APS Column: Celebrating academic excellence at Austin HS

Published 6:43 pm Friday, May 13, 2022

By Andrea Malo

Austin High School Principal

Some of the great events that happen at schools each year are opportunities to recognize students for academic excellence and achievement. At Austin High School we host many of these events in the spring.

One of our greatest traditions is recognizing students for high distinction.  The history of recognizing students for high distinction goes back to a special school board meeting that was held in April of 1976. For the last 46, years Austin High School has recognized students for outstanding academic achievement.  To be recognized, students must earn a 3.9 GPA or above and be a student of good standing. This year, we recognized 15 students: Kennedy Bell, Kamryn Berglund, Gretta Bergstrom, Mallory Brown, Ingrid Dolan Peterson, Aunica Groh, Zachary Lightly, Lucy Masara, Kaden Murley, Lauren Murphy, Meredith Murphy, Thyna Nguyen, Kate Oelfke, Reana Schmitt, and Kendyl Sunde.

At our academic celebration on Wednesday, May 4, each of these students were recognized and they were given the opportunity to recognize a teacher that made a significant or impactful difference in their life as a student. Teachers make a difference in the lives of students and recognizing them and acknowledging their support of the students is a special moment for the student and teacher.

Each year, we also host an Academic Awards night.  Students, along with their families, are invited to the event to be recognized.  Some of the recognitions are for academic achievement including achievement in World Language Proficiency, Graphic Arts, and Academic Letter winners.   We also recognize seniors who have earned local scholarships.  We have many local agencies, community members, and foundations that support scholarships and the achievement of the students.

Many of our Austin students are also eligible for the Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship, which provides them with 2 years of tuition-free education at Riverland Community College, and each year’s recipients are also recognized at the event. This has been one of the incredible opportunities for our students to continue their education post high school.

Students should be recognized for their accomplishments and hosting events like our awards night and High Distinction program are ways that we can highlight the accomplishments.  We will celebrate all our graduates on Friday, June 3, showcasing academic efforts of all of our graduates as they earn their high school diploma and mark this this milestone in their lives.