here at MPA, we offer 7-12 graders a one-of-a-kind opportunity as both a fall and a spring sport. Through White Bear Sailing School, students compete for MPA at the city, state (and often national!) level as a sailor. No experience is necessary, and boats and coaching is provided.

Sailing is certainly a group effort. You will sail 420s, each with a skipper and a crew, and compete against other schools in regattas. Since MPA practices with Mounds View, Hill Murray, White Bear, and Mahtomedi, you’re bound to make friends with those you end up competing against. Read More

MPA Nordic Ski State Meet Results

Margo Competes at the MSHSL State MeetCongratulations to MPA’s four Nordic Ski state qualifiers on their fantastic performances earlier this month at the MSHSL Nordic Ski Championships at Giant’s Ridge in Biwabik!

On the girls’ side, sophomore Margo Nightingale exceeded even her wildest expectations, finishing as the state runner up in 24:18.7, just 25.3 seconds behind the winner, and earning all-state honors. This was Margo’s fourth trip to state in four years and her highest finish ever. “My race went really well,” says Margo. “I was very happy with how I skied. My favorite part about competing for MPA is that everyone around me is extremely supportive.” Read More

Register For Summer At MPA!

MPA Music teacher Hannah LawsonWe are pleased to be offering an expanded summer program with a larger choice of academic programs, enrichment classes, athletic clinics, full and half day Panther Camp, and much more for students of all ages! As always, our goal is to provide our participants with the highest quality program in the context of a safe and healthy environment.

Register at moundsparkacademy.org/summer. All Lower School classes and camps are currently open for registration. More Middle and Upper School options will be added in the coming days.

If you have any questions, please contact Russ Purdy, extended day program coordinator, at 651-748-5571 or rpurdy@moundsparkacademy.org.

Summer Athletic Camps
Register for our great athletic camp options this summer! MPA is excited to offer a basketball, soccer, and volleyball camp this year. Panther Boys and Girls Summer Basketball Camp is open to students in grades 4-9 from June 14-17. Panther Boys and Girls Soccer Camp is open to students in grades K-6 from June 21-24. Panther Boys and Girls Summer Volleyball camp is July 12-14, and Panther Girls Volleyball Camp for grades 9-12 is July 19-21. Learn more and register here!

Get Your Panther Gear During The Spirit Store Sale!

upper school student wearing spirit store shirt in classGet all of your Panther gear for the upcoming spring athletics season at the next Spirit Store flash sale! This Valentine’s Day-themed sale will start on Friday, February 5 and end on Saturday, February 6 at 11:59 PM EST.

Use the promo code VDAY21 at checkout. This sale offer is 20% off everything in the online store, no minimum order required! As always, items are customizable and come in a variety of sizes and MPA colors. Click here to shop the sale.

Register For Spring Sports

Upper school student racing in track meetSign up here for spring sports!

Upper School (grades 9-12)
Girls and boys track and field practice begins March 29, 2021. Practices are Monday-Friday, 3:30 PM-5:30 PM at MPA.

Girls and boys golf (grades 7-12) practice begins April 12. Practices Practices are Monday-Thursday, 3:30 PM-6:30 PM at various locations.

Girls fastpitch practice begins March 29, 2021. Practices are Monday-Friday, 3:30 PM-5 PM at Goodrich fields.

Boys baseball practice begins March 22, 2021. Practices are Monday-Friday, 3:30 PM-5 PM at MPA.

Girls lacrosse practice beings April 5, 2021. Practices are Monday-Friday, 3:30 PM-5 PM at Henry Sibley. Co-op fees apply.

Boys tennis (grades 7-12) practice begins March 29, 2021. Practices are Monday-Friday, 3:30 PM-5 PM at MPA. Read More

Evan Esch’s Baseball Commitment

The following essay is adapted from MPA Class of 2021 member Evan Esch’s Senior Speech.

Evan Esch Pitching for MPAPlaying one of America’s greatest pastimes has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. When I was younger, baseball was always the most fun and something I’d look forward to in the summer. Being an athletic kid, it came particularly easy to me. I was fast, I could also hit the ball pretty well, and I was exceptional at catching and throwing. On top of that, I’m a lefty, among the most desired traits in baseball players. As I continued to progress through youth baseball, my team won a lot of games and tournaments. We had a great coaching staff that was knowledgeable and brought tremendous energy. They really wanted us to succeed. However, when high school came along, and the pressures of the recruiting environment began to ramp up, my relationship with baseball began to change.

Being noticed as a high level baseball player in Minnesota was great, it felt affirming to be one of the best. However, it sometimes made me complacent. That complacency was, at times, detrimental to my game because it made me too comfortable. It was easy to do things that came naturally to me, and they fulfilled me in the short-term, but looking back, I realized I did not accomplish much in those comfortable times. Read More

Meet Boys Basketball Coaches Rich Harris, Nate Bander, and Matt Bander

Meet Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Rich Harris

Rich Harris in front of MPA BannerWhat was your playing career like?
I played four years in high school in Oklahoma and was the starting point guard my senior year. I then played point guard at Southwestern College, an NAIA school in Winfield, Kansas, graduating in 1996.

What coaching experience do you bring to MPA?
After finishing my college career, I stayed on for one year as a student assistant. Since, I have coached a variety of different levels of basketball and many schools. Some highlights include coaching the freshman boys team at Southeast High School in Wichita, coaching JV boys and then Varsity boys at the American School of Doha in Qatar (we went undefeated in 2011), assistant coaching girls Varsity and then boys Varsity at American School in London, coaching Middle School and High School boys at the International Schools Groups in Saudi Arabia (we went 21-4 record and won the conference championship during the 2018-19 season), and coaching girls JV here at MPA. The girls at MPA taught me compassion and commitment and I will never forget that.

What is it about MPA that makes it a great place to coach?
The kids! MPA has such wonderful students who want to succeed. Also, the faculty and staff has been very supportive. Read More

MPA Fall And Winter Athletics Update

Panther volleyball players on the courtYesterday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz released Emergency Executive Order which initiates restrictions/a pause on all organized youth and high school sports beginning Friday, November 20. These restrictions directly impact all Minnesota State High School League fine arts and athletic programs that are in-season (volleyball) or projected to start (alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, basketball, and hockey). The restriction remains in effect through Friday, December 18. More specific MPA athletic program information will be forthcoming as we learn more from the Minnesota State High School League.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Dan Haase, athletic director, via email.