Plymouth Seniors Are Leaving a Legacy

by | Aug 2023

Ellery Clark

Ellery Clark. Photos: Chris Emeott

Meet a few of the Plymouth high school seniors who are making an impact on their schools and community.

Every August, we kick off the upcoming school year by celebrating a few of the Plymouth students who will soon spread their wings beyond the halls of their high schools. Our Senior Spotlight seeks out students who have had a positive impact on their classmates, teachers and community over the course of their academic career.

For help identifying these individuals, we turned to the administration of each school for nominations that highlight a group of outstanding high schoolers. Senior Spotlight wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of each schools’ administration, and we would like to thank them for their efforts.

Now, without further ado, we’re pleased to present our 2023 Senior Spotlight students.

Ellery Clark, 17

Benilde-St. Margaret’s

“Ellery Clark’s drive for success aligns with Benilde-St. Margaret’s (BSM) mission, ‘To lead lives of faith, achieve academic experience and contribute meaningfully to a global society.’ You will never find Ellery sitting on the sidelines, especially as it relates to her passion for volleyball. Ellery has always flourished as a young leader through her involvement with the BSM volleyball program, as well as her Mizuno M1 club team. Ellery’s commitment to those around her is not only found in the hallways of BSM or on the volleyball court, but is seen through her service to the greater Twin Cities community. While juggling a demanding school and co-curricular schedule, Ellery remains steadfast in her weekly volunteering at Methodist Hospital as a discharge escort. Patients who come in contact with Ellery are likely drawn to her friendly and warm personality and will remember her smile for a lifetime.”—Betsy Van Cleve, director of Senior High Admissions

In Ellery’s Words:

What’s a pivotal experience that has shaped your high school career thus far?
Throughout my high school experience at BSM, I have had the opportunity to learn from incredible teachers in the areas of math and science. These teachers have helped shape my academic interests and have developed my passion for STEM. My experience in these classes has motivated me to work toward a career in the medical field.

What can you be found doing outside of school and schoolwork?
When I am not focused on my schoolwork, I love to spend my time playing volleyball and traveling to tournaments with my teammates. I have been passionate about volleyball and the competitive nature of the sport since I first began playing in elementary school, but this past high school season elevated my excitement for the game. In the 2022 season, we were section champions and earned our place as Class 3AAA runners-up, the first time that BSM made it to the State Volleyball Tournament in 43 years.

What three words describe your future?
Fulfilling, impactful, joyful

Brittan Alstead, 17

Wayzata High School

Brittan Alstead

“Brittan’s kindness and commitment to doing the right thing are evident in all of his interactions. As his teacher, I noticed during our first week together that he has empathy for others and a drive to make positive contributions. Brittan is supportive and has a keen sense for who needs a partner or a friend. Brittan showcases these qualities through his relationships with peers and adults and his drive to perform on the hockey rink. Brittan not only takes critical feedback well, but he solicits it regularly. With every assignment in our class, Brittan did more than the requirement and submitted early to ensure he could receive timely feedback.”—Dawn Johnson, English language arts teacher

In Brittan’s Words:

What’s a pivotal experience that has shaped your high school career thus far?
I don’t know if there has been one pivotal experience, but so far I have been committed to maintaining a high GPA, working hard on hockey, as well as developing and maintaining relationships with friends, teachers and faculty.

What can you be found doing outside of school and schoolwork?
Outside of school you can find me playing hockey. Whether that’s practicing on the ice or just shooting pucks in my basement. I’ve had a dream of playing professional hockey ever since I was 4 years old. So any free time I get, I play hockey.

