Perpich News

Lee Christianson (Dance 2023) Receives Horatio Alger Association Scholarship

Lee Christianson (Dance 2023) is a Horatio Alger State Scholarship recipient

December 7, 2022

Lee Christianson (Dance 2023) has received the Horatio Alger Association State Scholarship valued at $10,000! This honor is awarded to eligible students in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The program specifically assists high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives. The scholarships are funded by Horatio Alger Members who, like the scholars themselves, have experienced challenges but ultimately overcame them to become successful business and civic leaders.

“I feel really honored about this recognition,” said Christianson. “For the application, I write about my story as a person from a lower middle-class family of seven people, and about my dreams moving forward. The writing included a lot of my life experience with being homeschooled, moving to public school, and how dance is difficult, physically and mentally, but helps me balance my life. I also wrote about how, although I’m not dead set on a life path, the lessons I have learned from the role models in my life have encouraged me to keep moving forward. This award is wonderful because, without scholarships like this, I would not be able to afford college.”

Lee was recently accepted to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He plans to use this award to pursue a double major in Dance and Kinesiology.

Mary Harding, Dance Instructor, has worked with Lee as a teacher and as a fellow artist for nearly two years. “Lee is an amazing young person. He is a beautiful dancer,” said Harding. “Lee’s choreography already has a distinctive voice. He is currently creating a piece for this winter concert. His intention is clear, his movement supports his intention, and the work is musically provoking. He is creating a piece based on the different parts of the brain, combining his interest in science and his expressive artistry.” In and beyond the dance studio, Christianson’s “leadership, integrity, and enthusiasm are present every day,” continued Harding. “He was our speaker in our Fall Dedication ceremony and is on the student council and arts council. He is bringing many of his service organizations into the current world, specifically his ambassador work with 4H. He is growing as a person and as a dancer. He is intellectually open to new experiences and brings a strength and a questioning intellect to everything he does.”

In the letter of recommendation that Carol Syvertsen, Perpich School Counselor, wrote on Lee’s behalf, she said, “Determined, open minded and talented, Lee Christianson is a genuine gift in the Perpich Arts High School community. Completely dedicated to his dancing, Lee left his hometown with a population of 564, to come to an arts high school four and half hours away in Minneapolis. Often there are transition issues with students, but Lee has acclimated successfully while maintaining his individuality. Lee is a leader and has been goal oriented since the day he arrived. He has had his eye on the future since I met him. Being an active school leader, maintaining stellar grades, and planning for the future far from parents, could be hard for anyone, but Lee’s ability to dance for three hours each afternoon balances everything. The financial strain of paying for higher education has been on Lee’s mind since the day I met him over a year ago. Watching the drive and determination to address this challenge has been inspiring. Getting good grades, taking rigorous classes, communicating clearly, taking on leadership roles, and applying for scholarships has been first and foremost in Lee’s mind at all times.”

As one of the nation’s largest need-based privately-funded college scholarship providers, the Horatio Alger Association assists high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles to pursue their dreams through higher education. While many scholarship programs primarily recognize academic achievement or leadership potential, the Horatio Alger Scholarship Program awards students who have exhibited determination, integrity, and perseverance in overcoming adversity, as well as critical financial need.

Lee is from Halstad, MN and is the child of Stacy and Chad Christianson. He previously attended Ada-Borup High School in Ada, MN.