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COLFAX — Morgan Schleusner is the valedictorian of the Colfax High School Class of 2020, and Juelia Berger is the salutatorian.
Morgan’s profile and Juelia’s profile are published elsewhere in this edition of the Colfax Messenger.
This year, because public and private schools in Wisconsin closed on March 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and high schools are unable to hold their traditional graduation ceremonies, the Colfax Messenger asked one additional question of the Top 10 students: what would you like people to know a hundred years from now.
Here are the profiles of the remaining Top 10 seniors in the Colfax High School Class of 2020:
Josie is the daughter of Joel and Jennifer Steinke.
• Top three favorite classes: My favorite classes were Current Events, Medical Terminology, and Statistics. I liked Current Events because we talked about stuff going on around us at that time instead of a typical history class. I liked Medical Terminology because it related to my major for next year. Statistics is a difficult class but I liked that I could see how it is used in everyday life.
• Most memorable event in high school: Something memorable for me was junior prom. It was memorable because my classmates and I put in a lot of hard work to make the gym look beautiful for the night. My friends and I had a great time getting dressed up and dancing all night. I also was honored with being crowned Prom Queen to end an already great day.
• Activities: Through high school I was involved in basketball and volleyball. I also was a part of Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and National Honor Society (NHS). My favorite was basketball because as a team, we were very successful all four years which left me with some great memories.
• Plans for the summer: This summer I will be nannying for a family before I leave for college. I also hope to spend lots of time with my friends before we go our separate ways next year since we lost so much time together during the school year.
• Education plans: Next year I will be going to college at UW-La Crosse and majoring in Radiation Therapy. I chose that because I enjoyed my Medical Terminology class, and my dad beat cancer before I was born, so I hope to help people do the same.
• Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you like people to know a hundred years from now: It’s hard knowing that we don’t get to spend our last days together with the people we’ve been friends with most of our lives. Not knowing if we’ll get a special day like all of the classes ahead of us is also heartbreaking because it’s something that we’ve all been excited for since the day we started high school. Though I was not involved in a spring sport, I know that many of my classmates were very successful in them, and it’s hard to see them not have their final season.
Cole is the son of Tim and Jeannett Kiekhafer.
• Top three favorite classes: My first favorite class has to be Modern American history. The class was decently hard but what made it great was Mr. Davison. Easily my favorite teacher throughout my high school career. My second favorite class is calculus. Math is my future profession, and this class challenges me to think hard and work things out. Mrs. Steinke does a great job of teaching the class too. My third favorite class is weights, because it gives me a chance to relax my mind and I enjoy lifting.
• Most memorable event in high school: My most memorable moment from Colfax High School was my last home game for football. We played as a team and got a win, but what made it memorable was the snow/sleet at the end of the game that made the field look more like a dream than reality.
• Activities: I was involved in football, baseball, NHS and student council in high school. My favorite is easily football because I love the sport.
• Plans for the summer: My plans for after graduation are to work and enjoy my last summer with my friends. I plan on lifting and being outside quite a bit.
• Education plans: I’m going to UWEC to pursue actuarial science. I’ve always been good at math, and I figured I could try to make a living out of it.
• Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you like people to know a hundred years from now: Something I want people to remember is that we never got to finish our senior year. And we never will. Some of us missed the last few months with our childhood friends, some of whom we will never see again. We missed our last prom and every other end of the year event that seniors get to be a part of. So for past students, enjoy the memories you have and be grateful for them. For future students, don’t take anything for granted.
Edward is the son of Nate and Julia Hydukovich.
• Top three favorite classes: Calculus: Mrs. Steinke really cared about helping us in class and always made sure we understood the material, and math is also fun. College Prep Chemistry: Mr. Furey was a fun and interesting teacher, and I like chemistry. Independent Weights: It gave me a chance to take a break from school and just focus on working out for 45 minutes everyday.
• Most memorable event in high school: This year against Cameron for our basketball guys team when we were down 15 at halftime and rallied back and came within three. Even though we didn’t win, seeing the other seniors and myself try to come back and feeling the pride in my teammates with that will always be a fond memory.
• Activities: Basketball, Track, Football, Science Club, NHS, Student Council. Basketball was my favorite. It is a fun sport and I enjoyed playing in front of my community.
• Plans for the summer: Working.
• Education plans: University of Minnesota -Twin Cities. Chemical Engineering.
• Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you like people to know a hundred years from now: The uncertainty of whether or not colleges will be open next semester is not fun because we have all worked for the ability to go to college, and then they may not even be open right away.
Belinda is the daughter of David and Wendy Loew.
