For three Caledonia High School students, an award was proof of their hard work throughout high school.
Senior Vanessa Hawkins (Triple A) and juniors Lyza Hoscheit and Dominick Konkel (ExCEL) were selected as the recipients by Athletic Director Scott Sorenson.
“We are extremely proud of these students,” Sorenson said. “They have displayed commitment to a variety of activities while maintaining high grades. They are committed to going above and beyond in everything they do. They are not satisfied with doing the minimum.”
The Triple A award is meant “to recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the fine arts,” according to the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL).
The ExCEL award goes to high school juniors and stands for “Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership.” It is a “unique recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, who show leadership qualities, and who work voluntarily in their community,” the league said.
Triple A – Vanessa Hawkins
For Hawkins, seeing and reading about the Triple A award going to seniors before her was something to look forward to, and now she has earned the honor herself.
“I felt pretty excited,” she said. “My grades have always been a priority, so I have the motivation to work hard for them.”
And indeed she has. Throughout high school Hawkins has maintained a 4.0 grade point average (GPA), while partaking in concert, jazz, pep and marching bands and playing on the girls golf team where she was a state participant the past two years.
She enjoys the business of extracurriculars and says staying busy helps her succeed in everything she participates in. After high school, she plans to attend a four-year university.
Her advice to other students handling academics, athletics and arts all at the same time is to find a balance.
“... it is awesome to be so involved, but be careful not to overwork yourself,” she said. “Find a balance between your involvement, your grades and your mental health.”
ExCEL – Lyza Hoscheit
Volunteering keeps her connected and engaged with the whole community, Hoscheit said. She volunteers with her teams (volleyball and basketball) at events and helps out with clinics for younger kids during the summer.
“This is important to me because I love giving back to a community I love,” she added. “... it allows me to meet people of all age groups in the community.”
In addition to sports, Hoscheit is also a member of Student Council, Junior Prom Committee and Students Against Destructive Decisions Club (SADD). She holds the secretary position on Student Council and is a team captain on the girls varsity basketball team.
In addition to volunteering at school, she volunteers at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at events and fundraisers.
Her advice for other students is to “push yourself to be great and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone to achieve your goals.”
“I would say create your goals high enough that they scare you a little bit, that makes reaching them that much more rewarding!” she advised. “Don’t be afraid to be uncommon.”
ExCEL – Dominick Konkel
Konkel is involved in plenty of high school activities. He enjoys trying new things and working to meet challenging goals.
“Right away I didn’t know what the award was, but after doing some research on it I felt honored to be recognized and thought of for an award like this,” he noted.
“I participate in soccer, golf, band, jazz band, robotics, knowledge bowl, and the school musical.
“Some leadership roles I hold in the school are captain of the soccer team and first chair alto in the band.
“Some groups I volunteer for are youth robotics and youth golf.
“These are important to me because it gets kids interested in things they enjoy and gives them a chance to practice and learn about things they would not get through just schooling.
“Some advice I would give to other students to strive for their goals is to try new things and to find ways to incorporate those new experiences into your interests to give you more ways to reach your goals and create more.”
Editor's note: The print edition incorrectly misspelled Lyza's name as Eliza. The correct name is Lyza. The Argus apologizes for the error.