The road to winning Cooper High School’s Athena Award hasn’t always been easy for senior Kendall Simone Thiede.
Diagnosed with autism around the age of two, Thiede had to learn how she would be able to best succeed, but, once she found a way to succeed in and out of the classroom, she has been able to stand out amongst her peers.
“She has been in special programs, but since middle school she has been a mainstream kid,” Dana Thiede, Thiede’s father, said. “She has been a high honor roll kid, working hard in the classroom and a very social kid and a kid that appreciates her classmates and everyone around her.
“I can’t say enough about the support she has gotten from the students at Cooper, the staff at Cooper, coaches show up at adaptive games and cheer for the games. It says a lot about Cooper and the fact that all those coaches decided that she was deserving.”
Thiede’s hard work was recognized when she was named Cooper’s 2016-17 Athena Award winner. The awards go to outstanding senior female athletes from each of the 50 metropolitan area high schools. Students were nominated by their coaches as outstanding senior female athletes. They are selected based on excellence in an individual sport or for participation and accomplishment in group sports.
“It was like a magical moment for me,” Thiede said. “I feel so grateful to have this honor, but I feel so sad for the other four girls that didn’t get it.
“I knew how much they wanted to get it, because they try hard in the sports they participate in.”
Thiede earned nine varsity letters at Cooper, while serving as a team captain five times (three times adapted floor hockey, one time each adapted soccer and adapted softball) and was named a team MVP five times and earned nine total conference awards.
Off the court, Thiede served as the co-president and member of the national Honor Society, was a member of Cooper’s LINK Crew and was a Regular Volunteer and Handbell Choir Member at Brunswick United Methodist Church. She has been on National Honor Society for two years and was on the school’s honor roll for all four years at Cooper.
With her senior year set to come to an end, Thiede said she hopes to end her career with one more great season with the adapted softball program for the Robbinsdale Robins.
“This is my final year with the Robbinsdale Robins,” Thiede said. “I’m going to be so sad when I leave.
“I have enjoyed playing with the Robins since my freshman year of high school.”
Thiede plans to attend North Hennepin Community College for two years to earn her general credits and begin work toward her American Sign Language major, while finishing her schoolwork at St. Paul College. If her schedule permits, she would like to return to the Robins as an assistant coach.
Contact Chris Chesky at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MNSunSports or @SunSportsChris.