Meet Your 2023 Senior Spotlight Students

by | Sep 2023

Jack Mahoney

Photos: Chris Emeott

Introducing the next generation of leaders.

A large part of what makes Maple Grove so special is the students in our community: They are our next thinkers and leaders, inventors and workers. These are the students who began high school in 2020 and were quickly faced with the challenges of COVID-19 and distance learning. Now, these students are blossoming into young adults, who will venture into society.

To celebrate this unique group of students, we asked local schools to nominate students who will leave a positive imprint on their school and those who best exemplify their school’s community. Keep reading to hear from school officials, who provided us with insight to each student, as well as more from the students themselves.

Jack Mahoney, 17

Providence Academy

“Jack has been a student at Providence in the lower, middle and upper school. I was his teacher in middle school and have been his principal the last two years. Jack is a very good student at a rigorous prep school. He is very active in our community as a three sport athlete and a member of our band. Jack is a model of what we hope for in a student in terms of his behavior, work ethic and value of our Catholic college prep mission.” —Kurt Jaegar, upper school director

What is the achievement or accomplishment of your high school career that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of being voted by my fellow teammates to be a captain of the Cross Country Team. I was voted a captain for the past season, the fall of my junior year, and I was again voted to be a captain this upcoming year—my senior year. I started running cross country in seventh grade, and I have continued to run cross country throughout my whole high school career … I do my very best to lead the team and to make sure that everyone is being included and having a fun, yet still productive experience.

Who or what has been your biggest influence leading up to this moment?

My biggest influence has definitely been God. I was born and raised Catholic, and my faith is a huge aspect of my life. As a Catholic, I strive to live like Christ and to practice my faith. I have gone to Catholic schools my whole life, which I’m grateful for, since I’m able to still keep my faith at school … My faith is a big part of my life, so I can say with confidence that my biggest influence has definitely been God.

What’s next for you after high school?

… I plan on attending college the following fall … I plan on going into either business or finance, since I’m interested in the field, and I think it will help me after college as well. Because I have participated in school sports most of my life, I definitely plan on playing some intramural sports. I’m competitive, love sports and like to stay active. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead for me after high school, and I hope whatever college I go to is as great and as helpful as my high school, Providence Academy, has been.

What three words best describe you?

Witty, thoughtful, hardworking

More about Jack:

  • Investment Club
  • Volunteers with sporting events, including Breakaway Kids Triathlon, Cub Cross Country and a children’s basketball camp, and at church
  • Sports including: baseball, basketball, cross country
  • Section leader, percussion, of the Providence Academy Upper School Band
Kailyn Stocke, 16

Heritage Christian Academy

Kailyn Stocke

“This young lady exemplifies the Heritage Christian Academy student in every way: She demonstrates the character of Jesus Christ in her interactions and achievements in that she seeks to glorify Him in everything. Whether on stage, on the court or in and out of classrooms interacting with young children, peers or instructors and parents, she demonstrates excellence, kindness and respect for all.” —Julie Herman, director of community relations and admissions

What is the achievement or accomplishment of your high school career that you are most proud of?

I believe the accomplishment/achievement in my high school career that I am most proud of is restarting my school’s cheerleading team, along with one of my close friends. Our school had a cheerleading team for a while, but it eventually lost interest, so when I started, there was no cheerleading team. My friend, Kristin, and I talked to our principal about restarting the cheerleading team, and then we asked who would be interested. We got a lot of interest, and we even found a coach. Kristin and I were chosen as captains to lead the cheerleading team during basketball games. Our team kept getting told that we added so much energy to the basketball games and made them more fun. We got the student section involved in the game many times as well. I think the cheer team was a great addition to our school, and I’m glad I helped start it.

Who or what has been your biggest influence leading up to this moment?

… My friends have been my greatest influence up to this moment. They have always encouraged me to do things that will benefit me in the future, and they have helped me through rough days. I believe that if I didn’t have the friends that I do, I would be a very different person, who would have made very different life choices … Many of my friends have also encouraged me in my faith … They have kept me accountable, and I think without these friends, my faith wouldn’t be as strong.

What’s next for you after high school?

My plan is to go to college (so far, still undecided where) and my hope is to go into the medical field; specifically I want to be a nurse in the NICU. I’ve wanted to be a nurse for a very long time, so I’m excited to be getting closer to achieving this dream.

What three words best describe you?

Funny, kind and smart

More about Kailyn:

  • Various clubs including: Minnesota State High School League drama, National Honor Society, Student Council and Theater
  • Volunteers through Feed My Starving Children, summer camp and church
  • Sports including cheerleading and soccer, softball manager
  • Worship leader and vocalist
Memengwa (Meme) White, 16

Maple Grove Senior High School

Memengwa (Meme) White

“Meme’s smile lights up a room, and her enthusiasm for life and learning is contagious. Meme’s interests and activities are diverse, but the common thread is her love of competition and interaction with others. From alpine and barrel racing to high school lacrosse, Meme is an active athlete competing at high levels. She also gives back to the high school and larger community by representing her class in student council and our district through powwows. She also travels throughout the Midwest for powwows and is enrolled in the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. Meme is a natural connector, and younger students are drawn to her warm demeanor and helping nature. She is inquisitive and has a genuine love of learning, which will be an asset as she pursues a path toward a future in veterinary medicine. She is a delight to have at the high school and leaves a positive impact on all that have the good fortune to be around her.” —Bart Becker, principal

What is the achievement or accomplishment of your high school career that you are most proud of?

