MPA Students Take Over The Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards

Please join the Visual Arts Department in congratulating these Upper School artists for having their work acknowledged in the 2022 Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards!

An online exhibition of all award winners will be available soon, and there will be an online ceremony hosted by the Weisman Art Museum on February 26.

Those receiving Gold Key awards will automatically be entered to compete at the national level.

Cassie Atkinson (11)—Focusing on Orchids Honorable Mention Mixed Media
Amelia Dickson (12)—Storage Full Silver Key Digital Art
Amelia Dickson (12)—Frog Hopping Through Imagination Gold Key Digital Art
Amelia Dickson (12)—The Ugly Butterfly Gold Key Digital Art
Amelia Dickson (12)—Anxiety’s Untouched Remains Silver Key Drawing
Amelia Dickson (12)—Rebirth Gold Key Sculpture
Amelia Dickson (12)—Cyberchondria: Fear and Fabrication Gold Key Mixed Media
Amelia Dickson (12)—Chapters of Childhood Silver Key Art Portfolio
Amelia Dickson (12)>—Caged Gold Key Mixed Media
Amelia Dickson (12)—The Manifestations of Anxiety Gold Key Art Portfolio
Amelia Dickson (12)—Lore: A Childhood Across Three Continents Gold Key Painting
Audrey Jakway (11)—Family Shelf Honorable Mention Mixed Media
Xinyuan (Ella) Li (10)—Undersea World Silver Key Drawing
Lia Sonka (10)—Franconia Honorable Mention Drawing
Maxwell Spencer (11)—Affliction Honorable Mention Painting
Maxwell Spencer (11)—Scream Honorable Mention Painting
Xintong Xiang (12)—Insomnia Silver Key Painting
Xintong Xiang (12)—Clash Silver Key Mixed Media
Xintong Xiang (12)—Overflow Gold Key Mixed Media
Xintong Xiang (12)—Round Taiyaki Honorable Mention Ceramics
Xintong Xiang 12—Right and wrong and love and Honorable Mention Ceramics

Please click here for the full album of beautiful artwork by our talented Upper Schoolers!

December 2 Middle School Division News

middle school student readingfrom Jenn Milam, Middle School Director

The winter interim…
We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break away with family and were able to spend some time doing what you love with those you care about most! As I shared at lunch announcements today, we have 12 days of school until Winter Break…let’s make the most of those and work hard each day, in every class!

Parents, motivation can lag this time of year…truly. It’s darker longer, the sun shines less, we’re all a little weary and tired. Please, encourage your kiddos to show up, every day, do their best every day, and respect themselves and their school community. It has been a difficult 18 months and yet, we are thriving, having plays, performances, and celebrating milestones! Resilience is key, perseverance is essential, and your support and commitment to holding your students accountable is imperative in our partnership. We are grateful you’re a part of our community!

While all middle school students are vaccine eligible and have received vaccinations, we still need to be mindful and responsive when symptoms/illness/the sniffles arise!

Just a reminder that any/all symptoms through our AUXS app and/or via email to

Please do not email your divisional offices, directors, or teachers of an absence due to symptoms. It is important that all notifications are sent to Jennifer Rogers, our COVID Health and Safety lead, so that you can be supported and informed of possible next steps including, but not limited to, the need to remain home, secure a negative test prior to return, and/or quarantine per CDC guidance. Read More

Three Panthers Chosen For 9-10 State Honor Choir

2021 9-10 state honor choirCongratulations to Olivia Lynch ’25, Pahwa Yang ’24, and Maggie Banks-Hehenberger ’24 who auditioned and were selected to be members of the 9-10 State Honor Choir! Olivia will sing in the mixed choir under the direction of Kyle Fleming (Regis University) while Pahwa and Maggie will perform in the soprano-alto choir with G. Phillip Shoultz (Vocal Essence). The daylong event will culminate with a concert on February 19 on the campus of Bethel University. Olivia is a member of the MPA Varsity Choir while Pahwa and Maggie sing in Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers. We wish them the best!

