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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound High School Class of 2020 valedictorian is Elizabeth Lindquist, daughter of Karl Lindquist and Sandy Lindquist of Eau Claire.
Elizabeth — or Lizzy as she is known to family and friends — says that being valedictorian of her graduating class has always been a goal.
“Personally, it means a lot to me that I was able to receive this title. It has always been a goal of mine, and I worked extremely hard to be where I am,” she said.
“I spent many hours focused on my schoolwork, so I am glad that my efforts paid off. Even though I know that the label of ‘valedictorian’ won’t play a big role in my later life, I am proud of the accomplishment today and what it means to me,” Lizzy said.
Public and private schools in Wisconsin have been closed since March 19 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. High schools are unable to hold their traditional graduation ceremonies because of limitations on mass gatherings to help slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.
In view of the unprecedented circumstances, Lizzy has a special message for her classmates:
“I would really just like to thank my classmates for an amazing 13 years in school together,” she said.
“I know this definitely isn’t the way we wanted our senior year to end, but I am so grateful that I was able to make memories with you guys while we could. I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors, and I hope I’ll see you guys at an in-person graduation this summer,” Lizzy said.
And Lizzy has this message for future historians hoping to find out more about the experiences of the Class of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic:
“These last few months of my senior year haven’t been the greatest. I miss being able to see my friends and classmates every day especially since we will be separating and going different ways in a few months. It is also unfortunate that I wasn’t able to participate in my final track and field season. This sport has always been my favorite, so it saddens me that I will never be able to compete again. Graduation has been an experience I have been waiting for since I started preschool, and now there is a possibility that my classmates and I will be unable to participate in this momentous tradition, which deeply upsets me. However, this required break has given me the ability to take time for myself and relax as much as possible, but this single benefit does not come close to outweighing everything that I have missed out on,” she said.
Lizzy says the most memorable events for her at Elk Mound High School have been attending sporting events.
“I think the most memorable event from high school would have to be participating in the student section during sporting events. I know that this doesn’t sound too big or exciting, but it was so fun to be able to hang out with my peers outside of school and cheer on our sports teams,” she said.
“Some of the dress-up themes could get pretty crazy, so it was always interesting to see what people would show up wearing. Going to games and having fun with my friends is definitely one of my favorite high school memories to date,” Lizzy said.
Lizzy’s favorite classes turned out to be Biology II, including the fruit fly experiments, and automotive care.
“I took Biology II earlier this year. I had so much fun when I took Biology my freshman year, so I knew that I had to take this class. I think the biggest thing that made this class enjoyable was all the labs that we completed,” she said.
“For one of the labs, we inspected the pond in the back of our school and created our own study based on what we found. We also completed an experiment with fruit flies and how their traits were inherited through generations. Even though I am not the biggest fan of insects, I ended up liking this lab a lot and how we were able to see the changes in traits over time,” Lizzy said.
And then there was the class that seems about as far removed from biology as it could be.
“I took Automotive Care my junior year of high school. Initially, I just took this class to complete my elective credits which are required for graduation, but I actually ended up really enjoying this course and its content, Lizzy said.
“I was definitely out of place in this class, for I am more of a science and math oriented person. However, I found that learning about different aspects of vehicles was really interesting. I learned many important skills through this class as well, such as how to complete an oil change and how to change a cabin air filter. Before I took this course, I had never known how little I knew about my car. This class was very valuable for me to take, and I am grateful that I did,” she said.
Lizzy participated in many activities while she was a student at Elk Mound High School.
Some of those activities included powerlifting, track and field, marching band, Science Olympiad, National Honor Society and E-Club.
“It is difficult for me to pick a favorite out of all of these activities, but I will go with Science Olympiad. I love the extra academic challenge that this club faces me with. I always look forward to competition days, and it is cool to meet students from other schools who are passionate about science like me,” she said.
Lizzy’s plans for the summer include working and spending time with friends.
“I will be working at Kwik Trip this summer after I graduate. Also, I am hoping to spend as much time with my friends as possible. We will all be going our separate ways in the fall, so I would like to create as many memories with them as possible before we part. It will definitely be difficult not being able see them every day while I am at college,” she said.
As for her educational plans, Lizzy will be heading off to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities this fall.
“Currently, I am planning on majoring in biomedical engineering. I chose this major because it takes my favorite subject, biology, and combines it with engineering, and I think that is very cool! There are so many technological advancements that need to be made in the healthcare world, so it will be amazing to be a part of that,” she said.