As we wrap up the school year, there are a number of events recognizing the accomplishments of students—in particular the work of the members of the senior class.  On April 26, one of the recognition events—the Students of Excellence gathering—occurred at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. 

During the month of May many other recognition events will take place including the Dollars for Scholars Senior Breakfast, the senior awards night at the high school, and many recognition events in conjunction with classes and activities.  Recognition, for seniors, culminates with graduation.

I would like to take time to share about the Students of Excellence program.  The program is coordinated, in the ROCORI School District by counselors Craig Lieser and Jen Illies-Sabol.  Four members from the senior class students and their parents/guardians are offered opportunity to attend the Students of Excellence program.



On Wednesday, April 26, the gathering of area high school seniors was held by Resource Training and Solutions.  The program, at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center, honored the top students in Central Minnesota’s high schools.  This was the 30th annual recognition ceremony.

ROCORI students honored at the event included Mitchell Hansen, Morgan Klein, Katarina Wilke, and Kaitlyn Wolf.  There were seniors from 36 high schools across Central Minnesota recognized at the Students of Excellence program.  These students rank very high in the class of 2017 although final standings are not determined until our courses are complete. 

The event is intended to honor students who demonstrate excellence in their school experiences.  While the intent of the program is recognition of academic accomplishments, there is emphasis placed on the development of the full person and the value of service.  Academic excellence is more than just earning good grades.  Academic excellence reflects on the maximum development of intellectual capacities and skills in the service of others.  It is sometimes described as servant leadership.

Resource Training and Solutions Director Mark Schmitz offered comments at the banquet.  Some of Mark’s thoughts were focused on the students directly.  “You have demonstrated outstanding achievement by being selected for this year’s Student of Excellence award.  Keep your enthusiasm high and you will experience greater achievements in your future.  You are an amazing success and will continue to be throughout your life.”  

The program includes a brief inspirational presentation.  The keynote speaker was Kale Van Bruggen, an attorney with Rinke Noonan in St. Cloud as part of the and environmental law team.  Kale’s passion for farm organizations and issues are important as he represents farmers, landowners, and rural local governments.

Kale’s message at the event focused on aligning passions with one’s strengths.  Students were encouraged, through his personal stories and examples, to discover their passions, determine the demand for those skills, do research about their passions and skills, and prepare a plan.  In doing so, young people will be able to turn their passions into efforts with global impact!

Each of the students honored at the program received a certificate from the State of Minnesota and a plaque recognizing them as Students of Excellence.



One of the pleasures and privileges of this time of year is the presentation of the Dollars for Scholars awards at the annual breakfast.  On Thursday morning this week, May 11, we will again have a wonderful opportunity to honor seniors with the 23rd Annual Dollars for Scholars recognition breakfast.  The session is scheduled to be held at St. Boniface at 7:00 a.m. with the purpose of honoring members of this year’s graduating class with scholarships. 

The Dollars for Scholars program has grown considerably during its years of existence.  Scholarships will be presented to members of the class of 2017.  Last year, the total number of scholarships was approximately 100 and a similar number should be awarded again!  The scholarships reflect a wide variety of student accomplishments and future plans. 

Some of the scholarships are dedicated for particular experience and performance in school.  Some of the scholarships are awarded in recognition of the service of others in the community.  Some scholarships are offered in memory of a community member or by a family in honor of a family member.  Some scholarships are offered for particular career and academic interests.  Others are awarded based on educational experiences, locations, or participation.  All of the scholarships, regardless of the particular purpose or reason, are very much appreciated!

The Dollars for Scholars program is a program rooted in the community with a long and storied history.  All of the efforts of the Dollars for Scholars committee and community are respected and appreciated!



The spring of the year is full of awards programs, recognition and other honors.  The RHS senior recognition night will come a little later in the month.  At this event, academic honors, honor cords, and career academic records are extended as well as other awards, scholarships and recognition.

As individual programs and activities draw to conclusion, senior leaders will be recognized as well.  As an example, the music programs recognize the efforts and contributions of seniors at the final concerts for the year.  Each activity typically has their own season ending activity at which awards and honors are also presented.

The month of May, including the last few weeks of the school year, is a very, very busy time!  But much of the work and many of the events are very rewarding as the work, success, and efforts of the members of the senior class are honored!