• Top three favorite classes: Favorite classes are hard to pick because every teacher makes their class fun in different ways even if you don’t like the class itself. My favorite classes were probably Spanish, Choir, and any math class. They were probably my favorites because I enjoyed the subjects and the teachers. Learning another language like Spanish is really neat, and there is so much culture to learn about as you learn the language. Choir had so many opportunities to help me grow and expand my knowledge as a musician in many different ways. I love math classes because it just makes sense to me. Math is very logical, and there is generally one right way to do a problem so there aren’t tons of choices about how to do the problems.
• Most memorable event in high school: My most memorable event in high school was the spring of my junior year when my Spanish class made a scavenger hunt for Senora Verdon. It was a lot of fun. Our Spanish class came up with the idea on a day that Senora was gone and we had a substitute. It was a crazy idea but it seemed in the realm of possibility. It took a couple of days to figure out details, including how we were going to convince her to do the scavenger hunt to begin with! We wrote the clues in Spanish, using the grammar we had just learned to make the scavenger hunt have something to do with Spanish class. We also hid different items from the classroom for Senora to find with the clues. We got a couple of other teachers to let us hide clues and items in their rooms and managed to keep it pretty much a secret until the day we were ready. The scavenger hunt took Senora in a big circle that ended back in her room where she received a card from our Spanish class. It may not sound like an exciting memory to some, but it was so special to be part of.
• Activities: Forensics, National Honor Society, Musicals, Chamber Choir. My favorite activity was being in the musicals because I became friends with a lot of people that I didn’t know before.
• Plans for the summer: Last summer, I picked strawberries for a job and am hoping to do that again, as well as find an additional job to fill up the summer that I can possibly continue to work as a college student.
• Education plans: I will attend UW-Eau Claire this fall and will major in Elementary Education. As a kid, I spent endless hours playing school with siblings and cousins, and I have spent time mentoring. I love working with kids, and I enjoy teaching, so my major wasn’t difficult to pick.
• Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you like people to know a hundred years from now: I feel it’s important to learn life lessons from this pandemic. I’ve never really appreciated how wonderful it is to go to school and nice it is to be face to face with teachers to ask questions. I will no longer take seeing friends and teachers every day for granted. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to find the second-best scenario because what you want isn’t possible. Even though I couldn’t be in school enjoying my last months of senior year, I’ve enjoyed spending more time with family, being outside, sleeping in, and starting a flower garden. I miss not having all the senior traditions but the goal is to make the most of the situation we have. I hope the pandemic comes to a quick end and that this type of situation won’t happen again in the future.
Wesley is the son of James and Dana Kallstrom.
• Top three favorite classes: My top three high school classes were Spanish, choir and band. These were my favorite classes because they each provided a way to express yourself, and they all inspired creative thinking.
• Most memorable event in high school: The most memorable moment in high school for me was attending the Dorian Music Festival in Decorah, Iowa. It was amazing to be able to sing in a choir with 1,000 people in it.
• Activities: I was involved in Choir, Chamber Choir, Band, Jazz Band, NHS, Science Club, Spanish, Letters Club, FBLA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the musical. My favorite group to be a part of was the musical because of my many friends involved in it with me and because of how much fun the musicals were to perform.
• Plans for the summer: This summer I will be working at Hardee’s to help save up for college.
• Education plans: Next fall I will be attending UW-Eau Claire and will be majoring in nursing. I decided to major in nursing because it is a great way to help others get better and that sounded like something I would like to do.
• Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you like people to know a hundred years from now: These last few months of school have been very odd. I had thought that I was ready to be out of school but had quickly realized when we go quarantined, that I wasn’t ready. I mostly missed being able to have classes with teachers in person, and I missed being able to have a final year with my friends.
Abby De Moe
Abby is the daughter of Andy and Sara De Moe.
• Top three favorite classes: My top three favorite classes would have to be advanced biology, Spanish, and my college course speech. I found my Advanced Biology class one of my favorites because there was never a boring day in there. We did lots of labs, dissections, nature walks, and trips. Spanish was also another class that was never boring. I loved being able to learn another language and challenge myself. I obviously loved video viernes [Fridays] too. Another class that was one of my favorites was my college speech class. This class helped me get over my fear of talking in front of others, and it helped me communicate with others a lot better.
• Most memorable event in high school: My most memorable event in high school was making it to girls golf state all four years of my high school career. I remember thinking before I even started high school golf that making it to state all four years was my goal. Although, I kind of laughed at myself for thinking that because at that time, it seemed impossible. So for me, accomplishing something I thought was impossible is a huge achievement for me. I also had such great times with the girls on my golf team, and there will be memories of us I’ll never forget.
• Activities: I was involved in Girls Golf, Basketball, Student Council, FBLA, National Honor Society, Student Viking Leadership Committee and Band. My favorite was golf because I loved the fun times we had in the van rides to and from our tournaments. Oh and of course, the ice cream after tournaments made it even better.
