Sleepy Eye’s local nominees for the Triple “A” Award are Liv Nelson of Sleepy Eye High School and John Luu Mathiowetz and Kira DeMaris of St. Mary’s High School.

Sleepy Eye’s local nominees for the Triple “A” Award are Liv Nelson of Sleepy Eye High School and John Luu Mathiowetz and Kira DeMaris of St. Mary’s High School. These students are now entered in the Region 2A competition.

The purpose of the Minnesota State High School League 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.

•to elevate academic standards and create greater awareness of League-sponsored activities and their values.

•to provide member schools of the League with the opportunity to participate in a statewide program that supports, promotes, and recognizes academic and extra-curricular achievements.

The Triple “A” Award On-Court Recognition Ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Boys' State Basketball Tournament in March. The top two award finishers from each region will be invited to the banquet. League officials will announce the four Triple “A” Award recipients at the banquet. Award recipients—a girl and a boy from both a Class A and a Class AA school—will receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship.

The Triple “A” Award nominees must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. This qualification is easily met by Liv, John and Kira as all have earned much higher GPAs through their attention to academics.

Liv Nelson said she challenges herself academically, including taking several college courses and participating in the On The Job Training program at Sleepy Eye Medical Center. She plans to enroll in a pre-med program in college and believes she’s done her best in high school to prepare for college and a future career.

Liv has been in band, choir and speech during high school and has a strong passion for the arts. She said the skills she learned through her arts activities will be beneficial in college. “More importantly, I have created bonds, friendships, and memories to last a lifetime,” she said. “Some of my fondest moments in high school come from the fine arts programs I have participated in.”

Liv played tennis the past two years and was a cheerleader for three years. She served as captain for both teams this year and learned the challenges of being a leader. “I worked my hardest and even earned an award for being a team motivator,” she said. Liv feels that the hard work that leads to success in athletics also contributes to success in everyday life.

Liv thinks being involved in a wide range of activities and taking difficult courses has enhanced her personal skills and taught her the importance of personal responsibility. She values the experiences and hopes to be involved in cheerleading and choir as a college student.

John Luu Mathiowetz said when he was a freshman the high school counselor talked to the students about where their journey would take them the next four years. “We could either take the challenging classes or slide through high school,” John explained. “I decided that I was going to work hard and take the classes that would challenge me.” He took higher level and AP courses and said those in the medical field always interested him. John also participated in On The Job Training at Sleepy Eye Medical Center. He plans to study to become a doctor.

John joined band in 7th grade and continued throughout his high school years. John has also participated in school musicals over the past four years. “I have developed a love for a variety of music and have gained confidence in myself,” he said.

John has enjoyed his time in high school athletics, playing basketball for two years, football for four years (team captain this year) and will embark on his fourth year of baseball this spring. He said playing three sports was one way for him to keep his grades in check, and likewise, the work ethic he put towards keeping his grades up also transferred over to his sports.

John is glad he had the opportunity to challenge himself in the classroom and gain confidence on the stage and athletic fields. He said his school activities got him out of his comfort zone to try new things. John plans to study biology (pre-med) in college and be involved in intramural sports.

Kira DeMaris said she took her first AP class as a 10th grader and is glad she did. “I decided to prepare myself for college,” she said. “I have since taken other AP and upper level classes. I had to learn to manage my time and also learned which study skills work best for me.”

Kira has been in band throughout high school and while choir hasn’t often fit into her schedule, she also loves to sing and has participated in the vocal solo and ensemble contests every year, too. Kira has been in the school musicals every year since 7th grade and said she has good memories on stage. “Music is a very big part of my life,” she said. “I love to perform.” Kira loves music so much that she plans to pursue a degree in Music Education in college.

Kira has participated in a number of sports in school and the community, with cross country and track being the two she enjoyed the most — participating each season since 7th grade. “I believe running will be a lifelong interest of mine,” she said.

“Through staying very involved in arts, academics and athletics, I believe I have become a well rounded and responsible person,” said Kira. “Flexibility, cooperation, positive attitude, and respect are all skills I feel have grown in my experiences.” While in college Kira plans to continue her involvement in band, choir and intramural sports.