Wildcats News · 2021 WHS MSHSL Triple “A” Award Winners Announced


Congratulations to Kate Ulrich and Bram Fitzsimonds on being chosen the 2021 Waconia High School MSHSL Triple “A” Award Winners!

Established in 1988, the Academics, Arts and Athletics Award (Triple “A”) is a unique recognition program sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League. The award goes to high school seniors who have a “B” or better grade point average and who are active in fine arts and athletic activities. The purpose of this program is to recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in fine arts, as well as to elevate academic standards and create greater awareness of the value of high school activities. Kate and Bram are very deserving candidates and model on a daily basis what the Triple “A” Award is all about – Excellence in the classroom, Excellence in Athletics & Excellence in the Arts.

Kate Ulrich, daughter of Jennifer Ulrich and Jeff Ulrich has been selected not only as our 2021 WHS female Triple “A” Award winner, but also as the Region 2AA award winner based on the selfless, kind and positive approach she has taken while building an absolutely outstanding high school resume in academics and activities alike!

Kate described her high school journey as, “a journey of academic rigor”, and based on her willingness to strive for greatness, it has indeed been just that! Kate has earned a very impressive GPA of 3.99 while taking on the math curriculum at a double accelerated pace, exploring her interests in chemistry and Spanish and excelling in 6 Advanced Placement courses and 3 College in the Schools classes. Based on her academic efforts, Kate has earned recognition as a National Merit Semi-Finalist, an AP Scholar with Distinction and was named a National Rural and Small Town Scholar by the College Board.

Kate’s level of commitment carries through to her involvement in co-curricular activities. Waconia’s High School Band Program has benefitted from Kate’s leadership in Jazz Band, Show Choir Band and Marching Band. Kate was the section lead of the alto saxophones and last year was named a Drum Major of the award winning WHS Marching Band. As the WHS Director of Bands, Mr. John Pohland shared, “It has been a pleasure to watch Kate rise to the top of each of our programs at WHS, ..where she has shown unmatched levels of commitment and dedication towards these groups, and is someone who our younger students turn to for advice.” Rise to the top she does, not only in band, but also as a member of the WHS National Honor Society, track and field and cross country running teams! Kate, a returning letter winner in Track and Field will be returning this Spring as a team captain. As a Cross Country Team Captain, Kate helped lead her team to the 2020 Section 2AA Championship title, all while focusing on building a strong sense of community within her team during a season filled with uncertainty due to the pandemic. Kate’s positivity was infectious in her day to day interactions with her team, and her creative idea for “fun” socks on competition day, led to team success by mentally and physically overcoming each obstacle they encountered.

Based on her positive personality and exceptional work ethic, Kate’s goal of attending Carleton College in the fall, majoring in chemistry with a minor in Spanish in preparation for her intended career as a bilingual Pediatric Neurologist is definitely within her reach! Best wishes to Kate Ulrich!

Bram Fitzsimonds, son of Scott and Geneva Fitzsimonds, is a genuine student leader in our school and throughout our community. As an active participant in a variety of classrooms, volunteer organizations and school sponsored clubs and teams, Bram’s caring approach and happy heart enriches the lives of all he comes in contact with, young and old alike.

Throughout his high school career, Bram has continually challenged himself academically by taking more than a half dozen Advanced Placement courses. Bram carries an impressive 3.978 GPA, was named a National Merit Commended Scholar and has earned multiple academic awards including two academic letters. Bram has served as a member of the National Honor Society and based on his excellent leadership in this, and all of his endeavors, Bram was named the male 2020 Waconia High School MSHSL ExCEL Award winner.

Bram puts his varied skill sets to use as a Peer Mentor and as a contributing member of the football, wrestling and track and field teams. In his fourth and senior year as a team member of both the Wildcat football and wrestling teams, Bram was selected team captain. Bram not only channeled his positive mindset into helping his teams succeed, but he also earned individual recognition for his efforts. A 2021 All District Football award recipient, Bram attributed a great deal of his success on the field to his work on the mat. Highlights of Bram’s resume as a leader of the Wildcat Wrestling Team, includes being a two-time state team participant, a state individual qualifier, a four-time state academic team member, voted most improved, earned the “Mat Cat” award for setting a good example in and out of the wrestling room and has earned the prestigious WHS Ironman Award the past three years.

Bram has also shined as a member of Waconia’s outstanding band program. Bram, a mellophone player, is a section leader in the WHS Concert Band, Pep Band, Marching Band and was selected 4 times to the MBDA All-State Honor Band. Additionally, Bram is a member of the WHS Brass Quintet, has served as a section mentor in the Minnesota Junior Winds, was twice named to the Region Honor Band and in 2020 was named a Minnesota Ambassador of Music. Bram’s appreciation for music inspired his Eagle Scout project which, in part, Bram created a video encouraging 4th graders to participate in band.

Bram’s math teacher and three sport coach, Mr. Nick Hackman shared, “In the six years of working with and getting to know Bram, I have been impressed with his work ethic, drive, enthusiasm to understand and succeed, as well as his overall moral character.” Bram’s character is displayed not only in his academics and activities, but also in his choice of free time endeavors such as volunteering as a youth football referee, a youth wrestling mentor, a church youth group helper, a Boy Scout Troop Officer and a Relay for Life and Lola’s Marathon event worker.

Next fall, Bram is headed to the University of Chicago with plans to secure a degree in Bioengineering while participating in both the concert and marching band programs and enjoying intramural sports. Best wishes Bram Fitzsimonds!