BEA’s triple threats
Seth Becker and Samantha Ripley, his fellow senior at Blue Earth Area High School, know the list of BEA alumni who have earned Triple “A” honors is a prestigious one.
It is a list that includes Carter Hanson, who is fresh off an awards tour as the NCAA’s Division III MVP after a football career at Saint John’s University, and Krista Hassing, a two-time All-American volleyball player who wrote her own name into the Minnesota State University, Mankato history books.
Neither Becker nor Ripley can predict whether or not their own post-BEA journeys will unfold in the spotlight. But they now share one thing with the standouts that came before them, learning in recent weeks that they are the Buccaneers’ 2017 recipients of the Triple “A” Award a Minnesota State High School League accolade reserved for those who excel in arts, academics and athletics.
Issued annually by a special committee of state educators and local communities, the honor not only offers a chance at a four-year, $1,000 scholarship but also an opportunity to capture regional and state recognition en route to enshrinement alongside the Hansons and the Hassings of the area.
And, yet, to Becker and Ripley, earning Triple “A” honors is merely a symbol of a busy life at school that they and the classmates who share the halls with them throughout the year have long embraced as normal.
“The more I have on my plate, the better I manage my time,” says Ripley, daughter of Ken and Sheila in Blue Earth. “It kind of makes you a better person, because you know more, and you can relate more with people.”
If relatability, in fact, could be measured by the amount of activities in which Ripley involves herself at BEA, she surely has her fair share. As Becker tries to hold back a smile, his fellow Triple “A” honoree attempts to run through her resume of responsibilities at school.
“I do basketball, volleyball, track, 4-H I’m the 4-H county president, the FFA (Future Farmers of America) vice president at school, the Robotics Team, yearbook committee, Peer Helping, D.A.R.E., the Courage and Respect Retreat,” she says, taking a breath. “I used to be in the Chamber Singers and jazz band, band and choir I was in the honor choir two years in a row, and FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), and I’m also the NHS (National Honor Society) president and class president.”
Talk about a triple threat.
Playfully acknowledging that she may have had an even harder time naming things she is not part of at BEA, Ripley says her running list of interests, like that of Becker, is probably why neither of the award winners were too surprised when they learned of their Triple “A” designation. And it is also probably why talk of their busy schedules, which has them playing instruments at sporting events preceding their own games, has often extended beyond the high school doors.
“During Homecoming at the football game,” Ripley recalls, “they had to read all our stuff, and I was just sitting there super awkwardly because it was so long.”
Becker’s own collection of achievements is no small one, either. If he is not been dedicating time to basketball, cross country or track and field, he is probably busy tending to tasks with a lot of the organizations Ripley also knows well, from band, choir, the Robotics Team and the Peer Helping group to NHS, student council and FFA, for which he is the treasurer.
“Up until last year, I was in orchestra, too,” he says. “I used to be in Knowledge Bowl and speech as well.”
And, somehow, there is still time for schoolwork and a top-notch grade point average, a requirement of Triple “A” nominees.
“It might seem hard to manage everything at first,” says Becker, son of Shane and Laura. “But you’ll get used to it and it’ll be worth it in the long run.”
For one thing, the active mentalities of Becker and Ripley, who was BEA’s 2016 Homecoming queen, have opened doors. The former, who plans to major in biomedical engineering on a pre-med track at the University of Iowa, has already gotten to take classes at MSU, Mankato. Ripley, meanwhile, plans to further expand her horizons by pursuing fixed-wing aviation training at the University of North Dakota.
And after that?
For Becker and Ripley, probably more activities.