Get Your Middle School Production Tickets!

Middle School drama is in full swing and the links to purchase your tickets are up and active. Don’t miss your chance to catch the one acts: The Internet is Distract – Oh Look a Kitten AND Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Middle School, running from Friday, November 19, to Sunday, November 21. Click the link to learn more and to purchase livestream tickets!Join us in our return to live theatre in MPA’s Black Box, as we stage the two comedic one-acts for this year’s Middle School production! Learn more and purchase your tickets here

Live Performance At MPA

Having our students engaged in visual and performing arts isn’t just about fostering an appreciation of the arts, rather it is about helping students develop the ability to practice perseverance, develop ingenuity, and understand that ideas can be expressed in more than just words. Through authentic experiences as musicians, performers, and artists each student has the ability to maximize their artistic potential, build confidence, and create beauty.

True hallmarks of Mounds Park Academy are the live performances where instrumental and choral students share their work with the broader MPA community. It is hard to believe that due to the pandemic the last live concerts held on campus were more than 19 months ago. We are thrilled to share that at this time we are not only holding in person performances, but that guests are invited to attend either in person or virtually. View the MPA calendar and add the upcoming performances to your calendars including the Upper School Instrumental Concert on Wednesday, November 3 at 7:30 PM.

To maintain alignment with the MPA health and safety protocols, each guest who plans to attend the live performances will be required to pre-register and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination (a picture or scan of their vaccination card) via email to by 7 PM the night prior to the scheduled concert. If your vaccination card is already on file at MPA through athletics or other events, you do not need to send it again. If you have a medical or religious exception, please contact with those details as we will provide information and work with you to obtain a clearance COVID-19 test so you may attend. Masking is required on campus.

All pre-registered guests will enter and exit through the Gallery on the south side of campus (door #3) and go directly to their seats in the Nicholson Center where the performances are held.

For the convenience and safety of our community, all performances will also be live streamed at the link below. Regardless of how you view the events, we are excited for you to enjoy the wonderful talent of our students.

Password: 2051
There will not be a recording distributed afterward due to licensing restrictions.


Please note that even though health and safety protocols are in place, band and choir performances are highly aerosolized activities. If any attendee develops symptoms within 48 hours of the performance, please contact for guidance.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease declared by the World Health Organization to be a global pandemic. Information about COVID-19 is continually evolving and subject to change. COVID-19’s highly contagious nature means that contact with others or contact with surfaces that have been exposed to the virus, can lead to infection. Additionally, individuals who may be infected with COVID-19, whether vaccinated or not, may be asymptomatic for a period of time or may never become symptomatic.

Aware of the foregoing, I am voluntarily attending the in person performance at Mounds Park Academy. To attend these concerts, I acknowledge and understand:

  • Given the many unknowns relating to COVID-19, it is not possible to fully identify or list each and every individual risk of contracting COVID-19;
  • MPA cannot limit all potential sources of COVID-19 infection.

Be A Part Of The Middle School Play

students in the black boxAuditions are open for the Middle School Play! This year, the play is a series of Middle School One Acts, titled, “The Internet is Distract–OH LOOK A KITTEN!” and “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Middle School (but were too busy being stuffed in a locker to ask)!” Sign up audition to here!

All Middle School students in grades 5-8 are invited to audition. Auditions are held Monday, September 13 to Tuesday, September 14 at 3:15-4:15 PM or 4:15-5:15 PM. Thursday, September 16 will be callbacks from 3:15-4:30 PM.

Upper School students are involved in the Middle School play too! Upper Schoolers take on more of the advanced technical aspects, along with taking on leadership and mentoring roles.

Auditions will take place in the Black Box (Room #30, by door #4). You MUST sign up for one audition spot via Schoology. For specific information on rehearsals and time commitment, please visit the “MPA Theatre Info” Schoology page (access code KNJ7K-BF6D9).

