So what’s it take to get named “Av for a Day?” Ask any one of his teachers, and they’ll tell you that following Evergreen Middle School student Konnor Propst’s lead would be a pretty good start.
“He’s a great kid, and a pretty good athlete,” testified EMS English and journalism teacher J.R. Dunn. “And he’s always got a positive attitude. He’s the kind of student every teacher wants to have in their class.”
“He’s a respectful, hard-working kid and a well-rounded student,” agreed family and consumer sciences teacher Chris Portaro. “He definitely deserves this honor.”
Bright and early on Jan. 16, with his parents and about 120 classmates looking on, young Konnor officially became this month’s honorary Colorado Avalanche team member, beating out some 50 contenders from around the state.
“It’s a big deal,” said Kroenke Sports Enterprises community ambassador Mark Randall, addressing the sea of young faces in EMS’s packed library. “The decisions you make today will define your future. Konnor is making the right decisions right now, and that’s why he’s our Av for a Day.”
Sponsored by Conoco and Children’s Hospital, the Av for a Day and Nugget for a Day programs specifically reward Colorado middle school students who demonstrate exceptional character. Konnor is the third EMS scholar to win such a post since 2000.
“One thing we look at is academic achievement,” Randall explained. “They don’t have to get straight A’s, but they should be putting in the effort.”
With a solid 4.0 grade-point average, 13-year-old Konnor stands easy on both counts. In addition, candidates must demonstrate exemplary citizenship and a generous degree of community involvement.
“Konnor is a quiet encourager, and always respectful of his peers,” Portaro points out. “He’s also active in his church and church activities, and he works on his family’s ranch every summer.”
Impressive, yes, but you can’t win if you don’t play, which is where Portaro and her colleagues entered the field.
“Every year our elective teachers nominate one student for this recommendation,” Portaro said. “We see them in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, so we really know these kids. Konnor was an easy choice.”
Being recognized for personal excellence is great, of course, but winning valuable prizes for it is awesome. For starters, Randall presented Konnor with a sure-enough-genuine Colorado Avalanche jersey, following it up with a handful of VIP tickets for the Avs’ face-off against the semi-hated Columbus Blue Jackets.
“They’ll have a suite in the Pepsi Center, and it’s fully catered,” Randall said. “He’ll also have a skate-around with the Avalanche where he can meet the whole team and get all the autographs he wants.”
While Konnor would have been well within his rights to strut and crow and push his big moment to the limit, that’s not really his style.
“I knew I’d been nominated, but I’m a little surprised I won,” he said, modestly. “I’m kind of excited to meet Joe Sakic. It’s a real honor.”