One of our favorite activities of the year is recognizing exceptional graduating seniors in high school with the La Crosse Tribune’s Extra Effort Awards. These awards acknowledge students who, despite significant personal difficulties, continue not just to persevere but succeed in their studies. This year, we’re proud to award the Johns Flaherty & Collins Extra Effort Scholarships of $1,000 each to Shaylin Ancius of Aquinas High School, Jacob Hagen of Holmen High School and Sarah Lemke of La Crescent High School.
Shaylin Ancius has never been too proud to ask for help. Diagnosed with a specific learning disability, a general term for disorders that hinder reading comprehension and fluency and make certain tasks, such as mathematical calculations, uncommonly difficult, Ancius didn’t let that stop her enthusiasm for learning. She doesn’t know yet what she wants to study in college, but she does know that she wants to continue learning and will attend Western Technical College.
Jacob Hagen has dealt with medical issues his entire young life. From a kidney surgery as an infant to a replacement as a teen, Hagen has overcome multiple complications, including BK virus and Ehrlichia, a tick-borne disease. Despite the setbacks and numerous hospital stays, he has pushed through with determination, perseverance and a positive attitude, keeping up with his schoolwork always a top concern. Hagen will begin engineering studies at Western Technical College this fall
Shortly after beginning her freshman year, Sarah Lemke lost her mother to alcoholism. Despite the loss, Lemke continued her exceptional effort toward her studies while also taking on a sort of parental role with her brother. She watched out for him at school and made sure to check in with his teachers, all while remaining active in several school and volunteer activities. She begins human services studies at Western this fall and plans to complete a degree in social work at Viterbo. She wants to help others through the difficult times in their lives, just as others helped her.
Photos reprinted with permission from La Crosse Tribune