Tom Kamp '79
“MA had such a big impact on my life. I had an excellent experience as a student, made lifelong friends, and had huge respect for my teachers. It was incredibly formative for me. Being on the capital campaign committee was an opportunity for me to get involved and to try to help encourage others to recognize the impact that MA had in their lives--and indicate that we should be stepping up like the people of MA did 100 years ago…in forming the school, giving sacrificially to enable the school to be formed, and ultimately serve us. In the same way, we should be stepping up today so that we can be putting in place the buildings, facilities, programs and endowments that can carry the school forward for the next 100 years.”
An Inspiring Vision
From a strictly architectural perspective, Tom loves that the rebuild of the Upper School is oriented toward the river. “It is a stunningly beautiful building, very welcoming, and a great advertisement to anyone driving down river road. The rebuild gave the school an opportunity to do some things architecturally that really bring it into the 21st century.” Tom believes this puts the school back into the top tier of private schools from a facility and grounds perspective.
From an academic perspective, Tom is excited because this new expansion gives the opportunity to build a Middle School on the Upper School campus, providing synergy for faculty and students in science, language arts, and a variety of other programs. And, from a spiritual development perspective, he is thrilled that President Donna Harris and the leadership of MA are committed to emphasizing the Christian value system that is so prevalent throughout the school.
Tom believes Minnehaha Academy, to a large extent, stands alone as being a top tier private school within the center of the Twin Cities. “You’ve got St. Paul Academy a ways away, and Blake School a ways away, and you have a lot of wonderful private Christian schools around the perimeter of the cities. In the center of the city, MA stands alone--it is critical that there be a top-tier Christian school in the center of the city.”
Tom’s class of 1979 decided to have their forty year reunion at the new Upper School campus this year over Homecoming weekend. He and his sister Jennifer ‘69 started chatting about the reunion about a year ago now, which was a year after the explosion. They quickly came to the conclusion, “wouldn’t it be a great draw for our class if we could have the reunion at the new campus?“ At first, there was no assurance that it would be feasible and the construction would be done in time. At the pillar raising ceremony on August 2, 2018, Minnehaha leadership and the partners at Mortenson Construction assured Tom that they would be on schedule, and school would open in August 2019. He is excited to see things progress and have their reunion at the new Upper School this September. Several other classes have followed suit and will be having their reunions--or a portion of their reunion--at the new Upper School also.
“Having our reunion at the new Upper School is another touchpoint, another connection to bring people back. We want to re-cement those ties with the wonderful experiences they had through high school.” When Tom goes across campus, he can remember what happened at an intersection or on a sidewalk, or he imagines buildings and friends that were so important to him. “What a great joy in my life--it fills me with joy to walk across that campus.” He hopes that people coming back in their reunion years will feel that same joy when they can see the new progress and touch on some of the things that were familiar to them. As a part of their reunion, he is asking his class to come early and tour the Alumni House to view memorabilia from past classes. If you are a part of the class of ‘79, you should have already received your invitation and can find necessary details on the class Facebook page “Minnehaha Academy Class of 1979.”
To The Alumni
What does Tom want to say to other alumni? “All of us should be considering the sacrifices that the people who came before us made to give us the building, quality of programs, instruction, and education that we have received. It’s out of that gratitude that we need to step up to the plate in a similar way of sacrificial giving to support the school at this critical juncture. Any and all contributions are gratefully accepted. We have many alumni who have not given a penny. It sure would be great to see any size, including small contributions come from a number of people. We welcome everyone’s involvement and support. When we get to the finish line, we want to be celebrating together.”