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Two students from Class of '09 take top honors

John Peper will graduate from New Richmond High School with a 4.0 GPA in June. He plans to attend UW-Madison and earn a degree in engineering. Photo by Jackie Grumish1 / 2
Steve McCarthy was named one of two valedictorians at NRHS this year. He plans to attend the University of Minnesota and pursue a career in dentistry. Photo by Jackie Grumish2 / 2

Two valedictorians will graduate from New Richmond High School this spring in a class of roughly 225 students.

School officials have announced John Peper and Steve McCarthy as the two students with 4.0 GPAs, the highest New Richmond High School students can earn.

The title earned them several scholarship opportunities and a chance to speak at their graduation ceremony.

John Peper

Peper, the son of David and Deena Peper, was a typical freshman, who wasn't very worried about his grades until his sophomore year of high school.

Luckily, his studies came pretty easy.

"It kind of just happened," Peper said of his 4.0 GPA. "My sophomore year I just kept rolling with it."

After Peper's sophomore year, only 3-4 potential valedictorians remained, he said. That's when he decided he would push to keep his 4.0 status.

After graduation, Peper plans to attend UW-Madison, something he's dreamed about since second grade.

"I went to a Badger game with my grandparents in second grade," he said. "I've wanted to go there ever since."

His 4.0 GPA helped him get accepted, but other extracurricular activities sealed the deal, he said.

Peper is involved in football, basketball, track and field, Arrive Alive, National Honor Society, Freshman Mentor, N club, Future Business Leaders of America, 4H and the Cyclone Club.

Steve McCarthy

McCarthy, son of Ray and Deb McCarthy, has always held himself to a higher standard.

"It's been a goal of mine since the beginning," McCarthy said of his valedictorian status.

Grades are usually the last thing on a high school freshman's mind, but McCarthy knew they were important to get into a good college.

After graduation, McCarthy plans to attend the University of Minnesota to pursue dentistry.

"I've had a lot of personal experience with it," he said. "I've had 16 teeth pulled, braces, spacers and head gear."

Along with helping people, McCarthy said dentistry interests him because of the job environment.

"I really like working with people and everyone is so friendly at dentist offices," he said.

Other than being an academic whiz kid, McCarthy is involved with basketball, track and field, National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Key Club, SPARK Tutor, Freshman Mentor, N Club, Cyclone Club and Arrive Alive.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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