Welcome To The Family, Ms. Drake!

Lauren DrakeMeet Lauren Drake, who is joining MPA’s faculty as an Upper School English teacher! A veteran English teacher, she has taught in both Northern California and in Colorado and recently relocated back to Minnesota. After graduating from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., Ms. Drake matriculated to Carlton College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English (magna cum laude) and then received a Master of Arts in British and American literature from Mills College. Learn more about her below!

What did you love about MPA right away?
I loved how MPA felt like a close-knit community that was warm and inviting. Everyone I met, from teachers, to administrators, to students, was incredibly friendly and I felt at home immediately. I also really enjoyed the portion of my interview with students. They were thoughtful, engaging, mature, and funny–I feel so grateful that I’ll get to work with students like that every day at MPA.

What’s your big dream?
My big dream is to start an experiential learning school on a farm. Through farming, students would learn about sustainability and biology. They then would learn about math, economics, and marketing by selling the produce. Of course, we’d read a lot of nature literature as well!

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
I am passionate about connecting with the land–through gardening, hiking, and environmental stewardship. I love spending time outside and now I get to show the beauty of the outdoors to my two young sons.

What’s your secret talent?
I am really good at making up songs on the spot!

We can’t wait for our entire community to meet you, Ms. Drake! Stay tuned for more extended Q&A profiles of the amazing faculty and staff joining our community in the 2019-20 school year!

Cleaning Up Our Waste System

Ms. Meras washing trash binsIn May 2018, Middle School faculty members Ms. Meras, Ms. Powell, and Ms. Nagle first began thinking of ways to eliminate the food waste in the cafeteria. With the help of a Ramsey County grant and members of EcoConsilium, MPA was able to purchase a food recycling system and larger waste bins. MPA’s food waste is now sent to a pig farm, where it can all be recycled. There are two other bins available for trash and recyclable materials. While it was a change from simply dumping all lunch garbage into three bins instead of one, our school has  received positive feedback and high remarks that we are doing an impactful and excellent job of sorting our food waste.

In an effort to further the sustainable waste program, we are upgrading all the recycling bins in the building. The new bins will be a solid blue color and all bins will now be clearly labeled for either garbage and recycling. Overall, MPA received $10,220 in grants from Ramsey County to fund these exciting changes. During the first week of summer break, Ms. Meras, Ms. Powell, and Ms. Nagle along with help from facilities staff members Mr. Connors, Mr. Schneider, and Mr. McLees collected and cleaned all of the existing bins on campus. We are grateful for their enthusiasm and hard work to make MPA a greener, more environmentally-conscious place. Look out for brand new garbage and recycling bins in the fall, Panthers!

Celebrating Our Antidote to Cynicism

MPA Faculty Celebrates the Class of 2019On June 8, 2019, students, families, and faculty gathered in Mounds Park Academy’s Nicholson Center to graduate the Class of 2019. The evening began with the Upper School Band’s rendition of “Pomp & Circumstance” as the junior color guard and MPA faculty and staff presented the graduates. Throughout the ceremony, the Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers shared songs and three members of the Class of 2019 spoke. Gabby Law ’19, Julia Portis ’19, and Valedictorian Ajay Manicka ’19 shared words of pride, encouragement, and inspiration for their fellow classmates.

When head of school Dr. Bill Hudson spoke, he called out the prevalence of cynicism in our society today. He referred to Operation Varsity Blues, the college admission scandal that broke this spring, as an example of the way our education system and society may seem to be heading. However, Hudson explained that while “Modern cynicism tends toward negativity, is judgmental, anti-idealistic, sardonic, and misanthropic,” the MPA education that the Class of 2019 has received has readied them “to act from a place of rational faith in the human spirit.” Before receiving their diplomas, Hudson addressed the Class of 2019, announcing to them, “You are our antidote to cynicism.”

As Hudson expressed, we are so proud of the impact the Class of 2019 has made on our community and are excited to see how they shake the world in the years to come. Congratulations, graduates!  Click here to view special moments from the night.

