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Shooting for the stars

St. Croix Central Class of 2014 Valedictorian Melissa Schmidt-Landin (left) and Salutatorian Andrew Hanson both have big plans after graduation. (Photo by Sarah Young)

St. Croix Central High School has announced the Valedictorian and Salutatorian for the Class of 2014. Melissa Schmidt-Landin has been named as valedictorian, and Austin Hanson has been named as salutatorian.

Melissa Schmidt-Landin

Schmidt-Landin holds the highest grade point average of the seniors at St. Croix Central High School, which determined her status as valedictorian. The St. Croix Central School Board designated Schmidt-Landin as the recipient of the district’s 2014 State Academic Scholarship.

She is the daughter of Heather Landin. She has a twin brother, Daniel, and an older sister, Rose. She lives and works on the family farm near Baldwin.

Schmidt-Landin has been involved in many school activities throughout her academic career, including DECA, Family Leaders of America, National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, the set crew for many productions, choir and jazz choir.

Outside of school, Schmidt-Landin is a member of the 4-H club Double Good, practices karate, was an intern at 3M in the toxicology department and volunteers twice a month at the Dorothy Day Center in the Twin Cities.

She enjoys playing chess, chain mail, bead crafts, raising her chicken and ducks, showing her animals at the St. Croix County Fair and wood carpentry.

Living on a sheep farm, Schmidt-Landin has a menagerie of pets and farm animals, including two cats, three dogs, geese, blue-faced English Leicester sheep and work donkeys.

Schmidt-Landin’s favorite subjects in school are physics and calculus. She would like to pursue a career as an aerospace engineer and is looking at attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stanford, Cornell, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Georgia Institute of Technology. She said she is leaning toward UW-Madison.

Her favorite school memories are of working in set crews for drama and musical productions because of the nice people and how well they all worked together.

Her advice to underclassmen is “It doesn’t matter if you’re popular as long as the teachers like you.”

St. Croix Central High School principal Glenn Webb described Schmidt-Landin as an extremely hardworking, driven student.

“Both Melissa and Austin are great kids with bright futures ahead of them,” Webb said. “They will be successful in whatever they choose to do in life. I am extremely proud of their accomplishments thus far and can’t wait to see their successes in the future.”

Austin Hanson

Austin Hanson had the second-highest grade point average in his class, which determined his position as salutatorian for the SCC High School class of 2014.

Hanson is the son of Jon and Kelly Hanson. He has an older sister, Paige, and a younger sister, Gabby. He works at River Falls Golf Course in the pro shop.

During his high school career, Hanson was a member of the Panther basketball team his freshman year, the National Honor Society and tutored kids at the middle school as part of the Great Results After School Program (GRASP).

His most fond memory of high school was dressing up during Homecoming Week. Hanson said he will miss his relationships with teachers and friends when he leaves SCC.

For fun Hanson likes to workout, stay fit, swim, ride his four-wheeler, snowmobile and take care of his pets. His family has a ferret named Penny, a pug named Ottis, two miniature Pinschers names Rosie and Taetae, a Rottweiler named Rocky, a Husky named Abby, three outdoor cats (Smokey, Snickerdoodle and Big Red) and an indoor cats named Rambo and Brandy.

Hanson’s favorite subjects in school are math and science. He will possibly go to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo for biomedical engineering. This summer he will visit California and plans to work as much as he can.

“Shoot for the stars,” Hanson advises underclassmen. “Don’t apply to just the schools you know you’ll get into. Reach higher and take all the hard classes you can.”

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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