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Six high-achieving juniors receive awards from prestigious colleges on May 9

Six high-achieving juniors receive awards from prestigious colleges on May 9

A group of high-achieving students will receive Junior Book Awards from prestigious colleges at a ceremony on May 9 in the Career Center at Burnsville High School.

Colleges present the awards each year across the country to 11th-grade students in recognition of their outstanding academic accomplishments, as well as their dedication to learning, leadership, school involvement and community service. Each award recipient receives a book that is connected to the college in some way, often written by a professor or graduate.

Burnsville High School students who received Junior Book Awards this year are:

  • Munira Abdi — Columbia University
  • Isadora Vohnoutka — Dartmouth College
  • Jane McGuire — Harvard University
  • Lyka Mae Domingo — Smith College
  • Scott Froebe — U of M Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award
  • Joseph Ong — Yale University

"Junior year is often regarded as the most challenging year in a student's high school career, said Becky Akerson, Associate of Arts coordinator. “The Junior Book Awards provide a brief reprieve from the grind of everyday life and allow us the opportunity to recognize these students' exceptional character, work ethic, educational success and philanthropy. Burnsville High School is exceptionally fortunate to fill our classrooms and hallways with students of this caliber, and we are proud to celebrate their accomplishments"

Junior Book Awards are a nationally-known distinction, according to Akerson, who advises students to include it on their college applications.

Student Biographies

Munira Abdi

Munira adds a layer of curiosity to her studies, taking them to the full level of rigor intended by her teachers, while earning her A.A. degree simultaneously. Peers and teachers value her sense of humor, curiosity, extra commentary on assignments and respect toward the academic community. She exemplifies the values of social justice at Columbia through her extraordinary community service commitment with more than 100 hours of service earning her the Spartan Youth Service Award and the Honor Level of the National Community Service Award. Her passion for service extends to Link Crew, Brainpower in a Backpack and Burnsville Strong.

Isadora Vohnoutka

Isadora brings extraordinary positivity to all aspects of her life at Burnsville High, while in the A.A. degree program. She is always joining in on discussions and groups, enthusiastically engaged in classroom material. She touches lives in multiple areas of Burnsville, serving on the Student Council,  Link Crew and National Honor Society.  A true scholar athlete,  Isadora is already a varsity basketball, tennis and softball player, while serving as the softball manager. She focuses her volunteer work on volunteer coaching the Burnsville middle school basketball team. While modest about her volunteerism, she has been spotted collecting for several food drives. 

Jane McGuire

Jane exemplifies Harvard ideals of scholarship and character. Her teachers comment that in even the most rigorous assignments, she masters all the material, and in addition is universally liked by students and teachers. She has embraced the endurance sports of varsity cross country, swim and dive, Nordic ski, and track and field. Her extracurricular work includes BHS Symphonic Orchestra and Women In Stem. Her volunteer work spans Burnsville Strong, Link Crew and the Giving Garden. Jane's academic honors include National Honor Society, Presidential Bronze Service Award and United Nations National Community Service Honor Award. Jane's future plans include aerospace or aeronautical engineering.  

Lyka Mae Domingo

Lyka shows incredible promise in her work ethic, attention to detail, and concern for the success of others in her classroom groups. She is an amazing recipient of this award, incredible in the classroom and in leadership roles outside of the classroom. She is concurrently earning her A.A. degree. Extracurriculars include Burnsville Strong, Link Crew, Flow, Women in Stem Club, Youth Service Advisory Council, varsity badminton, Gardening Club and Future Healthcare Professionals. She also volunteers through Brainpower in a Backpack, BHS tutoring, Community Pantry and the Dakota County Library. Academic Awards include the A Honor Roll, Student of Excellence Award, and Honor and Ambassador Community Service Award. Nursing is her chosen profession.  

Scott Froebe

Scott, “Tito”,  is a perfect recipient for the University of Minnesota Norman Borlaug science award, with teachers describing him as thinking outside “the math box,” catching all the details and going well beyond “getting the right answer.” He is also considering the U.M. as a college choice for electrical engineering or computer science. He is super sharp, committed to excellence, always demands the best from himself, all while being supportive of his classmates.He has applied for the National Hispanic Recognition award. Future ambitions include the University of MN or U.W. Madison for electrical engineering or computer science.  His diverse activities include Soccer, Olympic Weightlifting in which he progressed to State Champion 2023, and runner-up in 2024.  He has risen to a demanding schedule involving two jobs, youth soccer referee, and soccer with Burnsville Valley United. 

Joseph Ong 

Joseph is a detail-oriented quantum physicist in the making, with an extroverted personality. In addition to starting the Rubik’s Cube club this year, he is in the MN math league earning individual 1st place last year; robotics, orchestra, Olympic weightlifting, and black belt in Kung Fu. He is a violinist with the Minnehaha Repertory Orchestra and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony. He is extraordinarily gifted in mathematics, over the last four years attending the University of MN Talented Youth Math Program. After high school, he will major in mathematics or astronomy in university.