One of my achievements that I’m proudest of is my MVP defense award for lacrosse. It was a sort of representation to me that all my hard work over the years had finally paid off, and I was being recognized by my teammates and coaches for that hard work … [and] when I became the captain of my ski team. It was a valuable experience that taught me a lot about leadership and the associated duties that come with the role.
I’m Native American, and my tribe is Alabama/Coushatta, Ojibwa and Dakota, [and] my Indian name is Waabanong-ikwe, which means woman of the east or sunrise woman. As a result of participating in dancing, I have earned the title of a Native American princess. One of my responsibilities involves representing schools at powwows held throughout the country.

Who or what has been your biggest influence leading up to this moment?

When I was young, I grew up surrounded by dogs, horses and many other sorts of farm animals. I remember almost every weekend when I’d visit unci (grandma in Dakota) and ukanna (grandpa in Dakota), I’d sit with my ukanna and watch this show called The Incredible Dr. Pol. It’s what sparked my interest in wanting to help animals … That’s when I began to make my plans for the future to work and achieve my goal of becoming a veterinarian, and my mom was right behind me supporting my endeavors.

What’s next for you after high school?

I’m going to stick to the plan that I’ve had since I was 7 years old when I was surrounded by horses and I realized I wanted to work in a field that concentrated on taking care of all kinds of animals. The first step is to get into the University of Minnesota for my bachelor of science [degree], the same place my mom went for her undergrad and then her doctorate. After graduating, I plan to go to the University of Colorado or stay at the University of Minnesota for veterinary school.

What three words best describe you?

Fierce, resourceful and imaginative

More about Meme:

  • Native American princess, representing District 279 at powwows
  • Sports including Varsity alpine skiing (Northwest Alpine) and lacrosse, defender since seventh grade
  • Horse racing, including Western-style barrel racing and pole weaving
  • Student Council
  • Orchestra, violin; private lessons for guitar
Ronan Lander, 17

Parnassus Preparatory School

Ronan Lander

“Ronan Lander has been a pillar of Parnassus Preparatory School for many years, both academically and athletically. Mr. Lander joined the school in 2012, the second year of operation. [He] and his classmates are the first scholars to go through the entire schooling at Parnassus, from Prima (kindergarten) to 4R (12th grade). Ronan has challenged himself through the rigors of a classical education by studying Latin, advanced mathematics, ancient history, classical literature, rhetoric and much more. Ronan will also be a part of the first group of athletes to complete six years in our track and field and cross country programs. He was a pioneer for these two programs, joining the first year that they were offered. Mr. Lander owns several school records across both sports and was the first athlete to earn all-conference honors in cross country. As a result of the hard work over the years, Ronan helped the Boys Cross Country Team earn a state tournament appearance in the fall of 2021. He has been an outstanding athlete to have on these two teams and has turned that passion for running into what will be a successful collegiate running career. We wish him good luck!” —Magister Sage, math teacher and Track and Field and Cross Country head coach

What is the achievement or accomplishment of your high school career that you are most proud of?

The accomplishment from my high school career that I am most proud of was sophomore year becoming the fastest 1,600-meter runner in the section for my age. Getting there proved to be more challenging than I expected due to some setbacks that occurred. After a successful first track season in seventh grade, I was thrilled about my upcoming eighth-grade season as a lot of my friends had joined the team. However, after only a week of practice, our season was cancelled due to the pandemic … I created a training plan for myself and stuck to it. I then experienced another setback the following track season, as I got injured while doing triple jump … Despite these frustrating setbacks, I kept working for it, and, as a sophomore, I was the fastest 1,600-meter runner in the section for my age.

Who or what has been your biggest influence leading up to this moment?

… My track and cross-country teammates and coaches. When I first joined the team in seventh grade, I did not know many people outside of my age group. However, that all changed after hundreds of miles of running together, encouraging each other and competing as a team. Since that first year, my teammates and coaches have influenced me to work hard, be a dedicated teammate and to become a better leader.

What’s next for you after high school?

I am planning to attend college after high school. I am at the early stages of my college search, and I have not decided on a major yet. Regardless of which college I attend, I would like to continue to run track and cross country. The classes I have been most interested in throughout high school have been math, science, and history. In my free time, I continue to explore careers that interest me and could be a good fit for me.

What three words best describe you?

Dedicated, considerate and responsible

More about Ronan:

  • Sports including: cross country, Minnesota Flyers track team, Nordic skiing, Track and Field
  • Participant in orchestra, cello

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