Edina’s Prep Elites and Their Mentors

A runner, an actor, a lacrosse star and a calculus whiz.

These four elite Edina preps are forthright about their fortunes. They share their successes. They contribute to their community. They are humble heroes. Edina Magazine showcases a diverse set of students, from the math team maven to the running warrior to the empathic actress and the grateful lacrosse standout. Honestly, these stories are too short because these students are too special. SYVER JOHANSENSyver Johansen laced up his sneakers and ran 500 miles in the summer of 2012, putting the shoe’s soles and his soul to work.“It’s good for your body, and it’s good mentally to know that you are capable of doing so much,” the svelte 18-year-old says of his 8-mile-a-day average.Johansen is proof that perseverance pays. In the seventh grade, Johansen was wiry, even tiny, so playing football had to be punted. He joined the cross-country team instead. In his first race, he ran two miles in about 16 minutes, but has winnowed that down to a swift 10:30. In the 5K, he has gone from about 21 minutes to 17.  “I would say that is a direct result from my mileage in the summer,” he says.  Success has been even sweeter in Nordic skiing. He started in seventh grade and finished races near last place, but as a junior, he was named to the All-Lake Conference team. “Going from there to all-conference is something I take great pride in,” says Johansen, who rounds out the athletic calendar on the track team. In the classroom, where he holds a 3.75 grade-point average, Johansen has shown his inner “running geek,” says his cross-country coach and mentor, Jamie Kirkpatrick. In a statistics class, Johansen analyzed running data to try to predict the outcome of the state cross-country meet. In his down time, he reads about training and the diets of elite African athletes, Kirkpatrick says."It's special  to have athletes who share or exceed the amount of passion that you have for the sport,” Kirkpatrick says. “It’s not typical for high school kids.”  Kirkpatrick has taught Johansen the importance of goal setting, then planning and executing so he can meet those goals.  “When it’s hot and I’m on a long run, every ounce of you wants to quit, but you have to keep getting one foot in front of the other,” says Johansen, also a trumpet player and a philanthropically focused member of the student council. “I know that I won’t die, and I will become a much stronger person because of it.” SHELBY FLANNERY ROSEN All the other kid actors auditioned, looking prim and proper. Shelby Flannery Rosen came in wearing a soccer T-shirt and shorts. She got the role. “My first impression was that she seemed like a regular kid,” says actor Stacia Rice of Rosen, who was 8 at the time. Then, “she blew my mind. There is something about the essence of her that I think is different than others. She has a special energy.” Rosen first acted at age 5, and knew performing was what she wanted to do for her next 80 years. “Once I started, I knew I could never stop,” says the 17-year-old.Rosen played the role of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, where she was paired with Rice, who played Annie Sullivan, Keller’s teacher. The two became mentee and mentor.  With Rice providing support, Rosen has risen to perform at premiere venues such as the Guthrie, and also appeared on stage at community theaters or tiny stages like the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. “They are all special in their own way,” Rosen says humbly.  That last statement makes Rice proud, since the major lesson she has tried to instill in Rosen is to focus on giving to the audience, not letting applause or accolades serve as her takeaway.  “Performing [in front of] an audience and being able to give something to an audience is such a remarkable experience,” Rosen says. “Because of [Rice], I know that connecting to an audience is what’s important to acting.”  Rosen also sees a responsibility to be empathic.  “To be a good actor, you have to be a good person, and to be a good person you have to learn things and learn about life and know what is going on,” she says.  Rosen, who has a 3.5 GPA, loves history and hopes to alter history with the political and social messages she plans to convey on stage.  “Through my acting, I hope that I’m able to help others,” says Rosen, who has volunteered at Feed My Starving Children, among other groups, for many years. “I think that if I get a voice in the community through acting, I hope someday I will be able to use that voice for good and spread the word on issues that I care about.”SHEILA HIRSCHSheila Hirsch is a standout winger on the Edina lacrosse team. She plays violin in the school’s orchestra. She volunteers with elementary school students and at her church. Most of all, she knows she’s lucky to be able to do it all. “In my life, I’ve been granted a lot of opportunities, and I like to feed on that as a privilege and want to use them as much as I can,” Hirsch says. “I try to live those things every day. A lot of people don’t get the same opportunities that I do.” About two days a week, Hirsch is at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, working on academics with elementary school students or leading skits, games and songs with junior high kids. Another day each week, she is with Edina’s 212 Leadership Group, tutoring Creek Valley Elementary School students.   Hirsch, with a 4.0 GPA and an interest in biology and other sciences, wants the kids to share in her love of knowledge. “It feels good,” Hirsch says. “When you understand something, you feel good about yourself, and it feels good to bring that feeling to those kids.”Hirsch is the kid sister of Lisa and Carla Hirsch, who made Sheila feel good about herself.“They both don’t know it, but they really encourage me to do my best,” Sheila says. “I’ve seen them achieve what they want to achieve, so that has influenced me to work hard.”In lacrosse, Hirsch follows her older sisters, who were both Edina captains. Their leadership example on the field has rubbed off on her.“I try to give the girls insight on what to do,” says Sheila, an All-Lake Conference member and player on the Minnesota Lakers club team. “I learned a lot there, so I try to bring it back to the Edina team.”“I’m proud,” Lisa Hirsch says of her youngest sister. “It makes me happy that she is enjoying the same things I did. [That path] has set me up for being successful in college, and I think her doing those things will also make her successful.”STEPHEN KIMStephen Kim is consumed with calculus equations. He’s pushed to achieve.Kim has immersed himself in studying the composition of the universe. He’s pushed to understand.“He has a lot of great intellectual curiosity,” says his father, Jae Youn Kim.             He’s also pushed himself to help his family.“I want to go to a good school and get a good job, for my parents,” Kim says quietly.         Kim, who has a 3.91 GPA and an affinity for math and science, has been a top scorer on Edina’s math team, which finished fifth in the state in 2013 and second in 2012.“I really like to do math,” Kim continues in his matter-of-fact way. “I like learning new things. It’s equations that I didn’t know that can help me with competitions.”Kim has stepped up to participate in Model UN and volunteers with patients at Fairview Southdale Hospital, among other places.“I like helping people, and it helps build relationships,” Kim says.Kim also wants to raise awareness of injustices exposed by End Slavery Now. For three years, Kim has worked with the organization to help combat sex and labor trafficking in Minnesota and around the world.Last spring, Kim’s father was on the other side of the globe on business in Dad’s native South Korea, but his influence remained strong in Stephen.“He motivates me to study more,” Stephen Kim says. “He helps me if I have questions that I don’t understand. He helps me a lot.” The senior Kim, who has a doctorate in chemical engineering, answers his son’s questions about mathematical theorems or physical principles with thoughtful discussion and recommend documents or websites for further study.That motivation and commitment has led Stephen Kim’s drive to reciprocate what his father has given him.“My dad wants to have his own company,” Stephen Kim says, “and I want to help him.”"My family has a very close relationship to each other," Jaw Youn Kim says. "His desire supporting me really cements and solidifies our relationship."