Ashlynn Reynolds, Pequot Lakes High School senior, dove headfirst into school and community activities early on. Her dedication and leadership did not go unnoticed.

Reynolds was honored as one of two Pequot Lakes High School students at the Region 5 Students of Character celebration by Sourcewell.

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"I hadn't even heard of this award before," said Reynolds.

She recalled being called to Principal Aaron Nelson's office in January, where she learned that not only had she been nominated for this honor, but she had been selected.

"It was a surprise," she said. "Obviously I don't expect to be rewarded for anything, but it is always nice to hear."

Reynolds is an officer in the National Honor Society, secretary for student council and Miss Pequot Lakes Princess in 2018. She joined the school dance club, prom committee and Link Crew in high school, and has been on the school dance team since seventh grade.

She said her many levels of community involvement began as a curiosity about just how many activities she could join.

"Everyone tells you, 'Oh, get involved in your extracurriculars,' but then once you get involved it's really hard to stop," she said.

Reynolds said she used to be much more reserved than she is now, and her work with the school is pushing her to try new things.

"It's almost a way of, like, pushing myself," she said. "Recently I've enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone, with the Miss Pequot Lakes pageant and running for office and stuff. It's part putting myself outside my comfort zone and part challenging myself to see all that I can do."

Student council has been one of Reynolds' favorite experiences because it has given her a leadership role at school.

"I get to make everyone else's high school experience better," she said. "I'm enjoying mine, and it's nice to see all of them enjoying theirs."

Reynolds was nominated for the Students of Character recognition by her Spanish teacher and National Honor Society adviser, Christine Palmer. Palmer taught Reynolds during her freshman and junior years.

"I chose Ashlynn Reynolds for this recognition because I felt that she was a quiet leader with a positive spirit," said Palmer. "Ashlynn's endearing personality made an impact in the classroom, with her peers and as an officer in National Honor Society. Ashlynn has worked hard academically and established career goals for herself."

Reynolds never got to see Palmer's specific nomination, but she felt honored to be noticed at all.

"It meant a lot coming from her," said Reynolds. "We share a lot in common. I credit her and Mr. Wagner with sparking my interest in Spanish."

Principal Nelson agreed with Palmer's nomination as well.

"Ashlynn has been a positive influence on our student body as a senior," he said. "She has a pleasant demeanor, is a motivated student leader and has shown a resolve to overcome difficulties to achieve success. We are proud that she is a member of our Patriot family."

Reynolds attended the Student Recognition Banquet with fellow Pequot Lakes honoree Isaac Gerber on Wednesday evening, April 10. Reynolds said she was looking forward to meeting and speaking with other students from around the region who earned the same award.

Following graduation in May, Reynolds plans to go to the New York Institute of Technology to study graphic design. The Student of Character award is a welcome surprise as a send-off for four years of her dedication to Pequot Lakes High School.

"I've never really done it to be like, 'Oh, look at me,'" she said. "It's nice to know that what you're doing matters."