The Profile of Excellence Award recognizes innovative programs and efforts that serve as an example of educational opportunities for rural students. View past recipients.

MREA also presents the Distinguished Service Award. View the 2013 honorees.

Exemplary Programs

College Application Week

College Application Week was held last November with the goal to give every graduating senior the opportunity to apply for college. Local volunteers served as mentors, and every student in grades 6-12 listened to motivational messages from college representatives, college students, and community professionals.

Staff created posters featuring their colleges, degrees, and advice, wore college clothing from their alma mater, and posted pictures and other college memorabilia. Students participated in a scavenger hunt to gather answers from the posters to engage them in dialogue with faculty and staff. Seniors had work time and access to staff and community professionals during the school day.

By the end of the week, 65 percent of the students had applied to 145 post- secondary schools, and those not ready to submit an application had made progress researching colleges. The school furthered the impact of the program thanks to students in a video production class who interviewed seniors and created a video for elementary students.

The production students learned valuable skills with a project that showcased the seniors while the elementary students were inspired by watching their role models.

Eagle Achievement Senior Project

Eagle Achievement Senior Project was started as a crowning achievement assignment for graduating seniors to help connect them to the community. Windom seniors chose a community issue, learned about it through multiple disciplines, met with mentors, and then capped their high school career with a meaningful and practical experience.

The three-part project required students to write a research paper documenting cause and effect; apply the information by developing and completing a project demonstrating mastery of the topic; and present their project formally to a judging panel of staff and community members. Students met monthly with a community mentor who counseled them on the project. Project titles included childhood obesity and Fuel Up to Play 60; the arts and a senior mural; and childhood hunger and a school food drive.

Eagle Achievement is unique because students researched a problem in their community, examined its causes and effects, proposed solutions to the problem, and then acted on one of these proposed solutions. The program was purposely made challenging so students would use their talents and make a positive impact on the community.

Honorable Mentions

High School Career Day

Pine River-Backus High School brought in nearly 50 speakers to engage students in meaningful discussion about their education and career paths. Speakers shared their educational journeys, career tracks and advice for students and fielded student questions during the 40-minute sessions and 2 keynote sessions.

Power of ICU

Pipestone Area Middle School, grades 5-8, utilized the Power of ICU approach to end student apathy. In one year staff made positive progress in reducing the number of student missing assignments and number of course failures.