Class of 2020: Grace Holloway

Grace HollowayAs the 2019–20 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of the Class of 2020!

In what grade did you come to MPA?

I came to MPA right at the end of fifth grade. My cousin was in eighth grade here and had raved about how great MPA is and how my family should look at it. When we toured, we feel in love with the school and I enrolled immediately.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?

I chose Cornell College for a couple reasons. I knew I wanted to be in the midwest but not in MN and I wanted to be at a small school. I looked at a lot of schools and Cornell had always been on my list because of the One Course At A Time program but I didn’t really think much about it until I visited. When I visited last spring break, I instantly fell in love with everything. I loved the campus, the food, the dorms, the town that surrounds it and the sense of community. I instantly felt at home. And being able to get a first hand perspective about the One Course At A Time program and see how amazing it is really made it clear to me that Cornell was were I wanted to be. Read More


Thanking Our Impactful Retirees

by Dr. Bill Hudson, head of school

Many years ago I had my first opportunity to speak at a national conference. The meeting was held in Baltimore and I found out that my favorite high school teacher, Br. Jim, lived nearby and was going to be in attendance. I was able to track down his email address and wrote to him, sharing that he was my favorite teacher and the reason I decided to become a teacher. I also asked if he would like to get together for lunch while I was in town. Br. Jim was principal of my high school and had stepped into teaching a ninth grade class at the last minute. He was an amazing storyteller had a way of teaching that made each student feel that he was talking directly and personally to them. Br. Jim was gentle, kind, and brilliant, too. He never talked down to us and found ways to bring all of us along, inspiring us to higher levels of critical thinking. After that year, he moved on to a new job and a new city yet I never forgot him.

Br. Jim accepted my invitation and we met for lunch. As he entered the restaurant, it was clear he didn’t know who I was. Sheepishly, he admitted as much and said he had been trying for weeks to remember me, even pulling out an old yearbook to jog his memory. He said he was embarrassed and began to apologize profusely. I stopped him and that I was not at all offended. To me, what was important was not that he would remember me—it was that I remembered him. He had hundreds if not thousands of students over his career. But for me, there was only one Br. Jim.

All teachers aspire to having such an impact on our students. Of course, teachers strive to be their best, to employ the very best pedagogy, techniques and strategies, and excel in their respective academic area. However, and more importantly, they strive to touch the hearts of their students. Teaching as a career is much more than a job or a transaction between employer and employee. It is transformational. I can safely say that our retirees this year have been transformational in the lives of their students and in the history of the school. Read More


Class of 2020: Cece Hawley

Cece HawleyAs the 2019–20 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of the Class of 2020!

In what grade did you come to MPA?

I came to MPA in PreK.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?

I was pretty set on one school that I had gotten into through applying early action. When I saw that I got into Wesleyan University through regular decision, I was really excited. The open curriculum is definitely something that attracted me to the school, but the most important thing to me was that the people there were very welcoming and supportive of me. They never failed to reach out and help with any questions I had about Wes.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?

I am super excited to make more connections and have more experiences. Being at MPA my entire life, I have been able to know people from the young age of five. It will be super cool to go to an entirely new place and meet new people. Read More


Class of 2020: Jordan Akers

Jordan AkersAs the 2019–20 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of the Class of 2020!

In what grade did you come to MPA?

I came originally in PreK, but left for seventh and eighth grade. I returned in ninth upon realizing the MPA experience is unique and unparalleled.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?

I chose Yale University because I wanted to study at a place with elements of both a small liberal arts college and a large research university. Additionally, the opportunities in my areas of study (environmental studies and music) are stellar compared to many of the other schools to which I applied. Located in New Haven, I was also extremely attracted to Yale’s proximity to New York City (a simple train ride away!). Read More


Class of 2020: Jerusalem Thao

Jerusalem ThaoAs the 2019–20 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2020!

In what grade did you come to MPA?

I came to MPA in 10th grade.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?

My cousin previously attended St. Olaf, and it really caught my eye. I also liked the fact that it’s a small school where there are smaller class sizes.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?

I am mostly excited for the people and connections I will make in college.


Here’s Where We’re Going

lower school student arriving at mpaby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” -Yogi Berra

With more frequency as of late, I’ve been asked: What does the future hold for the next school year? With so much uncertainty about the pandemic, it is difficult to give a clear answer. However, while there is much we don’t know, I can say that MPA will be prepared for any eventuality. I think what humorist and baseball great Yogi Berra meant in the quote above was that without a plan, you are never going to make progress. As we look to next year, I want to assure you that we indeed have a plan.

Uncertainty about the future can make planning feel daunting. However, envisioning various possibilities can help us prepare for the worst—and best—scenarios and everything in-between. Our board of trustees, working together with the administrative team, has been actively engaged in scenario planning considering the macroeconomic indicators and trends in order to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities. We are also preparing a number of contingency plans for the start of the new school year that first and foremost prioritizes the health and safety of our community. We know that we must always be nimble, agile, and communicate clearly. Read More


Class of 2020: Katie Goodno

Katie GoodnoAs the 2019–20 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of the Class of 2020!

In what grade did you come to MPA?

I came to MPA in fourth grade, which was the same year my sister Abby started in sixth grade, and two years after my sister Sara started at MPA in sixth grade also. When I shadowed in third grade, I didn’t want the day to be over because I loved the school and the people so much, which is why my parents and I made the easy decision to transfer to MPA.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?

