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Schwechler, Holter named SCC co-valedictorians

Co-valedictorian Katheryn Holter1 / 2
Co-valedictorian Owen Schwechler2 / 2

St. Croix Central

The St. Croix Central School District recently announced that the Class of 2017 will have co-valedictorians this year in Owen Schwechler and Katheryn Holter.

"It was more of a surprise to me that I was named co-valedictorian, because my guidance counselor originally told me I would be salutatorian because of my ACT score, so I was more surprised than anything else," Holter said. "I was really excited and felt pride for being named valedictorian."

Both students have GPAs of 4.0, but Schwechler was awarded the 2017 Wisconsin Higher Education Academic Excellence Scholarship due to a tie-breaker.

"I was excited to be named co-valedictorian, but I was kind of expecting it for a while now because of all the hard work I've put in," Schwechler said. "Everything I've done throughout my high school career was building toward this point and it was one of my initial goals to be valedictorian and I'm happy that I achieved it."

Schwechler will be attending the University of Wyoming this fall to study accounting and he plans to get a master's degree before taking the CPA exam to become a Certified Personal Accountant.

"I took accounting 1 last year and I fell in love with it," Schwechler said. "I love that the answers are set in stone and they won't ever change. My buddy and I convinced our teacher to let us do an independent study to take accounting 2, which is the first time they have offered that class here. The class just furthered our passion for accounting."

The University of Wyoming was Schwechler's choice because it felt like a home away from home when he visited last summer and because it is a medium-sized campus that has a great business program and great people.

Holter has yet to decide where she is going to go next fall or what she will major in when she gets there, but she knows she wants to go to a smaller private school, such as Carthage College or St. Thomas, and she will most likely study biology.

"I really have an interest in the probability of genetics that I learned from the biology classes I've taken here," Holter said. "I'm excited for the new setting college offers and the new people I'll be able to meet. I'm also looking forward to the different feel and style of a college education."

Holter was involved in many different groups during her high school career, including being part of the varsity basketball and track teams, while also being vice president of the National Honor Society (NHS) and part of Students Offering Support (SOS). She was also part of the band and FBLA.

Schwechler was also involved in varsity sports, including basketball and baseball, and was president of the NHS and SOS groups.

"I find it fascinating how the people that Katheryn and I have known for our entire careers in school are all moving on and making plans for the future," Schwechler said. "You can see how much they have developed and grown as people since our first years here. That is part of what is so interesting to me: seeing people find their passion and move on."

Though both Schwechler and Holter are ready for what lies ahead of them next fall and beyond, they will both miss what they have at St. Croix Central.

"It is kind of a win and lose situation for me. I'm excited for the new experiences I'll get in a different setting, but high school feels like a home and I'll miss being around the people here and the activities I do," Holter said. "I really liked the involvement of the student body and how they are overly involved in everything. I feel like the school has had a positive influence on me and a great atmosphere for the past four years."

Schwechler echoed Holter's feelings of looking forward to the new experiences college can offer while also being sad to know he will be leaving a place that feels so familiar and safe.

"This year has been a mixture of both happy and sad feelings," Schwechler said. "Obviously, everybody is a little stressed about getting all the scholarships and graduating. But at the same time, I don't want the high school experience to end. I enjoy coming to school every day and being with some of the best people I've ever met in my life. But at the same time, I know I'll have the opportunity to expand my horizons in college. So that is why I have a mixture of happy and sad feelings."

Above all else, both of the 2017 valedictorians know that they have been fortunate to be part of the St. Croix Central School District.

"I feel lucky to have been able to come here," Schwechler said. "Knowing kids from other schools around here, I feel like SCC is the place to be, both academically and for personal relationships. I can't thank everybody I've had personal relationships with enough for that feeling."

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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