Alumni Parents Visit Their Kindergarten Kiddos

Kindergarten teachers, Ms. Kristine Petersen (Ms. P) and Ms. Katie Roche welcome parents into classrooms for community share moments each year. This year was extra special as we had eight students in the kindergarten class that were children of MPA alumni.

We asked the teachers – How do you feel about having alumni parents in your classroom?
It is always a highlight when MPA parents volunteer to join us in the classroom. Children get so excited to share part of their day with their parent. As I reflect on the question above, I become a bit overwhelmed. I’m hit with the realization that these adults have chosen to come home to a place where they grew and learned as a child. This is a powerful moment and one that epitomizes our school community. We make deep connections with each other at MPA. I have watched some of these parents grow into the human beings they are today. It was an incredible honor to be a part of their story as they traveled on their life journey. Then to think I now have their sweet children in my class. Well, my eyes are overflowing with tears.

These eight alumni parents will lead our kindergarteners into their graduation ceremony on June 4. Each former MPA student will don an MPA alumni sash and find their place standing behind their child, and the entire kindergarten class. This will be a breathtaking sight. It will inspire new beginnings and possibilities for more children to return home. A place where they will always belong and be loved for who they are each and every day.
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Meet International Student Ella Li ’24

Ella Li '24 Ella Li has been at MPA since eighth grade. She is from China and is currently living with an MPA host family. Learn more about our international student program and becoming a host family here!

What do you love about MPA?
I love the various curriculums at MPA. I can take different humanities courses, like world history, Western literature, US history, etc. From these courses, I have been able to learn about many interesting cultures and read high-quality literature works from the US. Also, I can access different levels of math classes, like algebra, statistics, and calculus, which inspired my curiosity to explore more knowledge. MPA’s science courses, such as physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science, are wonderful. Additionally, I like watercolor drawing, painting, and photography. At MPA, I have opportunities to take various art courses, such as art and design. All of these courses enrich my life at MPA.

How is your experience at MPA different than your former school?
At MPA, I have a closer relationship with each teacher and classmates. During class, I have a lot of group discussions and projects with my classmates. We could share many exciting ideas and help each other. After class, I am also very willing to discuss questions with my teachers. They always give me detailed explanations, enabling me to understand the content I learned clearly. In my former school, I spent most of my time preparing for standard tests, rarely had opportunities to discuss questions with teachers, and participated in after-class activities. Read More

Meet International Student Mina Kim ’26

Mina KimMina Kim has been at MPA since eighth grade. She is from Seoul, South Korea, and is currently living with an MPA host family. Learn more about our international student program and becoming a host family here!

What do you love about MPA?
What I love the most about MPA are the opportunities given to me. MPA offered me a chance that I can study abroad, then a whole new journey in my life began. While I have continued my study in MPA, I, fortunately, was able to have enough opportunities which satisfied my academic desires. MPA provided me with a challenging and engaging social environment through well-driven people, multiple projects to express my creativity, and open chances for everyone. For instance, I am involved in band, debate, soccer, and student council. I take these as opportunities that allow me to build many good relationships with teachers and teammates and be passionate and responsible at my tasks. I deeply appreciate these great opportunities that I enjoy in MPA.

How is your experience at MPA different than your former school?
I spent most of my youth in South Korea. I am grateful that I was under an excellent education system with rigorous and challenging academics throughout my former school years in South Korea. It helped me develop my own study habits and have confidence, which led me to MPA to discover new academic challenges. Besides the academic aspect, I really liked that respecting and cooperating with others was always strongly emphasized in Korean schools in a social manner. Now, as a proud member of MPA, I recognize that the MPA community is more liberal and diverse. Chances that are given to me of choosing electives and clubs helped me out with enhancing my own abilities and how to efficiently use them. I learn and adapt a lot from interchanging ideas with people from different backgrounds and histories. Further, a deep encouraging sense of community and easy interaction with teachers has become a solid ground for me to navigate academic paths. Read More

Meet Georgia Magers ’23

Georgia Magers '23What do you love about MPA?
I love how MPA provides the space for kids of all backgrounds to communicate and learn together. We all have an equal chance to speak our minds while diversifying our own knowledge and perception of the world.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
I am encouraged to dream big and do right through the supportive resources MPA has to offer. From an emphasis on mental health, to being greeted at the door each morning by staff, or being encouraged to ask questions in class each day.

