WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn -- White Bear Lake senior Eric Gebeke was late to school, and neither Eric's parents or school officials were quite sure when he was going to get in.
Now, this was not a problem on the scale of having a missing child, as both Eric's parents and school administrators knew that he was safe at home, sleeping.
The problem was, a local TV news crew was waiting to surprise Eric at the high school. So, when Eric did finally show up at school, a low key arrival was not an option.
Reporter: "Good morning young man, and how are you?
Eric: I'm OK.
R: And you might be?
E: I'm Eric.
R: You're Eric? Eric Gebeke?
E: I am.
R: "Who we've been waiting for all morning? Just to do this, to give you this check as a KARE-11 Academic All-Star?
E: No way!
R: "Are you glad you came in now?"
E: "I'm feeling a lot better now."
It's ironic that Eric Gebeke would be late, because Eric is a student-athlete who specializes in finishing first.
"I have worked really hard to be where I am today and earn it", says Eric.
Tied for first in a class of just under 600, Eric was also White Bear's starting Quarterback, a starter on the basketball team, and last spring he was a member of the Bears state champion 4X200 relay, on the same night he won the 800 meters, breaking the school record, set by his dad back in 1979.
Says Eric, "It was pretty special because he was right there at the finish line and I just looked over and instead of him being disappointed, he was just giving me two big thumbs-up so, it was really cool."
Vice-president of the NHS and a finalist for the St. Paul Downtown Lions Club athlete of the year, Eric will run track in college at Notre Dame.
Says Eric, "They just bleed blue and gold, you know? You're forever cemented in that tradition and so, I'm excited to join that."
Turns out Eric was late to school because the night before he was playing guitar with his band, 'the foreign airline pilots' at White Bear's battle of the bands.
"It was a lot of fun", says Eric. "A lot of fun. I still don't think I can sing, but I did it last night, at least I tried to."
Eric says his success comes from giving his best effort in everything he does, but, that's not what he hopes to be remembered for.
"Just being a good person", says Eric. "Kind, compassionate, definitely.
Hopefully, people would say that about me."
Remembering Eric Gebeke for being late? Probably not.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)