Weiss and Schwint selected as ExCEL Award nominees at St. Mary's

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

St. Mary's High School announced that juniors Owen Weiss and Liz Schwint were selected as ExCEL award winners with their nominations sent to the Minnesota State High School League for consideration.

St. Mary's High School ExCEL award winners are Owen Weiss and Liz Schwint.

From the MSHSL website: "The ExCEL Award – Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership – is a unique recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, leaders in their schools, and who demonstrate a strong commitment to community service. This award is sponsored by the League's corporate partner Wells Fargo."

Owen Weiss plays football, basketball (played in state tournament) and baseball and has earned All-Academic honors in each during high school. He was also named as Honorable Mention to the All District Football team this fall. He also enjoys fine arts activities in school, participating in school musical productions since 7th grade and playing trumpet in band. Owen also shares his talent on trumpet by playing Taps for the Honor Guard at military funerals and playing trumpet during Mass. He volunteers as a Mass Server and helps with Food 4 Kidz. He also helps with youth sports.

The application asks for the student's thoughts on what makes a good leader. Owen wrote, "A quality that makes up a good leader is being a leader through example, not word. They are powerful in their message, yet have humility in what they do. They understand their role and do it to completion without complaining."

A short essay on volunteerism is also required. Owen wrote about playing TAPS on his trumpet for military funerals. This is one of his statements: "I believe that this opportunity is a very touching and powerful one that not only honors the soldier’s life, but also gives their grieving family comfort in their sorrowful time. It makes me feel grateful for their service and honorable that I am serving the United States military in a very small way."

The coach who wrote a recommendation for Owen said, "Owen positively influences others by his examples of hard work, unselfishness and willingness to share his time and talents with our school and community in multiple ways."

Liz Schwint plays basketball and golf—playing at state for both—and keeps stats for football and volleyball. She's earned All-Academic honors in her sports. Liz is also a trumpet player in band and like Owen volunteers to play Taps for the Honor Guard at military funerals and plays trumpet during Mass. She is a member of the Minnesota Honor Society and the YES! Team. Liz volunteers as a Mass Server and Sunday School helper and helps with Food 4 Kidz.

About leadership qualities, Liz wrote, "I believe that I am a good leader because I use my actions to effectively display my leadership skills. By striving to do my absolute best in everything that I do, I lead by example and push others to do the same."

Liz said the most meaningful volunteer experience she's been a part of is her Minnesota Honors Society service project for Jack’s Basket. She wrote, "Jack’s Basket is an organization with a mission to change how the world views people with Down Syndrome by providing a gift basket to newborns with Down Syndrome. It was amazing to see the outpouring of support from my community even though many of them did not have a personal connection to the organization like I did. This project allowed me to become involved in an amazing organization that works to make sure that every baby is seen as a blessing even if they may not fit the societal norms of a perfect baby."

The teacher who wrote a recommendation for Liz said, "Liz leads by example and includes others, values differing opinions and fosters input from others. She is caring and is naturally looked to for leadership by her classmates and coaches . . . her leadership has had a positive impact on our school community."