L-R Cole Anderson, Natalie Neidenfeuhr, Dr. Robert Cavanna, Courtney Starry & Sandy Logrono

Congratulations to our Becker Students of Excellence! 
Cole Anderson, Natalie Neidenfeuhr and Courtney Starry

While chalkboards are probably a thing of the past for most classrooms, the chalk drawing performed by Bob Upgren was definitely a unique message to the audience. The 27th Annual Students of Excellence Banquet and Recognition Ceremony was Wednesday, April 30, at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud with close to 600 attending the event.

The evening was dedicated to honoring the top 150 high school seniors from more than 38 Region 7 high schools. The honorees were nominated by their school or district and received a plaque recognizing their accomplishment and a certificate from Governor Dayton. Over the past 27 years there have been 4,224 honored seniors. While attendees waited for the doors to open, animated conversations in the crowd revolved around upcoming prom, graduation and plans for college. 

The evening began with a welcome and congratulations by Rob Cavanna, executive director of Resource. Following the meal, keynote speaker, Bob Upgren delivered his message “Igniting a Purpose – How to find your true calling in life”. Through his message and the chalk art, he challenged students to pay attention and intentionally consider your vocation. “I challenge you to lead a significant life. By concentrating on your gifts and how you can be a contributor you will achieve success. And, a significant life will be a successful life,” Upgren challenged.

The Presiding Superintendent for the evening was Dr. Julia Espe from the Princeton School District. “I am honored to be here representing the superintendents and pass along our congratulations to each of this evening’s honorees,” she said. 

Criteria for selection to the Recognition Event is at the discretion of each school but based upon recommended guidelines. Schools can choose two to four seniors and have the option to invite favorite teachers, coaches and administrators. The event is sponsored by the participating school districts, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Resource Training & Solutions. 

Upgren’s message concluded with him creating a large chalk drawing. Upon finishing the drawing of an American flag with mountains, trees and a lighthouse, a video messaged floated in and out of the screen with words carrying his significant challenge.