Kantrovich, Otto earn Triple 'A' honors
Posted on: Jan 10, 2018
In recognition of their hard work and success in academics, arts and athletics, Jenna Kantrovich and Charles Otto have been named Delano High School’s Triple “A” Award winners for the 2017-18 year.
The pair will represent Delano at the Region 2AA banquet on Sunday, Jan. 28, at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Both students said they were enjoying the recognition, which highlights a career of hard work and dedication.
“I’ve known people who have gotten it before. I’ve never put myself in their shoes, but it has always been people I’ve respected and looked up to, so it’s cool to be in that same spot,” Otto said.
Kantrovich agreed, but said the award was never something she had previously thought about.
“It wasn’t part of the plan when I came into high school,” she said. “It was not even on my radar, so it caught me off guard when they talked to me about it, but at the same time it was very cool. I hadn’t even made the connections that I was involved in academics, athletics and arts. You don’t really think of it that way. It’s just part of who you are.”
The Minnesota State High School League started the Triple “A” program in 1988 to recognize seniors who have excelled in the classroom, in athletics and in fine arts. Two students are chosen to represent each school at the region level, and from that pool two finalists from each of the eight regions in both Class A and Class AA are recognized at the state boys’ basketball tournament in March. Four winners, a boy and a girl from Class A and AA, then receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship.
Kantrovich, the daughter of Lyle and Kari Kantrovich of Delano, has compiled a grade point average of 3.93 while participating in Advanced Placement and College in the Schools courses at DHS. Her favorite classes have focused on history, and she said that she may steer her studies that direction next year in college.
“I’m thinking of majoring in the humanities,” she said. “I’ve thought about going into anthropology or archeology.”
In terms of the arts, Kantrovich has participated in choir for all four years of high school, and has been a member of the one act play and musicals through the theater department.
“Choir presents the opportunity for people from different friend groups, social classes and backgrounds to come together and make people feel something through music,” Kantrovich wrote in her application for the Triple “A” honor, adding that theater participation has also helped to shape her personality.
“The arts have engaged my mind in a way that no math or science class could,” she wrote. “They have helped me see the world from different perspectives and further understand humanity.”
In the athletic realm, Kantrovich was a member of the swimming team all four years of high school, serving as a captain during her senior season.
“As captain, I enjoyed helping the younger girls with their difficulties and encouraging them to work avidly while having fun,” Kantrovich wrote.
Other activities Kantrovich has been a part of include student council, the prom committee and the LINK program. She also serves as a student aide in the high school office, where administrative assistant Marie Thomas has appreciated her work ethic and attitude.
“She is punctual every day, works impressively with anyone, takes direction well, offers suggestions when appropriate, has a pleasant attitude, doesn’t complain about doing any trivial task and always asks what to do next,” Thomas wrote in a letter of recommendation for Kantrovich’s candidacy.
From athletics Kantrovich said she has learned self-control and discipline. From theater and choir she has developed her skills in self-expression and creativity. And academics have allowed her to expand her limits intellectually.
“I think I’ve gained a lot of perspective from my different activities,” she said. “I’ve met and become friends with a lot of different people: people who are in advanced courses and people who struggle with certain subjects, and people with different political opinions, different social groups and different extra-curriculars. I think that has been a really enriching thing for me.”
Kantrovich’s siblings include college junior Lindsay, and high school sophomore Lauren.
Otto is the son of Kevin and Liz Otto of Delano. He has managed to post a GPA of 4.12 while taking a handful of College in the Schools courses.
“I’ve found the most challenging classes offered at Delano are my favorite classes,” Otto wrote in his Triple “A” application. He later added that some of his favorite courses have been tied to his favorite teachers, and at various times have included math, biology, history, physics and psychology.
Otto said a formative aspect of his high school career included his participation in the LINK program as a freshman. He had attended the St. Peter parochial school through sixth grade, then became acclimated to the public school setting in seventh and eighth grade.
“Right off the bat we did the LINK program and I had a pretty cool LINK leader. He was a senior, so it has been a huge highlight to have those types of role models, and then step into those shoes over the years and be the leader I saw in other people,” Otto said.
DHS English teacher Meghan Gibas, who wrote a letter of recommendation for Otto, said he has been a standout LINK leader who has provided guidance and support for ninth-graders and is a positive influence in the classroom, the hallways and in activities.
“Charles Otto is the definition of a role model within our school community,” Gibas wrote. “He is a dedicated student, a natural leader, and of strong character.”
Artistically, Otto has been a percussionist for all four years of high school, and also plays piano. He has also performed in a number of summer plays, participated in 4-H Share the Fun, and has created artwork for the county fair. Those experiences have taught him to read a crowd and the importance of knowing how people feel.
“Participation in the Delano Senior High School jazz band has pushed me to learn and master the instruments I play,” Otto wrote in his application. “It has grown a passion for jazz music and drums that will be in my life for a long time.”
While academics and athletics have also provided enjoyable challenges, Otto said he has identified most closely with athletics. As a captain of the cross country and track teams, he said the necessary hard work and discipline have been foundational.
“Athletics have pushed me mentally to strive for perfection and to reach goals,” he wrote.
Otto is considering a variety of public and private colleges around the region to continue his education next year, and his specific major is still undecided. He also plans to continue his musical and athletic pursuits either on his own or with college teams or ensembles. Wherever he ends up, he is confident that his experiences at Delano High School have prepared him well.
“All of these activities together have shaped who I am today and (will be) in the future,” he wrote. “I am a person who can accept criticism, enjoy praise, learn from mistakes and push limits.”
Otto’s siblings include sophomore sister Eileen, seventh-grade brother John and second-grade sister Kate.