Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Badger’s top 2011 graduates

by Lisa Seiser

June 02, 2011

It was a battle to the end and one in which a lone winner could not be determined.

This year, eight Badger High School seniors tied for having the same 4.2 grade point average after seven semesters at the school. Through eight tiebreakers, Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz and Bergen Quaerna are the co-valedictorians for 2011 and Arianne Woller is the salutatorian.

“I’ve always been motivated to do well — the best I can,” Brendan said of being co-valedictorian. “When I found out I had the chance, that is when it hit me to finish strong and give myself a shot.”

“I have always had the passion for getting good grades and doing well in school,” Bergen said. “I always tried my best and just hoped I would finish somewhere close to the top.”

Their work ethic, success and talents in the classroom aren’t their only similarities.

Brendan and Bergen attended preschool together and Arianne and Bergen were in ballet and dance class together at age 3. They also have been involved for four years in sports and many other extracurricular activities at the school. All three admit it was that involvement that helped them reach the top.

“I think extracurriculars helped me,” said Brendan, who played football, soccer, basketball and golf. “You learn to budget your time and that pays off when you have a lot of homework. You learn to figure out how to tackle a job and get it done.”

Arianne agreed. She said if she wasn’t in a sport, she was working. That requires the ability to budget her time, she said.

“I think we can all attest to having a lot of late nights, or I guess early mornings you might say,” Arianne said.

So, for those reasons it’s fitting they all finished their high school careers at the top of the Badger Class of 2011.

On Sunday, they will join their fellow classmates as they say good bye to one stage of life and prepare for their next.

“I will be happy, but it may be sad,” Brendan said. “There’s always a time when it hits you. I had it hit me earlier this year. My last soccer game, it hit me. I realized this is the last save I’m going to make as a high school soccer player. It will hit me that this is the last time we will be with all these kids together. Eventually, it will hit me — boom.”

Arianne said she’s not sure what her emotions will be Sunday.

“We can talk about it, but until it actually happens, I don’t know how to feel,” she said.

But, whatever happens on Sunday, they are excited about their next journey.

Brendan is headed to Northwestern University for mechanical engineering.

“I have always liked math and took a lot of classes in the tech wing to figure out what it was that interested me,” he said. “I felt mechanical engineering was a good fit.”

Bergen will head to Drake University in Iowa to eventually become a pharmacist.

“I have always loved math and science and a couple family members just graduated from pharmacy college and that’s what I want to do now,” she said.

Arianne will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and seek a double major in French and international studies with the dream of one day becoming a diplomat.

“I always loved French and have been in it since sixth grade — a long time,” she said. “I really like it and feel comfortable in the language and want to learn about the culture. The international studies, I went to Model UN (United Nations) and Model OAS (Organization of American States) and really liked it and the diplomatic environment. I would like to be a diplomat and then eventually an ambassador to another country someday.”

All three admit to having fond memories of Badger, and it will be a transition as they head to college, even though the are excited to spread their wings and become adults.

“There’s a comfort level here,” Brendan said. “We’ve been here four years and we know the staff and they know us. Now, we have to go somewhere else where you don’t know anybody.”

But, they will take with them the memories of their friends and experiences.

“There are just so many of them,” Brendan said.

“Having so many is really a good feeling,” Arianne said. “You can go through any of the yearbooks and read what friends wrote and I will remember what happened.”

All three said the basketball team going to state freshman year was one of the many highlights.

“My favorite memory is reminiscing about all the other memories,” Brendan said.

“I think graduation is going to be bittersweet — really bittersweet,” Arianne said.