Olivia Hoff
Olivia Hoff
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Rushford-Peterson High School seniors Olivia Hoff and Michael Ekern will be recognized as winners of the Minnesota State High School League’s (MSHSL) Triple “A” award this week.

According to the MSHSL website, the purpose of the Triple "A" Award is to "recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the fine arts."

Schools are allowed to nominate one male and one female only. Students must have a cumulative "B" GPA (3.0) or higher, must participate in league-sponsored athletics and fine arts activities and comply with the MSHSL's Student Code of Conduct.

The final award recipients are selected through a multi-level process that involves "member schools of the League, the League's administrative regions and a special committee of educators, business leaders and members from the fine arts and athletic communities."

Olivia Hoff

Hoff is the daughter of Sue and Gary Hoff. Hoff has already taken several courses that will prepare her for college; Human Biology, Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology, AP Biology, and Precalculus.

Of those courses, Hoff’s favorite has been psychology. “I really enjoyed learning about psychology. I think it’s very interesting,” she said.

Hoff has been a three-sport athlete for most of her high school career. Since seventh grade she has participated in volleyball, dance, and track. But for her senior year Hoff decided to focus on volleyball and track. Hoff enjoys the team aspect of volleyball and the individual effort required by track and field.

One of Hoff’s defining traits is her ability to balance her busy schedule. Currently Hoff is involved in Student Council, WE Group, Student Ambassadors, National Honor Society, Knowledge Bowl and band.

"Olivia is a top notch student and all around great human being,” said R-P principal Jake Timm. “She is a leader in academics, arts and athletics as well as being our student body president. I am excited for what life holds for Olivia.”

“It’s an honor (to be recognized),” said Hoff. “This is something that I have thought about for a long time. My brother (Alex) got this award and I always looked up to him. Being busy and being involved in so many things is finally paying off.”

Michael Ekern

Ekern is the son of Ben and Holly Ekern. Ekern has taken several college credit classes including Sociology, Latin I, AP Biology and AP Literature. Ekern recalled his love for the “conversations that we would have with Mrs. Michel” in AP Literature

Ekern played football for his entire high school career. Ekern played basketball as a freshman and participated in track and field for two years, but has stuck with football because of the relationships he formed on the team.

“I had a lot of good friends that also played football. We all made it fun together,” said Ekern. Though he suffered a season-ending injury this year, Ekern still provided encouragement and leadership in the team’s efforts.

“Mike is a quiet leader,” Timm said. “Mike suffered an injury this year that ended his senior football season early, and instead of having a negative attitude, he used his leadership skills and was seen leading and cheering on his teammates throughout the season."

Ekern is also involved in Student Council and Knowledge Bowl.

“Knowledge Bowl is easily my favorite thing to do,” said Ekern. “The kids on my team are really fun to go to meets with.” Ekern also plays trumpet for the high school band.

“It’s an honor and pretty humbling (to be recognized),” Ekern said. “I didn’t think I would be the one to get it. I guess all of that academic work paid off in the end.”

Hoff and Ekern will receive their AAA awards prior to the girl’s varsity basketball game vs. Lewiston-Altura on Friday, Feb. 9.