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Pine River-Backus Student of Character wowed teachers with his motivation

The annual award is designed to recognize those who aren't often in the spotlight.

Randall Yost
Pine River-Backus senior Randall Yost was one of the students Sourcewell recognized Wednesday, April 20, 2022, as a Student of Character.
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PINE RIVER — One of the annual Pine River-Backus Students of Character recognized by Sourcewell left a real mark for his graduating year.

Randall Yost is one PR-B student who has gained attention over the past year for his showmanship, a skill that got a lot of recognition when he emceed the 2022 prom grand march, noted by attendees and staff alike. Yost said this may have contributed to his nomination to the Students of Character award.

"I stick out like a sore thumb in the classroom," Yost said. "I'm a little obnoxious, a little loud. I try to do all my work and get it in all the time, so I'm still a good student in that regard. And whenever someone needs help with their work, they ask me and I'm always here to help."

Randy has been a standout since he was young - his intelligence is astounding! He is intrinsically motivated to learn and soak up what he can.
Janice Oakley

Math teacher Janice Oakley nominated Yost, writing:

"Randy has been a standout since he was young - his intelligence is astounding! He is intrinsically motivated to learn and soak up what he can. He is also a self-starter who needs no pushing from parents or teachers to manage his time and do what he needs to do. Even though he has experienced many challenges in the past few years, he has persevered with grace and tenacity."

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Yost said he wasn't immediately aware of the challenges Oakley referenced.

Wipper intends to follow his purpose to work in law enforcement.

"When they were talking about hardship, I was a little puzzled what she identified," Yost said. "That's not to say I haven't."

The award was a surprise for Yost, who had never heard of it, though he realized later he has a friend who was recognized in 2021.

"Back in January my teacher needed one of my senior pictures," Yost said. "She told me it was something to do with Students of Character. That's all I could get out of her. She wouldn't tell me anything until a few weeks beforehand."

It was a pleasant surprise.

"I'm happy about it. Awards are always fun," Yost said. "I got my parents to come along for the night. They had fun, my dad not so much. He's not one for stuffy events. I think my mom definitely enjoyed it."

She told me it was something to do with Students of Character. That's all I could get out of her. She wouldn't tell me anything until a few weeks beforehand.
Randall Yost

Yost had a big year, which may have contributed to his nomination.

"In speech and Knowledge Bowl, I went to state for both of those this year," Yost said. "Maybe she was trying to recognize some of that performance and extracurricular."

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Yost qualified for state two times for speech and thinks he should have won this time.

"I actually beat the state champion before," he said.

"For the second time in school history the Knowledge Bowl went to state," Yost said. "I wasn't the captain or anything, but I was one of the driving forces behind it."

It's very much an honor. I'm grateful to Oakley to have nominated me.
Randall Yost

Being recognized for his academic work made him feel grateful.

"I'm very happy," Yost said. "It's very much an honor. I'm grateful to Oakley to have nominated me."

Outside of school and extracurriculars, Yost has been busy with work as well. For the past three years he's worked at a grocery store in Emily as well as with his dad, who is a painter.

Yost grew up in a large family. He has an older brother, an older sister, two younger sisters and a younger brother. He said outside of class and work they like to play video games together. He's likely to spend some time now after graduation deciding what to do next. He was not yet sure about any college or major plans.

"I'm looking at as many opportunities as possible to check out what my options are," Yost said. "I want to have fun this summer. The past few summers I just kind of worked and then came home and sat around, so I'd like to do something fun this summer."

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He's hoping he'll have more options and ideas after taking the Law School Admission Test this summer.

Students of Character is a program that recognizes students in seven area school districts with scholarships "for their quiet leadership, perseverance and dedication to their community, school and fellow students." This year's awards dinner was April 20 at Madden's Resort on Gull Lake.

Representing the Pine River-Backus School District were seniors Yost and Mara Adams.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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