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Jefferson, Kennedy high schools name ExCEL nominees

Bloomington students Kailee Shermak, Ebba Wako (Jefferson), Benjamin Griesel and Ally Starks (Kennedy) are 2019 ExCEL (Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership) Award nominees.

Each year, high school juniors are recognized for their involvement in school activities, volunteer efforts and leadership qualities. Nominees are eligible for a statewide award in January.

Shermak has earned all-conference honors in swimming and holds the school record in the 100-meter butterfly. She’ll serve as the team captain next year. She also participates in band and received an excellent rating in solo/ensemble competition. Shermak is a member of the National Honor Society. She also volunteers at her church, Girl Scouts and USA Swimming.

Wako runs cross country and is a two-year track and field letter winner. He is active in choir and show choir, and is an “A” honor roll student, student council member and participates in speech and debate, robotics and tech club. He volunteers at Feed my Starving Children and Arc Value Village.




Griesel participates in track and field and soccer, and was elected captain of the soccer team for his senior season. He is a member of the National Honor Society, jazz and pep bands, math team, quiz bowl, Science Olympiad, student government and the Bloomington Student Advisory Board. Griesel has volunteered at his church, Feed My Starving Children and Arc Value Village.


Starks is a member of the volleyball team and has been elected captain for her junior and senior seasons. She also won the volleyball team’s Eagle Leadership Award this year. She is a member of the Soriella and Con Brio choirs and president of the Kennedy Chorale. Starks is a member of the National Honor Society, student government, and an Ignite Mentor. She also serves as Kennedy’s student representative on the Bloomington School Board, which includes serving on the District Liaison Committee and Pathways Advisory Committee and co-leading the Board Student Advisory Council.
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