Meet Amina Brewer ’24

AminaMeet Amina Brewer, an MPA junior entering her third year at MPA!

What do you love about MPA?
One thing I love about MPA is how fast people can make connections with each other. Since the class sizes are relatively small, it’s pretty easy to form relationships with classmates. A lot of times when schools are huge, people get anxious about speaking up in class, and MPA does a good job at preventing situations like that.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
The teachers at MPA all seem to actually care for their students. There aren’t times when I feel like a burden to them, or like they’re just trying to get through the day because they all seem to truly enjoy being an educator. Part of the reason why I think they teach us this way is so we can not only succeed in the future, but also so we can change the future for the best.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Seeing my hardworking friends is really what motivates me to try my very best for the future and career I want most. Without them, I wouldn’t be half as motivated.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
I probably wouldn’t be as determined to do well because not many schools have this many students that are as motivated as they are here. Read More


Meet Frances Martin ’23

Frances Martin '23Meet Frances, who will be beginning her third and senior year at MPA this fall.

What do you love about MPA?
I love how invested the teachers are in every student’s success! My teachers all clearly love what they do and find ways to make the material we learn about interesting. They make sure that every student is supported so they can learn and grow.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
I believe they teach the way they do because they all love what they teach and want their students to have a positive experience with the material as well.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
I think the fact that MPA is such a small school really allows for much more attention from teachers than at a larger school. At MPA, I always feel like I can go to my teachers when I need help. Read More


Calling All Host Families

Dear MPA Community,

Do you have a desire to expand your family’s perspective of the world? A room to spare? Space in your heart for another family member? MPA is seeking host families for three international students for the fall of 2022.

MPA and schools like MPA that have international student programs have struggled to find families willing to host since the beginning of the pandemic. We have three outstanding Upper School students (one male, two female) without homes yet and we are in great need of your help.

All have studied in the United States previously, for a year or more. Among them you will find a student who is an award-winning mathematician and pianist who plays in subway stations and nursing homes, a student who is passionate about oil painting and chemistry, and another who enjoys ceramics and track and field. All three are disappointed in the education systems they have been in and are looking for MPA’s approach to rigor with purpose and joy. All three are fluent in English, strong students, and have a desire to be part of a family here.

How Can You Help?

  1. Volunteer to host. Find many more details below. Note that a $9,000 stipend is provided for room and board.
  2. Share this opportunity on social media. Find a Facebook post here and a LinkedIn post here. Share widely and often!
  3. Email your network, neighborhood, and/or colleagues. Reach out to communications@moundsparkacademy.org and we will send you an email that is ready to forward.
  4. Put a lawn sign in your yard. Do you live on a well-traveled street in the Twin Cities? If so, email communications@moundsparkacademy.org and we will deliver a host family recruitment lawn sign to your home.

As you and your family consider hosting, please review the MPA Host Family Recruitment Flyer and Host Family Application.

STIPEND

  • A 10-month stipend of $9,000 will be directly deposited in equal installments of $900/month on the first of each month for the previous month, September through June.
  • An early installment of $500 will be deposited on August 1 in preparation for your student’s arrival; the remaining $400 will be deposited on September 1.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Host families are responsible for providing transportation to and from school and school-related activities.
  • Host families will work with their student in scheduling rides for social events.

MEALS

  • All international students will receive the MPA school lunch. Host families and students do not need to pack lunches.
  • Host families are responsible for providing two meals on all weekdays and three meals on all weekend days.

We hope you’ll consider opening your hearts and homes to one of our international students! Give it some thought, and if interested, please reach out to me for additional information and/or to begin the process of becoming a host family. I would love to have a conversation with you!

Thank you so much for considering,

Cory Becker-Kim
International Student Program Coordinator
Advanced Language and Culture Teacher
cbeckerkim@moundsparkacademy.org


Meet Samantha Forgosh ’22

Samantha ForgoshMeet Samantha Forgosh, a recent MPA Class of 2022 graduate and proponent of the many possibilities and experiences MPA had to offer during her time as a student.

