By Lorae Vardas, Correspondent
Megan Oldakowski and Bridget Bednar were named January Students of the Month at Pierz Healy High School. Although uniquely different in personality and career paths, the senior classmates have much in common. Both are high caliber students who are respected by their peers. Bednar is an outstanding athlete; Oldakowski an accomplished artist.
Sara Underhill, Healy High art instructor, said Oldakowski is extremely creative and talented artistically.
“She is a true leader in the classroom, focused, hardworking and ambitious. She is also very humble and approachable to younger artists seeking advice in the classroom,” she said. Underhill described her star student as motivated, positive and friendly with a good sense of humor who is always looking to try new things, including a nondescript doorway.
“Last year I took an independent art study course and painted my teacher’s office door in a Van Gogh theme,” said Oldakowski. Resembling a collage of his paintings, but with her own twist on his style, it incorporates the quote, “I dream of painting … and then I paint my dream.”
The door mural and a book she created titled Irises received Minnesota State High School League sponsored visual arts awards. The latter was displayed in the gallery at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, which ranks among her greatest accomplishments to date.
Other highlights include being named Artist of the Month in 2008 and 2011, culminating in Artist of the Year honors in 2012-2013. After this semester, Oldakowski will have taken all the art classes available at school. She leaves her mark in the Healy High hallway via a wall painting illustrating an Oscar Wilde quote.
“My favorite activity is almost anything art-related,” she said. “I love to be creative.” Upon graduation, the daughter of Daniel and Deanna Oldakowski plans a double major in fashion design and retail management at St. Catherine’s University. She’s also interested in studying abroad in New York and London.
Oldakowski’s boss at Smude’s Sunflower Oil adds further insight. “I see nothing but success in Megan’s future,” said Jenni Smude. “She is a kind individual who loves to learn new things. Her smile and helping nature will take her where she wants to go in life.”
Rich Teske, science teacher and coach at Pierz Healy High, predicts a bright and successful future for Bridget Bednar, as well. “She comes to practice every day to work hard. Bridget is a role model for other student athletes with her leadership qualities,” he said. “She is humble with her accomplishments, but is willing to share success with others.”
Some of those successes involve National Honor Society, Peer Helping, WEB, EPIC, Pioneer Leadership Council, choir, volleyball, basketball and track. The three-sport athlete holds several recognitions including Morrison County Record Volleyball Athlete of the Year. She broke the school record for most kills in a season.
“My favorite activity is probably volleyball, because I enjoy playing it and am able to exceed in the sport. It is also a fun activity to play with a group of friends when hanging out together,” she said.
Bednar, the daughter of Lisa and Steve Bednar, loves playing sports for the lessons she’s learned. “Through sports I have been able to become a team player, meet new people and gain new friends at different schools. Sports also taught me that hard work pays off in the long run,” she said, “so never give up and always work your hardest.”
Bednar contemplates majoring in elementary education and/or physical education. Although undecided about a college or university, she intends to play volleyball.
As Students of the Month, Oldakowski and Bednar join the growing ranks of graduating seniors eligible for $1,500 scholarships to be announced in May by program sponsors, Farmers and Merchants State