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Ava Emmerich and Garrett Holmes honored as MHS nominees for Triple "A" Award

The Minnesota State High School League Triple “A” Award was created to recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the fine arts.

It’s possible they had people just like Garrett Holmes and Ava Emmerich in mind when they created the award.

Holmes and Emmerich, two standout senior student athletes and citizens, are Monticello’s 2018-19 nominees for the state-wide awards.

“Ava and Garrett are both deserving of this award,” said Monticello Activities Director Gary Revenig. “They're extremely well rounded students at MHS. They both have excelled academically, been multiple sport athletes, and they have participated in our Fine Arts programs. It has been a pleasure watching them the past four years at our school. We're really proud of both of them.”

Ava Emmerich Both students have benefitted from a similar mindset through their childhood - stay busy, and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Emmerich started her high school career as a three sport athlete, before electing to drop basketball after her sophomore season to focus on soccer (where she’s a multiple time all-conference winner) and lacrosse (which she plans to play in college), as well as all of her other endeavors. She’s also a standout musician who has been a member of Wind Ensemble for two years. And on top of all of that, Emmerich has carried a 4.0 GPA into her senior year.

Likewise, Holmes is about as involved as can be, and always has been. He loves expanding his horizons, and has found the opportunity to do so in a variety of ways. The senior has pursued a passion for robotics, while also growing his musical abilities at MHS (where he is a percussionist that is also currently learning guitar, saxophone, and baritone on the side). Sports are the same story. Holmes played soccer, tennis and gymnastics while growing up, switching to football, basketball, and baseball in grade school, before swapping lacrosse for baseball in eighth grade.

Somehow, through all of their other involvement, the two seniors have also found time to give back during their time at the high school. Those opportunities, which largely started from their spots on sports teams, have provided memorable experiences and sparked a passion for giving back.

“It felt like a requirement to volunteer as a freshman, but now it feels like an opportunity,” said Holmes.

“I did an event a couple of years ago, “A Night to Remember Prom” for kids with special needs. That honestly just sparked [my interest],” said Emmerich. “Seeing the smiles on kids’ faces and knowing I have the capability to make others happy and make their lives better, makes me happy and it makes me want to volunteer.”

Both students are quick to credit their families with pushing their desire to be so involved, and helping them manage the heavy load that comes with it.

Garrett Holmes Holmes pointed to his parents for the way they let him experiment in sports and academics and supported him throughout, as well as his sister for leading by example with her success in school, and particularly in AP classes. He also has taken a lot of wisdom from his uncle, who survived a bad accident, and has preached to Garrett to not take days for granted.

Emmerich agreed that her whole family has had a great influence, and that she’s conscious of the influence she might have on others.

“My parents instilled a love for sports, a love for academics, and a need to be involved,” she said. “Also I want my younger siblings to have a good role model to look up to, and know that school gets a lot better when you decide to surround yourself with a lot of different types of people and different activities.”

Holmes and Emmerich have certainly made their own school experiences memorable and enjoyable, and they’ve done the same for a lot of others as well.

By setting the tone for what can be accomplished, and by showing that it doesn’t take sole dedication to one thing to be successful, but rather you can be successful in so many areas at once with the right level of commitment and passion, they continue to open doors for their classmates and peers at MHS.

The memories they’ve created throughout that process, and the relationships they’ve established, are what they expect to stay with them through the years.

They’ve developed lasting relationships with teachers, with Emmerich pointing to Ms. Stacken and Mr. Russell as her biggest influencers, and Holmes crediting Mr. Kortenkamp for helping him find his future path.

They also both point to sports practices with teammates and friends, as well as ventures like band, and even some of their more challenging classes, as highlights of their day. The opportunities to be challenged, and especially challenged right alongside some of their closest friends and peers, are relished.

“The biggest thing for me will be the people I’ve met along the way. I’ve come in contact with so many coaches, teachers, students in all different grades,” said Emmerich. “Getting to experience and share my entire high school years with all of these different people … I think I’ll remember the people of Monticello High School the most.”

The students also feel very prepared for their next step. Emmerich plans to study Electrical Engineering at the University of St. Thomas, while Holmes will pursue an Astrophysics degree. They both say their involvement here, and the education they received, leaves them feeling ready for the next step.

“The education that I got here was very beneficial into shaping me into who I am,” said Holmes. “I feel like I am prepared as well as I can be.”

Monticello’s Triple “A” nominees are now eligible to be selected as the Minnesota State High School League Triple “A” winners. The MSHSL will choose one male and female from Class A and Class AA. The winners will be announced at the Triple “A” banquet, held in conjunction with the Boys’ State Basketball Tournament in March.