What’s your big dream?
My big dream is to find a fulfilling life path that challenges me every day.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
I believe my teachers teach the way they do to prepare me for life outside of MPA and help me find my passions inside and outside of school.

In what ways has MPA prepared you for life beyond school?
MPA has exposed me to more ideas, concepts, and people than I could have ever reached on my own. Read More

Meet Nicholas Larson ’23

Nicholas LarsonWhat do you love about MPA?
I love the close-knit community at MPA! I truly feel like I’m able to connect with my teachers and peers at a personal level and form lasting relationships that will continue well after I graduate.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
At MPA, each student has the opportunity to be a part of so many different activities. The school culture is to take advantage of all the opportunities students are given and to be a part of as many of those classes and clubs as possible. With so many different clubs, class offerings, and extracurriculars, whether it be a sport or an academic competition after school, almost all students become heavily involved in something they are interested in.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
I think the teachers at MPA run their classes with an emphasis on real-world applications and individual thinking. Most teachers will ask us, students, questions about the reading we’ve done or assignments we’ve completed for class instead of lecturing about them. They want students to learn how to think instead of what to think. With smaller class sizes, teachers get to know their students and are able to push their intellectual curiosity. Many classes I’ve taken focus on complex problem-solving skills. While there is a certain amount of content that is needed to learn in certain subjects, students don’t just learn facts, they learn how to apply their knowledge. Read More

Meet Rooco R. ’29

Rocco in classWhat do you love about MPA?
At MPA, I love that everybody is so caring, kind, and respectful. The teachers spend so much time with you and that’s really nice. I like that nobody interrupts classes. It’s really great.

What would you tell another student considering MPA?
You should. Coming to MPA is definitely the right choice. I’ve gone to two other schools and this is definitely the best school for me. If you love having fun while still learning, then definitely come here.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
I get encouraged to dream big and do right when I think about things I like. When I read
I always dream that I’m one of the characters in the story. I dream that I’m there. When I do right, I stand up for my friends, I help other people, and I think it’s better to be in a group than alone when we do right.

Meet Annika Binstadt ’25

Annika and her sister KensiWhat do you love about MPA?
It sounds cliché, but MPA is my home away from home. I know that I can come to school each day and I will have teachers, friends, coaches, and administrators all ready to welcome me. Whenever I speak with students who don’t go to MPA and they tell me how much they dread going to school or that they don’t feel comfortable being themselves at school, I realize that I have never had that experience at MPA. Not only is the Mounds Park campus where I spend most of my time, but it is where I have made many of my fondest memories and closest friends. It is the place that has raised and nurtured me, and it is a huge part of what has shaped my personality, interests, and character.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
Teachers at MPA genuinely care for their students, and it shows in the way they teach. At this school, I have never felt like just a grade or another essay. The joy teachers have for their students and for teaching shows in everything they do, inside and outside of the classroom. The teachers are truly the heart of what makes MPA great.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
At MPA, no dream is too big. If you see a solution, you pursue it. My dreams have been supported, even when they were far-fetched and arguably impossible. There is a strong culture of justice, dedication, and collaboration among the students. Read More

Host Family Needed For Semester Two

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 a host family for a new Upper School international students for the second half of the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

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


  • A monthly stipend will be directly deposited in installments of $900/month on the first of each month for the previous month, January through June. January and June will be prorated.


  • 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.


  • 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

Meet Sophia Spisak ’23

Sophia Spisak '23What do you love about MPA?
I love how MPA is such a close-knit community. I really value the relationships I have with my teachers and friends, and I still keep in touch with some of my Middle School teachers. It’s wonderful to have such close connections. I also love that MPA gives students the opportunity to try so many different things–most students aren’t just known for one passion.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Since MPA is a PreK-12 school, I’m able to learn from students of different ages. When I was in Middle School, I always looked up to my team captains as my role models, and I wanted to be just like them because they were so kind and caring. Being the older kid now lets me learn from younger teammates and set a positive example.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
It is very clear how much MPA teachers care about their students; they always teach with joy and authenticity. I believe they teach this way because they care about us so deeply and want to see us succeed outside of the classroom. Read More

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