Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton high school juniors Jacob Cahill and Erin Heitkamp received the EXCEL award.
This award is given every year to two juniors who show excellence in community, education and leadership. This is the 23rd year the program has been sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League for juniors. It recognizes students for their school activities, leadership qualities and volunteer work.
“The ExCEL award recognizes students who are juniors and active in their school and community,” JWP high school Principal Grant Hanson. “Our two nominees — Jacob Cahill and Erin Heitkamp — represent students who care for their school and community and exhibit high levels of integrity and work ethic. The school is proud of these two students and honored to have them represent what JWP is all about — empowering learning, energizing achievement, and enhancing community.”
Cahill is involved in football, basketball, track and field, band, honor band and the musical as part of the pit band. Along with his activities, he is a member of the “A” honor roll, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Eagle Scouts and Minnesota Honor Society.
“Slightly surprised,” Cahill said when he found out he won the award.
Outside of school and his activities, Cahill volunteers at the food shelf, St. Ann’s Fall Festival, Janesville Hay Daze celebration and fun run, highway ditch clean up and at Whispering Creek, the Janesville nursing home.
During school he focuses on his academics and activities and in the summer he works construction.
After high school Cahill spoke of wanting to pursue an engineering degree.
“Jacob brings a positive attitude and a strong work ethic to school every day,” JWP Activities Director Ryan Luedtke said.
Heitkamp has also kept a busy high school career much like Cahill.
She participates in track and field, is on the “A” honor roll, Yearbook club, Prom Committee, Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and Big Buddy Little Buddy program. Heitkamp is a member of student council and is the JWP School Board student representative.
“I just feel like I’ve been involved in a lot of stuff so I felt like I could have a good shot at it,” Heitkamp said of the award. “...I was very surprised and I was just very happy and surprised.”
In her spare time she volunteers for the food shelf, highway ditch clean up, Miss Janesville Pageant, Trails for Transplants, St. Ann’s Fall Festival and at Whispering Creek, the Janesville nursing home.
When she is on summer break she also finds time to babysit.
After high school Heitkamp shared she wants to attend the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and she is currently looking into sports medicine.
“Erin is actively involved in the school, and is an outstanding leader in school and community,” Luedtke said.”