Get To Know Your 2023 Senior Spotlight Students

by | Sep 2023

Ivory Drusch

Photos: Chris Emeott

Meet area students who are pursuing their passions and leading their peers.

Each year, White Bear Lake Magazine asks administrators and staff at local high schools to nominate standout upcoming seniors. These students stand out for academics, athletics and school involvement; they’re also great people and leaders, who come from a variety of backgrounds and are making an impact among their peers. From a pool of fantastic area students, our editorial team has the honor and challenge of selecting a few to feature within these pages. Without further ado, meet some standout seniors from the class of 2024.

Ivory Drusch

White Bear Lake Area High School [WBLAHS]

“Ivory has left a lasting positive impact on the White Bear Lake Schools and community by consistently being a leader and role model citizen. Not only is she incredibly skilled and driven as a consistent and leading member of the Girls Golf Team, but she serves the community. Ivory hosted H2O for Life fundraisers to help raise money for schools around the world to build wells to provide sufficient water sources. Ivory Drusch truly leads by example, and we are lucky to call her a Bear!” —Grace White, WBLAHS counselor

“Ivory excels academically and never strays away from helping someone in need. Ivory is kind, compassionate and is able to see the best in every single person that crosses her path. Through leadership in sports and academics, Ivory has helped to create and project a kind and caring school culture within White Bear Lake Area Schools.” —Alex Dahm, WBLAHS business teacher

Ivory in her own words:

What is one experience that has shaped who you are today?

Mr. Dahm’s business class changed who I am today because it taught me about opportunities I can pursue after high school. This class has motivated me to pursue a career in business. He taught me the importance of connections and maintaining a good reputation for my business career. This class allowed me to express my creativity skills because Mr. Dahm gave us the freedom to complete projects to better understand the business industry.

What’s your favorite place or thing to do in the White Bear Lake area?

Being on a boat with my friends on a beautiful summer day on the lake; meeting friends for a late night ice cream treat at Cup and Cone; [and] getting together with a study group at The Anchor Coffee House downtown.

Describe your high school experience in three words.

Curious. Inspired. Accomplished.

What’s next after high school?

I aspire to be a successful student athlete at a big university and continue to play golf competitively.

More to know about Ivory:

  • Captain of the WBLAHS Girls Golf Team
  • Active in the WBLAHS Tennis Team
  • Organized Walk4Water fundraiser event with H20 for Life to raise money for water wells in Africa
  • Member of Chemistry Club
  • Qualified for 2023 Junior PGA Championships
  • Qualified for the 2023 state high school tournament in golf, class 4 AAA
  • Selected as WBLAHS senior class president
Amal Dubad

Mahtomedia High School [MHS]

Amal Dubad

“Amal was new to MHS in 10th grade and quickly became a leader in our building. She is a great self-advocate and advocate for others. She has maturity and organizational skills beyond her years and
is using those to help other students through our peer tutoring program. She is quick to volunteer to help others when the need arises.” —Justin Hahn, MHS principal

“Amal is on the Student Leadership Council [SLC] and has been on several committees for different events. She has been an amazing member of the council who leads through action. She is very keen to self-advocate and seek support/advice for navigating challenging situations. Amal thoughtfully listens and supports collaboration within her groups. Although she may not be the most vocal member of SLC, her voice is respected and appreciated.” —Jim Lane, SLC advisor

Amal in her own words:

What is one experience that has shaped who you are today?

Being an immigrant family in the United States has definitely shaped who I am today. Though I don’t remember a lot about moving here because I was so little (4–5 years old), this experience has given my family and I so many opportunities. With this, we were able to live the American Dream so many immigrant families look for such as finding work, good housing and educational opportunities.

What’s your favorite place or thing to do in the White Bear Lake area?

My favorite place in the White Bear Lake area would have to be Cup and Cone because not only does it have really good ice cream that I enjoyed over the summer, but also it was beautiful to walk around that area and watch the lake and the sunset. It was very aesthetic to me. A thing I like to do around the area would have to be volunteering [in] the Mahtomedi community. I love volunteering in general, but I enjoy it a bit more in a different, welcoming community like Mahtomedi.

Describe your high school experience in three words.

Quarantine. Change. Experience.

What’s next after high school?

There are so many things I want to be after high school: teacher, lawyer or nurse. As of right now, I’m not committed to any colleges, and I’m still undecided. I look forward to the future.

