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Kennedy Lee earns Kohl honor
FHS senior selected as Excellence Scholar
Fennimore High School senior Kennedy Lee has been selected as a 2016 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Excellence Scholar. - photo by Karlee Mikkelson Photography

Fennimore High School senior Kennedy Lee has been selected as a 2016 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Excellence Scholar. The selection committee for the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Scholarship,  Fellowship, and Leadership Program announced recipients of the 2016  Herb Kohl Foundation awards for students, teachers and principals late last month.

Letters notifying recipients of the award, including Lee, who was named valedictorian of Fennimore’s 2016 graduating class in February, were mailed March 9.

“When I first found out the news I was really excited. I knew if I was going to get a letter that it would be coming around the middle of March and I was beginning to become anxious,” Lee said. “I knew that I had a very strong application, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure if I would win it because you just never know how strong the other applicants may be. When I think about how many seniors there are in the state of Wisconsin and that only 184 seniors win this award, I feel so blessed and thankful.

“I am grateful for all of the teachers and coaches who have helped me become the person I am today. I especially want to thank my parents for pushing me, being my rock and always reminding me of my goals on days where I had felt like giving up.”

The $3,000  awards are being made to 100 teachers, 16 principals and their schools, and 184 graduating high school students. This year marks the first Kohl principal awards that recognize school leadership across the state. Excellence Scholarship, Fellowship and Leadership Award recipients are selected by a statewide committee composed of civic leaders and representatives of education-related associations and the program’s co-sponsors: the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools (WCRIS), regional Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESA), and the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators.

Excellence Scholarship recipients have demonstrated excellence in the academic arena and high motivation to achieve, have displayed a broad range of activity and leadership outside the academic setting, and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond.

“Kennedy has been very driven to succeed in her academics ever since she entered Fennimore Middle/High School,” said Fennimore Middle/High School Principal Dan Bredeson. “She has looked for ways to take as many upper level classes as she can here at Fennimore High School. Kennedy has taken several distance learning upper level classes including AP classes because she has taken all of the AP classes Fennimore has to offer.

“We try to accommodate all of our students to help them prepare for whatever career they choose to pursue after high school.  Kennedy took advantage of everything we had to offer to make sure she is prepared for college.”
Lee has served as president of the Student Council and president of the National Honor Society. She was also selected vice-president of the 2016 graduating class.

“Kennedy has taken full advantage of all that Fennimore High School has to offer and I know she will be successful in whatever she chooses to do with her life,” Bredeson said.

Lee also stressed the importance of AP coursework to her success.

“At the end of this school year I should have around 24 college credits completed, which never would have been possible without Mr. Roth and Mr. Nutter working hard and helping enroll me in college level classes from our CESA district,” she said. “The AP classes offered at Fennimore and the other courses offered online and through distance learning have helped me tremendously.

“Also, we have some of the best teachers in the area who I have spent numerous hours with in the past four years. I’m grateful for all of the teachers who have went out of their way to help me when I’ve needed it.”

From making a play on the volleyball court or the softball diamond to shining on the stage of the school musical, there was never a dull moment for Lee at FHS.

“A lot of this scholarship comes from beyond the classroom, and I’m grateful for all of the sports and extracurricular activities that I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with during my time at Fennimore High School,” she said. “Whenever I’ve had to leave a yearbook meeting early because I’ve had to go to dance, or miss a musical practice because I’ve had a volleyball game, my advisors and coaches have been so supportive of me and understanding of all of my activities. Fennimore High School has been an amazing place for me to grow as an intellectual being and an all-around person.

“As I move on to college, I am so excited to see what the future has in store for this school and the community. I am equally thankful for all of the opportunities that Fennimore High School and its staff have given me. It truly is an honor to be a Herb Kohl Excellence Scholar.”

Lee will be honored at a recognition luncheon Sunday at Sun Prairie. Herb Kohl will attend and present her award.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction contributed to this report.