What do you love about MPA?
The one-on-one experiences with your teachers and fellow classmates.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
They want to ensure they give their students the best education and opportunities possible, and they do!

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
It’s difficult for me to remember my old school, but at MPA there have been so many more opportunities and experiences available for everyone, the possibilities are endless!

What would you tell another student considering MPA?
Even if you spend less than a year at MPA, it’s a guarantee that you’ll meet incredible people and create bonds you didn’t think were possible.

In what ways has MPA prepared you for life beyond school?
It’s given me impossible problems and trials that I would have preferred to avoid and taught me how to get around them. It’s challenged me, and taught me what the world could be like and what it is like.

What’s your big dream?
To either be the CEO of Disney, the Commissioner of the NFL, or to be rich and famous for a good reason.

How were you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
MPA has encouraged me to do my best at every turn.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your MPA experience?
I can’t believe how much time I’ve spent at this school, yet every year, every day, and every class is always a new experience! It’s been an honor watching my fellow classmates grow up, and an honor learning along with them.


Two National Merit Finalist Scholarship Winners in MPA’s Class of 2022

Congratulations to Elissa Frankel and Ruihan (Leo) Yu, recently announced as winners in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program! Elissa and Ruihan (Leo) entered the scholarship competition when they took the PSAT as juniors in October 2020 and scored in the top percentile. This past fall, they were among 16,000 Semifinalists chosen nationwide state-by-state, based on their scores relative to other Minnesota students. After submitting a substantial scholarship application and supporting materials from MPA, they were chosen as National Merit Finalists this winter.

Elissa is one of only about 1,000 students nationally who will receive a corporate National Merit award. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage. Elissa will take her scholarship, sponsored by 3M, to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she plans to major in neuroscience. At MPA, among other things, Elissa sang in Concert Choir and Madrigals, led the Social Consciousness Club in discussions of national and international subjects, initiated a voter registration drive, and co-captained the girls varsity soccer team.

Ruihan’s scholarship is funded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. He is one of only 2,500 Merit Scholar designees from across the country, assessed by NMSC to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Ruihan (Leo) will attend Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, where he plans to study economics and philosophy. Ruihan (Leo) also is a strong advocate for the liberal arts at MPA, co-leading the STEM Education Club over the past four years, playing cello in the Orchestra and keyboards in Jazz Ensemble, serving on Student Council and competing with MPA’s varsity baseball team.

We also congratulate the following MPA graduating seniors who scored well on the PSAT as juniors and were recognized by National Merit as Commended Students: Skyler Burnett, Rohit Iyer, Kaija Kunze-Hoeg, and Ruby Schwieger.


Meet Elissa Frankel ’22

Elissa FrankelWhat do you love about MPA?
I love the learning environment that the teachers and students create together! Everyone is encouraged to follow their curiosity and given the support to learn about things they’re interested in. The student body is really involved in clubs and extracurriculars (especially for such a small school), and trying new things is encouraged.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
The teachers at MPA always supported me in my goals and dreams and given me the resources to help me follow the right path to achieve them. MPA is a place where dreaming big and doing right are valued and encouraged by the whole community. Having a community that truly believes in you and your future has encouraged me to dream big and do right.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
The teachers at MPA truly care about their students and the subject matter they are teaching. They want their students to find fascination in learning and discover their passions. MPA teachers want to see their students make an impact in the world and achieve their goals and they equip us with the tools to do so. Read More


Meet Meiran Carlson ’24

Meiran Carlson How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
By receiving an immense amount of support from the people around me. Whether it’s teachers, staff, coaches, or friends, I’ve just felt a lot of structure since coming to MPA, and that has allowed me to do better socially and academically.

