Advisors for the 90 Club, Jessica Hahn-Miller and Lana Hollar, at left, welcome Mabel-Canton alum Melanie (Hein) Solum, center, back to the school to share her life lessons with the 90 Club members last Friday. Also shown is Dean of Students Michelle Weidemann.
HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER
Advisors for the 90 Club, Jessica Hahn-Miller and Lana Hollar, at left, welcome Mabel-Canton alum Melanie (Hein) Solum, center, back to the school to share her life lessons with the 90 Club members last Friday. Also shown is Dean of Students Michelle Weidemann. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER

Each fall, Mabel-Canton High School recognizes students for their academic achievements in a tradition known as 90 Club.

Now in its 35th year, Mabel-Canton’s 90 Club was started in 1982 as a way to honor eighth through twelfth grade students, who, during the previous school year, maintained at least a 90-percent grade point average (GPA).

These days, M-C uses a 4-point grading scale, so students must earn at least a 3.0 GPA for 90 Club eligibility.

This year’s membership includes 54 students, along with 10 honorees from the graduating class of 2017.

“What feels like a lifetime ago, I was sitting where you are now,” Melanie Solum, the featured speaker, said during the 90 Club program held on Friday, Nov. 17. “You have earned this important recognition.”

Solum, whose maiden name is Hein, is a 1999 graduate of Mabel-Canton and veteran 90 Club member.

In addition to taking on a new last name since high school, Solum has also added an impressive two-letter abbreviation to her identity — M.D.

Solum is an internal medicine physician with Gundersen Health System, working at its Onalaska, Wis., clinic.

“I feel very lucky to have a job that I love to do,” she explained to the students, who were seated with their parents and other family members.

Solum’s quest to become a doctor began with an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. She then attended medical school at the University of Minnesota, graduating with honors in 2008.

“Little did I know the hardest part was yet to come,” she added, regarding her first year as a medical resident at Gundersen.  

She recalled four specific lessons she learned early-on in her residency program — lessons she said came through real-world experience.

Lesson one: Take help when you can get it. Solum reminded students sometimes the greatest achievements are a team effort. She added it’s important to know when to ask for help, and understanding that doing so should not be viewed as a sign of weakness.

Lesson two: Trust in yourself and your abilities. Solum highlighted the key role confidence plays in daily decision-making. She also urged students to use their institutional knowledge to achieve the best possible outcomes.  

Lesson three: A little compassion goes a long way. Bedside manner is a biggie, according to Solum. She encouraged students to be respectful and treat others like they would like to be treated.  

Lesson four: A little appreciation goes a long way. Solum explained the two-way street of appreciation; the good feeling one gets when giving it and the good feeling one gets when receiving it.

In conclusion, Melanie Solum, M.D., gave out one final prescription to everyone in the audience.

“Always, always do what the nurses tell you,” she exclaimed with a grin!

Solum currently lives in Dresbach, Minn., with her husband, Nels, and their two children. She is the daughter of Al and Marilee Hein of Mabel.

Following Solum’s message, students were awarded their 90 Club pins from their respective class advisors.

Several students also earned an academic letter for being a 90 Club member for three years. They were sophomores Payton Danielson, Avery Davis, Brayden Gjere, Sarina Stortz, Brooklyn Wallin and Alexis Williams; junior Blake Henry; seniors Harley McCabe and Deanna Phillips; and graduates Kayla Patterson and Anna Uhrhammer, from the class of 2017.

A reception was held in the high school gym for all members and their families.

Look for more photos from Mabel-Canton’s 90 Club program inside this edition of the News Leader.