Waseca Junior Senior High School seniors Gabriela Rodriguez and Dravyn Spies were awarded the Triple “A” Award.

The Triple “A” award honors high school seniors in the areas of academics, arts and athletics throughout Minnesota, and is given by the Minnesota State High School League.

Rodriguez participates in choir, soccer, basketball, track, Advanced Placement classes, College in School Concurrent enrollment course and she has participated in softball. In the future, she plans to attend Gustavus Adolphus College with the intent of majoring in biology and playing women’s soccer.

During her senior year, she was also named homecoming queen and is a basketball captain.

“I was really happy when I got the call that I had been awarded the Triple ‘A’ Award, because I remember the seniors before me who had won and how much they accomplished and represented at our school,” Rodriguez said. “To me the Triple ‘A’ Award represents the hard work, involvement and dedication I have had throughout my high school years in academics, athletics and arts.”

In her application, Rodriguez shared that she didn’t take pride in her academic work for a long time until an eighth grade teacher inspired her to work hard and to continue to put that work in, which taught her perseverance and to overcome adversity.

Math teacher and girls varsity basketball coach Joan Conway wrote a letter of recommendation for Rodriguez, who plays on the basketball team. She described Rodriguez as kind, thoughtful and hard-working and as such, she is a leader at WJSHS.

“She is a leader at WHS because she has faced all the adversity 2020 has given high school kids, and quietly found a way to overcome unfair obstacles and disappointments along the way,” Conway wrote in her letter of recommendation. “Distance learning is very difficult for most students. Successful asynchronous learning requires discipline and academic maturity. Gabby continues to work hard to be the best student she can be, even when others aren’t watching.”

Spies has also been involved in numerous activities at the WJSHS. He participates in band, choir, football, basketball, AP courses, College in School Concurrent enrollment courses, PSEO and he has participated in basketball and track. In the future he plans to major in pre-law at either Hillsdale College or University of St. Thomas where he intends to play football and do music.

In his application he wrote: “I was born in a third world country, where education is not a guarantee. Because of this, I appreciate the education I receive and all the opportunities that come with it. I attribute my academic success to the motto: ‘Knowledge is power.’ It was a statement we repeated throughout elementary school and my parents encouraged me to take it to heart. I have a drive to learn, read and understand anything I can. I push myself to be involved in course work that challenges me. Pursuing knowledge is one of the most important things one can do in life. My parents have ingrained in me a desire to push myself to be the best I can be in anything I do. This mindset has led me to set high but achievable goals that I am able to reach through perseverance.”

Spies’ recommendation letter for the Triple “A” award was written by the WJSHS Principal Jason Miller, who shared his thoughts on who Spies is.

“Dravyn is extremely responsible and has a strong work ethic that is applied to all he sets out to accomplish,” Miller wrote in the recommendation letter. “While a student at Waseca Jr. and Sr. High School, Dravyn has always challenged himself academically choosing to take both advanced and AP courses. He has also maintained a high GPA and is part of our chapter of the Minnesota Honors Society. Dravyn sought opportunities to learn by choosing to participate in the WJSHS Student Council and the Young Black Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. ... His perseverance is unmatched, he is true to his word and he behaves as a role model for others. Dravyn Spies is a genuinely caring individual who will make a difference for others in his life.”

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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