Junior receives MSHSL ExCEL award


Ruby Strommen

Ross received the award due to her efforts in both her schoolwork and extracurriculars.

Junior Josie Ross recently became the first BSM student to receive the MSHSL ExCEL Award. The ExCEL Award, which stands for Excellence in Community, Education, and Leadership, focuses on juniors who are not only active in their school, but are also actively involved in their communities. The MSHSL board reviews all applicants and selects roughly 40 students who they believe best fit these qualities.

Ross has been involved in many activities in BSM, such as Swim Team, Speech, One Act, the Drama Department, Knightlife, RKVC, NHS, Debate, Pop Choir, and Chamber Choir.  Outside of school, she has directed plays, worked with the Minnesota Health Association as an intern, worked on Board of Directors for Chaska Valley Family Theater, was an intern at the Children’s Theater for the Act One Program and theater training program, set up a fund for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing to see plays, and has raised funds for over six hundred children to go see a play.  In addition, she organized for First Amendment rights activist Mary Beth Tinker to speak at a BSM panel discussion on student freedom of speech rights.

I think this award is very special, so I’m honored to have gotten it,

— Josie Ross said.

Every year, BSM selects two juniors, one boy and one girl, to be nominated for this award.  This year, the two nominations went to Ross and fellow junior Eric Wilson. “[Community Events Director] Mary Fran O’Keefe went through all the juniors and selected Eric and I.  Then, we had to fill out all of the handouts and get letters of recommendations,” Ross said.

Ross is very honored to have won the award, particularly one that is unique. “I thinks it’s a really cool award, and I think it’s a good idea to recognize students who excel in areas like community and service work because I don’t think it gets much attention. I think this award is very special, so I’m honored to have gotten it,” Ross said.

Out of all of the years that BSM has nominated students, Ross is the first student from BSM to receive this award. “I’m extremely honored to be the first person from Benilde. It makes me feel honored to be the first one to represent the school,” Ross said.