McKenna and Kadon Strong recognized with Triple “A” award at SEHS

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

Sleepy Eye High School’s nominees for the Minnesota High School League Triple “A” Award are siblings, McKenna and Kadon Strong. The Triple “A” award recognizes and honors high school seniors who have excelled in academics, fine arts, and athletics. Triple “A” Award nominees must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. McKenna and Kadon are now entered in the Sub-section Region 2A competition.

SEHS nominees for the Triple “A” Award are McKenna and Kadon Strong.

UPDATE: Kadon is the sub-section 7 Triple "A" Award winner for 2021. All sub-section winners will now interview with the Region 2A selection committee to determine the Region 2A Male Triple A Award winner.   

Both McKenna and Kadon are recognized as excellent high-achieving students, committed and successful athletes, top band musicians, and leaders in the school. 

McKenna plays saxophone in band—named Instrumentalist of the Year for 2020, has been in school 3-Act plays, and sings in her church choir.

As an athlete, McKenna has served as Captain of her teams: cheerleading, volleyball, hockey, and softball, while also earning Academic All-Conference. She added to these activities by joining FFA and its trap shooting team.

McKenna said by being involved in athletics and arts she has learned how to manage her time effectively, set goals, and always improve through hard work, which allows her to achieve academically. 

“Performing in athletics, arts, and academics has given me the opportunity to meet new people and find friends that have the same interests as I do and introduced me to some of the people I admire most,” said McKenna. “My involvement has helped me become a dedicated students, a driven athlete, and a detailed artist.”

McKenna was recommended for the Triple “A” Award by a teacher who said she takes challenging courses and uses analytical skills and contributes positively to class discussions, offering insightful comments that are rare for a high school student. The teacher wrote that McKenna has assumed leadership in arts and athletic activities at school and serves as a model of a well-rounded student.

McKenna plans to attend Minnesota State University, Mankato to study Management/Human Resources.

Kadon has competed in Knowledge Bowl thoughout junior and senior high school. He plays trumpet in band and was named Instrumentalist of the Year in 2019. He is also proud to be a bugler for the Sleepy Eye Honor Guard.

Kadon excels at football, hockey, and baseball, serving as Captain of his teams. He is on the school and FFA trap shooting teams and also competed in the Student Angler Tournament Trail, a high school fishing competition. 

Asked how his involvement in arts, athletics and academics has developed him as a person, Kadon said he thinks athletics has been a big part of his development because it’s taught him to strive to be better than everyone else.

“This mentality is what makes me who I am,” said Kadon. “I don’t like falling behind when it comes to my performance in athletics, in school, or as a trumpet player.” He said friends are important, “They should challenge me to make sure I’m working hard at practice and challenging them, too. [Friendship] also means we make sure we understand what we’re learning in school and if we can help each other, we will.”

Kadon was recommended for the Triple “A” Award by a teacher who said, “Kadon is one of Sleepy Eye’s top students, who challenges himself to excel in his upper level courses. His contribution to our band is appreciated by all and he is a leader in athletic programs.”

Kadon plans to attend either NDSU or Bethel to study Engineering. He plans to continue with his inolvement in band and play baseball.

The purpose of the MSHSL 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; and 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 top two award finishers from each region will be invited to a recognition banquet in March and League officials will announce the four statewide Triple ‘A’ Award winners at that time. All 32 finalists will also participate in an on-court ceremony during the Class AA championship game of the Boys Basketball State Tournament. The statewide award winners—a girl and a boy from Class A and Class AA schools—will also receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship.