Forty-four students from 22 Region 5 high schools will be honored Wednesday, April 11, at the 27th annual Student Recognition Banquet put on by the National Joint Powers Alliance. The banquet will run from 5-8 p.m. at Madden's Resort in East Gull Lake.

Among those being honored are four area students: Austin Young and Colette Vavpotic, from Pequot Lakes High School; and Dylan Malz and Taylor Vredenburg, from Pine River-Backus High School.

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The event celebrates area students as Rising Stars. Each is selected by his or her respective school staff, with the criteria that they are "unsung heroes" of their district - the behind-the-scenes students with little, if any, recognition. Perhaps they've overcome a huge adversity in their high school careers, and/or they strive to do what's right despite significant challenges in their lives.

Donations from local businesses, organizations and individuals make it possible for each student to receive a scholarship, plus a chance to win door prizes. For more information, visit