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Dalen, Kern, Trustheim, and Voss honored as Students of Excellence

posted May 10, 2016, 11:15 AM by llloyd@bbejaguars.org   [ updated May 11, 2016, 10:13 AM ]

By Sandra Cordie

“While each of you have achieved excellence in the classroom, arts, co-curricular activities and volunteerism, it is the WHY effort behind the results that matters,” said Ron Wilke, presiding superintendent at the Students of Excellence Banquet and Recognition ceremony.  The event was Wednesday, April 27th at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud.  “Never lose sight of WHY you do the hard work,” he added.

As the crowd of 550 gathered prior to the event, students, parents and teachers greeted one another and visited about spring activities, upcoming graduation and college plans.  But mainly the atmosphere was filled with warmth and laughter.

        The evening’s presentations began with Mark Schmitz, executive director of Resource Training & Solutions, welcoming everyone to the 29th annual event.  Schmitz quoted Winston Churchill saying success is going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.  “You are here because you get to experience the success of all your hard work tonight.  Certainly along the way, there have been challenges.  Some easier, some harder than others.  But, you did not let that stop you from excelling.  Keep up your enthusiasm as you head off to college and face new challenges,” Schmitz said. 

        With humor and a powerful message, keynote speaker Willow Sweeney, challenged students to think about how they feel on a good day when everything is going great. Embrace those “good day” habits and choose them every day.  “It can be easy to go down the negative thoughts and actions road,” Sweeney said.  “Make TLC your banner. T for thinking effectively, L for learning efficiently and well and the big C for communicating with others in a way that lets them know they matter,” she continued.

The evening was dedicated to honoring the top 140 high school seniors from 36 Region 7 high schools.  The honorees were nominated by their school or district and received a plaque recognizing their accomplishment and a certificate from Governor Dayton.  Over the past 29 years there have been 4,548 high school seniors recognized at Students of Excellence.  

Ken Anderson, Board Chair at Resource, extended congratulations and a word or two of advice to the honorees.  “This evening is a recognition of your accomplishments but I want to encourage you to tell your parents and teachers thanks.”

Minnesota’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Brenda Cassellius, was unable to attend but sent a congratulating message honorees.

Criteria for selection to the Recognition Event is at the discretion of each school but based upon recommended guidelines.  Schools can choose two to four seniors and have the option to invite favorite teachers, coaches and administrators.  

          The event is sponsored by the participating school districts, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Resource Training & Solutions.  Sandra Cordie, Director of Educational Programs for the agency, organizes the event.  Next year’s Students of Excellence recognition and awards ceremony will be April 26, 2017.  Schools will be contacted in early March, 2017 with nomination information.

        “Colleges and employers are looking for people who will add to their community.  By focusing on your social and emotional skills, you will be sought after and fun to be around,” continued Willow.  “We choose you to lead the world,” she concluded.