Class of 2019: Parker Law, White Bear Lake

Parker law, class of 2019As 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 at MPA in Kindergarten.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I chose Babson for its stellar reputation in business and entrepreneurship, as well as its nationally ranked tennis program. There, I will be able to push myself athletically as well as continue my business passion.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am incredibly excited about the independence that comes with college away from home. Living next to Boston gives me the opportunity to experience a new landscape, meet new people, and find interesting jobs and internships.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?
The amount of time focused on standardized test preparation, college essay writing, and researching colleges starting sophomore year is something I have come to appreciate after the fact. I consistently felt more prepared for the college application process than my peers at other schools. Read More

Another Compelling Chapter Comes To A Close

Julia portis '19 gives out high fives in the senior walkOn Tuesday afternoon, I had the privilege of attending the presentations of three seniors who will graduate having earned a Graduate Certificate of Distinction in the Fine Arts. If you are not familiar with the Graduate Certificate of Distinction (GCD), it is designed for students ready and willing to pursue their passions through additional and focused coursework, research, and volunteerism. The GCD allows students to dive deeper into one area of their choosing: STEM, Global Studies, or the Fine Arts. The depth of inquiry that students experience through achieving a Certificate typically simulates what they will find in college, requiring hundreds of hours beyond the classroom.

I was struck by the growth each student experienced during their time at MPA as they pursued their passion for art. In the words of art teacher Lisa Buck, “Each showed (just) snippets of their artworks in their high school years that spoke to an inner calling, a sense of self-worth and self-image that has now framed who they will become.” The sense of self, discovered and honed, during their time at MPA is perhaps the greatest outcome I could hope for as head of school. To witness, and perhaps be a party, to that transformation is at the heart of an educator. Read More

Class of 2019: Lindsey Baldwin, Saint Paul

Lindsey BaldwinAs 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 after moving to St. Paul from Marquette, Michigan.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I was first encouraged to visit Wellesley College because it is a women’s college and because of its reputation for academic excellence and social justice. When I visited, I fell in love with the positive, supportive environment and the dedication to feminism among Wellesley students. I ultimately chose Wellesley because it is a perfect fit for me, and I know that the college and my peers there will help me grow as a student and as a person.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
First and foremost, I am excited to study at a women’s college. While it is not representative of the “real world,” the prospect of engaging in learning unencumbered by gender roles and societal expectations is invigorating. I am very passionate about women’s and other social issues, and because Wellesley is committed to exploring and alleviating those burdens, I know that it will be a perfect place for me to grow. Read More

Panthers Headed To State!

Mounds Park Academy is so proud of all its student-athletes headed to state!

This weekend, MPA made school history with the most Track & Field State Qualifiers ever!

  • Henry Snider – 3200m run
  • Sofia Walker – 800m Run
  • Yahya Madar – High Jump (Section Meet Record of 6′ 8)
  • Girls 4 x 800m Relay (Gabby Law, Izzy Quam, Margo Nightingale, Sofia Walker)
  • Boys 4 x 200m Relay (Tae’Vion Wilkins, Ian Olson, Nathan Harvanko, Flynn Opatz)
  • Boys 4 x 800m Relay (Isak Nightingale, Cullen Moore, Matthew Bourn, Henry Snider)

The State Track & Field Meet will be June 7 and 8 at Hamline University.

State Tennis starts Tuesday, June 4 at Reed Sweatt Tennis Club. MPA takes on Hibbing High School at 12 PM.

In MPA Golf, Maya Merchant advances to State June 11 and 12 at Pebble Creek.

Go Panthers!


Be A Part Of The MPA Sailing Team!

MPA sailing at the championshipCongratulations to MPA’s Sailing Team for placing third in the 2019 State Co-Ed Championships and to senior Toby Sullivan and eighth grader Henry S. for placing first in the Boys State Championships! Both regattas were held last weekend at the Minneapolis Sailing Center under challenging conditions.

If your 7th-12th grader is interested in joining the team this fall, please email MPA parent Natalie Waters Seum at n.watersseum@gmail.com to learn more. Sailing provides invaluable lessons in courage, self control, teamwork, critical thinking, and more. No experience is necessary and boats are provided! Read more about the benefits of sailing here.

Meet MPA’s Newest Faculty And Staff

middle school science classby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School 

I consider hiring to be one of the most important aspects of my role as head of school. As a rigorous college prep school, I need to ensure that we have excellent teachers. But because of our mission, we also need to ensure that we have excellent human beings who are going to go beyond the classroom as role models, advocates, and confidants, and even sometimes, act in “loco parentis.” I am continually reminded from my own experience as a teacher that in the long run, students won’t always remember what we taught them, but who we are, how we treated them, and how we made them feel. Early in the hiring process, I make a point to remind each committee that while it is important to fill the position, we are hiring the person first.

