Robbinsdale Armstrong High School senior Miriam Manna has been selected as a Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Triple A award winner.
The MSHSL sponsors the award, which recognizes 16 senior girls and 16 seniors boys statewide who excel in academics (3.0 GPA or better), athletics (at least one MSHSL-sponsored athletic activity) and arts (MSHSL-sponsored debate, one-act play, speech, visual arts, and instrumental or vocal music).
“It was humbling to get this award,” said Manna. “It really shows my hard work has paid off.”
Manna is an accomplished student, and this year is president of Armstrong’s National Honor Society (NHS). She’s also an active member of the school’s orchestra program, and spreads her time across a number of different school leadership activities. She’s also student council president, Armstrong senior class president and also on the school’s Student Activities Board, where she helps organize school activities and events.
Ultimately, she says, she just wants to help keep students plugged in. “Especially this year,” Manna said. “Keeping students engaged and making sure student voices are heard -- it’s important.”
If that weren’t enough, this spring she’ll be a hurdler on the Armstrong Falcons girls track team, and this past fall and winter was a captain of the school’s speech and debate team, which is where her true passions lie. “I’ve always identified myself as a debater,” she said. “It’s probably why I want to be a lawyer.”
Armstrong Principal Erick D. Norby said Manna’s recognition is well earned, evidenced by her outstanding student-leadership at the school.
“Miriam’s positive attitude and dedication to helping everyone succeed here is amazing,” said Norby. “She’s very welcoming to all.”
She’s also willing to take chances, he said, by asking tough questions, whether it is class or even to himself as principal. “Miriam is a wonderfully talented student,” he said. “We are so proud she’s representing Armstrong.”
While she’s still uncertain where she will ultimately go for her post-secondary education, Manna said she’s deciding between a couple of colleges, which include the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. She plans to major in accounting or business analytics, and then head to law school so she can pursue a career as a taxation or corporate attorney.
“It’s a little crazy, right?” she joked about wanting to pursue something like tax law. “But I like numbers and I like repetition. I also really like government, but I’m unsure if I want to work in government. But I love public speaking and debate.”
Winning a recognition like the Triple A award is validating, Manna said. And she’s thankful for the Robbinsdale Area Schools teachers she’s had along the way, including the ones she has now at Armstrong.
“Something I love about our District and Armstrong is that our teacher community is always there,” said Manna. “I’ve had some phenomenal teachers in my experience. I don’t think I’d have the success I‘ve had if I didn't have that support from my teachers and counselors.”
Another key to the award is being active and involved at school, which Manna acknowledges isn’t easy for all students. “I think it’s just really fun to be active. I want to have memories. I want to experience things that I can only experience in high school and in clubs,” she said. “So I always tell other students to join something. You’ll have fun.”
Each administrative region 6AA member school, which includes Armstrong and Cooper high schools, nominated two students for region-level review and evaluation for the Triple A award. The region committee then selected one girl and one boy as region winners. Manna was Armstrong’s female nominee, and Andres Aguado was the school’s male nominee. Cooper High School’s Triple A student nominees were Grace Hambike and William West.
From here, the 32 award winners, including Manna, will be recognized in March, where a smaller group of four top finishers will be announced -- one boy and one girl in both class A and AA -- who will receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship from the MSHSL. Manna and the other finalists will also participate in an on-court ceremony during the Class AA championship game of the Boys Basketball State Tournament, which is scheduled for April.