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Cheadle, Whitehead earn Region 3A Triple 'A' Awards

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WORTHINGTON -- Rachel Cheadle, Fulda, and Maxwell "Max" Whitehead, Murray County Central, are familiar names in their respective high schools.

Both seniors, their individual achievements were recently recognized by the Minnesota State High School League as they were awarded the Region 3A Triple 'A' Award.

Both seniors, their individual achievements were recently recognized by the Minnesota State High School League as they were awarded the Region 3A Triple 'A' Award.

Luther Onken, superintendent of both the Fulda and MCC school districts, praised the efforts of both of the students, and said how glad he was to know both of the Region 3A winners.

The Triple "A" was first awarded in 1988 and recognizes outstanding high school seniors who have excelled in three areas: academics, arts and athletics.

Students are nominated for the award. To qualify, they must have a "B" or better grade point average and participate in League-sponsored athletic and arts activities.

A male and female student from each high school in Minnesota receives the award annually. They then advance to the regional level.

Four students are selected from the regional winners -- a boy and girl from the A and AA classes.

Active in multiple areas in their school and communities, Onken said both Whitehead and Cheadle are very deserving of the award.

Athletically, Whitehead has lettered in football, basketball and track.

"I enjoy the camaraderie with all the sports," he said.

MCC Athletic Director James Wajer said Whitehead is a hard worker who puts his studies first.

"He is very successful in everything he does and is a role model for the other kids," Wajer said. "I hope every kid can strive to be like him. He's looked up to in every area he's in and he goes above and beyond, even when no one is looking."

Cheadle has been the captain of her volleyball and basketball teams and has lettered in each sport since her freshman year.

Fulda High School Principal and Girls' Basketball Coach Gregg Slaathaug said Cheadle is a role model for students and all young adults.

"She's a positive leader and does what's right because she wants to, not because anyone is looking," Slaathaug said. "We're very happy for her and she is well deserving of the award."

In the arts, Cheadle is involved in choir and various band ensembles, for which she plays four different instruments: saxophone, flute, piccolo and piano.

She has also been in numerous plays and musicals. She played the lead role this past fall in the high school's production of "The Wizard of Oz," which she said was one of her favorite high school experiences.

"I lean more towards the arts and I enjoy being in band and marching band, but I really like sports, too, and am really competitive with that," Cheadle said.

Cheadle credits her involvement in such a myriad of activities to Fulda's small size.

"Being in a small school, there are so many opportunities," she said. "I like to be involved as much as I can at all times, to be busy. I think it helps me to focus on my studies, too, being involved in things."

Also a proficient musician, Whitehead is in choir and is a percussionist in the high school band and the Slayton city band.

He is no stranger to the stage, either, and said he made his performing debut as one of the 12 disciples in "Jesus Christ Superstar."

"It's an incredible feeling being up there, showing people what you can do and how hard you have worked," he said.

Whitehead is also involved in speech and, last year, he and his partner won Section 3A and finished seventh at state in Dramatic Duo.

Why he is involved in so many activities? There's a simple answer.

"It's fun," Whitehead said, adding that he considered dropping an activity, but quickly decided that giving himself a break would only make himself bored. "So I decided I'm going to keep doing what I enjoy doing, and I'm going to keep with it."

Both Cheadle and Whitehead are also involved in their communities and churches.

Cheadle said she helps with camps and weekend activities at her church. Whitehead has been known to lend his voice to his church's choir and teach third-grade Sunday School.

Academically, the two award winners are both in the top of their respective classes. They are also both members of the National Honor Society, and have taken on multiple leadership roles in their schools and communities.

Cheadle and Whitehead have already started preparing for their college education by taking college-level classes in their high schools.

Whitehead plans to attend the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, to study medical biology. He said he wants to become a doctor and perhaps return to the Slayton area someday.

"I think it's a good way to help people and to help people on a closer level," he said.

Cheadle is considering two options for next year. She has applied to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she said would study either psychology or nutritional science.

Cheadle's other option is taking an 18-month mission trip with her church before starting her college education.

Both students recognize what an honor it is to receive the Triple "A" award.

"Earning this award - being so involved can be a hassle, but you can be rewarded," Whitehead said. "Regardless if I happen to win or not, it's still a good recognition and a good honor."

Whitehead and Cheadle will be traveling to the Twin Cities for an on-court recognition ceremony on March 24 during the state boys' basketball tournament. The four state winners will be announced at that time.

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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