MPA has a very rigorous and inclusive hiring process. When an opening presents itself, we first take the opportunity to review the position in light of our mission and the evolving needs of the school. Open positions are then posted both locally and nationally and despite a national teacher shortage, we have had great success in attracting a highly qualified and diverse pool of candidates. Each hiring team is led by a member of the administrative team and is comprised of faculty and staff who work collaboratively to screen resumes and conduct a first round of interviews, culminating with a day on campus and a final interview. As a part of their time on campus, teaching candidates actually teach a class and then meet informally with students. We truly value the student perspective and voice in the hiring process. The final decision rests with the head of school, taking into account the recommendation of the hiring committee and the feedback of the students. Read More

MPA Achievements At The Section 4A True Team Meet

Yahya Madar at a track meetMPA Track and Field traveled to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winstead High School for the Section 4A True Team Meet, and ran, jumped and threw to excellent performances. In a typical meet, only the top eight individuals and top six relays score, but in a True Team meet, every competitor scores. There are 14 teams in Section 4A, and with each team able to put up to two athletes in an event, many individual events included 28 athletes.

On the girls side, eighth grader Zoe M. won the 100m dash in a personal best time of 13.26 and placed second in the 200m in 27.42, which is the seventh fastest time ever at MPA! Eighth grader Greta M. (Gentry Academy) placed fifth in the 200m in 28.04 and won the 400m in a personal best time of 1:02.44, making the MSHSL honor roll and moving up to third place all time at MPA with the fastest 400m since 2007! In the girls 800m, senior Sofia Walker won with a personal best time of 2:26.04, the third fastest time ever at MPA and fastest 800m since 2002! Notable performances in the field events include senior Gabby Law placing sixth in the triple jump with a season best performance of 30’11.

In the 4x100m relay, the team of junior Catherine Moore, ninth grader Ella Fruchterman, and eighth graders Zoe M., and Greta M. (Gentry Academy) placed won with a time of 53.04, tied for fourth best all time at MPA! The 4x200m team of eighth grader Alexa H. (Gentry Academy), ninth grader Ella Fruchterman, eighth grader Emily B. and junior Catherine Moore placed third in 2:00.44. In the 4x800m, senior Sofia Walker eighth Margo N., senior Gabby Law and sophomore Izzy Quam placed third in a season best of 10:27.09, seventh best all time at MPA!

On the boys side, senior Tae’Vion Wilkins placed third in both the 100m dash (11.96) and the 200m dash (24.11). MPA placed two runners in the top six of the boys 400m with senior Flynn Opatz running a season best 54.43 for fourth place and Nathan Harvanko running 56.55 for sixth. In the 800m, senior Matt Bourne was fifth in a personal best of 2:07.93. Junior Henry Snider was a double winner, taking the 1600m in 4:41.03 and the 3200m in a personal best of 9:53.70. He became the fourth panther ever to break 10 minutes in the 3200m. In the 300m hurdles, senior Dylan Dickinson ran a personal best 46.76 to move up to sixth place all time at MPA, and the fastest 300m hurdles time since 2008. In the high jump, senior Yahya Madar won with a personal best of 6’7, extending his school record.  6’7 is one of the best jumps in Minnesota so far this year. In the triple jump, senior Tae’Vion Wilkins jumped a personal best of 38’11.75 to place fifth and move up to fourth all time at MPA. Also in the triple jump, senior Dylan Dickinson jumped 36’9.5 to record a personal best of nearly two feet and move up to tenth place all time at MPA.

In the boys 4x100m relay, the team of seniors Tae’Vion Wilkins, Ian Olson, junior Shane Fruchterman and sophomore Caleb Rhodes ran 46.82 to place second in a season best and move up to fifth all time at MPA.  In the boys 4x200m relay, seniors Flynn Opatz and Ian Olson and juniors Shane Fruchterman and Nathan Harvanko, placed fourth in season best 1:38.32.  In the 4x400m, seniors Matthew Bourne and Henry Peterson, junior Nathan Harvanko and freshman Cullen Moore ran a season best 3:44.79 to place fifth. In the 4x800m seniors Matthew Bourne and Henry Peterson and freshmen Cullen Moore and Isak Nightingale ran a season best 8:34.78 to place third and earn a spot on the state honor roll. Their time is fifth best all time at MPA.

In a true testament to the strength of the panthers’ teams, the girls placed fifth of fourteen teams with 595.5 points and the boys placed fourth of fourteen with 610 points. The next meet is the IMAC Championship on Thursday, May 16 at Providence Academy.