Two seniors from Blue Earth Area High School were recently named Triple 2022 “A” (Academics, Arts and Athletics) Award recipients at BEA.
Not only did Lauren Bleess and Vern Johnson take home the award locally, but BEA’s director of operations had more news in an announcement he made on Tuesday, January 25.
“I just found out that Lauren and Vern are the winners of the subsection,” said Norman. “There are four girls and four boys competing for section honor. The winners of the eight sections move on to State.
Both say they are honored to have been chosen for this award.
“It’s good to be able to represent our school” Bless offers.
While Johnson says he was also happy to be chosen to represent the school, he admits there is another reason he was happy to receive the award.
“My brother Jacob won the award a few years ago,” he notes. “So it’s special that I can win it too.”
Both Bleess and Johnson were extremely active at BEA and spent all of their student years in the BEA district.
Here’s the background to BEA’s two Triples “A” The award winners.
Bleess is the daughter of Ashley and Kelly Bleess. She has an older brother, Joseph, who graduated from BEA last year.
Bleess competes in track and field and played tennis from grades 7 to 9 before switching to cross country in her final three years.
She also has a strong love for music and is involved in many different bands.
“I’m in a band, an orchestra, a choir, chamber singers, a mariachi band and a jazz band,” Bless comments. “I’m also on the Math League team and self-help group, National Honor Society (NHS), FFA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Journalism Club, Business Professionals of America (BPA), Knowledge Bowl and DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education).
If that’s not enough to keep her busy, Bleess has also used her free time at BEA to help out as a teacher’s assistant in elementary and middle schools.
“I have a passion for helping others and I love children,” Bless says. “I have done some tutoring before and thought helping as a teaching assistant would be a beneficial experience for me as I view teaching as a career.”
As for the academic part of his schooling, Bleess is currently studying business law and university calculus in addition to band, choir and orchestra.
She shares that she enjoyed her time playing sports.
“The camaraderie you have with your teammates is something I’ve always enjoyed,” Bless mentions.
As for her involvement in the arts, she shares that she loves the opportunity to serve others.
“You can sing in church, be part of a community play, and be active in so many ways,” Bless says. “It’s a chance to connect with others.”
She notes that athletics and the arts are similar in that they both require teamwork.
“Whether they are teachers, conductors or coaches, they help you learn to work together”, blessed states. “I have gained a wide range of experiences by being involved and this should be beneficial later in my life.”
Although Bleess wasn’t really active in sports until seventh grade, her involvement in music began at a much earlier age.
“I’ve been playing the piano since second grade and started learning the violin in third grade,” she notes.
Looking ahead to life once her time at BEA is over, Bleess has a pretty good idea of what she wants to do.
“I plan to go to Crown College, which is in Saint-Boniface,” she says. “I plan to get a degree in education or maybe go into ministry. I could minor in music and I want to continue performing in church and in the community.
Johnson is the son of Aaron and Jenna Johnson. He has four brothers and three sisters.
Like Bleess, Johnson stays busy by participating in lots of activities.
“I’ve been playing tennis and football since fifth grade,” he shares. “I’m on the Knowledge Bowl and Math League teams, and I’m in a band, orchestra, choir, chamber singers, jazz band, NHS and I I’m a blood donor coordinator for the Red Cross.”
As for academics, you’ll find Johnson taking business law and college chemistry as well as an art history course he’s taking online through Minnesota West College in Worthington.
“I also have a band, an orchestra and a choir”, he mentioned.
Johnson shared what he learned from being a member of various sports teams.
“It’s about learning to compete as a team, as a unit,” he explains. “When everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal, it’s great fun.”
He is also not shy about saying what he likes the most in the arts.
“I love music” Johnson comments. “My family has been singing together for as long as I can remember and we usually go to a nursing home around Christmas and sing for the residents.”
He says if he had to choose a favorite sport, it would be tennis.
“Even though I’ve been playing football for longer, tennis is my favourite” says Johnson.
He says he thinks it’s very important to be involved in the arts as well as sports.
“To be successful in either, a person must have a good work ethic,” Johnson offers. “Being involved at a young age provides a foundation for developing good habits.”
He shares that he has no career plan that includes his love of music.
“No, after high school I will go on a two-year missionary trip”, he explains. “Then I would like to attend the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities and study for a degree in aerospace engineering.”
Bleess and Johnson were quick to thank their parents, family, coaches, teachers and friends for helping them during their years at BEA.
When asked if they had any time management tips to share with students balancing more than one extracurricular activity, Johnson didn’t hesitate in his response.
“Put down your phone” he declares.
Bleess agreed and added, “Write down everything you need to do. Don’t put things off until later.