I had no intention of going to college in Texas at all, in fact, I told my parents it was just a waste of time to visit Baylor. During spring break in my sophomore year, we were in Waco, so my mom told me I should visit Baylor. As soon as I got the tour of the campus I started envisioning myself there, and I loved it. In my senior year, I had forgotten about Baylor and didn’t really see a future there, until I visited again, and fell in love with it again. The thing that was most appealing to me was all the opportunities there were for me there and all the choices I had for majors and classes. I also am very excited about all the traditions there are and sports games! The thing that attracted me the most about Baylor was how welcoming and kind the community is. I’m very excited to join that community in the fall! Read More


Learn More About Breakthrough Twin Cities, A Partner Of MPA

breakthrough student and teacher working togetherby Josh Reimnitz, Executive Director of Breakthrough

It’s 7:13 AM on Monday, June 24, 2019.

The clapping, cheering, and occasional cartwheels can be a confusing sight on an early summer morning, but that’s how Breakthrough Twin Cities welcomes its 120 students as they step off their five buses–and they’ll be sent home with the same fanfare at the end of the day, too!

The seventh grade students on the bus that morning are starting their first day of a six-year journey with Breakthrough Twin Cities (BTC) and they are on a pathway to college.

MPA is the founding partner of Breakthrough Twin Cities and has been hosting the program since 2005. Hundreds of MPA students, parents, staff, and alumni have participated in, volunteered for, and/or have donated to Breakthrough. We are exceedingly grateful to partner with such an incredible community.

The Students on the Buses
The sleepy students who saunter off the buses that morning won’t be groggy for long. The eighth and ninth graders on the buses have already told the first-year seventh graders what to expect–energy and enthusiasm! Like, a lot of it. Read More


Class of 2020: Txuj Ci Yang

TC YangAs the 2019–20 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2020!

In what grade did you come to MPA?

I came to MPA in 9th grade.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?

I came to choose St. Catherine’s due to an overnight I attended in the fall! I was looking for a college with a supportive academic environment just like MPA. Upon my overnight at St. Kate’s, I experienced just that. The prospective students and the current students there were absolutely amazing. We clicked instantly. I was able to see how the current students interacted with each other and how much fun they had while still helping each other with their work. I also encountered dozens of amazing individuals who shared the same passion for learning and had wished for everyone around them to succeed!

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?

I am most excited about branching out and meeting new people with different insights! I am not much of a talker, but I adore listening to people’s stories. I believe that they reveal their beliefs and dreams. Being able to listen to new people passionately talk about what they hold dearly to them inspires me daily to work harder in order to aid them in their path to success.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?

I appreciate Ms. Pederson’s persistence and organization with the students. Ms. Pederson was always on top of everything, whether it be the college application process or contacting our schools. Ms. Pederson replied to every email I’ve ever sent, whether it had been in the early morning, or night. Her dedication and belief in our class pushed me through the rigorous process. She was able to pick me up whenever I felt frustrated or burned out.


Nick Gardner ’15 Debuts Kernza® Perennial Grain

Nick GardnerNick Gardner ’15 is one of just three employees at Perennial Pantry, a small startup, but he is helping to bring about big changes to the world of sustainable agriculture.

On May 4, Perennial Pantry debuted Kernza® Perennial Grain, a grain in the wheat family.  Kernza is a perennial, which means it can be left in the field for several years without needing the annual tilling that damages topsoil and leads to erosion and nutrient losses. Kernza develops deep root systems that help sequester carbon, filter water, and keep continuous living cover on the land, creating a habitat for pollinators, song-birds, and wildlife. Kernza is designed to be climate positive, meaning that growing it doesn’t just have a net zero carbon footprint, but actually fights climate change by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Nick has been heavily involved in the Kernza project. He has conducted product research, done mathematical modeling, written web content, and edited promotional videos. He also built a grain separator and dehuller himself (with the help of his dad’s shop) using open source plans and his own design work, saving the startup tens of thousands of dollars.

“I’ve been doing a lot of dehulling, cleaning, and milling tests,” he says, noting that grain distributors like Perennial Pantry can be a forgotten part of the supply chain. “Processing grain and flour takes a lot of work! It’s hard enough with something like barley or wheat, but Kernza is so new, and it’s been bred with ecosystem services and taste in mind, not uniformity.”

Nick is also involved in baking research and familiarizing himself with Kernza in order to communicate most effectively with chefs, bakers and brewers. “I love working at Perennial Pantry–every day is something new. One day I’m fine-tuning settings on our processing equipment or doing research to develop best practices. The next day, I’m communicating the amazing potential of perennial agriculture to journalists, consumers, friends, or just about anyone I can reach. I have a lot fun.”

Perennial Pantry has partnered with nationally known organizations including the Land Institute in Kansas and the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative to launch Kernza. They are bringing necessary agricultural products to consumers in a just manner while also communicating the impact that perennials can have on sustainable and climate positive supply chains in agriculture.

Nick earned a double major in Environmental Justice and Mathematics at Williams College and is thankful that much of what he’s doing has roots in what he learned at MPA, and in college. His work with Perennial Pantry combines his lifelong interest in environmental sciences with a passion for doing right. “MPA encouraged excellence in a lot of things. Of course I loved math and science, but what I learned in social studies and fine arts comes into play on a daily basis too.”

“One day I’m choosing a color palette for a new advertisement, and the next I’m using mathematical modeling to predict the carbon impact that 1 million acres of Kernza could have over time,” Nick says. “I’ve felt very thankful for my work ethic and the diversity of my education. And it began at MPA.”

Learn more Nick’s work with Kernza at the Perennial Pantry website and on YouTube!