Big Foot's top students prepare for big plans
Gottman becomes a Badger, Kinerk heads to Ball State
June 01, 2011 | 08:49 AMWalworth — The valedictorian and salutatorian at Big Foot High School may both have excelled academically, but are planning different paths for when they leave the school next week.
Jordan Gottman, the school's valedictorian, is heading to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he plans to study actuarial science — a discipline that assesses risk in the insurance and financial industries.
While the salutatorian, Angela Kinerk, is heading to Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., to study music education.
Both students are slated to give speeches to their classmates during the June 5 graduation ceremony.
Throughout their four years at the school, both Kinerk and Gottman have been involved in sports, extra curricular activities and volunteer efforts.
Gottman played football, baseball and basketball.
He was part of the team that won the WIAA state football conference title in 2009 and made the baseball all-conference team.
Kinerk was on the school's volleyball team for four years.
Both Gottman and Kinerk volunteered with the school's freshman mentoring program and are part of the school's National Honor Society.
Gottman also has volunteered with the local youth football and baseball camps and with the Recreation Department's flag football program.
"It was always an activity as a little kid that piqued my interest," Gottman said. "It is nice to work with kids and help bring out their interest in sports."
Kinerk said she volunteered at Walworth Elementary School where she read books to younger students and helped them use computers.
Kinerk volunteers at SMILES — Special Methods In Learning Equine Skills — an organization that brings horse riding to physically and cognitively disabled people.
As someone who loves horses, Kinerk said it is rewarding to work with people at SMILES.
"They get to be happy and do something that is catered to them," she said.
Kinerk, a clarinet player, said her interest in music began in fourth-grade when she began band. She credits Fontana band teacher Rusty Wulff with sparking her interest in music and keeping her in the program.
"Every time he would see me he would tell me to join the band," Kinerk said.
Her own music teachers also have played an influence in her decision.
"Every person I've seen teaching it seems really happy with it," she said. "Band teachers always seem peppy and fun."
Several factors came into play when Kinerk selected Ball State University. She liked the size of the school, the majors it offered and a cousin recommended it.
Gottman said his interest in statistics pushed him toward a desire to study actuarial science, but Madison has always been in his plans.
Growing up, his mother told him it was the best school in the state.
"As I grew older I started following the sports team and I knew that I wanted to be a Badger.
After graduation, Kinerk said she is going to miss her friends and teachers and attending the school's sporting events. Gottman said he will miss similar activities.
"I'm going to miss friends and miss the homecoming activities — even the ones that are frowned upon — and miss the sporting events," he said.