Chris Jelken is a 2016 Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership award recipient. The ExCEL award is given yearly to high school juniors through the Minnesota State High School League.

LHS junior receives ExCEL Award

Chris Jelken, a Luverne High School junior, has been selected as one 36 juniors statewide to receive the Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership award through the Minnesota State High School League’s ExCEL Awards Program for 2016.

Jelken is the only student in the Star Herald coverage area to be recognized this year.

High school league member schools can nominate one high school junior male and one female for the annual award.

To be eligible for nomination, candidates must make satisfactory progress toward graduation, participate in a League-sponsored fine arts and/or athletic activity, hold a leadership position in their school, work voluntarily in their community and meet MSHSL general eligibility requirements.

Jelken is a member of the LHS football, hockey and tennis teams as well as a participant in band, choir, pep band, student council, peer tutoring and Business Professionals of America.

The “A” honor roll student is also active with the American Reformed Church’s youth group and works in the Blue Mound Ice Arena’s building and maintenance department. Jelken is also an assistant coach for the youth hockey team.

Besides a letter of recommendation, nominees also submitted an essay about a favorite leadership quote.

Jelken chose the Chinese proverb, “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are to succeed,” for his essay.

“I think that this describes how leaders need to persevere through their trials to succeed and be successful,” Jelken wrote in his essay. “When others give up, leaders never quit.”

Teacher Mike Wenninger noticed Jelken displaying these leadership skills as a member of the football team.

“He was almost always the last one to leave the practice field,” Wenninger wrote in his letter of recommendation. “This started individually and by the end of the season there were many teammates who followed.”

This is the 20th year MSHSL has sponsored the award.

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