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact Ms. Mastel at or by stopping by her room (#21). Be sure to check out the crew opportunities, if you are interested on working backstage!

Alumni Association Welcomes New Members

alumni association logo As the new year approaches the Alumni Association welcomes new members and changes in the Executive Committee. Join us in welcoming the new alumni board members and new positions! Please stay tuned for more about new members in future alumni news.

Immediate Past Chair: Mike Velin ’06
Chair: James Cordon ’97
Vice Chair: Kathryn Andersen ’09
DEI Officer: Sid Carlson White ’17
Treasurer: Kethan Dahlberg ’14
Secretary: Jessica Wong ’05

Annie Stewart ’11
Jeremy Drucker ’97
Nick Dugas ’11
Lindsey Kenyon ’08
Amanda Magistad ’12
Isaac Marshall ’11
Christopher Staral ’06
Katie Ditmore Sinaikin ’97
Hena Vadher ’13 *
Rex Hendrickson ’11 *
Adrienne Boeder Risner ’02 *
Abigail Kline-Duffine ’98 *
Izzy Meyer Mueller ’17 *
Leslie Kroupa ’97 *

*New Member

Interested in Theatre at MPA?


Have you ever wanted to audition, but had a case of stage fright? You want to try working backstage, but have no knowledge of tools? That is okay–that is what this Theatre Info Meeting is for! We will cover the following in a brief zoom session with the MPA theatre teachers, Ann Frances Gregg, Emily Jaques, and Heather Mastel:
  • Can I play a sport and be in a play?
  • How much does it cost to participate?
  • What is the time commitment?
  • How do auditions work?
  • What jobs can I do backstage?
  • How do I get involved?

Join us next Wednesday, August 18 at 6 PM. We will cover all in this meeting for Middle School and Upper School families.

In addition, students are invited to join us Tuesday, August 31 for a Theatre Info Meeting just for students. Grab your lunch and meet us in the Black Box at 11:20 am (pending safety precautions, Middle School—grab your lunch at recess time and join us).

See you there—break a leg this year!

Debuting A Special, Collaborative Piece Of Art

the finished painted pianoSpecial thanks to Renee Sonka, MPA visual arts teacher

Upper School Applied Painting Class paints a piano together every year, as part of an in-depth collaborative project in conjunction with a local non-profit, Keys 4/4 Kids.

Last year, they barely began when virtual school halted their progress, making this type of group painting temporarily impossible. They carefully resumed this semester, and they finally have the exciting results to share!

This, their ninth collaborative piano, references a mural by Xavier Gonzalez. The mural originally hung at Dixie’s Bar of Music in New Orleans. It was damaged during Hurricane Katrina, restored in 2018, and now hangs at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. See the mural and learn more here.

Before painting, they prepared for weeks, learning about the history of the mural, building context by studying a timeline of related regional murals that led to this one. They considered racial relations then and now, wove in jazz history, and factored in economic trends (it was painted post-depression and so is a celebratory shift from Gonzalez’s previous work). They learned about every person featured in the full mural as they discussed at length why these individuals may have been included as well as why they are portrayed as they are. Look closely and you will see Lena Horne, Glen Miller, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, and so many more. The historians at the New Orleans Jazz Museum have been very supportive of this project, approving MPA’s request to reference the mural and sharing much information about it. While students worked on this painted piano in shifts, they simultaneously worked on their own individual paintings, inspired by the musicians featured in the mural.

Being it took two years to complete under such challenging circumstances, Ms. Sonka says, “it feels like a birth of some sort to see it finally come to life. Drawing connections between art, music, and history, while reading, writing, discussing, and painting, this beautiful piece is a grand culmination of interdisciplinary, hands on, content rich, interest driven, project-based learning!”

The piano is currently on display in the study room in the Upper School Commons, along with the related individual paintings done by the same students.

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