Class of 2019: Ling DeBellis, Saint Paul

Ling DeBellisAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA? 
I started MPA in PreK in 2005! This was MPA’s first PreK class. I was really shy back then, and had faced isolation at a PreK before MPA, so I was pretty nervous on the first day of school. Lorraine Anderson, the former MPA PreK teacher, was amazingly kind and nurturing; it didn’t take long for me to come out of my shell!

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I chose Rice University in Houston, TX because it just felt like home. The people were so authentic and welcoming. Our campus tour was incredibly accessible (I am a wheelchair user, and have had terrible experiences at other colleges). I ate lunch with the best, nerdiest students ever, and instantly felt a connection. I was clearly surrounded by supportive, engaging peers and brilliant professors! And, of course, Houston weather is my kind of vibe. I ended up applying Early Decision because I knew I’d be heartbroken if I didn’t get in. A bonus is that Rice is neighbors to the world’s largest medical complex (really!) — fingers crossed for plenty of research gigs! Read More


Class of 2019: José Varela Castillo, Woodbury

Jose Varela CastilloAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA? 
I came to MPA in ninth grade. MPA has been a great fit and I’ve really enjoyed my time here.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I chose Tulane because I wanted to be in a place that was warm and close to home. Also, I wanted to be in a five-year architecture program, and Tulane was my favorite school in the south that offered it. I also was looking for a medium size school, but one that still had lots of school spirit and D1 athletics. Tulane also allows me to double or switch majors because admission is not school specific giving me more options if architecture is not the path I ultimately want to take.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am really looking forward to taking more art classes and doing more hands-on projects. I am also looking forward to more independence and the ability to have more control over my schedule. College will also give me the opportunity to find out what I really want in life and discover new paths. I am excited to meet new people who have had different life experiences than I have. Studying abroad is another thing that I am excited for, since I love to travel and like living in different countries. Read More


Class of 2019: Lance Go, Woodbury

Lance GoAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA?
I came to MPA in ninth grade. I originally went to St. Ambrose of Woodbury from K-8 before MPA, and I distinctly remember being the only person from St. Ambrose to transfer to MPA in my class. Since I decided to enroll at MPA, I have never looked back.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
Northwestern University has been somewhere I have wanted to go since I was very young. Northwestern is in the unique position of offering many more options than a traditional liberal arts college while still maintaining a smaller feel than a big university. Although I will be an engineering student, I will still have the option of taking many classes outside of my major. The combination of having a wide selection of courses and the flexibility to try things outside of what I am studying easily made Northwestern my top choice.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
As much as I love the great state of Minnesota, I am very excited to see what other cities have to offer! I am always up for trying new things, and Evanston and Chicago will be a nice change of scenery. As someone who does not yet know what kind of engineering is best for me, I’m also excited to further explore a variety of engineering disciplines and the STEM field as a whole. Read More


Class of 2019: Gabby Law, White Bear Lake

Gabby LawAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA? 
I’m proud to call myself an MPA lifer. It’s crazy to think only 13 years ago I was sitting in Ms. P’s class learning the alphabet!

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I first heard about Georgetown through Ms. Kunze, my Spanish teacher and speech coach, who said a previous MPA student, Aniket Naravane, had just graduated from Georgetown and loved it. In particular, she mentioned how Aniket loved the global outlook on learning, their focus on care for others, and the overall happiness of the students. After researching Georgetown, my mom and I visited the campus, and I immediately fell in love. The students were engaged and weren’t afraid to speak their mind, but they were incredibly kind too. Having a community of older students who mentor younger students and professors closely bonded to their students was very important to me, and I could clearly see that exemplified during my visit.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am so excited to live in D.C.! As someone who loves museums and politics, I can’t think of a better place to live. D.C. also has a lot of great opportunities for internships; I’ve listened to NPR since I was a young child, so I’m hoping I can intern at their headquarters or at the Capitol sometime over the next four years.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?
Ms. Peterson makes the college counseling process so manageable and enjoyable. She gets to know her students well throughout high school, so when we start applying to colleges and writing essays, she personalizes our experiences to help us find the best fit. Also, she is just the sweetest! I love stopping in her room to have a cup of coffee and chat.

What about your MPA experience has best prepared you for college?
MPA has helped me learn how to speak my mind and be open to debate. I know at college I won’t be afraid to present my ideas and defend them, too. By creating a space where I can take risks and make mistakes, MPA has inspired me to think independently and try new things. Read More


Celebrating MPA Spirit

Dan Haase celebrates with Kathy Bourne and Kathi PetersonThe Spirit Committee gathered yesterday to celebrate the contributions of long-time members, and senior parents, Kathy Bourne and Kathi Peterson. After many years of dedication to the Spirit Committee they bid a fond farewell with their seniors and leave MPA Athletics stronger than ever. Mounds Park Academy would like to sincerely thank them for their many hours of volunteer service and incredible contributions through the years.

