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Elk Mound High School valedictorian: McKenna Diermeier

McKenna Diermeier

ELK MOUND  — McKenna Diermeier is the valedictorian of the Elk Mound High School Class of 2022.

She is the daughter of Darla and Doug Diermeier of Elk Mound.

What does it mean to have earned the title of valedictorian?

From the time I was a fifth grade student, when we started receiving letter grades for our schoolwork, it became my goal to be valedictorian. Something about that little black “A+” in the grade book with hours upon hours of time and effort behind it became unbelievably rewarding. Working toward this allowed me to narrow my focus and push myself to new levels of academic excellence. For me, earning this title means that the goals I set for myself are absolutely achievable, no matter how difficult they may seem. I was able to create a standard and hold myself to it, which I believe is very important for success in my future.

What was your most memorable event?

One specific game I remember is from this past volleyball season. We were playing Elmwood-Plum City at Plum City High School, and our team knew it was going to be competitive going into the match. We ended up winning in four sets, and the environment was unbelievable. Following our team talk in the locker room, our team left their high school to board the bus and as we walked out, we walked through a tunnel made by our student section, all cheering and clapping for us. That is a memory I will hold onto forever.

Along with that specific event, it was a culmination of things that made my high school experience enjoyable. Being able to play sports alongside my classmates who are also my friends means more than I can even express. Those small moments in the classroom where everyone is keeled over laughing because of a silly comment, or bus rides on the way home from a game meaning no one will have a voice next day from singing our hearts out … those are what create an experience.

What were your favorite high school classes?

Two of my three favorite classes were both taught by the same teacher, and she was the one that made them both so near and dear to my heart: Anatomy and Physiology and Biology II, taught by Mrs. Currier-Clark. 

While the content of both classes really engaged me, to the point where I decided my major in college because of them, what was really special about them was the people. We all had an absolute blast together, and it made learning not as strenuous. Allowing myself to enjoy the everyday activities, like cleaning the counters before our labs or having snack Friday each week to celebrate making it through, made the time pass by quickly. 

Mrs. Currier-Clark has been one of my biggest influences and best friends in this school, and I would not be where I am as a student or person without her. She just means the world to me, and I’m going to miss her so much.

The other class I really enjoyed would have to be AP Calculus, again, because of the other students. Although the math portion of the class was sometimes hard, we found a way to get through the class because of one another. The relationships created through these classes were why I loved them so much.

Through these courses, I learned a lot about how to push myself in a controlled way to reach my aspirations.

In what high school activities were you involved?

Activities I was involved in are as follows: volleyball (both through Elk Mound High School and Air Volleyball Club); softball (both through Elk Mound High School and Seymour Flames); National Honor Society; E-Club; Yearbook; Cultural Conversations Club.

Obviously, my participation in athletics has had a tremendous impact on me. I was honored to be chosen as our school’s female scholar athlete, and in my speech, I discussed how athletics have been the entirety of my life. Growing up in the gym cultivated my competitiveness, and having the chance to represent my community through athletics, has been a privilege that cannot be replicated.

I also loved being a part of Cultural Conversations Club, which was started by another one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. George. In this club, we take time to discuss cultural issues throughout our school, community, country, and world from other perspectives; we want everyone to feel comfortable using their voice because everyone deserves to be heard.

What are you summer plans?

During this summer, I will be interning at ETS Performance in Menomonie for the second summer in a row. I work with athletes ages eight through eighteen, teaching proper running form, acceleration and deceleration, change of direction, lifting, and general sports discipline. I have been training at ETS for almost five years now, and it has been like a second home for me, and I cannot wait to keep giving back.

I also give individual and group volleyball lessons, umpire softball and baseball, and mentor a student in the area.

What are you plans for college or technical school?

Fall of 2022, I will be attending Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa. My intended major is biology, with an emphasis in Pre-Professional Studies; I have aspirations of becoming a dentist or an orthodontist following my undergraduate degree. 

As previously discussed, my teachers in these subjects have really impacted my interest in them, and my mother has a career in exercise physiology, so I have grown up with her using medical terms in the house. The human body has been a point of fascination for me for a very long time, and I am looking forward to learning more about it during my collegiate years.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I will be continuing my athletic career at Upper Iowa, a Division II school in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, as I will be part of the volleyball team this upcoming season. I am overjoyed to join the group of women and coaching staff I will have the chance to play with and play for. The community of Fayette does a wonderful job supporting student athletes, and I cannot wait to be a part of this for the next four years.

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