By Lorae Vardas, Correspondent
The Students of the Month for January at Pierz Healy High School are Taryn Becker and Lane Girtz. The senior classmates share a lot of traits that have propelled them to the top of the Class of 2017.
In addition to maintaining high grade point averages, they are active in many high school activities and demonstrate great leadership ability. Both are members of Minnesota Honor Society (MHS) and the Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT).
Known as competitive, but friendly and bubbly by nature, Becker exudes a positive aura as she navigates the comedic ambiguities of everyday life. “My greatest accomplishment has been eating an entire block of cheese in one sitting,” she said with a laugh. “My favorite activity is chillin’ with my cat Bentley, jammin’ and eating my weight in ice cream.”
Joel Pohland, Healy High band director, said he enjoys her sense of humor and the vitality it brings into the classroom.
“Taryn is an extremely fun and hard worker,” he said. “She almost always has a smile on her face and is never afraid to laugh. She brings an amazing amount of energy wherever she goes.”
But the daughter of Kurt and Lonna Becker also has a serious side. A recipient of the ExCEL Award, sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League, she captains the basketball and track teams, serves as vice president of Student Council and plays in band.
Competing in the state true team track/field meet and bonding with teammates ranks among her most memorable experiences.
“I would like to meet my future self,” she said when asked about someone she would someday like to meet. Meanwhile, she is making plans to attend the College of St. Scholastica in the field of physical therapy. She also wants to run track on the collegiate level.
Danny Saehr, high school football and basketball coach, has known Girtz since seventh-grade.
“Lane is one of those kids that coaches and teachers absolutely love working with. While coaching Lane in football and baseball, I could always count on him to do what is right,” he said. “Lane does what is asked of him and much more. Having a student/athlete like him in our building truly makes our school a better place.”
Saehr said, “Lane is not only a great role model at Pierz Healy High School, but he is also a role model in our community. There is no doubt in my mind that Lane will be very successful in whatever path he chooses to take because of all the positive qualities he possesses.”
So, after whom does Girtz model himself? “Mr. Jensen, because he always works hard, is humble and a good person,” he said. (Mark Jensen is the school’s longtime, award-winning wrestling coach.)
A stellar athlete, Girtz excels in football, wrestling and baseball. Leading his team to the state football championship is something he will never forget. Taking third-place in wrestling and baseball last year also stands out in his memory. An acronym for Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) is another activity he participates in.
Even though he considers baseball his favorite sport, the son of Darren and Denise Girtz would love to meet Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings running back. “The little things can change the entire outcome of the game,” he said about baseball. “And I like to be active and competitive.”
Quiet and happy by personality, Girtz is undecided as yet regarding post-graduation plans.
“Lane’s maturity and respect for others was evident at a young age and he continued to impress everyone all the way through high school,” Saehr said. “Other students look up to and respect him for many reasons. He treats others with respect, has a tremendous work ethic, does things the right way and, most importantly, is a great all around kid.”
Becker and Girtz bring to 12 the number of graduating seniors now eligible for Student of the Year honors and the accompanying $1,500 scholarships from Farmers and Merchants State Bank, program sponsors.