Kjersta Hinz
Kjersta Hinz
Rushford-Peterson junior Kjersta Hinz is the school’s nominee for the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) ExCEL award.

The award honors students who are not only academically successful, but well-rounded members of their community. The ExCEL award stands for Excellence in Community, Education, and Leadership.

Nominees must fulfill five qualifications: be juniors in high school, make satisfactory progress towards graduation, participate in a MSHSL fine arts or athletic activity, hold a leadership position in their school, and work voluntarily in their community.

Hinz, daughter of Lynn and David Hinz, exemplifies the type of student recognized with the ExCEL nomination.

Much of Hinz’s extracurricular activities revolve around giving back to younger students. Hinz is one of R-P school’s Student Ambassadors, an organization that focuses on tutoring younger kids and helping them grow in their scholastic achievements.

Hinz is is also a member of the National Honor Society, 4-H, the Saddle Club, and a mentorship program called “Clover Buds” which is a part of 4-H.

“I’m comfortable when kids look up to me and I want to make sure that kids have (an example) that they want to be like,” said Hinz.

Hinz said she strives to be an example of “knowing how you should carry yourself,” and brings a confidence into all of her activities and to her academics.

“Kjersta is a very well-rounded student and individual,” said high school principal Jake Timm. “Kjersta takes her academics and leadership skills very seriously both inside and outside the classroom, and Kjersta never seems to have an off button; she is continuously involved in activities both in the community and school that make her a better person and our area a better place to live."

Hinz has been a three-sport athlete since seventh grade, participating in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Hinz has been on the varsity basketball and volleyball teams for two years and varsity track and field team since middle school. “I just love being outside and being able to run around,” said Hinz of track and field, one of her favorite sports.

Academically Hinz has already shown an aptitude for classes like advanced algebra and Human Biology. “I enjoyed that (human biology) class,” Hinz said. “I’m interested in the human body and how it works.”

The standout R-P junior said she felt honored to be nominated for the ExCEL award. “I was really surprised (that I was nominated),” said Hinz. “When you get a reward, it comes with responsibility. So you have to own it and (perform) the responsibilities that come with the reward.”

Hinz will be honored prior to the girl’s varsity basketball game vs. Lewiston-Altura on Friday, Feb. 9.