For Anne Dockendorf, it was an honor just to be named as a finalist for the Minnesota State High School League ExCEL Award, signaling Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership. And then she won.
“It means a lot,” said Dockendorf. “Just that Mr. Revenig thought enough to nominate me in the first place is [special]. Then that these guys picked me means so much, it’s crazy.”
Dockendorf may have been surprised herself, but to an outsider she would appear tailor-made for an honor that recognizes success in academics and athletics, fine arts and volunteering.
Her resume reads impressively, if you’ve got the time to make it all the way through. The daughter of Gary and Laura Dockendorf has been playing tennis since fourth grade, the same time she picked up the flute. She still plays both. The junior is a varsity member of the tennis team, as well as a participant in Wind Ensemble and Pep band. To add another extracurricular, she added golf to her official schedule a few years ago, despite admitting that the game causes her as much stress as it helps relieve.
On top of her athletic and musical acheivements, Dockendorf has done a massive amount of volunteering, both in and out of school.
At school she is involved with the National Honor Society, Student Council, and Project 4 Teens, to name a few. Outside of school she spends time volunteering at church, with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Pennies for Patients and Toys for Tots, among others.
It’s enough activities to keep a whole family busy, let alone one kid. Yet, the list wouldn’t be complete without her most time-consuming activity, the one that drives her above all else.
“Some people are good athletes, others are really good musicians,” said Dockendorf. “I feel like I’m blessed enough to kind of have a little bit of those, but, school is definitely my thing.”
Most kids start the school year already set for it to be over. Dockendorf spends the summer tuning up so she is ready for the school year. She isn’t that much different from the average student – she doesn’t like homework – but she recognizes that it takes a focus on homework during the school year, and even during the summer, to keep her grades where she wants them. That’s why she spends three to four hours doing homework some school nights. And it’s the same reason she occasionally tutors her younger sisters in the summer, and why she is interested in starting up a tutoring business this coming summer.
“I definitely spend most of my time on school,” said Dockendorf, who takes two college level classes, as a junior. “Grades for me are super important. Every night I do stuff.”
But at the same time, there is no other way she’d want it.
She loves everything she does, except of course the homework sometimes. But the rest of it makes up for that. Especially the volunteering.
At the top of her list is volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, a program where you’re given the opportunity to prepare and pack food for kids halfway across the world.
“It’s one of those things that I love to do,” said Dockendorf. “I like how you’re helping someone so far away who doesn’t have a fraction of what you have.”
Dockendorf’s Spanish teacher, Sarah Varner, wrote in her ExCEL Award Letter of Recommendation that “Annie has continually proven herself as a positive and effective leader,” adding that she is “an example to others.”
Dockendorf’s attitude makes everything she does seem second nature, a certain testament to her willingness and desire to help out, as well as her drive to be successful at all she does. But, it also leaves out an important influence in instilling both her drive and beliefs in her.
“I would definitely say my parents [inspire me],” she said. “My mom is always about doing what’s best for other people. And my dad grew up in a huge family. It’s all about working toward the good of everybody and not just yourself.”
Dockendorf may have been surprised to earn the ExCEL Award. But if anything, that says even more about how deserving the junior is. Her actions aim to better others. In the process, she just so happened to make herself one of the best all-around people Monticello High School has to offer.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at email@example.com