We would love for you be a part of the 2019-20 MPA Spirit Committee. Please email Dawn Zimmerman at dzimmerman@moundsparkacademy.org in the athletic office if you are interested or would like more information. Read More


Deepening Our Global Connections

dr. Hudson's trip to Chinaby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Planes, trains, and automobiles—and even a boat. I write this message while flying over the northern Pacific Ocean on my way back from a one-week trip to China. It was a fantastic experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of the Chinese people and delighted in the wonderful culture and cuisine. Together with several other heads of school from the Midwest, I visited a number of schools in Nanjing, Beijing, and Guangzhou to learn more about the Chinese educational system.

The Chinese educational system is very different than ours in a number of ways. The National College Entrance Examination, Gaokao, is required for college entrance and the score dictates a future path for each student. There is tremendous pressure to earn a high score and get into a top college. Teaching is focused on preparing students for the exam, particularly in math and science, leaving much less time for other subjects or critical thinking. Curriculum is limited, and Chinese pedagogy is very teacher-centered. There is far less attention paid to student engagement and agency. Read More


Class of 2019: Aneesh Syal, North Oaks

Aneesh SyalAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA? 
I came to MPA in Kindergarten. My sister was in third grade when I enrolled, so my family was familiar with the school. My parents wanted to provide me an education that they never had the opportunity to have, a place where both intellect and character and valued and developed equally.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
After touring numerous colleges, Washington University in St. Louis remained on my mind for many months. I enjoyed the resources of the institution, the strong emphasis on science and humanities. However, what ended up causing me to apply Early Decision to WashU were the people. I visited the college twice and the students were incredibly kind and reminded me of MPA students. I remember talking to one current student, and she said that everyone here works together because we acknowledge that collaboration fosters stronger solutions. Read More


Carrying On The MPA Tradition Of Excellence

Ms. Rossbach's group hug at the lower school art and music showby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

It is hard to put into words how I feel about coming to school each day. I am incredibly fortunate to work with amazing people who inspire me by their professionalism and by their character. They are kind and caring people who love their area of expertise, their craft, and most certainly, the children they teach. MPA English teachers indeed love literature, but they also love engaging students in the exploration of the most fundamental questions about humanity and meaning. Our math teachers undoubtedly enjoy the intricacies of the relationships of numbers, but they also love awakening the curiosity and problem-solving abilities of their students. The very best teachers do not teach math, or science, or art. They teach students.

Whether by retirement or life changes, we will say goodbye to several of these remarkable MPA educators in a few short weeks. Most of us have left jobs behind because we were dissatisfied with working conditions, or because we were bored or underappreciated. Rather than leave MPA behind, these educators move toward new chapters in their lives. While it is difficult to bid farewell to them, I do so with gratitude for the mark they have had on this community and with joy for what lies ahead of them.

Read More


A School Committed To Inspiring Curiosity

Head of school standing in front of windowsby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School, Mounds Park Academy

I came across an article recently shared by Entrepreneur magazine entitled, “The Most Important Skill at the Office Isn’t Being Taught in School.” It caught my attention. What is that important skill? The article argues it is curiosity. Curiosity is named by many behavioral scientists to be among the most valuable attributes in the workplace and yet it is not fostered in many schools. In fact, the way in which schools are structured discourages it—so many schools are driven by standardized testing and measure performance solely on test-based standards. Rest assured that is not the case at Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul, and in fact, is quite the opposite of our approach.

At MPA, curiosity is not just encouraged, it is expected. Furthermore, curiosity is valued as a mindset to be cultivated in its own right, not just for the workplace, but for lifelong fulfillment. According to best-selling author Todd Kashdan, “Curiosity—a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something—creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy, and delight.” Whether in the classroom, the workplace, or in life, curiosity is essential. Read More


Class of 2019: Henry Peterson, Stillwater

Henry PetersonAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA?
I came to MPA in third grade.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I grew up knowing I wanted to attend a small college. Both of my parents attended liberal arts colleges for their undergraduate education and loved it. Looking for a liberal arts college with nice weather narrowed my field of options drastically, and Pomona was the first college where I felt at home during my visit—it became my first choice very quickly.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am most excited to live away from home, meet new people with different backgrounds from my own, and learn about topics I haven’t yet had the opportunity to study in an academic setting.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?
As I reflect on my college process, I believe my letters of recommendation may have been the strongest part of my applications. And although I will never read them, they represent what I’m most grateful for: my teachers taking the time to form meaningful relationships with me and my classmates throughout my time at MPA. As I meet more people who are going through the college process, I’ve realized the many benefits of strong student-teacher relationships (including the help they provide during the college application process). Read More