Discovering Confidence On And Off The Court

Catherine Moore '20The following essay is adapted from MPA Class of 2020 member Catherine Moore’s Senior Speech.

I have been at MPA since kindergarten and during my time here, I have done and been many different things. In the early years, my aspirations ranged from being a veterinarian–a job that many regular people would think is a good life goal–to astronaut–again, a good job, though harder to get there, but still fairly normal… to finally…a mermaid. Clearly, my interests would wander, changing with whatever creative thought passed through my head. Luckily, MPA gave me a place to explore my less realistic, yet aspirational side. I don’t know about doing right, but I definitely dreamed big.

My afterschool interests varied, too. I tried soccer and swimming, joined basketball and played volleyball. I loved everything about sports… especially the competitiveness. I enjoyed being physical and loved my will to win. I engaged in as many sports as possible. Eventually, however, it was volleyball that caught my attention and gave me an anchor and a steady focus. In many ways, some of the most important lessons I have learned have come from being on a volleyball team, whether that was here at MPA or on a club team. Read More


MPA Named Top STEM School In The US

lower and middle school students in the makerspace togetherby Mark Segal, Upper School director

Editor’s Note: On the first Thursday of each month, you will find a guest Head’s Message here from one of MPA’s division directors. We hope you enjoy reading their thoughts and reflections about life at MPA.

November 8, 2019 was a big day for the MPA community. Many of you remember the community energy and excitement as we celebrated the Volleyball Team as they competed in their first State Volleyball Tournament. This, however, was not the only thing we celebrated that day. November 8 was also the day that Mounds Park Academy was named one of the top 500 STEM high schools in the United States by Newsweek. Given there are more than 37,000 high schools, this is a very significant honor. Many of our fellow awardees are STEM schools or have STEM programs, while MPA believes that integrating science, technology, engineering, art, and math into all aspects of an MPA education aligns best with our whole-child approach. Here, we add an “A” intentionally, referring to the disciplines together as STEAM.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 there were nearly nine million STEM/STEAM jobs representing 6.5% of the US workforce. Looking ahead, those numbers are expected to grow 70 percent faster than other occupations and many educators are encouraging students to take an interest in the subjects and courses that will provide a solid foundation in these areas. This is fabulous advice and fits well with MPA’s educational approach that allows PreK through 12th grade students to explore topics and ideas through multiple disciplines, examining problems and situations with insight from science, math, art, and humanities. Read More


MPA Fifth Grader Doing Right In The Community

fifth grader Maggie mcgrortyMPA fifth grader Maggie M. was recently featured in The Gazette for doing right in the community! When she noticed that her neighborhood didn’t have a caution sign for turtles crossing the road near a local pond, she immediately stepped in to find a solution. Inspired and empowered by her community and peers at MPA, Maggie wrote a letter to Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski.

In her letter, Maggie elaborated why installing a sign was important not only to her, but to the entire neighborhood. She even offered to fundraise for the installation of the sign in order to make sure the problem was solved as soon as possible. Mayor Kozlowski was so impressed by Maggie’s initiative that he wrote back asking to meet and decide where the sign should go! Maggie knew exactly where turtles cross the road by a pond across from the Stillwater Country Club, and also knew it is highly traveled by cars. Today, the sign is now prominently displayed, bringing attention to the turtles passing through, thanks to her.

Maggie’s advice to her peers who also want to make change is to think about what you are able to do, and secondly, what you want to do. “Look for things around you that help you become inspired,” Maggie said.


Join Us For A Rescheduled Screening Of “Angst”

angst the movieDue to technical difficulties during a previous screening of “Angst,” MPA will have a re-screening on Wednesday, December 11 at 8:15 AM in the Recital Hall. This screening is for adults only. We hope you will join us! No RSVP is required.

Producers Scilla Andreen and Karin Gornick have one goal that Mounds Park Academy wholeheartedly supports: to start a global conversation and raise awareness around anxiety. Through candid interviews, they utilize the power of film to tell the stories of many kids and teens who discuss their anxiety and its impacts on their lives and relationships, as well as how they’ve found solutions and hope. In addition, the documentary provides discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, along with the help, resources, and tools available to address the condition. The film includes interviews with children, teens, educators, experts, parents, and a very special interview with Michael Phelps.

Thank you in advance for helping spread this invitation throughout your networks! If you have any questions, please contact Jenn Milam, Ph.D., MPA Middle School director, at jmilam@moundsparkacademy.orgor 651-748-5598.


Meet MPA Parent Michelle Mick

Michelle mick, mpa parentWhat do you love about MPA?
The community of wonderful people, the faculty, staff, parents, students–everyone has the common goal, to “Dream Big, Do Right.” This is breathed through the entire MPA experience, so much that when I pick Isaac up at the end of the day, he shares stories of all the wonderful experiences that have encouraged him to continue to dream big and do right. This school is the epitome of all we could but dream of– a wonderful, solid, first-class education, providing opportunities for the students to be recognized as individuals and also allowing them to learn how important each of their contributions are, building towards a higher purpose for which they have all been a part of.