What three words describe your future?
Hockey, family, fun

Ahkirrah Collier, 17

Armstrong High School

Ahkirrah Collier

“Ahkirrah is an absolute joy to have in class. I would describe Ahkirrah as independent, dedicated and sociable. When given a task in class, Ahkirrah will swiftly and efficiently complete said task. We work weekly in small groups in AVID, and Ahkirrah fits in with any group she gets put into. She often volunteers to present first and will always help other students when needed. In addition to her academic dedication, Ahkirrah has been involved in the Armstrong community. She is a member of the AVID program, Falcon Leaders, National Honor Society and College Possible. All of these activities and organizations represent the type of person Ahkirrah is. She is service oriented, she cares about others and she makes Armstrong a better place.”—Lee Spohn, AVID teacher

In Ahkirrah’s Words:

What’s a pivotal experience that has shaped your high school career thus far?
Stepping into high school, I was a very shy girl. If I didn’t know you, I most likely wouldn’t speak to you. Becoming a Falcon Leader and being part of the AVID program has really brought out a different side of me. I started doing things that I thought I could never do, like speaking in front of a group of freshmen about my high school journey or telling middle schoolers about AVID. Even though they are around my age, it was a big step for me. I went from letting others speak for me to leading my own group discussions.

What can you be found doing outside of school and schoolwork?
In my free time I enjoy coloring. I know most people think it’s childish, but it keeps me calm and allows me to get my mind off things going on in my busy life. One hobby I’ve developed over time is doing nails. I try to express myself through my nail art by trying different designs, getting myself out of my comfort zone. If I’m not at home doing any of those things, I’m most likely at work at Mini-Hops Gymnastics, teaching preschoolers gymnastics. I love being able to watch my students grow into wonderful kids and developing an everlasting connection with them.

What three words describe your future?
Determination, consistency, hardworking

Marcus Strong, 18

Robbinsdale High School

Marcus Strong

“[Marcus] is in choir and has perfect pitch. He was an athlete in the Robins Adaptive Athletics program, scoring many goals and being a top team player. Marcus completes his assignments without complaint. He’s a good listener and good at following directions. Marcus is a straight-A student. He’s a good friend and comrade to his classmates. Marcus’ laugh lights up the room! Marcus gets up on time every morning, looking forward to school.”—Dian Johnson, special education teacher

In Marcus’ Words:

What’s a pivotal experience that has shaped your high school career thus far?
I’m lucky I get to go to the Crystal Learning Center to work on my job skills. My teacher, Ms. Johnson, worked hard to get us there after COVID-19. There weren’t many buses or drivers.

What can you be found doing outside of school and schoolwork?
I like spending quiet time at home. We always have a puzzle on the table. Liberty Puzzles are the most interesting with their cool-shaped pieces. It relaxes me, and I like the challenge. When it’s warmer out, I like to go for short walks and go to the pool, beach or the driving range.

What three words describe your future?
Adventure, promising, bright

Sandra Alb, 17

Providence Academy

Sandra Alb

“I have had the pleasure of being Sandra’s teacher in middle school and her principal the last two years. Sandra is a student that embodies our mission of faith, knowledge and virtue. She has a love of learning and has always been a student that has sought to be challenged. Sandra immerses herself in our program, being a part of extracurricular offerings, such as band, speech and cross country. She is a leader in our community, serving as a member of the National Honor Society, and is one of our junior house leaders. In short, she is an outstanding member of our community!”—Kurt Jaeger, Upper School director

In Sandra’s Words:

What’s a pivotal experience that has shaped your high school career thus far?
My 10th grade moral theology class with Arthur Hippler was the most influential high school experience for me. His class was run like a college course: challenging, without a concrete study guide, without guided notes, but full of engaging discussions that forced all of us to interact and think outside the book and course material … Every essay, paper, project I write now, I write through Dr. Hippler’s lens. I just received [an] acceptance letter from Notre Dame Leadership Seminars, a highly selective full-ride summer program … I’m almost certain that the difference was made by the fact that Dr. Hippler was still whispering in my ear about how to write my application essays.

What can you be found doing outside of school and schoolwork?
In cold Minnesota winters, you will find me with my nose buried in books, far away, fully immersed in whatever universe the author has created. Otherwise, I will be playing anything from Franz Liszt to Harry Styles on my beautiful Kawai piano. If there is no snow outside, I will most likely be on a 15-plus mile bike ride on the beautiful greenways of Plymouth and Wayzata, or I will be volunteering at the Y Adventure Lab, an organization that changed my high school years.

What three words describe your future?
Limitless, joy, community


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