Meet the Class of 2018

We caught up with several members of the Class of 2018 to get their perspectives on their time at Morgan Park Academy as they get ready for graduation, college, and beyond.

New York University
Hometown: Evergreen Park

“There’s nothing like the community here at MPA. I initially left after eighth grade before returning my sophomore year, because I learned from personal experience that there’s nothing like the bonds you form here with your friends and teachers.”

University of Michigan
Hometown: Chicago Ridge

“Basketball was my favorite co-curricular activity. I wouldn’t always look forward to practices, but it was truly my favorite activity because of the families I created over the years and the bond I had with Coach Drahozal. He was always there for me and for the other girls. Basketball was like a second family for me.”

Loyola University Chicago
Hometown: Blue Island

“I’ve been here since preschool, and the biggest thing that the Academy did to help me prepare for college was allow me to explore my interests and explore new activities that I usually wouldn’t do. My experiences I had inside and outside the classroom, from sports to theater to our unforgettable trip to Japan, will carry me into college and beyond.”

University of Southern California
Hometown: Crown Point, Indiana

“When I transferred to MPA, I was apprehensive about joining a school where many students had known each other for years. But everyone was incredibly kind and welcoming, and I quickly felt like a member of the community as well. Moreover, the teachers that I have had at MPA have been influential role models. They were truly invested in my personal success and advancement and guided me through the challenging college decision-making process.”

University of Chicago
Hometown: Munster, Indiana

“Four years on the tennis team have been both fun and challenging, and it’s been one of the best social groups I have ever joined. And when I joined theater my junior year, that gave me another group of incredibly friendly and fun people. I’ve spent the past four years of my life at an incredible institution, which makes me feel all the more prepared for the future.”

University of Chicago
Hometown: Mount Greenwood

“I’m so grateful to have met such amazing people and made such amazing memories at MPA. From performing in Little Women to laughing and crying with the basketball team, and everything in between, this has been a time to remember.”

Indiana University
Hometown: Schererville, Indiana

“Our annual Project Week trips were some of my favorite memories. I went on international trips each year and got to experience the rest of the world with my best friends.”

École Hôtelière de Lausanne
Hometown: Shanghai, China

“My favorite place on campus is Jones Bowl. It is beautiful in winter when covered in snow. In spring, it is even better; my friends and I would sit on the grass and enjoy the sun during our open periods.”

Alumni Speaker: Mike Bechtel ’94

Each year, Morgan Park Academy begins graduation season by celebrating seniors’ college choices on National College Decision Day on May 1. This year, we were joined by investor and entrepreneur Mike Bechtel ’94, who spoke to Upper School students about his college decision, his time in school, and how his MPA experience laid the foundation for future success.

Bechtel-sq2A transcript of his remarks:

I’ll tell you, senior year sitting down with the guidance counselor here at the Academy, I felt stuck.

I really felt stuck, because MPA, doing that thing that MPA does — MPA made me well-rounded. Whether you want to or not, you can’t help but come out of Morgan Park Academy being a Renaissance person. And I said, listen, I’m good at math and science, but I like reading and writing. What do I do? And I remember the advice in 1994 — I don’t know if it’s the same today — but at that time, the advice was to start in engineering because it’s easier to fall out of engineering than into it.

Continue reading

Alumni Speaker: Jason Ervin ’92

Each year, Morgan Park Academy begins graduation season by celebrating seniors’ college choices on National College Decision Day on May 1. This year, we were joined by Chicago alderman Jason Ervin ’92, who spoke to Upper School students about how his MPA experience laid the foundation for future success.

ervin-sqA transcript of his remarks:

Diversity in this school was key. I’m a black kid who grew up on the South Side of Chicago … and fortunately for me, I was able to come to the Academy. I didn’t have to go through some of the struggles and challenges a lot of my neighbors had.

This was a diverse student body, a wealth of opportunities to give you the chance to do what you wanted to do. It gave you enough room to really kind of find yourself. I graduated in a class of 36 that looked like the rest of America — actually, that looked like the rest of the world — and that was very key as I left here to go to college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale … [to study] business and accounting.

One thing that I will say is that you all have the excellent opportunity to change your mind about some things, but use this time as you get ready to go to college and as you finish up your high school careers to figure out, what is it that you like to do? What is it that you love? What is it that you’re passionate about? What is it you don’t like? Who is it you don’t like?

Continue reading

168 Reasons Why We Walk for Water

By Celeste Kettaneh ’20

All year long, we Americans tend to use water mindlessly.

Whether it be taking a shower or leaving the faucet running, our water-wasting habits are ingrained. Unlike many places in the world, we have the privilege of taking 60-minute showers and over-watering our plants.

While we use our limited supply of “infinite” amounts of water, others beyond our borders are suffering from diseases caused by their poor water treatment. In some places, it takes a three-mile journey, sunburned shoulders, and empty plastic gallons for a family to get their daily supply. Our separation in water collection expands beyond miles, literally and metaphorically. While we put on our faucets, others put on their shoes to walk for their water.

As a part of the WE Charity, an international charity and education partner based in Canada, schools all around the world were challenged to raise money to change these conditions. They planned to build wells from all the money collected where communities needed it most. The motive was pure: every $25 raised gave one child clean water for the rest of their lives.

Continue reading

Exploring Computer Science, Design & Engineering in Middle School

This school year, Morgan Park Academy students enrolled in our Middle School technology course explored computer science through the Python programming language.

We also completed a unit on design and engineering. In this unit, students worked collaboratively through the procedural design process to build a functional pinball machine (pictured below) or contraption. At the start of this project, students researched various resources to use as a reference throughout their design phase. Supplies for this project included recyclables, 3D-printed objects, and LED lights.


Next school year, Middle School technology classes will be able to delve deeper into the design and engineering process with the construction of our new maker space, from robotics to 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking, and more. Students will continue to explore computer science through game and app design.

Continue reading

Standing Up Against Bullying on GLSEN’s Day of Silence

By Amelia Gomez ’22 and Hannah Sipich ’22

Last Friday, students around the world were silent in order to have their voices heard. This is GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) Day of Silence. The Day of Silence was first organized in 1996 to bring awareness to the harassment and bullying LGBTQ+ students encounter. Bullying is unacceptable, and no one should be subjected to it anywhere, anytime.

We are proud to be part of the majority of Morgan Park Academy’s Middle and Upper School students who enthusiastically take part in this student-led movement. On this day, we dress in black and do not speak (except during class time). We are silent to remind ourselves and others that even though we want to use our voices and have ourselves heard, we cannot. This is how victims of bullying feel. They are afraid that if they speak out against what is happening to them, they will face more of the same treatment, or worse.

Continue reading

Why Family Game Night is More Important Than Ever

Do you enjoy playing board games with your child, or do you shudder with dread at pleas to play Pretty, Pretty Princess or Hungry, Hungry Hippos just one more time? Are you thinking of your to-do list as you agree to one more game? I know I was!

But making time for screen-free activities with children, especially when they are younger, is very important. Games can teach children important skills that are crucial to success in school. Board and card games with dice or number cards foster number sense in young children, and games reinforce social, verbal, math, fine/gross motor, listening, and reading skills for children of all ages.

Continue reading