Albert Lea announces MSHSL award nominees

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Nominees exhibit leadership, excellence

Albert Lea Area Schools on Monday announced its Minnesota State High School League award nominees for the 2022-23 school year.

The MSHSL has two yearly awards programs. Each school nominates two students for each award, one female candidate and one male candidate.

The first is the ExCEL Award which is for juniors that exhibit excellence in community, education and leadership. The second is the Triple ‘A’ Award that goes to seniors who are stand-outs in the academics, arts and athletics.

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ExCEL Award

This year’s ALHS nominees for the ExCEL award are Jaylee Waters and Michael Olson.

Waters is the daughter of Jessica and Jeremy Waters.

She has been a participant in tennis for three seasons, and is a past participant in softball and basketball.

She played in the orchestra for two years and is now very involved in the ALHS student council (she is the acting president). She is a member of the National Honor Society and has many experiences volunteering in the community. She has volunteered at her church, Meals on Wheels, Relay for Life, at the local Humane Society, and is a student representative on the Freeborn County Historical Society board.

Parts of her nomination letter read: “Jaylee has a friendly demeanor and outgoing personality that make her a person that others want to be around … and … she is one of the top students that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. … She is intelligent, hard-working, thoughtful, organized and always puts others before herself.”

Olson is the son of Reid and Sarah Olson.

He is a two-year letter-winner on the soccer team, two-year letter winner and team captain of the wrestling team, holds the school record for most wins in a season, and was a state champion last season. He is also a two-year letter-winner on the baseball team and was a member of the 2021 state tournament team.

Olson is a three-year choir student. He is a member of the National Honor Society and takes part in the ALHS Link Crew. He has volunteered countless hours for Albert Lea’s youth wrestling program, volunteers at church, helps with youth soccer camp and concessions, as well as concessions in the summer for baseball tournaments.

Part of his recommendation letter read: “His leadership is valuable to our programs … he always seems to think about others and about the team before he thinks about himself … and … he has a broader focus and it shows great maturity for a young individual … He approaches and engages with our youth athletes in the community, at events and finds ways to make them feel special.”

ExCEL nominee applications are reviewed by an independent panel of judges from schools throughout Minnesota. If selected they will be recognized on-court at a halftime of a MSHSL state basketball tournament game.

Triple ‘A’ Award

This year’s nominees for the MSHSL Triple ‘A’ Award are Kendall Kenis and Logan Strom.

Kenis is the daughter of Paul and Kristi Kenis. She has taken nine advanced classes (Advanced Placement and College in the Schools) and carries a cumulative GPA of 4.138. She was in choir for three years and has a strong interest in her art classes. She takes part in the ALHS student council, was in show choir last year, and in the school musical last fall. She has been a three sport letter-winner and three sport captain in soccer, basketball, and track and field. A portion of Kenis’s nomination reads “Kendall is a strong leader and all around model student-athlete. She is engaged and shows a strong work ethic in everything she does…. She is motivated, interested, and wants to be her best…. Kendall is the heartbeat of our leadership team.”

Strom is the son of Tony and Tina Strom.

He has taken 13 advanced classes and carries a cumulative GPA of 4.284. He has been very involved in choir, including being a section leader and taking part in large group. He has been in choir all through high school and has been part of chorale, caroliers and show choir. He is a member of the ALHS Link Crew. He also has taken part in two fall musicals (“Mamma Mia” and the “Beauty and the Beast”). He was also in the spring production of “A Year With Frog and Toad.” Strom is a three-sport varsity letter-winner in football, basketball, and track and field. Part of Strom’s nomination letter read: “Logan is very intelligent, takes difficult courses, readily accepts challenges, and … Logan has proven himself to be an excellent role model due to his character and integrity.”

The Triple ‘A’ nominees will be up for recognition at the Region 1AA level, where two students from all member schools will be selected to be recognized at a MSHSL banquet in March. If selected, they will have a chance to receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship.