Return to Headlines

Nemecek, Schaefer Named Triple 'A' Award Winners

Nemecek and Schaefer Named Triple 'A' Award Winners
Cassie Nemecek and Cormac Schaefer are this year's Triple "A" Award winners.

January 4, 2024 — Mound Westonka High School has chosen seniors Cassie Nemecek and Cormac Schaefer to represent the school at the regional Triple “A” Awards banquet. A recognition ceremony for the state-wide winners will be held in March. Sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), the Triple “A” Award—Academics, Arts and Athletics—is a unique recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the fine arts.

A three-sport athlete, Cassie Nemecek is a member of the reigning AA Kick State Champion dance team. After winning both conference and section championships in the last two years, last year’s team also finished third in the state jazz competition. Nemecek is also a member of the cross-country and track teams and served as captain of both teams. In addition to the school dance team, Nemecek is a member of the senior line in competition dance at her dance studio, where she has competed at the regional and national levels.

Nemecek maintains a 3.92 GPA with a rigorous course load, including four AP courses. She has been on the A honor roll every year in high school. She was inducted into the National Honor Society as a junior and serves as the communication director this year.

Nemecek has been a member of the DECA chapter since ninth grade and has advanced to the state tournament each year and was a finalist two years. She was a member of Student Senate for two years and served on the executive committee. She has also been a member of the environmental club since ninth grade.

“My involvement in arts, athletics, and academics has helped me discover who I am,” said Nemecek. “There are so many opportunities to go beyond the classroom with my learning. I have learned different subjects, listened to differing opinions, and stepped far outside my comfort zone.”

Art teacher Jana Pare provided a letter of recommendation for Nemecek. “Cassie not only stands out as a remarkable and talented individual in the ceramics room, but she has dedicated herself to dance,” said Pare. “Her involvement in dance and visual arts showcases not only her creative prowess, but also her dedication to the arts.”

“Cassie’s time management skills, coupled with her unwavering work ethic, have allowed her to excel in academics, arts, and athletics simultaneously,” added Pare. “This speaks volumes about her character, resilience, and determination.”

Nemecek plans to study a STEM related major, although she is undecided on her college. She also plans to pursue dance. Cassie is the daughter of Jackie and Lawrence Nemecek of Minnetrista.

Cormac Schaefer has taken every opportunity to take the most advanced courses available at MWHS, including seven AP courses. A National Merit Semi-Finalist, Schaefer maintains a 4.0 GPA.

Schaefer is a four-year member of the high school band program, where he has competed in large group contests. He is also section leader this year. He was a member of the pit orchestra for the school musical for three years and also worked on the tech crew. Schaefer has taken on a leadership role in the robotics team, serving as captain of the design team, as well as a mentor to the team’s younger members.

Schaefer is a member of the soccer team, as well as the alpine ski team. He also participates in club soccer through the Orono Westonka Soccer Club.

“Through my involvement in the arts, athletics, and academics, I’ve grown tremendously both socially and personally,” said Schaefer, who says his experience in band has taught him the importance of focus and dedication. “Through soccer, I’ve greatly improved social skills such as cooperation and trust. From my academic experiences, I’ve learned how to compromise and communicate. Through these experiences, I’ve learned the importance of being well-rounded, preparing me for life beyond high school.”

Robotics mentor and engineering instructor Dale Kimball wrote a letter of recommendation for Schaefer, who he calls one of his hardest working students. “Cormac has excelled in all the Project Lead the Way programs offered at MWHS,” he said. “He firmly grasped the concepts of the courses I taught him, and he eagerly helps out classmates who are struggling with different areas in the courses. Cormac goes above and beyond what a teacher would expect of a student.”

Schaefer plans to study computer science at Carnegie Mellon, where he also plans to participate in pep band, robotics club, and intramural soccer. Cormac is the son of Kristin and Paul Schaefer of Minnetrista.

About the Triple 'A' Award

Triple “A” Award recipients are selected through a multi-level process that involves member schools of the MSHSL, the League’s administrative regions, and a special committee of educators, business leaders and members of the fine arts and athletics communities. Every member school of the League is invited to nominate one girl and one boy for the Triple “A” Award. Nominees must be seniors in high school, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, participate in MSHSL fine arts and/or athletic activities, and comply with the MSHSL Student Code of Conduct.