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Elizabeth Luke, Gordy Moore are Worthington High's Triple 'A' winners

WORTHINGTON -- It's not easy to find time to celebrate when you're a Triple "A" award recipient.

That's because Worthington High School (WHS) seniors Elizabeth Luke and Gordy Moore, the school's female and male 2013 Triple "A" representatives, continue to be immersed in the kinds of activities that helped them be selected for the Minnesota State High School League's (MSHSL) academics, arts and athletics award in the first place.

Both are currently in the WHS cast of the upcoming musical "Hairspray" and, as student council officers -- Luke is co-president and Moore is vice president -- they are in the midst of hatching plans for the school's Heart Week, among other things.

"When I was a freshman, I was encouraged by upper classmen to be involved," Moore said. "All the activities I'm in are really enjoyable, and I like working with all the other people."

The MSHSL website specifies that the Triple "A" award recognizes and honors high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the fine arts.

To be eligible for the award, students must be a senior, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, participate in league-sponsored athletics and fine arts, comply with the MSHSL's Student Code of Conduct and submit an application.

"Both Gordy and Elizabeth meet the criteria and then some," said Mike Traphagen, who has known both students since they were in middle school and is District 518's activities director. "They remain role models in the school even with all the things they are involved in."

Arts involvement has been important to Moore and Luke throughout their high school careers.

Luke is a cellist and Moore a violist in the WHS orchestra, while Moore is a bass and Luke an alto in the WHS Concert Choir and the select Trojan Express ensemble. Additionally, Moore sings in the select male VOX ensemble, plays French horn in the WHS band and has been in the WHS jazz band for three years. Luke was in the band's color guard this past year.

Each student has participated in music contests annually, both as soloists and ensemble participants. And neither one would miss the chance to hit the stage as part of the annual high school musical; both are marking their fourth years with that activity.

Luke is a member of the Worthington Symphony Orchestra, and Moore is a member of the Amazing Worthington City Band and his church's choir. The two were both part of the community production of "Beauty and the Beast."

Of course, for these diligent students, academics remain the top priority.

"They are first and foremost students," Traphagen said.

Moore and Luke rank near the top of their high school class. While neither has made his/her final college choice yet, Luke may attend the University of St. Thomas to pursue English and journalism, and Moore has a few Midwest liberal arts colleges in his sights for studying history, political science or economics.

"Everything at high school is to prepare for college," Luke said.

Athletically, Luke is a four-year letterwinner and two-year captain for girls' tennis and one-year letter-winner in track. She also participated in golf her first two years of high school.

Moore is a four-year letterwinner in cross country, as well as a team co-captain, and a two-year letterwinner and four-year participant in track. Moore also swims with the YMCA Stingrays swim team during the winter months.

Even while busy with these other pursuits, Luke and Moore spend some hours working at the Worthington Area YMCA (Luke as a past program assistant, Moore as a lifeguard). A few months ago, Luke became employed as a barista at Caribou Coffee.

"They are strong leaders and are willing to do a variety of different duties," Traphagen said. "(Luke) has, in addition to all her classroom commitments and sports and arts, kept the scorebook for the ninth- grade girls basketball team for the past four years."

The two also volunteer with various projects in the school (they've been on the WHS Link Crew, which helps with freshman orientation), community and at their respective churches. They are National Honor Society members (Moore is the chapter's current president), and Moore serves as president of the WHS Class of 2013.

In addition, Moore is an active member of the WHS Knowledge Bowl team, and has qualified for state-level competition in each of the past two years.

Both students said they have been grateful for the opportunities for involvement that attending a smaller school like Worthington gives them.

"I enjoy the activities that the high school has allowed us to be in," Moore said.

The next step for this ambitious pair is attendance at the Region 2AA Triple "A" banquet Feb. 17 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, where they will be recognized and learn which boy and girl from this region will advance to the statewide Triple "A" competition. Quentin Dudley, WHS Class of 2007, is the only WHS student to date to be selected as a statewide Triple "A" recipient.

"The things they have done speak for themselves -- they are excellent representatives of the Worthington school," Traphagen said.

Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.

Alyson Buschena
Alyson joined the Daily Globe newsroom staff after spending a year in Latin America. A native of Fulda and graduate of the University of Northwestern, she has a bachelor's degree in English with a dual concentration in Literature and Writing and a minor in Spanish. At the Daily Globe, Alyson covers the crime beat as well as Pipestone and Murray counties, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. More of Alyson's writing can be found at
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