Westonka Students Selected for ExCEL Program
Leah Pinault and Bryan Tierney chosen for going above and beyond both in and out of the classroom.
by Lorrie Ham
Juniors Leah Pinault and Bryan Tierney have been selected to represent Mound Westonka High School in the state ExCEL program.
ExCEL (Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership) is a unique recognition program of the Minnesota State High School League designed exclusively for the state’s high school juniors who are active in school activities, who show leadership qualities and who are model citizens.
Pinault has a lengthy list of fine arts activities at MWHS. She is first-chair flute in the wind ensemble and was named Most Improved her sophomore year. She is a two-year member of the Musical Pit Orchestra and received five superior and two excellent ratings in the Solo/Ensemble contests her freshman and sophomore years.
Pinault is a three-year member of the Pep Band and has also accompanied the choir. She was selected for the St. Thomas Honor Band, the St. Olaf Honor Band and the Wright County Conference Honor Band (two years). She was also recently selected for the U of M Honor Band. Pinault earned a second-place ribbon and an honorable mention in the State Fair Art Competition. She also had her work exhibited at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts.
Pinault is a member of both the track and field and the cross country teams. She was a section qualifier on the 2012 track team as a member of the 4x400 third-place conference team. She was also named Rookie of the Year in 2012.
In cross-country, Pinault ran on the junior varsity team, which took first-place honors at the Grasshopper (the MWHS invitational) and at Rogers. In her two years on the team, she has been honored as Goal Buster, Princess of the Meet, the Top 20 and Runner of the Week.
Pinault is a three-year member of the “A” Honor Roll and carries a 4.0 GPA. She is a member of National Honor Society, the Literature Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is a Band Camp flute teacher and has received a Distinguished Student Award and a White Hawk Award.
“To exemplify leadership, one must be willing to step up and take action, act selflessly, take responsibility, respect everyone and everything, have an open mind, actively listen to others, be willing to fail if it means one step toward success, give advice and take it and practice what is preached,” Pinault said.
Pinault’s community service includes Feed My Starving Children; a Road Race volunteer; nursery and Sunday School teacher at her church; the MEFC Coat Drive; the local food shelf; beach clean-up and free babysitting for missionaries.
“In my 12 years of teaching band, I have run across few students as grounded, responsible, talented, generous, humble, kind, mature, and well-rounded as Leah Pinault,” said Director Gretchen Chilson. “She is a leader in the best sense—a ‘servant leader’ who puts others first and does what needs to be done for the good of the group. Leah is a very talented flute player, and has represented Mound Westonka very well in honor bands around the area. I depend on her on a daily basis as part of my student leadership team, and know that in addition to the ‘official’ role she plays as concert manager, she is leading by example in every rehearsal—demonstrating to everyone how to set high standards and then achieve them.”
Leah is the daughter of Deb and Dan Pinault of Spring Park.
Bryan Tierney is a three-sport athlete, competing in football, wrestling and baseball since his freshman year. In football, Tierney was named to the All-Wright County Conference Team as a middle linebacker and a running back his sophomore and junior years. His junior year he led the team in rushing yards, touchdowns, yards after catch, tackles, tackles for loss and forcing turnovers. He has been named football captain for the 2013 fall season.
Tierney earned a second-place finish in the state ninth-grade league in wrestling. In his sophomore year he was named All Conference and placed first at sections earning a berth at the state tournament. He is also a member of the JV baseball team.
Tierney has been an active participant in both Student Senate and DECA since the ninth-grade. Tierney was elected to represent his class on Student Senate each year. He has also qualified for the state DECA competition every year since ninth-grade.
This year Tierney took on the leadership roles of being a member of both Link Crew and NHS. He has consistently been on either the “A” or “B” honor roll throughout high school. Athletically, he has also received the Spotlight on Scholars Award each year.
“To me I view leadership as a characteristic held by many,” Tierney said. “However those who have great leadership know not only when to lead and how to lead but how to sit back and listen to others as well. This characteristic is possessed by few.”
Tierney has been involved in numerous volunteer and community service projects with both his sports and his extracurricular activities. In the fall he works with kids at youth camps teaching them the basics of football. In the winter he goes to youth wrestling practices once a month where he teaches them simple moves and techniques. With Student Senate Tierney has volunteered at multiple events at the Gillespie Center.
As a member of DECA, Tierney volunteers every fall at the Hilltop Octoberfest. He also participates in NHS volunteer activities like the Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack and running the warming house at the Shirley Hills ice rink.
"I think Bryan Tierney is the ultimate example of a student-athlete,” said Head Football Coach Barry Bower. “Bryan is involved with the youth as well as activities at the high school level. Bryan shows great leadership in any athletic venue, classroom, or school activity, but more impressively would do anything for his community if asked."
Bryan is the son of Robin and Tim Tierney of Minnetrista.