AAA Awards go to Oak, Barnack

Lisa Ingebrand

When it comes to successfully balancing school activities, athletics, and academics, seniors Keeley Oak and Sam Barnack are pros.
Tri-City United recognized the two students by nominating them for the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) AAA Award that recognizes and honors high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the fine arts.
According to MSHSL, to be eligible for the Triple A Award, students must be a high school senior, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and participate in MSHSL-sponsored athletics and fine arts activities.

Keeley Oak
Oak is the daughter of Tom and Sheila Oak of Le Center. The 16-year-old TCU senior skipped her junior year of high school and is currently taking Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) courses at Gustavus Adolphus College, all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
When asked why she decided to skip her junior year of high school, she stated: "I just felt ready for something new, to move on. It has always been a goal of mine, and with a lot of hard work, it was possible."
In addition to being a member of National Honor Society, Oak is also an athlete. She is captain of both her volleyball and basketball teams on which she plays setter and point guard. She is in her third year playing both sports at the varsity level. 
As a freshman, Oak took a Visual Arts class and fell in love with drawing and has since taken her  work to state Art competitions. She is a member of TCU's ArtTeam and National Art Honor Society. 
According to Oak, her favorite subjects are economics and business. 
"Having good work ethic and time management skills are important," she explained. "It's also important to take the extra step with everything you do... It pays off in the end." 
When Oak does find free time, she enjoys watching movies, visiting State Parks, and spending time at her family's cabin in Waterville. 
After graduating from TCU, Oak plans to attend Gustavus Adolphus College where she hopes to pursue a degree in actuarial science or economics and minor in a second language like Mandarin Chinese. She also plans to play volleyball for the Gusties. 

Sam Barnack
Barnack is the son of Rebecca and Tony Barnack of Lonsdale. He carries an impressive 3.964 grade point average while being a successful athlete and artist. 
Barnack is the captain of the Titans' football team and the school's weightlifting team. He also plays basketball. 
In class, he is focused on his studies and excelling in his coursework. 
"If I had to pick a favorite class or subject, it would probably be Math," he stated. "I like the challenge." 
Barnack is a member of National Honor Society and is active in the arts as a member of TCU's ArtTeam. Forming sculptures is his creative outlet. 
"My dad is the Art teacher, so I've messed around with lots of stuff, but I most like working with clay," he explained. 
The best advice Barnack has for other high school students is to keep your grades up.
"You have to be on top of your grades. I'm not always organized, but you need to know what needs to be done and schedule it to get done... You need to take high school seriously from day one. You can't come in as a slacker," Barnack advised, before adding: "I wrote one really bad paper my freshman year... I got a B on it, and it still bugs me." 
In his free time, Barnack enjoys relaxing, watching T.V., and playing "a lot of Madden." 
Barnack plans to attend Concordia University, St. Paul, after his high school graduation and pursue a pre-pharmacy degree. 


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