One of Joe Perkl’s big priorities when he was named Jordan’s activities director was to get Jordan’s top female athlete honored at the annual Athena Award banquet.
The school and Perkl waited for more than two years before they were accepted as an Athena Award school and 2020 was the first year that Jordan named an Athena Award winner.
Perkl and the school named senior Madi Kes as Jordan’s first ever Athena Award winner.
The Athena Award is given to the most outstanding senior female athlete in each metro area high school. The award is based on excellence in individual sports or for participation and accomplishments in team sports.
Perkl and the Kes family were all set to attend the Athena Award banquet on May 8 but because of COVID-19 the banquet had to be canceled.
The Athena committee will be recognizing, honoring and the winners with a plaque and a memory book that will feature all 55 honorees and a description of their accomplishments.
That wasn’t enough for Perkl so he came up with a plan to honor Kes with her very own Athena Award ceremony.
Perkl asked Athena banquet emcee and Jordan alum Ali Cronk (Radermacher) to help with having an individual ceremony in the Kes family front yard. (Cronk even brought her Jordan letterman jacket.)
Cronk was happy to help and on the morning of Thursday, May 21, Kes was given her Athena Award by Cronk with her family and Perkl in attendance.
“We went from Jordan never having an Athena award winner, to having the only award ceremony in 2020,” Perkl said. “This was extremely fun for me as the Activities Director. I had the privilege of watching Madi compete for most of her high school career. With her shy demeanor, she definitely let her game do the talking.”
Perkl noted that some of the highlights of the ceremony included sharing videos from last year’s banquet and explaining the process of the ceremony. Handing her the plaque, and going through what her part of the ceremony would have sounded like with Madi on stage.
The entire ceremony was videotaped and posted to the Jordan activities YouTube page.
Kes earned 12 varsity letters in three different sports, earned Academic All-State honors twice and also sang in the school choir in her time at Jordan High School.
While earning those 12 varsity letters, Kes also accomplished many team and individual honors.
She earned five letters in track and field, four in volleyball and three in basketball. She was a captain for Jordan in all three sports.
Kes was named to seven Minnesota River Conference teams, five section awards and two All-State awards.
In track, she finished in fourth place at the Class A state track meet in the triple jump and holds the second longest jump in school history.
In basketball, she helped the Jaguars to the Class 2A, Section 2 championships the last two years.
In volleyball, she finished in the top-5 in the state in blocks for the 2018 season.
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Kes was just as impressive in the classroom.
Sh was named to the National Honor Society and named to the Academic All-State team twice.
In addition to those honors, Kes is a member of the school’s concert choir, captain’s counsel, a freshman mentor and a volunteer at her church.
Kes will take her talents to Gustavus Adolphus College women’s volleyball team where she will major in biochemistry.
Her parents are Lee and Deb Kes.