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2020-21 Academics, Arts and Athletics Award

Seniors Alton Mies and Valeriya Woodard are the 2020-21 Saint John’s Prep recipients of the “Triple A (Academics, Arts and Athletics) Award” by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL).  According to the MSHSL, the purpose of this program is to recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the fine arts. The two will be honored at the virtual Section 5A Triple A Award Ceremony in January.

Alton Mies ’21
Alton is the son of Susan and Jeff Mies of Cold Spring. Alton is a National Merit Semi-Finalist and a College Board National Rural & Small Town Scholar. He’s received the Bausch and Lomb Science Award, and the Saint John’s Preparatory School Outstanding Physics Award. Alton placed 14th in the country on the Drake University Physics Exam.

Alton is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and German Club. Alton is a member of the track and baseball teams and a captain of the soccer and basketball teams. During the 2019-20 season, Saint John’s Prep and our basketball team celebrated Alton’s achievement of scoring 1,000 points.

Sports has play an important role in Alton’s life, and he hopes to stay active after high school. “During college, I plan to continue playing basketball at the Division III or club level. Sports are an important part of my education because of the lessons they teach. Through sports, I have learned to always give 100% and learned how to be a good leader.”

Alton enjoys creating pottery and woodworking projects at Saint John’s Prep. He’s also crafts fleece blankets for seniors living in care facilities as part of the organization, Papa’s Blankets.  Alton is also an editor and writes for the Saint John’s Prep Triangle and the Prep Post. Alton tutors other students while volunteering for the Saint John’s Prep Writing Center. He founded the Chess Club and serves as its president.

Valeriya Woodard ’21
Valeriya is the daughter of Zhanna and Brandyn of Sartell, MN. Valeriya has been a part of the concert band for 4 years and has earned superior ratings and the Director’s Award. She’s sung in concert choir and performed in the SJP production of Les Misérables. Valeriya has also been a part of the pit orchestra for several Prep Theatre productions and has earned the Pit Excellence Award.

Valeriya is a 5-year member of the Prep varsity soccer and basketball teams. She’s served as captain during both her junior and senior years. Valeriya is also a member of the SJP track team and plays travel softball in the summer. Valeriya has been a part of World Club for four years and currently serves as a co-president. Valeriya is also a member of National Honor Society, She’s the First Club and Music Exploration Club. She is also an active participant in Campus Ministry, serving and singing during Mass.

While Valeriya is active in many sports and clubs, music is a top priority. “When it comes to creating art, my passion is making music. Whether it’s writing original songs, playing in band, or singing in choir, music allows me to express and feel emotions. With music, I am also able to connect with people and form unique bonds.”


Criteria for the Triple A Award include:  Exhibit citizenship and be a respected individual in their home communities and school, have participated in a MSHSL-sponsored athletic program and fine arts activity, maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and comply with the MSHSL’s Student Code of Conduct.