EHS’ Juniors Recognized by Universities at Annual Book Awards Ceremony


courtesy of Lily Jones

Matthew Egger, page editor

For the past 25 years, Edina High School has been awarding books on behalf of 11 colleges and universities to students in their junior year who have demonstrated excellence both in school and in extracurriculars. The books are typically either written by an alumnus or a faculty member of the university or have another type of connection to the institution. Colleges ranging from the nearby University of Minnesota to Harvard University were among those presenting awards this year.

The ceremony was conducted by EHS counselors Bill Hicks and Taylor Johnson before school on Thursday, May 31. This year, the recipients were Lily Jones, Henry Mans, Brendan Kiely, Aiden Swann, Jael Medzagoh, Peter Stidman, Marissa Dulas, Om Jahagirdar, Oscar O’Brien, Mia Scalia, Bjorn Holtey, Noel Hayward, Sandra Chen, Anne Snyder, Avery Blumenthal, and Elena Elie. The invitation to the ceremony was extended to the students’ families as well.

O’Brien received the Rochester University Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science award. O’Brien as grateful to be recognized for his involvement at EHS by the university. “I feel honored and I’m really glad that I am making a tangible impact on [my] school and community,” O’Brien said. Apart from studying hard and enrolling in difficult courses, O’Brien is involved in several activities outside of EHS. His participation in extracurriculars is something to which he attributes the earning of his book award. “I think my involvement in debate, basketball, and baseball showed the rigor of my extracurriculars,” O’Brien said.

Henry Mans, another awardee, described receiving his book award from Columbia University as being “truly an honor….It’s cool to be recognized with some of my peers by good colleges and universities.” Mans attributes his selection for the award to his diligent studying and enrollment in challenging coursework at EHS. When not studying or in school, Mans is also a coxswain for Twin Cities Youth Rowing.

The book Mans was awarded, Alexander Hamilton: American, is a biography of the Founding Father written by Richard Brookhiser. Hamilton attended Columbia University in the days when it was named “King’s College.” However, Hamilton did not graduate due to his involvement in the American Revolution. After the war ended, Hamilton played a large role in reinstating King’s College as Columbia University in Manhattan.

Receiving a book award has provoked Mans’s and O’Brien’s interest in furthering their academic careers at Columbia and Rochester Universities, respectively. “[Columbia University] is a great school; it’s maybe a little bit bigger than what I am looking for, but it’s obviously a great school, and I’d definitely consider applying,” Mans said. Likewise, O’Brien said he’d “definitely look into [Rochester University] after receiving this award.” O’Brien also mentioned that Rochester University offered him a scholarship should he apply and be accepted.