Each year in our special Prep Elite issue, Edina Magazine seeks to spotlight students who exemplify hard-working, positive minded and compassionate characteristics.
Teenagers sometimes get a bad reputation for being self-focused and spending too much free time on their phones. But if we look closely enough, we can discover what “kids today” can teach grown-ups about priorities. Young people may be digital natives who Snapchat, text and tweet. But many are also raising the bar on living intentionally and thoughtfully
Teenagers sometimes get a bad reputation for being self-focused and spending too much free time on their phones. But if we look closely enough, we can discover what “kids today” can teach grown-ups about priorities. Young people may be digital natives who Snapchat, text and tweet. But many are also raising the bar on living intentionally and thoughtfully.
- Nordic Skiier
- Team Player
Benilde St. Margaret’s student Nicole Dorn participates in cross-country, track and Nordic skiing. She says, “The best part of my day is going to practice and being with my team.” Nicole started running in high school when a friend invited her to try it. She was hooked because of the relationships she developed with her teammates. “Our team is so close,” Nicole says, “I really like to hang with them.”
Nicole also enjoys her volunteer work at Park Nicollet as an escort showing patients to their rooms or helping them when they’ve been discharged. She says, “I love volunteering there because you get to meet so many new people and be a part of that community.”
Her commitment to service doesn’t end there. Nicole volunteers at Benilde St. Margaret’s with Link Crew, a group that meets with incoming freshmen to help them adjust to high school. She says, “It is really nice because I’ve gotten to know a lot of upperclassmen.” She was also a camp counselor this summer at YMCA Camp Warren, where she led girls on outdoor adventures and spent time building relationships.
It is no surprise that her friends describe her as “outgoing.”
When asked what her advice would be to younger students, Nicole says, “Try new things. It is the best experience and you meet so many people.”
- Soccer Player
Olivia Michel plays both varsity and Edina club soccer and is on the field for most of the year. She volunteers and also embellishes her life with music as a member of the concert choir at Edina High School.
When asked about her varied interests, Olivia says, “I’m curious about things, I want to keep learning and growing.” She also recognizes the need for balance with the realization “that there’s three parts of high school life: social, homework and sleep. You only get to pick two.” She laughs, “Sometimes sleep gets sacrificed.”
The highlight of Olivia’s week since the eighth grade has been volunteering as a youth leader for a group of second- and third-graders on Wednesday nights at Christ Presbyterian Church. “They are so full of energy,” she says, “they are as glad to see me as I am to see them.”
She is the third of four girls in her family and says, “My heroes are probably my three sisters. They all show me in different ways how to be myself and love everyone.”
Having such strong relationships with her sisters has also helped Olivia choose friends that mirror those same positive qualities. She believes that surrounding yourself with the right kind of people is important.
- Football Player
- Weight Lifter
Perry Angelos might be an Edina High School multi-sport athlete (he has two letters in football and track and field, and a letter in wrestling and weight lifting), but it is his family and faith that ground him. Both have taken Perry to Greece two times, where he was able to see where his grandparents were from and visit cousins living in the city of Vrachati, west of Corinth.
Family traditions play an important role in his life. Greek festivals held at his church and family traditions at home are what ground him.
Perry also is very proud to grow up in a community like Edina. “I have grown up in Edina basically my whole life and I have always loved the school and the sense of community,” Perry says. “The people here truly want to help you become as successful as possible, whether that be in athletics or academics or whatever you are trying to excel in.” For Perry, being an athlete is a great experience, but, he reflects, “surrounding yourself with the right people is very important to success.”
When he is not training or playing sports, he loves spending time with his family and friends but always tries to give academics his all because he believes “academics will take you farther than athletics.”
His dreams include “moving back to Edina, at some point,” and raising his own family in this community.
- Nordic Skiier
Emily Kompelien is a cross country, track and Nordic ski athlete with a total of 12 letters, nine conference awards, seven section awards and eight state awards. “My family are great ‘cheerers’ for me,” Emily says, when asked what motivates her. “But I think the best part of what I’ve learned through sports is how to have a positive attitude.” She says that no matter what kind of day she’s had, going to practice brings her the most joy. “We even start laughing sometimes during our hard runs and can’t breathe, we are laughing so hard.”
Emily didn’t always find competing and training enjoyable, though. It took time for her to realize that “nothing is really that important, so I might as well enjoy it,” a lesson that has helped her better prepare for races.
She also loves photography and took two photography classes as a sophomore. During her junior year, Emily did an independent study class with a teacher at EHS and developed her own photography website and business.
Emily focuses her positivity and talents to give back to the community. Specifically, she has participated in the 23K Korteloppet to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and four years ago started some adventure summer camps to teach younger girls speed and agility as well as get a chance to enjoy the outdoors. See her website here.
No matter what someone chooses to do, Emily says, her advice is, “Give it your best.”
Abner Moseti considers his talent to be time management, which has been honed by his involvement in cross-country (lettered once) and track and field (lettered twice), his three-year appearance on the Edina High School honor roll, and his community service work with ARC Value Village and Feed My Starving Children among others.
Abner left Kenya for Minnesota when he was five and a half years old. “Coming to the U.S. was a big opportunity for my family,” Abner says. “The main reason we came was for better opportunities, especially when it came to education, which is our top priority.”
One of his first memories of being in Minnesota was his confusion over what all the white stuff was on the ground in the wintertime. “I thought at first it was sugar,” Abner says with a laugh.
His family has been back to Kenya two times since relocating to Minnesota. They visit with extended family each time. Abner loves spending time with his family, especially his two older brothers.
“For me,” says Abner, “conversation with my older brother at the end of the day is a real highlight. He motivates me best.” Watching his brothers excel has been “inspiring,” he says.
It is also his work with ARC and FMSC that helps ground Abner’s perspective. He says doing work for those who are less fortunate reminds him how much he has and that it is important to care for others.
Margaret Johnston, better known as Margie to her friends and family, is a senior at the Breck School in Golden Valley. The Johnstons moved to Edina when Margie was 3 years old. Since then, Margie has played soccer, hockey and golf. She’s a writer for the student newspaper, participates in mock trial and maintains an above-average GPA. But beyond Margie’s athletic and academic accomplishments is the priority she places on family.
“Our family is close,” Margie says. “We eat dinner together as much as possible” and spend summer days at a family cottage with cousins, parents, her sister and friends.
Breck’s upper-school director Tom Taylor and athletic director Brett Bergene are big fans of Margie. They believe her to be engaged and curious. These qualities have led Margie to also spend time participating in Special Olympics events because, she says, “it basically allows me to play sports, which I love, with some really cool people.”
We asked Margie, who is clearly very talented, what natural talent she wishes she had. She says, “I wish I could sing.” Margie loves musical theater. She took an acting class as a freshman but says, “I’m completely tone-deaf and can’t carry a tune to save my life.”
That’s OK. Even without a promising musical career, Margie exemplifies the hard-working, positive-minded and compassionate characteristics we love to spotlight each year in our Prep Elite issue.
Be sure to continue reading about our 2017 Prep Elite Student Spotlight, Joe Dunn, here.