What initially attracted you to MPA?
That the Lower, Middle and Upper School divisions are all on the same campus, that there is a synchronous connection between the divisions, and that there is respect by all who are part of the MPA community.

How is your child encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Every day, Isaac is encouraged to do the right thing, given the options of how best to handle situations, whether it is in the classroom, the corridor on the way to lunch, or out at recess. In the classroom, Isaac is asked to approach situations where he is given the confidence and self-belief that he can achieve it, encouraging him to dream big. Read More


Good Food For Great Education: Eating Well At School

upper school students eating lunch together in the family commonsSchool lunch has often been considered separate from the educational experience—a quick stop between class and recess, with functional, limited menus short on nutritional value and culinary inspiration. Leading schools have been reversing this long-standing trend, knowing that good food served well is a powerful way to fuel learning.

Nutrition and Academic Performance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscore this theme, emphasizing that “schools are in a unique position to provide students with opportunities to learn about and practice healthy eating behaviors.” The CDC finds that most children do not meet fruit and vegetable recommendations, and that added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40 percent of daily calories for those age two to 18 years old, affecting the overall quality of their diets.

Additional studies show that school lunches cab affect student achievement as measured by test scores. As quoted in The Atlantic, Sean Patrick Corcoran, of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, reinforced the positive impact of schools serving high-value meals. “I’ve seen a number of other rigorous studies that also find a connection between healthy eating and academic performance,” he says. “Students who eat regular, healthy meals are less likely to be tired, are more attentive in class, and retain more information.” Read More


Shop Local And Socially Conscious Via MPA Alums

Mounds Park Academy boasts more than 1,600 accomplished alumni who have gone on to pursue all types of careers, including a disproportionate number who have founded their own companies that directly advance social causes.

Our impressive entrepreneurs demonstrate how MPA students make their mark on the world as dreamers and doers, turning big dreams into unique businesses that do right socially and economically for their communities.

For MPA’s inaugural Alumni Holiday Gift List, we’ve compiled a list of five alumni who represent the many MPA graduates who have built businesses from the ground up—and, they’re offering some exciting discounts and special offers to the MPA community this season. Please consider putting these companies at the top of your shopping list, today and all year round! Read More


Logan Erickson ’15 Inspires Student Entrepreneurs

Logan Erickson '15 talking to upper school Entrepreneurship ClubAs a recent graduate of the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering program, MPA Class of 2015 alum Logan Erickson has a lot on the horizon. From designing games with Octothorpe, to leading the design and development of neurological rehabilitation assessments and training at Stronger Brains Inc., he is making an impact and inspiring others to do the same. One of Logan’s recent projects was developing a game in which the user enters the world of Sherlock Holmes as a Baker Street Irregular–coincidentally, MPA’s 2019 Middle School Play, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars, allowed for the same experience!

Logan was invited by his brother Hunter, a current MPA junior, to visit campus and speak to the Upper School Entrepreneurship Club. Since he was seven years old, Logan has been creatively finding ways to pioneer his own small businesses. As a Middle School student, he established his first enterprise by selling handcrafted figurines–a leap he took that still echoes his ambitious spirit to this day. It eventually led him to the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah, where he helped friends with their own small companies. In turn, he realized how much he enjoys building them himself. Read More


MPA’s Final Regular Season Debate Tournament Of The Year

mpa debate at the last regular season tournament of the yearCongratulations to the MPA debate team on an excellent performance at the final regular season tournament of the year! At the Mankato East Classic Debate Tournament, the team amassed a record of 40 and 24, and seven teams won awards.

In Novice B, Freya Rahm and Emilia McLaughlin were third. In Novice A, Jenna Sherwood and Dhruv Muppidi continued their undefeated streak of 16-0 and finished second behind another 4-0 team, and the team of Lily Gasterland-Gustafsson and Elissa Frankel received medals for a 3-1 finish. In Junior Varsity, the teams of Fiona Blank and Anna Gaudio and Kaija Kunze-Hoeg and Misk Khalif received awards for their 3-1 records. Finally, in Varsity, the teams of Ryan Ghose and Elli Carlson and Garrett Hollihan and Charlie Galicich received awards for 3-1 records. MPA’s 80th debater also competed this weekend to confirm the team’s status as a true juggernaut. Go Panthers!


Coming Together To Create The MPA Alma Mater

Upper school choir practicing the alma materMPA Music Teachers, Mari Espeland and John Habermann, have been wanting to create an Alma Mater for MPA for years. But as the 2019-20 school year began, our campus went through many changes, Mr. Habermann gained more experience composing music, and MPA entered its 38th year; the timing just felt right.

As a founding faculty member and renowned English teacher, John believed Anne Atchison was the perfect candidate to write the lyrics. From the heart, she wrote and drafted the words to perfection, leaving the rhythmic lines comprehensible enough for our Alma Mater to be sung by everyone, from our littlest Panthers in PreK to our entire alumni community. Mr. Habermann said that the song’s tune came quickly after the lyrics were written. The arrangement was basically finished after an inspiring MPA Homecoming. Read More