Ian Fahje
Kelsey Isaman

Two students with diversified skills and talents earned “Triple A” honors at Pelican Rapids High School­–for performance in athletics, arts, and academics. 

Viking “Triple A” winners are seniors Ian Fahje and Kelsey Isaman—both multi-sport athletes, school band members, and earning near-4.0 grade point averages academically. 

The purpose of the High School League program is to recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the fine arts.

Triple “A” Award recipients are selected through a multi­level process involving member schools of the League, the League’s administrative regions, and a special committee of educators, business leaders, and members from the fine arts and athletic communities.

Nominations are limited to two qualifying students per school–one male and one female.

Isaman has challenged herself on multiple fronts 

Kelsey Isaman on the court for the Pelican Rapids Lady Vikings.

Isaman has participated in Pelican bands throughout all her years in the Pelican schools. She has also been a year-round athlete—in volleyball, basketball, and track. In the process, she has challenged herself academically, enrolling in college-level classes at Pelican High. 

“Throughout my journey as a student, my academic career has been a huge priority …I have put my studies and classwork over several things other students prioritize instead. I have always taken pride in my grades, and I continuously give one hundred percent effort,” wrote Isaman in the AAA nomination form. “Many seniors take the opportunity of enrolling in easier classes for their senior year, but I’ve chosen to do the opposite…taking harder classes with many of them being college classes. I have prioritized taking coursework that will prepare me for college and my future career path.” 

While academics have been a priority, Isaman also values her experiences in the arts. 

“Achieving a high chair in my instrumental category has always been important to me, ever since I started playing in 5th grad,” she wrote. “Over the last two years, I have been seeded in the top three chair placement. As a junior I earned 3rd chair and as a senior I achieved 2nd chair out of 11 percussionists. I have really grown to love playing my instrument, especially snare drum. Being involved in band has inspired me in many ways and has even influenced me to find my love of musicals.”

Isaman has the distinction of being on the court or in the field for some very successful sports programs. In her freshman and sophomore years, the Pelican girls basketball team qualified for the Minnesota state tourney. 

“I have put a lot of time into my athletics which has allowed me to achieve several awards,” stated Isaman. She earned a spot on the all-tournament team in basketball as a junior. 

“In both volleyball and basketball I have been in the top three of many statistical categories including rebounds, kills, digs, etc. I have also won many post season awards in various sports such as the Rookie Award, Defense Player of the Year, and Viking Award.”

The combination of academics, arts, and athletics combined have developed Isaman “into the person I am today.”

“I have learned many important life lessons including sacrifice, resilience, and work ethic. Being heavily involved in these three areas has taught me how to make goals and work hard to achieve them. For this to occur at a high level, I have learned to sacrifice many other things to put the time and effort needed into achieving my goals. Being able to work together as a group or team is a big part of being successful. While working as a team, I have learned to sometimes sacrifice my own needs for the better of the group.”

Isaman is setting her sights on the University of Minnesota-Duluth; or Concordia College; and she is considering a major in finance. 

Diversified involvement helps teach resilience

Like most young people, there are many highs and lows in high school, notes Isaman. 

“Learning to pick myself up after a disappointing test, hard sports loss, or even bad musical performance has taught me the important life skill of resilience. You can’t succeed in these areas without lots of hard work and preparation. Learning this work ethic as a young adult prepares me for what I know is needed to succeed as an adult. Although it has been extremely difficult at times trying to keep up with the academics, arts, and athletics, I am so glad that I have made it a priority to be involved and committed in all three areas to prepare myself for my future.” 

Fahje has excelled in academics—plus three sports 

Kelsey Isaman on the court for the Pelican Rapids Lady Vikings.

College-level courses in English, calculus, and statistics helped propel Ian Fahje to the Pelican Rapids -Minnesota Honor Society—while maintaining a challenging sports and arts schedule. 

Fahje has been a Pelican Rapids High School bandsman all four years—which included a highlight trip to New York City with the school concert band.

His sports schedule is, for all practical purposes, a “four-season” endeavor—with football, basketball, golf, and the clay target shooting season in the spring and early summer. 

Trap shooting has been rewarding extracurricular

In Trap Shooting, he has shot eight perfect scores and was named “Most Valuable Player” for the team in 2022. In basketball, he’s received awards for most rebounds, blocks, and the highest 3-point percentage, along with receiving the most improved for two consecutive years. 

He was also awarded an “All-Conference” in basketball. 

“Being involved in the fine arts and competing in multiple sports has given me a variety of great experiences. I learned how to work together with a team to accomplish a goal; whether that is winning a game or performing a great concert,” wrote Fahje. 

He’s forged many friendships through academics, athletics, and the arts. 

“I attended team suppers which brought everyone together and allowed us to create memories that will last a lifetime. These activities have made it easier for me to socialize which in turn makes it easier for me to make new friends,” he noted. “I also feel as though I can understand people better due to being surrounded by such a variety of different people. “

“As I mentioned earlier, the band and I traveled to New York City, which gave me an experience that I will never forget. The trip also reminded me that there is so much in this world and I can do anything I put my mind to.”

“Athletics have taught me that if you really want something you’re gonna have to work really hard to achieve it, success will not just fall into your lap. Overall, throughout my time at Pelican Rapids High School and being involved in different activities, I have gained characteristics and qualities that I can use to be successful throughout my life,” concluded Fahje. 

His specific plans for college are still evolving, but his goal is to continue with basketball, and a possible degree in business-accounting.