For a lot of students, the first year or two of high school is all about finding your way and setting yourself up for success during the second half of your high school career.
Not for Katie Fisette and Jordan Wik.
The two juniors have compiled quite a list of accomplishments through just two and a half years at the high school, earning them recognition as Monticello’s ExCEL Award winners.
The ExCEL Award, which stands for Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership, is a Minnesota State High School League award given to a male and female at each high school.
Fisette and Wik were both excited to be chosen.
“I felt honored,” said Fisette, when she found out about it.
“I just kind of felt like this is really cool,” added Wik. “When I got to read about past winners, it was like, okay, these kids do a lot. Just to be in with them is an honor.”
They also both gave the committee plenty of reasons to choose them.
Fisette plays three sports (volleyball, basketball and softball) is in wind ensemble, holds a 4.0 grade point average and volunteers throughout the year.
Wik is a two-sport athlete, playing soccer (where he joined varsity as a sophomore) and competing in varsity track and field (since he was a freshman). He is also a member of wind ensemble, a standout in the classroom and a committed volunteer.
If it seems like a lot, it is.
Both Fisette and Wik acknowledge being busy from 7 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. almost every day. But, they’re busy with things they are passionate about, and that helps keep them going.
“I don’t really get much of a social life,” admitted Wik “A lot of my nights are spent studying or at practices, or sleeping. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being in sports and school is so important to me. That’s just the way it goes.”
When it comes to priorities at school, academics come first to both students. They’ve learned ways to be as efficient as possible, in order to keep themselves from being up at 3 a.m. working on homework.
“It’s important to find every bit of free time possible to get some school work done,” said Fisette. “You get as much done as possible in the time that you have.”
And they’re already aware of how important academics are to their future.
“Most of the things I do in school, I’m thinking about college and thinking past right now,” said Wik, who added that he really started to focus on his future at the beginning of this school year. “I want to set myself up well for college, so I can get into whatever college I want.”
Yet, as important as academics are to both, it is sports where they find the most enjoyment.
They are both quick to point to sports memories when asked for the highlight of their high school careers thus far.
For Fisette, the highlight of her time at MHS has been the girls basketball team’s trip to the state tournament last year, where they earned a fourth-place finish.
“That was a very triumphant moment,” said Fisette.
For Wik, the two accomplishments that stand out are making the varsity track and field team as a freshman and the varsity soccer team as a sophomore.
But the students also acknowledge that sports are about more than accomplishments and highlights.
In sports they’ve found both an outlet and an opportunity to continue learning.
“Sports really do help you with life lessons,” said Fisette. “They say you probably don’t see it now, but I can see it through other people, how these life lessons we learn come into play later in life.”
They’ve also found people, some of their favorites, through sports.
Fisette points to her teammates as some of her biggest motivators, and to her coaches as her inspiration.
“They help push me to become better every day,” she said.
And they’ve found a chance to feel fulfilled.
“Setting a goal and going out and achieving it is where I get the most satisfaction,” said Wik.
So far, they’ve each accomplished plenty. Outside of sports and academics, they’re both involved with National Honor Society, among other school clubs.
They’ve also each spent over 100 hours volunteering during the first two-plus years of high school.
Both spend time volunteering with the church and at youth basketball camps, while Fisette volunteers for the Meals on Wheels program and Wik participates in a tutoring program at the Monticello Middle School.
As much as they have on their plate, one would understand if they slacked off in one area, or didn’t fully commit to another. But for them, that isn’t acceptable.
“If I’m going to do something, I might as well do it 100 percent, or it’s just a waste of my time,” said Wik.
And while that approach certainly takes endless hard work and constant dedication, they agree that they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve always wanted to be doing several things and not just be known for one thing,” said Wik.
“Sometimes it’s stressful,” admitted Fisette. “But if I didn’t do all of this stuff, I don’t know what I’d be doing with my life. I’m really happy doing everything I do.”
Happy, but not yet satisfied. Both Wik and Fisette have plenty of goals in mind as they begin the last year and a half of their high school career.
Fisette wants to maintain her 4.0, and set herself up for a run at Miss Monticello following her senior year.
Wik aims to rack up a couple of big sports accomplishments.
“I want to go to state in both track and soccer,” he said. “That’s a really big goal for me.”
And if their past is any indication of their future, it’s a pretty good bet that those goals end up with check marks by them within the next two years.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at firstname.lastname@example.org