More to know about Amal:

  • Member of Black Student Affinity Club,
  • BASE (Building Awareness Surrounding Equity) Club, Human Rights Club, Interact (an MHS service organization), Spanish Club, Student Leadership Council and Yoga Club
  • Zephyr Student Spotlight Award, spring 2022
  • Participates in Zephyr Link Crew mentoring program
  • Works on the monthly school newspaper, The Zephyr Press
  • Honor roll
  • Active in MHS tennis, track and field and soccer teams
Matthew Sutherland

Hill-Murray School

Matthew Sutherland

“Matthew has been a staple in our performing arts department in his time at Hill-Murray. He is an outstanding musician and actor, a helpful student who always comes into any environment with a positive, friendly attitude, and a hard worker in band, theater and choir. [He] has appeared in Hill-Murray Theatre productions [such] as Snoopy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Brindsley Miller in our One Act Black Comedy and Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He has also participated in many community shows. Matthew is a member of our peer ministry group and shares his talents as a music minister.” —Traci Youngs, instrumental music director, and Therese Walth, choir director

Matthew in his own words:

What is one experience that has shaped who you are today?

One experience that shaped who I am today is the time I was asked to cover the dish room at my work. They were falling behind and needed an extra set of hands, so I volunteered to go back. I helped them get through the night’s rush and got things under control. Then one of my co-workers told me that he was feeling sick and asked if I could take over for the rest of the night. I said yes because the dish room was challenging to work in, and he wasn’t feeling well. This shaped who I am today because it showed me the impact I could make when I go out of my way to be a leader and help out. I could have stayed with my work, but that wouldn’t be fair to my co-workers.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the White Bear Lake area?

My favorite thing to do is walk around downtown with my friends. The overall feel is very nice. Just being able to walk into a store or talk with people there makes me feel at home. It’s a way for me to relieve stress and enjoy my time.

Describe your high school experience in three words.

Discovery. Leadership. Support.

What’s next after high school?

After high school, I would like to become a physical therapist or something along those lines. I like the idea of being able to help heal people one day at a time. I would also like to keep the arts incorporated into my life. I will probably audition for shows or bands in my spare time.

More to know about Matthew:

  • Active in the performing arts at Hill-Murray, including participation in band, pep band, theater and choir
  • Member of Pioneer Performers, a vocal ensemble of Hill-Murray student singers, who perform at school and community events
  • Member of Hill-Murray Peer Ministry and Music Ministry
  • Nominated to attend the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership Forum
  • Attended afterschool choir with a former vocal director
  • Helped with band lessons for middle school students
Emma Dees

Hill-Murray School

Emma Dees

“Emma Dees is a student of the highest caliber who displays depth of character, deep care for her peers and community, and great promise as a student at the university level. Beyond the academic rigor of taking mostly Honors and CIS [College in the Schools] courses, Emma is also a highly decorated competitive swimmer, who has earned recognition for both Hill-Murray’s Varsity Swim Team and North Suburban Aquatic Club … Emma’s influence and impact extend well beyond the walls of Hill-Murray School. She has proven to be an incredible leader through her actions and heart, and we know she will continue to make Hill-Murray proud.” —Charlie Cicalello, Hill-Murray counselor

Emma in her own words:

What is one experience that has shaped who you are today?

The one experience that has shaped me the most is Hidden Pines Ranch day camp [HPR]. Starting as a kindergartener, I attended camp each summer, and I am now a proud staff member. HPR is where I have found the space to grow, explore, have fun and be myself, free from the judgment of others. Most importantly, my previous HPR counselors, current co-workers and mentors have instilled a passion for helping kids and have shown me how to impact today’s youth.

What’s your favorite place or thing to do in the White Bear Lake area?

My favorite place to be or hang out in White Bear Lake would be at Marketfest. Marketfest provides opportunities to hang out with friends and family. Marketfest also allows you to see a variety of cultures and try new things, all within the White Bear Lake community. It is a place where you can see and be seen, and it is a great way to spend a summer night.

Describe your high school experience in three words.

Rigorous. Lively. Rewarding.

What’s next after high school?

After high school, I plan on attending college somewhere in the Midwest. Working with kids is a must for me, so I am currently considering a major in physical therapy, with specialization in pediatrics. However, officially deciding will be difficult because I’m interested in so many different areas.
I am also planning on pursuing collegiate swimming while furthering my academics.

More to know about Emma:

  • Served in leadership roles as a W.E.B. Leader (supporting middle school students in their transition to Hill-Murray), Peer Tutor (assisting students with academic support) and Student Ambassador (assisting prospective students/families and alums for various school-wide events)
  • Awarded the Hill-Murray Presidential Service Award for 250 hours of service and 115 different service experiences at organizations, including The Kids in Need Foundation, Feed My Starving Children and Trunk or Treat
  • Captain of Hill-Murray Aquaponics
  • Athlete Liaison at North Suburban Aquatic Club, organizing events and acting as a voting member of Minnesota Swimming Inc.
  • MVP, Hill-Murray Swim Team
  • 2022 Metro East All-Conference Team, swimming
  • Member of Hill-Murray Peer Ministry and National Honors Society

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