Molitor, Otto earn Triple 'A' honors

Posted on: Jan 26, 2023

Molitor, Otto earn Triple 'A' honors

While earning a school’s Triple “A” Award is no small feat, this year’s Delano High School honorees won’t exactly surprise anyone.

Bella Molitor and John Otto are so clearly accomplished in academics, arts and athletics that their selection for the Minnesota State High School League honor only seems fitting. That doesn’t mean that the recognition is underappreciated, however.

“When I found out my mouth just dropped open,” Molitor said with a laugh. “It’s such an honor. It’s cool that staff members at the school recognize all the time and commitment that you’ve put into academics, arts and sports.”

Otto has already had a banner year, having been named a National Merit Semifinalist in the fall, but he has also been active in music and sports.

“I feel the Triple A Award has provided recognition to areas that even I sometimes don’t pay very much attention to,” he said. “It reminds me how important it is to maintain a well-rounded personality as I head into my future.”

Both names might also be familiar because both Molitor and Otto had older siblings win Triple A honors in previous years. John’s older brother Charles earned the award in 2017-18, and Bella’s sister Maria was a Triple A honoree in 2019-20.

“When Maria won it I was a freshman at the time,” said Molitor. “I remember sitting there at the banquet and thinking, ‘This is so cool. I can’t wait to apply for this!’ But my parents have always been super supportive of both of us, so there was never any pressure about it.”

Bella Molitor
Molitor has posted a 4.01 grade point average while taking some of the most challenging courses available, including Advanced Placement classes in government, biology, history and geography. She has also scheduled College in the Schools writing and psychology courses in the spring semester.

“It is extremely rewarding to me to receive a high grade after challenging and pushing myself in every course I take,” Molitor wrote in her application.

One of her favorite classes is Journalism, where advisor Amy Poppler said Molitor’s work on the student newspaper as a junior was “original, creative and well written.” As a senior, Poppler said Molitor has been “efficient in planning and designing yearbook layouts, as well as managing yearbook staff. She has excellent people skills and can make anyone feel comfortable around her.”

In the arts, Molitor is a standout with her voice, performing in choir throughout her high school years. She is also a member of the select vocal group Sound Revolution. In solo and ensemble contests, she earned “superior” ratings in each year of high school.

She has taken part in the school musicals, including “Elf” and “Godspell,” and as a senior has performed the national anthem before basketball games.

Beyond school, Molitor and her sister Maria have created shows and performed songs for residents of multiple senior living facilities, and she sings weekly with her church’s youth worship team.

As for sports, Molitor has been a member of the varsity tennis team since seventh grade, was named all-conference her sophomore through senior seasons, and served as a team captain and No. 1 singles player the last two years. She has helped her team to numerous conference championships and one section title. Along the way she has been named the team’s Most Dedicated Player three times as well as Most Valuable, and earned Academic All-State honors.

Next year she will play Division II tennis for the University of Sioux Falls in the same conference as her sister Maria, who plays for St. Cloud State University.

“My parents will love that,” she said with a laugh.

Molitor also plans to take voice lessons in college and may participate in theater as well. Her intended area of study is business.

She is the daughter of Ken and Tami Molitor of Delano.

John Otto
Otto’s eye-popping 4.20 grade point average is impressive even for someone with National Merit Scholar credentials, and he has attained that rating honestly, having challenged himself with half a dozen or more AP and CIS classes.

“My choice of coursework has always reflected the best I can achieve through what is available at my school,” he wrote in his application, adding that he has been on the advanced track for language arts, math and science since at least seventh grade.

In the arts, Otto has been a standout trumpet player in the wind ensemble and jazz bands. Jason Koets, DHS band director, wrote a letter of recommendation for Otto’s Triple A application and said he is a role model in all the ways one might expect.

But Koets noted that Otto “also has an intangible quality that can’t be taught or practiced. When John plays his trumpet the other students in his section and ensemble are closely listening to the pitches, rhythms, and style he is playing and trying to match and emulate those musical qualities during rehearsal. On the days John is gone from the ensemble the music is different and I hear that difference as a testament to his leadership in my classroom.”

In athletics Otto is part of talented cross country and track teams, and saw significant personal improvements this fall season even though his fourth-at-state squad’s depth meant he didn’t compete often at the varsity level.

“My time playing trumpet has opened up the doors to new sounds and combinations, running has taught me leadership and the commitment needed to succeed, and academics has broadened my mind to new horizons and complex ideas,” Otto wrote in his application.

Next fall Otto plans to attend college to study mechanical or agricultural engineering. He hasn’t picked a destination yet, but is looking at engineering programs mainly in the Midwest.

Otto is the son of Kevin and Elizabeth Otto of Delano.

Post Categories: High School