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2013 Recipients



As Senior Intelligence Officer in the North Dakota Air National Guard, Maj. Micaela (Bentson) Brancato advises commanders, provides global support for several squadrons and manages the execution of 24/7 combat operations in the global war on terrorism.

The 1996 Fargo South graduate ran the show at point guard in leading the Bruins to a state basketball championship in 1994. She was class president for three years, student council member for four years, homecoming queen and National Honor Society member.

While on active duty with the Air Force, she won numerous commendation and achievement medals. She was selected as the youngest officer to lead a transit location in Germany during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She returned to the Air Force Academy in 2005, when she was hand-picked by generals to be executive officer in charge of military training, as well as athletic director.



Brian Borchardt is an accomplished physical therapist and one of three owners of Pediatric Therapy Partners, which employs 40 people in his hometown. The clinic serves 450 families with children who have special needs.

The 1991 Fargo South graduate was a two-time National Honor Society member and North Dakota Merit Scholar. He went on to the University of North Dakota, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with bachelor's degrees in physical therapy and psychology and a master's degree in physical therapy.

Move on to athletics. He earned nine varsity letters and played on two state championship football teams at South. He played football at UND and was a member of the 1993 team that was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

Beverly Johnson, director of clinical education in UND's physical therapy department, says her former student is a caring and compassionate leader. UND calls on Brian to help update the school's pediatric curriculum.



Followers of Fargo South High likely look at Dale Hertel and see the coach who guided the Bruins to eight state football championships and spurred countless number of athletes to perform great feats.

Dale arrived at South in 1976 and began building a football program that dominated North Dakota for three decades.

Dale was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004 and the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999. He was the North Dakota High School Coach of the Year on three occasions and a nominee for National Coach of the Year four times. His 1978 South team was the North Dakota High School Team of the Year.

Dale’s excellence in the classroom mirrored that of the athletic arena, says Gelaine Orvik, a fellow South teacher and coach.

Dale joined Concordia College, his alma mater, as an assistant football coach in 1997 and continues there now as the offensive coordinator as well as an assistant track and field coach. It was a fitting homecoming. He was standout punter and quarterback for Concordia and was the MVP for the Cobbers and Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1970. He was inducted into the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.



An Associated Press editor calls Fargo correspondent Dave Kolpack one of the most valued reporters at the world’s largest news gathering organization.

“As a journalist, Kolpack has that rare mix of humanity and humor that makes him a fantastic storyteller,” says Amber Hunt, AP news editor for the Dakotas. “That skill has earned him praise within the AP and respect as a journalist far beyond North Dakota.”

The 1978 South graduate began his newspaper career on The Forum sports desk in high school. After moving to full-time stints in Watertown, S.D., and Bismarck, N.D., he was hired as The Forum’s first full-time sports columnist. He was the first five-time winner of the North Dakota AP Sportswriter of the Year award. He joined AP in 2001.

Dave edited both the yearbook and newspaper in high school. He was the Northern Interscholastic Press Association’s Journalist of the Year.

“Dave is a seasoned, highly respected journalist, a community-minded professional who remains a Bruin loyalist to the core,” says Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley.



A 1993 Fargo South graduate known for her intelligence, teamwork and dedication is leading one company’s quest to tame the deadliest skin cancer.

Tara Rheault is a premier researcher and clinical investigative lead at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, where she has won numerous awards and authored or co-authored eight scientific publications. She is listed as an inventor of seven small molecule patents. Her greatest accomplishment to date, however, is the discovery of an anti-cancer treatment that has already helped people live longer and better lives. David Uehling, who led a group of the company’s top scientists on the project, says Tara had the largest impact of anyone on the team in identifying a compound that is now a promising drug for the treatment of melanoma. “In performing her role, Tara used great skill and insight in not only designing this compound but also working alongside key stakeholders to progress this compound to a critical milestone,” Uehling says.

Tara received her undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead, which later honored her with the Distinguished Alumni Award in Science and Math. She earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from North Dakota State University in 2002 and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina in 2011.

In addition to excelling in academics at South, Tara was the starting guard and co-captain on the state championship basketball team in 1992, co-captain of the volleyball team, and an all-state orchestra performer.

“I am happy to say I have had the good fortune to work with Tara Rheault, and am indebted to her for her guidance and direction,” says Pierette Banker, who worked under Tara in research and development at GlaxoSmithKline. “Tara’s addition to the Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to the origin of her education and professional standard of excellence.”