Park High School in Cottage Grove creates academic 'Wall of Fame'
Park High School's outstanding athletes are honored by having their pictures in the hallway by the school's gym.
It's only fitting, then, that the school's new Wall of Fame for honored scholars be located across from the library and media center.
The wall was dedicated last week by Principal Kerry Timmerman, who is carrying on the work of previous principal, Dr. Craig Paul, who started the recognition project last year.
While talking to Paul last year, Scott Johnson, vice president of Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove, Paul mentioned that when he was principal of Wayzata High School he started a Wall of Fame to recognize outstanding students in academics.
Athletes are recognized for their achievements, so why not honor superior students? Paul said.
Johnson said he was intrigued by the idea and drove to Wayzata to look at the first Wall of Fame.
"I was really impressed," Johnson said in an interview. "Education is the best investment we can make for our children."
Merchants Bank is underwriting the cost of Park's Academic Wall of Fame plaques and expenses. The bank is happy to be sponsoring the wall, Johnson said.
"No other school in the area has a Wall of Fame," he said.
The bank also sponsors an annual scholarship to Winona State University in Winona where the bank's headquarters is located. The award is given to a student who intends to major in business.
The bank is also involved in the Yellow Ribbon campaign and in "10 Days of Giving" to support the Friends in Need Food Shelf.
Timmerman said he's happy to carry on Paul's unique project. The school has a lot of students doing "fantastic" things academically, he said.
"We want to ensure that they are getting recognized further for their outstanding accomplishments," he said. "This is one way to highlight the great things that are happening at Park."
Students are selected to be honored with yearly plaques on the wall with criteria selected by school administrators.
Among the possible paths to the Wall of Fame include being a full International Baccalaureate graduate, National Merit Scholar award, recognition by the College Board as an advanced placement scholar or achieving a perfect score on the ACT test, a placement exam for college entrance.
Scholars recognized last year include Nathan Alverson, Daniel Bauer, Cole Conner, Austin Cross and Rachel Piette. Recognized for graduating with honors were Daniel Bauer, Aimee Bourgoine, Steven Cordes, Noah Dietsche, Eric Brinkoetter, Madaline Reding and Eric Solem. Ruby Oluoch was recognized for being in the top three percent of her class.