• Plans for the summer: I plan on working at Whitetail Golf Course until I go to college in the fall. The summer activities I enjoy are golfing, boating, kayaking, and spending time with family, friends, and pets.
• Education plans: My plan for after high school is going to the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. I plan on majoring in Exercise Science and then hopefully becoming a physical therapist one day. I’ve always been interested in going into the medical field but was unsure what career path to choose. I chose this career because I had the opportunity to shadow a physical therapist during this past summer, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve had several family members who require physical therapy, and I understand how important it is to a person’s life to get this kind of care they need. It was definitely something I could see myself doing, and after that, I almost couldn’t wait to be in college and start that part of my life.
• Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you like people to know a hundred years from now: After going through this pandemic of COVID-19 , I can finally say I wish I was at school. It’s very unfortunate that us seniors were not able to have the best last three months of our high school careers. It’s also unfortunate I won’t be able to go through all my senior festivities like my sisters did. I definitely did not think the last day I was at school was going to be my last day.
Kameri is the daughter of Richard and Pamela Meredith.
• Top three favorite classes: My top three favorite high school classes were phy-ed, speech, and advanced algebra. Phy-ed was one of my favorites because I got to see my mom, who is the phy-ed teacher, everyday which was super nice. I really enjoyed my speech class that I took through Chippewa Valley Technical College because it helped me grow and expand my skills in public speaking, which is important for my future. Math is one of my stronger subjects, so I liked advanced algebra because I understood it pretty well.
• Most memorable event in high school: The most memorable event that happened to me in high school was getting 1,000 kills and digs in volleyball and also getting 1,000 points in basketball. Not many people have accomplished this, and I am super humbled to have done it with the help of my coaches and teammates.
• Activities: The sports I was in were volleyball, basketball, track and field, and softball. The clubs I was in were student council, FBLA, FCCLA, NHS, and the Sportsmanship Committee. My favorite activities were volleyball and basketball because I love playing sports with my teammates on the court next to me.
• Plans for the summer: My plans for this summer are to work as a volleyball ref for summer leagues. I also want to spend as much time as I can on my boat on Lake Wissota soaking up the summer sun.
• Education plans: I plan on attending UW-River Falls, and I will be playing on the women’s volleyball team there. Right now I am looking into majoring in Exercise Science because it is a health related field, which is something I am interested in.
• Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you like people to know a hundred years from now: What I’ve really missed most during this pandemic is seeing my family, friends, and teachers. I definitely am bummed about a lot of the activities that occur towards the end of the year being canceled but many of them are just postponed so I am hopeful we can have them! Overall I think this pandemic has taught people how important family and friends are and that we should always cherish them. I think it also showed us all that we should treat the Earth better by being more conscious of how we are polluting it and start making more environmentally friendly choices.
Hailey is the daughter of Sara and Jeremy Klukas.
• Top three favorite classes: My favorite classes have always been math and science classes because I felt as though I understood them the most out of all the classes I have taken. My other favorite would have to be any of the classes I took with Mrs. Neuburg because she is not just a teacher. She is an amazing teacher and she has known me and my family since before I was born.
• Most memorable event in high school: The most memorable part of my high school career was being crowned homecoming queen for my senior year. It was memorable to me because it was completely unexpected for me and was a very happy moment.
• Activities: While in high school I have participated in volleyball, student council, band, NHS, FBLA, science club, mentoring, and tutoring. Out of all of them, my favorite was mentoring because I got the opportunity to be a role model for an elementary school child who may have needed someone to look up to. I gave up my study halls once a week to go and hang out with my student for half an hour, and I loved hearing about their week and all of their exciting news that they had been dying to tell me. From year to year, I began to build an unbreakable bond.
• Plans for the summer: This summer I look forward to hanging out with some friends before we all part ways, and I will be working at Little Slice of Italy here in town as well.
• Education plans: I will be attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the fall with a focus in environmental biology. I have always loved science and studying different areas, therefore I figured this would be the perfect major for me.
• Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you like people to know a hundred years from now: There are many people struggling with life right now due to COVID-19. But many people are stopping to think of the students, especially seniors. This is not how I would have guessed my senior year would go. I no longer know when all of my classmates are going to be together for that one last time or when my family and I will get to celebrate. Not to mention that my events to introduce me to college and the campus have been moved to online events. People say that your senior year goes fast but they did not mention how fast it goes when you are quarantined in your room talking to your teachers and classmates on a Zoom call. Day to day life is far more different than it used to be, and it is hard to find the motivation to hop online and listen to the pre-recorded video of your teacher teaching the lesson in their pajamas in their living room, not to mention you are also in your pajamas in bed trying to pay attention. I hope kids in the future really do not take their senior year for granted because in the blink of an eye, it can all be taken from you.