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Senior Aurora Watson of Bigfork High School has been awarded the AAA Award by the Minnesota State High School League.

BIGFORK — If there is one thing you can say about Aurora Watson, it’s that she won’t be outworked by anybody.

That is evident by her accomplishments as the senior gets ready to graduate from Bigfork High School this spring. She has been involved in just about every activity offered at the school and she has performed admirably in all of them.

Watson has a perfect 4.0 grade point average and is the valedictorian of her class. She participated in Huskies sports programs and took part in many of the other activities conducted at the school.

It is for her participation that she has been awarded the Minnesota State High School League’s (MSHSL) Academics, Arts and Athletics (AAA) Award this spring.

Watson said she participates in every sport she can, and also is in band, choir and theater, plus other ventures. She thanks Bigfork Activities Director Heather Lovdahl for nominating her for the award.

“I didn’t think I would get the award because I am from such a small school,” Watson said. “But it was really cool to be presented with that opportunity and I wouldn’t have had it without Heather.”

Lovdahl said Watson is a “fantastic girl” who comes from a hard-working family with great parents who have instilled the value of hard work into her.

“More than the hard work, Aurora is just kind,” said Lovdahl. “She is always the girl that is there to help. I have known her since she was born and when I think of her, I think of every event, every gathering in the school. She is a face you always see. She is willing to help, willing to jump in and she is part of the fabric of our school.”

Watson said it has taken hard work to get her to where she is right now.

“I have definitely worked really hard. There are a lot of intelligent kids in my class , some at the genius level,” Watson said. “I’m smart but I have to work really hard to keep up because I do have so much going on. I don’t come by it as naturally as other kids do so to keep my 4.0 has been super hard. I got a bunch of concussions my junior year so that was really hard because I was in college classes.

“But we never really had a lot of money so I knew that if I wanted to go to college that I would have to get scholarship money and stuff like that.”

Lovdahl said it is very difficult to be able to balance excellence in academics with participation in sports and the fine arts.

“We are very rural at Bigfork High School and Aurora has a long commute to school every day,” Lovdahl explained. “So when you think about some of those long bus rides home after an away game maybe in Ely or some place, you have to think about the time it takes for them to get back and to get ready for that big test or whatever is going on during that next day in school.

“We don’t have a lot of kids in Bigfork and she is not just a one-sport kid; she plays several sports and is involved in everything. So, she might be managing all kinds of things all at once. She is really a good multitasker.”

Watson said she started to get involved in just about everything she could, and she said she started to like participating in them all.

“I loved it all so much that I had to kind of adapt to being busy all the time and working homework around my schedule,” Watson explained. “But I think being well-rounded is really good for everything in life. If you only have one skill you can only do that one thing, so why wouldn’t you want to do more?”

Lovdahl said the Bigfork community is fortunate to have a role model such as Watson to look up to.

“She is just a fantastic kid,” Lovdahl said.

Watson said she will be attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth next year where she plans to major in social work. She said not being able to have graduation ceremonies and enjoy the remainder of her senior year is disappointing.

“The Bigfork teachers work really hard to do everything they can for us,” Watson said. “We are all like a big family. Throughout these difficult times I know that it could be a lot worse. It is not easy going to public school every day and then having to go online and have nobody there to help you. But they are doing all they can.

“I truly appreciate everything that Bigfork has given me. Not being there has really been hard for me; it’s been really painful. Not having my track season is difficult to process and to think about. And cleaning out my locker in March, I thought this doesn’t make sense.

“It’s been hard but I know everything will pan out eventually. It might not be ideal but we’ll do what we can.”

What is AAA Award?

The purpose of the program is to recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the fine arts; to elevate academic standards and create greater awareness of MSHSL- sponsored activities and their values, and to provide member schools of the MSHSL with the opportunity to participate in a statewide program that supports, promotes and recognizes academic and extra-curricular achievements.

Recipients are selected through a multi-level process involving member schools of the MSHSL, the MSHSL’s administrative regions, and a special committee of educators, business leaders and members from the fine arts and athletic communities.

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