Family celebrates CIHS valedictorian 3-peat

Abigail Bensen is the third valedictorian in her family.

Abigail Bensen with her brothers Jonah and Noah, who were previously valedictorians at Cambridge-Isanti High School. Photo provided

Parents Paula and Mike Bensen’s three children have all graduated with perfect 4.0 GPAs from Cambridge-Isanti High School. Abigail’s achievement was preceded by her brothers, Noah and Jonah, doing the same.

Bensen received her high school diploma during commencement held June 9 at Cambridge-Isanti High School.

Paula Bensen thinks the motivation to achieve may go back to a time when her husband promised the kids a laptop for college if they finished high school with a 4.0. Aside from the promise of the laptop, Paula said she and Mike did not put too much focus on their kids’ good grades throughout their school years, instead just encouraging them to do the best they could.

“The grades weren’t so important that they took easier classes,” Paula Bensen said. “It wasn’t that the grades were the key.”

Abigail agreed it was never only about the grades for her.

“I have more respect for people who take the AP classes and college classes and lose their 4.0,” she said.

Bensen said Advanced Placement Literature was probably the class she found most challenging during high school; one her brothers was challenged by it, too. She added she learned a lot from the course, and it seems to have paid off in at least one way: In the fall Bensen is planning to attend the University of St. Thomas to study communications, journalism and creative writing.

Bensen credited her parents with creating a learning-friendly environment for her and her brothers from an early age, making sure their house was full of books and encouraging their interests.

“I think a lot of it for me was curiosity and wanting to learn more because that’s what we did when we were little,” she said.

Some friendly competition also naturally occurred between Abigail and her siblings over the years.

“When our grades, between final grades, weren’t A’s, we gave each other a lot of crap for it,” Abigail Bensen said.

For Paula Bensen, there’s no parenting secret to the way her children have turned out. Instead, it goes back to giving the kids the space to reach their potential on their own.

“I would say it was mostly that we always encouraged them to do their best,” she said, “but we knew that their best was very good.”

Abigail confirmed she is getting the laptop that was promised her years ago.