What do you love about MPA?
I love that even though I’ve only spent a short amount of time at MPA so far, I’m able to express myself so openly and freely. The community here is so welcoming and everyone wants to hear what everyone else has to contribute, which is such a nice thing to be able to say. Everyone’s thoughts matter and it’s really hard to feel left behind at a school like MPA.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
I think the teachers here teach the way they do because they genuinely enjoy finding new ways to get their students to think critically about issues in and outside of the classroom– it’s not a chore for them. It’s a breath of fresh air to have teachers who feel it’s important for their students to succeed in their classrooms, but also in everyday life, and who want to help in that effort.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
I have felt much more supported and welcomed at MPA than I did at my previous school. From all the interviews I had during the admissions process to adjusting to the environment here, there was always someone there to check in with me at every step. I can tell that my presence here is valued as an individual and as someone who is now a part of the MPA community. Read More


A Peek Into The MPA Robotics World

from Marc Shapiro, Upper School science teacher and robotics coach

If you’ve been in the Lansing Sports Center recently, you’ve surely seen the large wooden structure on Court 4. Maybe you even saw Michael Wilke ’16 working on it. The curiosity some people had about the structure made me overcome my reluctance at sending all employee emails, in order to compose this description of what the MPA Robotics team is about.

FIRST Robotics is an international organization headquartered in New Hampshire. It has four levels, starting with FIRST LEGO League (FLL) for elementary schoolers, all the way up to FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for high schoolers. At MPA we have only an FRC team. Per capita, Minnesota has one of the highest participation rates in the U.S. There are more FRC teams in Minnesota than varsity hockey teams!

Each year, we are given a new “game” and a limited amount of time to create a robot to play the game. The robot must be designed, built, programmed, wired, and tested under strict constraints. A new robot is built every year; the game changes so much that there’s nothing from the previous year that is useful, other than possibly a drive chassis. With their batteries and bumpers, robots can weight up to 150 pounds. Teams are aided by adult mentors who are volunteers from the community, but the students have ultimate responsibility for designing, building, and operating the robot. Students can go the technical route and learn about building, coding, electronics and controls, computer-aided design, or using a CNC router, or several of these. They can also choose the non-technical path and work on such things as fundraising, marketing, outreach, and social media. Our team has Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and a still-under-renovation website. We are like a small business, and have to raise all our operating funds; our budget for this season is $24,000. Read More


Meet Alex Bixby ’25

Alex Bixby at sailing How many years have you been a student at MPA?
This is my third year.

What do you love about MPA?
I love the opportunities MPA gives me and the amazing community.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
I’m encouraged everyday by being given opportunities to try new things, get out of my comfort zone, and even challenge myself. My teachers and peers have guided me into things I now love to do.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
I believe in my teachers teaching the way they do because it works. I have found myself engaged in all my classes and learning quickly. Sometimes I have even gone to do more work on my own because of things they have taught that have interested me.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
My experience at MPA has been the best thing for me. It has given me a community where I can feel safe and be myself. At my old school, teachers would just teach and go through lessons. At MPA, I have been able to connect with everyone and try new things. I’m able to reach out at any time and ask a question or share something and feel heard. Having small classes is nice because everyone can be a part of the class instead of sitting in a room of 30+ people and being overlooked. Read More


Meet Fawzan Aslam ’24

Fawzan AslamHow many years have you been a student at MPA?
This is my second year here at MPA!

What do you love about MPA?
I appreciate the aspect of community at MPA. In school, you’ll find a diversity of people that share common interests and ideas, while also standing for their own beliefs. This community is supportive and bolstering for a student’s success and overall experience, because of the apparent cohesiveness of a well-educated and friendly student body.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
MPA encourages me to ‘dream big and do right’ with opportunities and the ability to bring about change. At MPA, I am able to pursue new opportunities and challenges apart from the regular school curriculum. Either this being leading Social Consciousness Club presentations or engaging in helpful Speech and Debate practices, there will always be opportunities for students. Moreover, students who create and engage in these clubs and groups are able to create change not only within the MPA community, but outside as well. By ‘dreaming big and doing right’, the actions of MPA students have a big and long-lasting impact. Read More