By Lorrie Ham
Mound Westonka High School has chosen seniors Lauren Kelly and Aiden Maloney to represent the school at the regional Triple “A” Awards banquet. An on-court recognition ceremony for the state-wide winners will be held in conjunction with the boys state basketball tournament in March. Sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), the Triple “A” Award — Academics, Arts and Athletics — is a unique recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the fine arts.
Lauren Kelly was named an Advanced Placement (AP) Honors Scholar Student by the College Board for her outstanding scores in her AP courses last year. She maintains a 3.968 grade point average (GPA) while maintaining a rigorous course load. She is enrolled in College in School (CIS) courses and is also a member of National Honor Society.
Kelly was highlighted in the Lake Minnetonka Magazine as one of their select Lake Minnetonka Prep Elite Senior Spotlights last summer. She also participated in the American Legion Auxiliary Girls’ State, where she was elected State Auditor. In DECA, she is a two-time state finalist and placed fourth in international competition.
Kelly has been a member of the school’s top auditioned band for four years. She has participated in both solo and large group music contests, where she earned three Superior ratings. She immersed herself in jazz culture on the band’s trip to New Orleans as a sophomore and looks forward to this year’s trip to Nashville and Memphis.
A three-sport athlete, Kelly participates on the tennis, dance and track and field teams. On the dance team, she is a two-year captain, a three-time state tournament participant (including two-time state finalist) and an All-Conference honoree.
“My participation in the arts, athletics and academics has given me something to fight for when there seems to be nothing holding me up,” said Kelly. Citing an eighth-grade injury that took her out of sports, Kelly also saw her performance in band decrease and her grades slip a bit. By fighting through physical therapy, practicing harder and longer on her clarinet and taking more time with her schoolwork, Kelly saw improvements in all three aspects of her life.
“I learned that everything – all the diversity of my life – was interconnected,” she said. “It’s become a personal doctrine of mine that success comes from maximum involvement, whether that be fully applying my mind to a single task at a time or aiming for a personal experience I haven’t achieved yet.”
English teacher and dance team coach Molly Carlson wrote a letter of recommendation for Kelly. “Lauren is not only an excellent student and amazing athlete, she is an outstanding leader,” Carlson said. “At every single practice and competition, Lauren gives her absolute best effort and demonstrates everything I would want an athlete to do to the rest of the team.”
Kelly plans to pursue a degree in actuarial science at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she plans to audition for the dance team and wind ensemble. Lauren is the daughter of Margaret and James Kelly.
Aidan Maloney is a high-achieving student who pushes himself above and beyond the standard level of expected academics by participating full-time in the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program. By attending Normandale Community College as a junior and the University of Minnesota as a senior, Maloney will enter college next fall as a junior with 69 credits. He maintains a 3.93 GPA.
In athletics, Maloney committed himself to soccer and studio dance. He was captain for both the varsity and junior varsity soccer teams, earned a pair of All-Conference awards and the Coaches Award for coachability. Maloney also participated in alpine skiing for two years and works part-time as a soccer referee.
Maloney was a three-year member of the MWHS choir, where he participated in large group contests each year.
“By participating in the PSEO program, I have set myself up for a flexible path to a degree,” said Maloney. “Working as a team is a lifelong skill that is invaluable. I am able to take the skills I have learned from soccer, skiing, dance and choir and apply them to my future academics and employment.”
Student Service Coordinator Jamie Harms nominated Maloney for the Triple “A” Award. “Aidan is an outstanding student in all respects,” Harms said. “He is a strong student leader, a role model to his peers and an advocate for his learning. His great attitude and wonderful personality, paired with his willingness to work hard and take risks, leads me to believe there will be no limit to his growth and achievements in college and beyond.”
Maloney plans to attend the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management to major in management information systems. He also plans to pursue a second degree, study abroad for a semester and participate in internships that will make him a well-rounded graduate. Aidan is the son of Sera and Ian Maloney.
About the Triple ‘A’ Award
Triple “A” Award recipients are selected through a multi-level process that involves member schools of the MSHSL, the League’s administrative regions and a special committee of educators, business leaders and members of the fine arts and athletics communities. Every member school of the League is invited to nominate one girl and one boy for the Triple “A” Award. Nominees must be seniors in high school, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, participate in MSHSL fine arts and/or athletic activities, and comply with the MSHSL Student Code of Conduct.