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USC seniors storm through AAA competition

By Staff | Mar 2, 2014

United South Central is no stranger to having students advance in the Academics, Arts and Athletics Award (Triple A) competition.

Last year, Hannah Goemann advanced to the State level.

This year, Claire Christian and James Dundas were the recipients of the award.

Both Christian and Dundas advanced to the Sub Section 5 level and were selected to advance.

During the Section level, the two were interviewed about their leadership qualities, future plans and why they believe they should advance.

Christian continued on and was the Section 2A winner and will be representing USC at State.

“I’m not sure if I will be able to make it to the Target Center,” Christian says. “If our basketball team makes the State Tournament, then I will be there, otherwise that is the same weekend our band trip is scheduled to go to New York for our fine arts trip.”

Claire Christian

Being the boys basketball statistician is one of many caps Christian wears at USC.

She has been involved with the yearbook, (being the editor for the past three years), Knowledge Bowl, National Honor Society, MockTrial Team, Math League, band (oboe in concert band and drumline for marching band), choir (jazz choir), Kids 4 a Cure, tennis and golf.

Christian was one of 300 students who were nominated by their band/choir directors to participate in a 16-day tour of Europe with the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music band and choir.

In regards to academics, Christian attended Minnesota Business Venture the summer before her freshman year at USC, where she learned skills for creating or running a business.

Last summer, Christian was one of 20 students nationwide who was selected to attend the Seidenberg Summer Scholars Experience. There, she learned how to write computer code and create applications for mobile devices.

Upon her acceptance to college, Christian was awarded the Founders Scholarship for her academics and a score of 32 on her ACT.

Christian competed in the State Tennis Tournament the past two years as an individual and she has made it to the consolation semi-finals each year. She has also gone to State as a member of the USC team.

The senior has also been to the State Tournament for golf in eighth grade, ninth grade and 11th grade.

Christian plans to attend Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, next year.

“I am very excited to meet new people and just be in a new environment,” Christian explains. “I am really looking forward to playing tennis because I have known the coach for a long time.”

Last January, she participated in the Dorian Vocal Festival at Luther, which was a select group of students from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Christian has attended Luther tennis camps for the past six years during the summer and the head coach of the Norse was running the camp.

“I just love tennis,” she says. “I’ve been playing since about fourth grade and have had many private lessons.”

She plans on pursuing a math and education major at Luther.

“I really understand math. I feel bad for people who don’t have it come so easy to them,” Christian says. “I want to be a teacher. It is fulfilling to help others learn about math.”

Christian’s math teacher believes she represents USC with excellent ethics and demeanor.

“She is an individual who is willing to help others at any time,” USC math teacher Edna Husman says. “She displays patience, caring and determination. She is not afraid to voice her opinion with peers and staff and strongly advocates for the students by presenting ideas to the administration.”

James Dundas

Dundas also has quite an impressive resume.

He has been involved in Math League for three years and Knowledge Bowl four years, being spokesperson on the top team the last three years.

“Knowledge Bowl is more competitive than I thought it would be when I?first started,” Dundas says. “It really is a lot of fun.”

Dundas has participated in band his entire USC career. He received “best of site participant” and a “superior rating” at the Minnesota State High School League solo contest in 10th and 11th grade.

“I really played my clarinet well at the MSHSL solo contest,” he says. “The judges gave me perfect scores and really didn’t have anything negative to say.”

Dundas also received a “superior rating” at the MSHSL solo contest in choir 10th and 11th grade; he has been involved in choir for four years at USC.

He has also been involved in drama for four years both onstage and in pit bands. In addition to USC performances, Dundas has been in various pit orchestras for community theater productions.

For all of his musical participation, he was a four year recipient of the Jerdett Summer Music Camp Scholarship; he played in jazz band, jazz choir, marching band and pep band for four years at USC.

The senior was also an All State Orchestra selection his sophomore year, participated in USC’s one act play this year, ran cross country and track as well.

Dundas was a multi-year conference champion shot put and discus-thrower.

“Track is really fun and I love being involved, but music is what I will be doing with my future college career,” Dundas says.

He will be attending Concordia College, Moorhead and majoring in music performance.

The USC senior is excited for the new landscape in college.

“I’m a pretty independent person and I am ready for a change,” he says. My dad was a music major at Concordia and he also met my mom there, so they were happy when I?told them my final decision.”

Dundas’ band director can say without hesitation that he is worthy of the Triple A Award.

“Since I have known him, James has always been an accomplished musician, as well as a conscientious and dedicated student,” USC band director George Vondracek says. “He is a perfect role model.”

To be eligible for the Triple A award, which is given by the MSHL, students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and participate in League-sponsored athletics and fine art activities.

Triple A Award recipients are selected by a multi-level process involving the League’s member schools and administrative regions. League officials will announce the four award recipients (a girl and a boy from both a Class “A” and Class “AA” school) in conjunction with the Boys’ State Basketball Tournament in March.