Growing up watching the state candidates for the Academics, Arts and Athletics Award on television, Osakis High School senior Kadyn Triebenbach never thought her dream of reaching that achievement someday would become a reality.

Triebenbach was the female Class 6A finalist and one of four Triple A Award recipients, which were announced during a virtual Minnesota State High School League ceremony last week.

“I was a little surprised,” she said. “At the recognition ceremony, they read off the other candidates’ bios, and it was very competitive. I knew I had a chance, but there were a lot of other candidates that were great, so when I won, it was exhilarating!”

In addition to the award, Triebenbach was given a four-year $1,000 scholarship.

“The award alone was such an honor and to receive that the scholarship seems to be the cherry on top,” she said.

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Starting her pursuit of three sports and multiple extracurriculars in seventh grade, Triebenbach said she had no idea how much these activities would shape her.

“Looking at it now, I would probably go crazy without them,” Triebenbach said. “Extracurriculars pushed me to be better and kept me afloat when I might have been struggling elsewhere.”

Triebenbach has been involved with band, jazz band, choir, select choir, tennis, basketball and golf. She is also a part of student council, the high school’s leadership group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Project For Teens and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

Looking back at her years of involvement, she noted that both holding leadership roles among her peers as well as following the examples of coaches, directors, teachers and family members have brought her to the place she’s at today.

“I really need to thank my family, especially my parents, as they have guided me through life, always being supportive and providing everything that I need to thrive,” she said.

Whether competing at a state golf tournament, attending the annual Jazz Fest at the University of Minnesota Morris, fundraising for youth group or singing a solo with the Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota, Triebenbach emphasized that she couldn’t have done it alone.

“Being on state tournament teams and in section-leading ensembles has been a big part of my accomplishments, as an individual, that I can not take all of the credit for,” she said.

Kadyn Triebenbach hits a shot from just off the green during a meet at the Alexandria Golf Club April 24, 2019. (Echo Press file photo)
Kadyn Triebenbach hits a shot from just off the green during a meet at the Alexandria Golf Club April 24, 2019. (Echo Press file photo)

Following the footsteps of role models

“I have had so many influential teachers in my life over the years that have pushed me to be not only better, but to be my best,” Triebenbach said. “They all have truly made an impact and pushed me to want to become an educator myself even more.”

Among those leaders she pointed to are her tennis coach Ryan Maddock and basketball coach Pat Kalpin.

“They have been leaders in my life for quite some time, encouraging and guiding me, and my teammates, to be better athletes, but overall better people,” she said.

After hearing the qualifications read off for the eight female nominees in Class A from around the state, Kalpin said it was clear why all of them had reached this level of the competition.

He described Triebenbach in one word: Leader.

“She's that teammate that the girls can go to when they are down,” Kalpin said. “She has a way of encouraging her teammates to do their best and keep trying hard no matter what. She carries with her a great attitude and never lets mistakes get her down.”

Osakis' Kadyn Triebenbach goes into her swing during a return against Minnewaska September 17, 2019. (Echo Press file photo)
Osakis' Kadyn Triebenbach goes into her swing during a return against Minnewaska September 17, 2019. (Echo Press file photo)

Pursuing music and teaching

Since fourth grade, Triebenbach said she looked up to band director Randy Resley’s leadership and learned countless lessons from him.

“Kadyn is a very musically talented student and has shown strong leadership skills this year with all of the challenges that COVID has presented to students,” Resley said. “I know that she is going to set the world on fire with her future goals.”

After she graduates with both a high school diploma and an associate degree, Triebenbach plans on attending either Concordia College or St. Olaf College. She will double major in vocal music education and psychology, and she wants to continue being involved with band and choir.

Triebenbach’s main motivation for becoming an educator is to impact the lives of students, just as she’s seen in her mother’s role as a music educator, her experiences with former choir director Carmen Silbernick and the influence of Resley.

Although there are other subjects Triebenbach could teach, she described music as something that can connect people of differing backgrounds and life stories and allow deeper relationships to form.

“It is a universal language that everyone can pick up even if they do not know the language because of the emotion that is involved and can be noticed from within it,” Triebenbach said.

She added psychology as a second major to learn more about the human mind and how it functions in order to better serve her students.

Organization, time management, teamwork and leadership. Skills, life lessons and memories. Those are just a few of the intangible things Triebenbach has gained from her devotion to activities and sports, which she said will help her in her college journey and future role as an educator.

“Being involved in so many activities has allowed me to realize that everyone needs to be working for the betterment of all to make the world a better place,” Triebenbach said.