Brent Stromme, keynote speaker at the Students of Excellence Recognition event, instructed students to be themselves and look forward. “Think of how big a windshield is compared to the size of the rearview mirror. Use that image as you think about your future,” he stated. The 2018 Students of Excellence Recognition event was held on Wednesday, April 25, at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud.
The evening honors the top 148 high school seniors from 37 high schools in the Resource Training & Solution’s region. Criteria for selection to attend the event is at the discretion of each school, but based upon Resource’s recommended guidelines. The honorees are nominated by their school or district and receive a plaque recognizing their accomplishments; they also receive a certificate from Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton. Over the past 31 years, Resource has hosted the Students of Excellence Recognition event and has recognized a total of 4,690 high school seniors.
A crowd of just under 600 gathered in the foyer at the convention center and waited for the banquet hall doors to open. Students, parents, and educators greeted one another and visited about spring activities, upcoming graduations, and college plans. The atmosphere was filled with warmth, laughter, and pride.
Mark Schmitz, executive director of Resource Training & Solutions, welcomed everyone and congratulated the seniors. He told them about something he learned when visiting a school in Houston, Texas: “The demographics of this school in Texas would indicate that the students should not do well in school or even graduate. However, the students did do well and graduation rates far exceeded their expected results” said Schmitz. “What happened at this school, which allowed these students to exceed where normally they should have failed? There were three words that transcended the culture of every adult and student. These three words where visible wherever you went throughout the school. They were the three Ds: Discipline, Dedication, and Desire.” He added: “My advice to you is simply do not lose your desire to be great and continue to have the discipline and dedication to follow through with your dreams and aspirations.”
By reflecting on his own mistakes and successes, keynote speaker, Brent Stromme, identified four points to remember as students head into their next adventures:
- Be yourself – don’t change who you are just because you think you will please others
- Be determined – keep a plan and move forward
- Be content, but not satisfied – don’t get fancy with your life but rather concentrate on what really matters … what’s in your heart
- Be unrealistic – dream your dreams, try new adventures
Andy Almos, East Central School District, congratulated the seniors and gave a word or two of advice to the honorees. “This evening is a recognition of your accomplishments, but I want to encourage you to tell your parents and teachers, ‘Thanks.’”
Ken Anderson, Board of Directors Chair for Resource Training & Solutions, offered congratulations from the Resource board of directors, and conferred the award to the students.
In parting, Stromme challenged students to look out the windshield and find what is important to them. He told them not to clutter their life with useless items and to learn from past experiences, but not to spend time looking in the rear view mirror of their lives.
The Students of Excellence Recognition event is sponsored by the participating school districts and Resource Training & Solutions. Next year’s Students of Excellence Recognition awards ceremony will be on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Schools will be contacted in early March, 2019, with nomination information.
By Sandra Cordie
Director of Educational Programs
Resource Training & Solutions
Pictured (left to right): Dr. Julia Espe, Superintendent, Julia Bjurman, Sara Eftam Barb Muckenhirn, Principal, Gabrielle Donais.
Not pictured (unable to attend): Anna Jungroth
- high school