South Washington County Schools

East Ridge High School announces ExCEL Award Winners

East Ridge juniors Cassie Hagen and Tony May have been nominated to represent the school in the MSHSL ExCEL award program. 

ExCEL – Excellence in Community, Education, and Leadership – is a unique recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, show leadership qualities, volunteer in their communities, and are model citizens.

Cassie Hagen is on the Honor Roll, is part of National Honors Society, the Tri-M Music Honor Society, is a peer tutor, a member of Key Club, president of East Ridge’s GSA chapter and volunteers at a facility for aging adults with memory disorders.

She is heavily involved in choir in which she has held various leadership positions throughout the last two years. She is proactive about seeking feedback on how she can improve the choir experience, and how to organize and plan events that all choir students would be interested in attending.

She constantly strives to inspire her classmates to work hard and try their best and to make them feel like a true community. She leads by example, and is quick with an encouraging word. She passionately works to create a sense of belonging and community for all, and works with others in how best to support and be inclusive of all students. She is described as a “selfless person” who puts her all into everything she does.

Tony May is involved in speech, was part of last year’s One Act Play Festival, has held numerous positions in choir at East Ridge, is a founding member and dance captain for Aspire Music Academy, is part of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, the MN State Honor Choir, and won the “Outstanding Performance” award in the National Individual Events Showcase.

He has been in choir for three years, and has held leadership positions for two of those years. Tony is said to have a great deal of energy, is excited about music, and is enthusiastic about everything he does. In his role as a special events coordinator for choir, he actively seeks out feedback from the choir members about what kinds of events to organize that they would attend and have fun at, and also that are meant to create a sense of community among group members.

He thrives when he can be in charge, and in front of a crowd, getting things organized and getting people involved in events. He is also described as a dependable person one can always count on.