Owatonna High School Activities Director Marc Achterkirch announced the Huskies' nominees for the ExCEL Award for the 2020-2021 school year. Ava Hess and Connor Ginskey are juniors at OHS who are very involved in school activities and community service work. The Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Award is a program of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL).

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Achterkirch said in a Twitter post, "Congratulations to juniors Ava Hess & Connor Ginskey on their selections as Owatonna High School's ExCEL Award nominees. Both are very deserving students and these are well earned awards."

In the accompanying press release, Achterkirch says "the ExCEL Award recognizes high school juniors who are active in fine arts and /or athletic activities, who demonstrate leadership qualities and who are model citizens in their community."

Hess is in Link Crew, National Honor Society, Student Council, SHOC, Elementary Tutor, and a student representative with the Superintendent. She is also an Honor Roll student. Hess plays soccer and is in band, pep band, marching band, honor band, and solo/emsemble.

In the community, Hess lists From the Heart, Steele County Relay for Life, Adopt a Highway, church volunteer, Music Boosters of Owatonna, Boo for Food, and carnival fundraiser as her involvements.

Ginskey is an Honor Roll student and is active in DECA and NHS. He is in band, pep band, choir, and solo/ensemble. He runs cross country and track and field and plays basketball.

Community involvement for Ginskey includes Bible Camp leader, Catholic Work Camp Mission trip, Soup Supper volunteer, Alter Service, Youth Retreat Leader, church volunteer, and youth basketball camp leader.

Regional and state winners for the ExCEL Award are announced through the MSHSL.


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