Welcome to MPA, Lukas Skrove!

Lukas SkroveWhat position will you be holding at MPA?
Middle School Band Director

From what school/organization are you coming?
Robbinsdale Area Schools

Tell us about your education and past experience.
I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Secondary Education Certification at the University of Minnesota Morris. After graduating in 2014 I acquired a multi-building teaching position in the Robbinsdale Area Schools District and the Mount Olivet School of Music. Over the last eight years I have worked both as a music educator and freelance musician in the greater Minneapolis/St.Paul area. Teaching and performing music has been a dream of mine since I was in Middle School. It brings me great joy to share my experiences and stories with students. Read More

Summer At MPA Artists

What do you get when you throw spin art, bracelets, fidget spinners, slime, and other crafting activities into a camp and mix it all with a big helping of art history? Snapology’s awesome new Craft Design Maker Camp! Throughout last week, Lower School students learned about some of art’s greatest minds, as well as created some fun STEM-focused take-home projects and activities. One of the most favored activities of the week was building magma-filled volcanoes. The camp has a perfect balance of creativity and STEM-based assignments that prompt young artists to expand their creative comfort zones while developing essential hands-on and problem-based skills.

Students Charting Their Own Course

Graduate with Global GCDSince its founding, MPA has pioneered whole child education in the Twin Cities with a commitment to helping students deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them. We persistently innovate in alignment with that core value, providing experiences that are challenging to replicate anywhere else.

One of MPA’s visionary programs is the Graduate Certificate of Distinction (GCD). It inspires students’ educational quests in one of four areas: Global Studies, Science Technology Engineering Math & Design (STEM), Fine Arts, and as of this year, Literary Arts. Consistent with the essence of student voice, where students actively shape curriculum and impact their education, MPA encourages and recognizes excellence that takes place outside of our already rigorous curriculum. The GCD program was designed to provide committed students a way to formalize their work. Further, it embodies MPA’s willingness to encourage engagement between students and teachers. A journey of passion, commitment, and hard work, the amount of individualized engagement required to successfully support Upper School students who pursue this challenge can only be offered by a dedicated faculty that interacts one-on-one with each candidate.

“Over the years, Upper School faculty and administrators observed amazing kids pursuing what could only be described as ‘passion projects’—students who dove into fields purely to spend time deepening their understanding,” faculty advisors Kari Kunze (Global), Lisa Buck (Fine Arts), and Jane Anderson (STEM) share. “They were not necessarily those with the highest test scores or GPAs, but students who were independently driven to quench their own thirst for knowledge.”

The GCD program is not a one-size-fits-all concept, nor is it for the majority of students. It’s a time-consuming experience for juniors and seniors who are already naturally exploring multiple subjects in depth. And it’s clear that the student must be leading the process to make this work.

“If you imagine the candidate in front of the line with the advisor close behind and their family supporting from the rear, that’s a good model,” observes Buck. The faculty advisor serves as a sounding board or brainstorming partner and parents can help by factoring their student’s area of passion into family activities, but ultimately, the student is responsible for seeking out new experiences that support the GCD honor. “What those kids offer, in terms of sharing what they’ve pursued, is extremely inspiring to us as teachers and advisors,” says Kunze. “The role of the faculty is to incite curiosity, help build confidence, and cheer them on, but we gain a great deal in the process,” Buck adds.

Graduate with STEM GCDClass of 2018 alum Pranay Somayajula, now at The George Washington University, shares that he chose to pursue the Global Certificate and “the most valuable part of the program was the way it motivated me to get out of my comfort zone and explore the full range of cultural and foreign-policy opportunities the Twin Cities has to offer.” Maija Olson ’17 reflects on her Global Certificate as well, saying, “The freedom to guide my learning offered a new kind of independence. I enjoyed the ability to deeply explore various world issues and focus on something I was truly passionate about.”

The final presentations have turned out to be transformational for students–sometimes unexpectedly. Even when candidates were extremely nervous to get up before their teachers and present their reports at the end of their senior year, there is an evident level of maturity and empowerment along with a feeling of great accomplishment once they were done.

Alex Esch ’18 remarks that although she would’ve completed all the necessary hours in the Fine Arts area because of her personal interest, “The presentation requirement was incredibly valuable because it gave me the opportunity to share my passion and all the work I completed with teachers and fellow classmates. It was amazing to feel the support of the MPA community—especially from my personal advisor, Ms. Buck—as I expressed my love of the fine arts. She was always willing to answer questions and just be there as part of my artist’s journey.” It is truly a unique opportunity to be recognized by academic elders who have served as mentors and who can now formally honor the students’ hard work and devotion to education.

These students are charting their own course—one that can’t be shown by test scores, GPAs, or more traditional forms of recognition. The GCD program takes whole child education to a deeper level, honoring the unique contributions and multi-faceted academic experiences of each candidate. We’re looking for students to push themselves out of their normal routine in order to build multiple capabilities that intersect.

For more information on MPA’s Graduate Certificate of Distinction program, visit moundsparkacademy.org/gcd.

MPA Students Thrive At 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!

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 covid@moundsparkacademy.org 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 covid@moundsparkacademy.org 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 covid@moundsparkacademy.org 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 hmastel@moundsparkacademy.org 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!