SCC students attain top class honors
When it comes to St. Croix Central's valedictorian and salutatorian this year, it's more efficient to ask them what they haven't done during their four years of high school rather than what they have.
Between Abigail Heimel, valedictorian, and Michelle Brunshidle, salutatorian, almost all the school's organizations and clubs are covered.
Even with all their activities and responsibilities, the two will graduate in the top two spots of their class of 76 students.
Heimel took the top spot for the class of 2009 their freshman year and never gave it up. It hasn't been lonely at the top though, she said.
"It's been close a few times," Heimel said. "Everyone has worked hard."
Her favorite class has been Advanced Placement U.S. History, she said. Runners-up are the other AP classes she's taken.
"I like the challenge," Heimel explained. St. Croix Central does not have a weighted grading system, so college-level courses affect students' grade point averages the same as any other classes.
Heimel hasn't shied away from extracurricular activities. She's currently president of the Student Council, and a member of National Honor Society, Teens Against Tobacco Use, Students Offering Support, Forensics, Band and Jazz Band.
Outside of school, Heimel keeps herself busy with Girl Scouts and theatrical productions at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson. She's also part of the St. Croix County Teen Court.
Awards Heimel has earned include her Gold Award in Girl Scouts, being a Badger Girls State delegate, traveling to Finland as the Roberts Lions Exchange Student, and two gold and one bronze ratings in forensics.
Being active and involved didn't start when she entered high school, Heimel said.
"I've been like this my whole life," she said with a smile.
She credits her parents, Theres and Paul, with her drive in academics and activities. They taught her to be involved in the community, she said.
Heimel hopes her future career will involved working with communities, but in a new way. She will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall to pursue a degree in civil engineering.
"I'm really interested in engineering and specializing in city planning," Heimel said. Her strong background with math and science helped her pick her major, she said.
On her way to earning the salutatorian position, Brunshidle chose to take on academic challenges.
"I didn't realize the importance (of a high GPA) until after freshman year. Then sophomore year I tried to advance myself," she said.
While most of her classmates are toiling away at high school and advanced placement classes this year, Brunshidle now spends her mornings taking classes at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. First semester, she took a geology course and is now enrolled in English 100, she said.
"It's a lot of fun," Brunshidle said of her recent college experiences. "It's good to get college experience before going to college."
Her future college plans don't include UWRF however. Brunshidle is planning to attend the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the fall, majoring in kinesiology.
With her future degree, she said she hopes to become a physical therapist or a wellness instructor.
"I like physical fitness. I'm an avid runner," Brunshidle explained. She was a member of the SCC cross country team and is currently running on the track team, she said.
She's planning to keep on running competitively in college, this time with the Blugold cross country team.
Among her activities other than running are Students Offering Support, Teens Against Tobacco Use, Family Leaders of America, Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, Band and Forensics.
Brunshidle has earned awards in cross country, track and forensics.
"My parents (Tom and Carolanne) have instilled in me to be goal orientated and to succeed," Brunshidle said of her accomplishments.
Students with an overall grade point average of B+ or better will graduate with high honors.
Graduating with high honors from SCC are Brittany Briggs, Ryan G. Core, Ryan Hansen, Andrea Hartline, Janel Jacobson, Austin Johnson, Jesse Krizan, Mckinsy Larson, Sara Liddle, Amanda Mataczynski, Becca McInnis, Michelle McKenna, Julia Morgen, Anna Morris, Shayna Nicolaison-DeRosier, Linnea Olson, Casey Perry, Brian Poulin, Jeremiah Shafer, Anne Sukowatey, Jeremy Warwick and Andrew Zwald.
Graduation is planned for 8 p.m., May 22.