BSM nominates two juniors for ExCEL Competition

Serving as the Student Representative for the Chaska Valley Family Theatre Board of Directors, Ross started several projects.
Photo courtesy of Unsie Zuege
Serving as the Student Representative for the Chaska Valley Family Theatre Board of Directors, Ross started several projects.

Every year the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) hosts the Excel Awards, recognizing students who are active in school activities, show leadership qualities, and do volunteer work in their community. A committee from each school is allowed to pick two students who best exemplify these qualities. Out of all the students who are nominated, roughly 35 students will be selected by MSHSL to receive the award. This year, BSM has nominated two juniors for the award: Josie Ross and Eric Wilson.

Ross is involved in One Act Plays, speech, theater, National Honor Society, choir, and was previously a member of the girls’ swim team. She also has several leadership roles, including Commissioner of Knightlife, News Editor for the Knight Errant, and captain of the debate team. In her community, Ross volunteers at the Children’s Theater Company, served on the Board of Directors at Chaska Valley Family Theatre, worked to produce sensory-friendly plays for the disabled, and organized First Amendment Right activist, Mary Beth Tinker, to speak at BSM. “Being involved allows me to give back to my school community, but it also makes me a better student,” Ross said.

Wilson, the other candidate, is involved in choir, band, Red Knight Volunteer Corps, National Honor Society, and chess club. Serving as a leader, Wilson is the captain of both the football and track and field teams. He was previously involved in basketball and baseball at BSM. Outside BSM, Wilson participates in the traveling Minnesota Boychoir and volunteers at IOPC Resale 101 weekly. He values his community service activities for many reasons: “It is awesome to meet so many different types of people, as well as being very rewarding,” Wilson said. 

As Captain of the Track and Field Team, Wilson helps lead fellow team members to victory.
Photo courtesy of Eric Wilson
As captain of the track and field team, Wilson helps lead fellow team members to victory.

The BSM selection committee had a difficult time picking the representatives, but ultimately found something that stood out between the two selected candidates. “For Eric, it was his diverse talents with football and choir. For Josie, it was her ability to do so many volunteer hours, while doing numerous activities at BSM,” Mary Fran O’Keefe, Director of Community Events, said.

Those who receive the award typically do something that goes beyond expectations.  For example, members of the committee might look for someone who is the captain of the football team, but also participates in the spring musical. “It’s a very interesting competition. The judges try to look for someone who doesn’t really fit a typical mold. We feel that Josie and Eric have that special something that stands out,” O’Keefe said.

Although there has yet to be a nominee from BSM who has won the award, the committee has high hopes for Ross and Wilson. “We feel very confident in our two nominees. Although we haven’t had a winner from our school yet, we really hope that either Josie or Eric could be our first winner,” O’Keefe said.

The winners will be announced on February 1, 2016.  Each winner will be featured in their own segment on KSTC-TV News during the 2016 MSHSL winter state tournaments.