R-P students rewarded for diverse talents, dedication

Rushford-Peterson High School students (L-R): Nolan Mueller, Lauren Lawston, Seth Heiden and Leah Himlie were awarded their Min- nesota State High School League “Triple A” Awards (Mueller and Lawston) and ExCel Awards (Heiden and Himlie) at the varsity girls basketball game versus Houston. Mueller and Lawston are seniors at R-P, and Heiden and Himlie are juniors.
By : 
Chad Smith
Tri-County Record

Four Rushford-Peterson High School students were recently recognized for their exceptional talents and tireless efforts.

 Seniors Nolan Mueller and Lauren Lawston won the Triple A Award. Juniors Seth Heiden and Leah Himlie won the ExCEL Award. R-P Middle School/High School Principal Jake Timm said each of the students are very deserving of their awards.

AAA Award

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) developed the “Triple A” award, which stands for Academics, Athletics, and Arts. The award recognizes seniors who excel in the classroom, in sports competition and the arts. Every high school in the MSHSL gets to nominate one boy and one girl for the Triple A Award. This year’s winners at R-P High School are Nolan Mueller and Lauren Lawston.

“To be eligible for the award a student has to have a 3.0 (or higher) GPA, as well as participate in a state high school league athletic activity and a fine arts activity,” Timm said. “Those fine arts activities could include band, choir, one-act play, or anything else along those lines.”

Each school nominates a pair of winners, and those names go to the Region (R-P is in Region 1A). Each region will then nominate one boy and one girl to advance on to the state level. That means 16 boys and 16 girls compete at the state level. While Mueller and Lawston weren’t selected to advance, Timm said it doesn’t in any way diminish what an honor it is to win the award.

“It’s given to kids who are high achievers in academics, involved in sports, and fine arts too,” Timm said. “Schools typically have a lot of kids that excel in one area, some will excel in two, but to get kids who are willing to be in all three and excel in all three during their high school years is really cool.

“They’re both great kids and National Honor Society members. Both have GPA’s over 3.0, they’re high honors kids who’ve gotten academic letters over the years. Both are involved in band. Nolan plays baseball and football. Lauren plays volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter.”

Timm said this is one of his favorite awards that students can win. “A kid can show up on the athletic field, be in a play, or play in the band. But to do them all, to show up on nights they’re not playing and do things like band and the play, all while keeping their grades up, is a pretty cool thing.”

ExCEL Award winners

But the student awards at R-P didn’t end with the Triple A Award. Two district students were recognized as ExCEL Award winners, according to Timm.

“ExCEL stands for Excellence in Community, Education, and Leadership,” Timm said. “It’s a recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, show excellent leadership qualities, and volunteer in their communities.”

Every school in the MSHSL is invited to nominate one girl and one boy for the ExCEL Award. The nominees must be a junior in high school, participate in a league-sanctioned fine arts and/or athletic activity, hold a leadership position in their school, and work voluntarily in their community.

“This year’s winners are Seth Heiden and Leah Himlie,” Timm said. “Seth is the son of Dean and Missy Heiden, and Leah is the daughter of Ross and Fay Himlie.

“Seth is a great kid,” Timm added. “He has a 4.0 GPA while participating in baseball, FFA, and the Knowledge Bowl competition. Outside of the school, he spends many hours volunteering at his church. It shows, too. You ask Seth to do anything and it’s a ‘yes’ with a big smile. He always has a positive attitude and is always helping his classmates, both inside and outside the classroom.

“Leah is also a great kid,” Timm said. “She has a 4.0 GPA while her list of activities is long. She’s involved in band, All School Play, Speech, Knowledge Bowl, the Robotics team, Student Council, Model Legislature, the yearbook staff, and a member of the National Honor Society. Leah also volunteers a lot at her church, in community organizations, and at the public library.

“She’s hard-working and is always looking out for the underdog student. Leah looks to do what is right and stand up for what she believes in. She is a great student to have in our building and our community.”