Wildcats News · 2020 WHS ExCEL Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to Waconia High School Juniors, Carrigan Dock and Bram Fitsimonds on being chosen as the 2020 WHS Minnesota State High School League ExCEL Award recipients!

Sponsored by the MSHSL, ExCEL (Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership) is a unique recognition program designed exclusively for high school juniors.

Students who are active in fine arts and/or athletic activities, who show leadership qualities, and who are model citizens are eligible for the award. To be eligible for the ExCEL Award, students must be a junior in high school; making satisfactory progress toward graduation requirements; participate in a League-sponsored fine arts and/or an athletic activity; hold a leadership position in their school; work voluntarily in their community; and meet MSHSL General Eligibility Requirements.


Carrigan Dock, daughter of Jayson and Cristine Dock is a dedicated and active student leader in the Waconia High School student body. Carrigan maintains an impressive 4.0 GPA while staying active in a variety of music groups, athletic teams and volunteer activities.

Carrigan has lettered as a contributing member of both the Wildcat Cross Country team and the Track and Field team and earned the Spotlight on Scholarship Gold Standard award in each of her participation seasons. The honors continue to mount as we recognize Carrigan’s fine arts participation. In band, Carrigan has been named a Rookie Advisor and earned the Best Marcher award as a member of our award winning Marching Band. Mr. John Pohland, Carrigan’s band instructor shared the following in regards to her work ethic and leadership style, “Carrigan works very hard to perform at a high level in everything she does. Her kind and motivated personality allows her to be well liked and respected by her peers.” Carrigan is also involved in Show Choir where she earned the opportunity to be a soloist and has been a valued member of the Varsity, Cantabile and Concert choirs.

Carrigan fills in any possible gap in her hectic schedule by contributing to our school community as an active member of the National Honor Society, Student Council and Conservation Club. She has served on the Homecoming and Winter Formal Committees and worked with her peers to offer the annual blood drive. In addition to leading by example in our school community, Carrigan’s caring arms reach out to our greater Waconia community as she volunteers in her church youth group, tutors as part of the America Reads program, packs food for Feed My Starving Children, utilizes her advanced ballet, jazz and modern dance techniques at Refract and the Auburn Nursing Home as well as to raise funds as part of the Mankato Dance program. The list continues as to Carrigan’s commitment to work for others, as she operates a booth for the Relay for Life event, is part of the Adopt a Highway clean up crew and organizes donations for Goodwill, annually volunteering more than a collective 150 hours in all of her endeavors. Thank you Carrigan for modeling the value of, and your enthusiasm to, serve others.


Bram Fitzsimonds, son of Geneva and Scott Fitzsimonds excels as an athlete and fine arts program participant, but most importantly as a person with a positive attitude that is contagious. Bram’s math teacher and coach, Mr. Nick Hackman highlighted this trait in his recommendation letter stating, “ Bram lifts student’s spirits every day. It’s the simple smile on his face, his kind and positive spirit, and he can always be heard whistling down the halls.”

Whistling is just one way Bram puts his musical talents to use. Bram, a French horn player, is also a section leader in the WHS Concert Band, Pep Band, Marching Band and a 5-year member of the Minnesota State Honor Band. Additionally, Bram has served as a section mentor in the Minnesota Junior Winds, a two-time Region Honor Band member and was named a 2020 Minnesota Ambassador of Music.

Bram has been on the “A” Honor roll throughout his high school career and posts an impressive 4.0 GPA, this while taking numerous advanced placement courses. Bram puts his varied skill sets to use as a Peer Mentor, as a member of the National Honor Society and as a contributing member of the football, wrestling and track and field teams. As a three-year varsity team member and letter winner in each of his sports, Bram has channeled his positive mindset into helping his teams succeed and has also earned individual recognition for his efforts. As a member of the Wildcat Wrestling Team, Bram was a state team participant in 2019 and 2020, a state individual qualifier, a four-time state academic team member, voted most improved and earned the prestigious Ironman Award.

Bram enjoys spending his free time volunteering as a youth football referee, a youth wrestling mentor, a church youth group helper, a Boy Scout Troop Officer and Youth Mentor and a Relay for Life and Lola’s Marathon event worker. Bram highlighted his experience as a food packer for Feed My Starving Children sharing that, “…there are two main benefits….aid being given to impoverished children around the world, and the building of comradery between yourself and the other people you volunteer with.” Congratulations Bram for acting on your values, and sharing one of your many gifts, that of selflessness.