Saint Peter High School juniors Adrianna Bixby and Ian Gerstbauer were recently announced as the school’s 2021-22 ExCEL Award winners.
“Adrianna and Ian are outstanding representatives of Saint Peter High School,” SPHS Principal Annette Engeldinger said. “They are both student leaders who model to others the importance of being a well-rounded student. They are successful on the fields, on stage, and, most importantly, in the classroom.”
Established in 1988, the Minnesota State High School League’s ExCEL Award is sponsored by AAA-Minnesota and Fairview Sports and Orthopedic Care. The award goes to high school juniors who have a “B” or better grade point average (GPA) and participate in League-sponsored athletic and fine arts activities. ExCEL Award recipients are selected by a multi-level process involving the League's member schools and administrative regions.
Saint Peter High School’s ExCEL winners for the previous five years include:
- 2020-21 – Josie Wiebusch & Shea Hildebrandt
- 2019-20 -- Vanessa Krueger & Zach Taylor
- 2018-19 -- Sarah Conlon & Ethan Niemeyer
- 2017-18 -- Signe Alger & Isaac Peterson
- 2016-17 -- Sienna Wiebusch & Rafat Solaiman
The following are brief profiles of this year’s ExCEL Award winners:
The daughter of Christi and Jim Bixby, Adrianna has a 4.03 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. She also has been a regular on the A honor roll.
“I am very honored to win this year's Excel Award,” Bixby said. “I’d like to thank my parents, coaches, teachers, and mentors for their support. I am so grateful for everything they’ve taught me and how they continue to help me grow as a leader. I'd like to also give Ian a shout out for also winning this award!”
Bixby is very active in the SPHS fine arts program as she was a member SPHS choir program her 9th and 10th grade years and has shared her talents with her church as an instrumentalist and vocalist. She also expanded her musical talents by taking piano lessons all the way through her sophomore year.
Athletically, Bixby has been a varsity letter winner in three sports. She is a three-time letterwinner for the Saints’ varsity girls soccer program including serving as a team captain this past fall and also earning All-Big South Conference honors in 2021 and honorable mention status her sophomore year. She has earned two varsity letters as a member of the Minnesota River girls hockey team including being named rookie of the year her eighth grade year and Bulldog Award winner last season. Bixby is also a standout on the golf course earning a trip to state last spring where she placed 14th overall out of 88 competitors as well as earning all conference and all state academic honors.
Besides serving as a musician at her church, Bixby has also volunteered her time as a Sunday School teacher and helper, church greeter, and with the youth group. She has also been involved outside of school with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Mental Warriors Club and Peer Tutoring programs.
Her future plans are to attend a four-year college and major in nursing.
The son of Loramy and Fabian Gerstbauer, Ian has a 4.0 GPA and regularly is a member of the A honor roll as well as earning membership into the SPHS chapter of the National Honor Society.
“I’m very honored to receive this award, and I was very surprised when Roehrkasse stopped me in the hallway to tell me that I had won the (ExCEL) award,” Gerstbauer said. “It had been about a week and I hadn’t gotten any communication so I had assumed someone else must have gotten it. It was awesome to hear that I had been chosen. I always tried to do as many activities as I could and volunteer for things when I was available. I like to be busy and I enjoy the activities that I participate in.
“I would like to congratulate Adrianna on winning the award as well. I would like to give a special thank you to my parents for driving me around and supporting everything I do and to God who gave me the strength to be so busy. Finally a thank you to all the friends, teachers, and coaches that supported me and made me want to keep doing so many different things.”
Gerstbauer is very active in athletics here at SPHS as members of the Saints’ boys soccer and tennis programs. He also is a member of the First Tech Challenge and First Robotic teams, having competed in the state tournament his sophomore year.
The SPHS junior helps balance his time in the fine arts area by excelling as a member of the SPHS band program. Over the years Gerstbauer has earned high honors for his skills and talents in percussion as well as playing the piano. He also has taken part in the SPHS theater program through its fall play and one act play.
His volunteer activities outside of school includes serving as a Volunteer in the Park (VIP) participant, fourth grade tutor, FLL Mock Tournament, and being active with his church youth group’s student ministry team and working with miscellaneous community cleanup events.
His future plans are to attend a four-year college and major in something English related with the goal of eventually becoming a writer.