Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Rewarding academic success May 30, 2012

I’M GOING TO HAVE a proud mama moment today. So please indulge me. But my youngest, my only son, graduates in a few days and I am especially proud of his academic accomplishments.

Last Thursday my husband and I attended Senior Awards Night at Faribault High School where graduating honor students were recognized and scholarships awarded.

Although the guidance office had notified me that Caleb was receiving a scholarship, I didn’t know specifics. Reading through the list of scholarships on the printed program, I couldn’t figure out which one he was getting.

That’s my son, the tall one third from the left, receiving a $1,000 Faribault Falcon Scholarship Fund Scholarship from Marjorie Helmer. (Excuse the photo quality; I shot without flash in a dark auditorium.)

But when Cheryl J. Freund, former school district curriculum director, explained the selection process behind awarding of the $1,000 Faribault Falcon Scholarship Fund Scholarships, I knew. The scholarship recipients, she said, were chosen based on ACT test scores and grade point averages. It mattered not whether you played sports, served your community, participated in theater or anything. The scholarship was solely, unequivocally, for academic achievement.

Thank you, Faribault Falcon Scholarship Fund committee for that sole focus on ACT scores and GPAs. Thank you.

Caleb performed exceptionally well on his college entrance exam and has a near 4.0 GPA.

Freund prefaced awarding of the scholarships by stating: “This is one of the best groups of scholars I’ve seen in my career.”

Now I’d like to take some genetic credit for my son’s intelligence. But since he excels in mathematics and science (my weaknesses) and has to work a bit harder at English (my strength), I cannot claim credit for his academic success. I’ve never been the type of parent to check his homework or read his papers or such—except encourage him and bug him about completing assignments. I’m just not that kind of hands-on homework helping parent. Like he ever needed my help anyway.

I suppose, though, that the emphasis I placed on reading through-out Caleb’s formative years and even today, did factor into his success in school. My teen is a voracious reader—for the enjoyment of reading and for the purpose of learning. He has taught himself so much by reading on his own, not because I told him to read or because he was assigned reading for a class, but because he wanted to learn more.

My son’s also had some engaging and encouraging teachers in the past few years as he’s taken a rigorous course of advanced and college level classes in subjects like physics, calculus, composition, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and more. I expect Caleb will have nearly a year of college credits when he begins classes later this summer at North Dakota State University.

Just last Friday he took a College-Level Examination Program test in chemistry for which he’ll receive four college credits. He was the only student taking the test at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and only the second student to have taken the CLEP chemistry exam there, according to the examiner.

Caleb’s academic achievements and self-initiated pursuits in computer technology also earned him a Presidential Scholarship, an Entrepreneurial Scholarship and entrance to the Honors Program at NDSU. About a third of his college costs will be covered by scholarships. As part of the Entrepreneurial Scholarship, he will work and volunteer in the university’s technology incubator. What an incredible opportunity to learn and to network.

In 2 ½ months, my 18-year-old leaves home to further his education, working toward a degree in computer or electrical engineering. I have no doubt Caleb will continue to approach education as he always has, with enthusiasm and with a strong desire to learn.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “Rewarding academic success”

  1. ceciliag Says:

    Well done Caleb, how exciting and what a proud Ma you are and rightly so.. I absolutely agree that kids who have been encouraged to read books in their formative years are always ahead of the pack. reading to your child is so underestimated.. congrats c

  2. Katie Shones Says:

    Wow, very impressive! You should brag!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Katie. I don’t want to come off as boastful, simply proud of my son for what he’s achieved academically.

  3. Dorothy Bowman Says:

    Way to go Caleb!!! It’s in the genes? We are proud of him. Just know he will be great at whichever career he picks. Love to all of you

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Aunt Dorothy. We wish you could be here to celebrate with us. Much love.

  4. Beth Ann Says:

    You are so totally allowed proud mama moments like this!!! Caleb is quite a guy, I can tell, and it is nice to have academic scholarships that highlight the hard work of our kids. Congrats to him and to his parents !!! You should be so proud and so excited for what is yet to come!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Beth Ann. Yes, Caleb is most definitely his own person, that’s for sure. I am very thankful for scholarships that focus on academics. Sports scholarships are fine, too, but I tire of the importance placed on athletic talent by the general public and the media. I doubt many high school students will go on to play pro sports…

  5. Jackie Says:

    …and you should be proud. Caleb sounds like an amazing young man, good job mom (and Dad). Such an exciting time for you all 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Jackie. I just hope I don’t struggle too much when he leaves for college and we become empty nesters.

  6. Congratulations to you all! I hope all the graduation hoopla is going well.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks, Gretchen. I’m taking a break right now from grad party prep. Tent framework is in place and tents will go up tonight. Friday will be crazy with last-minute food prep. Soon enough you will be the one planning a grad party.

  7. Kristin Says:

    Congratulations to Caleb. That’s great!

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