BLHS SENIOR CASSANDRA JAHN won the AAA Award and the Grand Knights Award for 2014. (Photos by Jennifer Edwards).

Students honored at Academic Awards night

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Big Lake High School held their academic awards banquet Wednesday and  46 junior classmen took the oath of  National Honor Society membership.
Board Member Tom Pietrzak, whose daughter, Laurel, received the Excel Award from Activities coordinator Thayne Johnson, welcomed everyone to the awards.
“More than ever life is busy,” he said. “Students are busy with school, work, sports and getting ready for college, yet all these students have chosen to be active in something greater than themselves.”
The ideals of service, character and leadership  are assumed in NHS members, Pietrzak said. 
“What we are seeking  are scholars and leaders who can work well with others in a group,” he said. “You have committed to doing that.”
National Honor Society students gathered and donated over 2,000 pounds of food this past year, said NHS advisors Susan Sass and Becky Tetzner. They also raised funds for a family in need. 
“All of the NHS students wrote their own service projects this year,” Ms. Sass said. “There were many different ones from tutoring other students to making and donating blankets.”
This year’s NHS officers, President Nicole Roof, Jackie Bell, April Harrison, Connor Johnson, Morgan Turk, Laura Jore, Caitlyn Loeffler and Kelli Poffenberger, recited the history of the NHS, lit candles and led the new inductees in the oath.
“Our senior members have given endless hours of service, laughter and leadership,” said Ms. Tetzner.
Physics Teacher Sam Kilpela presented the Drake Award for Physics to Troy Berg. Berg, who often scores 100% on his tests, Kilpela said, receives a four-year scholarship to Drake University.
Math Teacher Angela McCormack presented the math award to Matt Olson. 
Knowledge Bowl
She also introduced the seniors from the Knowledge Bowl team, now 20 students strong. Two teams from Big Lake went on to compete in the regional competition, she said.
Activities Coordinator Thayne Johnson presented the AAA Award to senior Cassie Jahn. Laurel Pietrzak won the ExCel Award.
Assistant Principal Angie Folch announced Big Lake has two national merit Scholar finalists. Troy Berg and John Wallace earned the honor.
Ms. Folch also introduced the A honor roll students: Abby Archamboult, Troy Berg, Jared Bradford, Sydney Butalla, Kayla Chouinard, Eric Chuba, Brianna Cornwell, Olivia Crocker, Sam Dokkebakken, Abbey Domyahn, Michael Doperalski, Cory Gease, Alec Green, April Harrison, Lauren Ireland, Connor Johnson, Laura Jore, Justin Lanan, Chandler Lannes, Brooke Maruska, Julie Morris, Zachary Muller, Kelli Poffenberger, Jake Pribnow, Erin Ralph, Nicole Roof, Chelsea Savage, Madisann Sayler, Alexandra Smith, Mikaela Stephens, Morgan Turk and Derek Wick.
Top Honors
Principal Bob Dockendorf introduced the top honors students and the winners of the Presidential Educational Excellence Award. 
“Our top honors students set the academic bar high,” said Principal Dockendorf. 
“They challenge their teachers with their thirst for knowledge.”
They are Troy Berg, Jared Bradford, Sydney Butalla, Kayla Chouinard, Eric Chuba,  Olivia Crocker, Sam Dokkebakken, abbey Domyahn, Michael Doperalski, April Harrison,  Lauren Ireland, Connor Johnson, Laura Jore, Justin Langan, Brooke Maruska, Zachary Muller, Kelli Poffenberger, Erin Ralph, Nicole Roof, Madisann Sayler, Alexandra Smith,  Morgan Turk, John Wallace and Derek Wick.
The Big Lake Knights of Columbus will give 20 student scholarships this year. Nineteen of those will be announced on graduation day, but Wednesday Dan Smith presented the Grand Knight’s Award to Cassandra Jahn.
Ms. Sass and Ms. Tetzner thanked everyone for coming and for all their hard work. They also thanked John and Peter Wallace for supplying music throughout the evening. They both played the piano and performed a duet


MEMBERS OF THE BIG LAKE HIGH SCHOOL CHAMBER CHOIR performed for the school board at the beginning of their last meeting. The Chamber Choir members are selected for their skills from among their peers. They were directed by Mary Ebanks. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

DARLENE LANZ grew up just east of town and has lived in or around Big Lake all her life. She recalls what Christmas was like in Big Lake back then. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

SHERBURNE COUNTY ATTORNEY Kathleen Heaney, taking over as MCAA President. (Submitted photo.)

Cheryl Turck and Corey Mabis of the Sherburne County Probation Dept. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

SANTA AND HIS HELPERS prepared to give out toys to 111 families at the Food Shelf Monday. The toys were all donated by one local merchant. (Photo by Ken Francis.)