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BHS senior running for AAA Award

Connor Gunsbury's string of involvement started back in sixth grade with a phone call to his mom. His friends were in cross country running and he wanted to be, too. "They looked like they were having fun. I enjoyed it. I still love running," sai...

Connor Gunsbury's string of involvement started back in sixth grade with a phone call to his mom.

His friends were in cross country running and he wanted to be, too.

"They looked like they were having fun. I enjoyed it. I still love running," said Gunsbury, now a senior at Brainerd High School (BHS).

Now, he's in the running to receive a top scholarship for his well-rounded school participation.

It's called the Academics, Arts and Athletics (AAA) Award. It honors students who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field and in fine arts.

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The top two award finishers from each region are invited to a banquet Saturday in St. Paul.

League officials will announce the four Triple "A" Award recipients: a girl and a boy from both a Class A and a Class AA school. The winners will receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship.

According to the Minnesota State High School League, there has never been one of the four Triple A Scholarship winners from Brainerd.

Gunsbury won't be at the banquet Saturday, though. He's on a band tour in Los Angeles.

He's hoping that the most qualified student gets the award - even if that isn't him.

Gunsbury's school participation didn't stop with cross country. It was followed with nordic skiing, tennis and track and field. He joined band, playing trombone, and played in jazz ensemble.

On the academic side, he's taken classes like calculus, physics, psychology and statistics.

In his high school career, he took 12 advanced placement classes and many college in the schools courses, keeping a consistent A-average in all of them.

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He placed 19th in the Scripps National Spelling Bee the summer before ninth grade. He also joined Kiwanis Key Club, National Honors Society, Student Council and knowledge bowl.

"It's just more fun to do a lot of things," Gunsbury said. "If I can have fun in all of them, why not do them all?"

He scored a perfect 36 on the ACT, and he's a semi-finalist for the National Merit Scholarship.

It's his weighted calendar that made him excel, Gunsbury said.

"Even though I had less time to do homework, I became a lot better at managing time so it was easier to be a student," he said.

Plus, it helped with improving skills in interacting with other people.

His father Brent Gunsbury said his son's achievements speak to the high standards of education in the community and school district.

Looking forward, Connor Gunsbury isn't sure what college he's heading to after graduation, but he'll double major in mechanical engineering and business administration.

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His advice to future high school students is simple: Be involved in the activities you want, not the ones others say you should do. And have fun. High school goes fast, so enjoy it while it lasts.

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