A humbling honor
PLYMOUTH CO. — Eight Plymouth County seniors have been recognized by Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg for their outstanding academic achievement at the 20th annual Governor’s Scholar Recognition Ceremony in Des Moines.
Each district within the county were invited to select a senior student with the highest academic ranking based on grade point average for their first seven semesters. The students selected for each district were: Le Mars Community — Riley Sadoski and Matthew Ahlers; Gehlen Catholic — Harlie Tesch; Akron-Westfield — Aubie Hartman; Hinton Community School — Isabella Badar; Kingsley-Pierson — Grant Schroeder; MMCRU — Ellie Reuter; and Remsen St. Mary’s — Sidney Tritz.
The students spoke about what the recognition means for each of them.
“This honor means the world to me to be recognized by Kim Reynolds. To be recognized by the governor of Iowa is something I have always dreamt about. When I was a little girl I remember passing the plaque in our school and thinking to myself, ‘that’s going to be me someday,’ and with some hard work that dream was fulfilled. I am completely honored to be recognized by her and the state,” Badar said.
Badar, who will be attending the University of Arizona to major in kinesiology and ethnic studies on a pre med track, said the honor is a great recognition of all the hard work she has put in.
“It’s not that I needed an award, but this recognition just proved to me that all of the late nights, sacrifices, and hard work was truly worth it. I am the type of person to get homework done on a Friday and study over the weekend. By getting recognized it proved to me that it is the right thing to do. This award really showed me how far determination and a great work ethic can take you,” she shared.
Kingsley-Pierson’s Grant Schroeder echoed Badar’s comments.
“Getting recognized as a Governor’s Scholar is very rewarding after all of the time and are work that I put in throughout my high school career. I have done a lot to get to where I am and being recognized for my accomplishments is an added bonus,” he said.
“It was an honor that Governor Reynolds personally presented this achievement to us. It gives weight to the importance of working hard and serving our communities. I felt very blessed and grateful to be recognized for what I have achieved throughout my time in high school, and challenged to continue to strive to do great things,” Schroeder continued.
Following high school, Schroeder plans to attend Iowa State University where he will major in agricultural engineering.
For MMCRU senior Ellie Reuter the Governor’s Honor is a recognition not only of her academia but also her commitment in athletics and her community.
“It’s a great honor to receive this recognition. I have always tried my best in school, sports, and in the community, and this recognition shows that my hard work is appreciated and hasn’t gone unnoticed,” Reuter shared. “This recognition shows all the hard work I’ve put in for the last four years has paid off. Because my mom is a teacher, I’ve grown up to appreciate education and I know how important it is in our lives. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort throughout the years to get good grades and it’s been worth it.”
The fall of 2022 will see Reuter in Vermillion attending the University of South Dakota studying accounting.
Le Mars Community senior Matthew Ahlers, who plans to attend Duke University to pursue a degree in either pre-medicine or computer science, also appreciates the recognition for his efforts in the classroom and beyond.
“This award honors the top academic achievers from my school, and I sincerely appreciate being chosen from such a talented group. I try my best whether it’s academics, extracurriculars or service,” Ahlers said. “I don’t study hard for the recognition, but it sure is nice when hard work pays off and Governor Reynolds celebrates our achievements. My Class of 2022 is very talented at Le Mars High School and I am honored to be selected.”
Fellow LCS senior and recipient Riley Sadoski shared his appreciation.
“It is a pleasure to be honored by Governor Reynolds because being a governor’s scholar is a prestigious award that I get to tell my kids about. This award is a good symbol of hard work because it is given to only a select few students each year who strive to be at the top of their class,” Sadoski stated.
Following graduation, Sadoski plans to study biomedical sciences on a track for pre-med at the University of Iowa.
Gehlen’s Harlie Tesch is not only thankful to Reynolds but also for guidance along her journey.
“Receiving recognition from Governor Reynolds means a lot to me. She has high authority and yet cares to much about the youth. I am thank for her awareness and recognition for doing well academically,” she stated.
“This recognition has shown me that no matter how many times you want to give up it is important to continue to keep trying. When you try your best and really care about your education there is a greater chance you will succeed in anything. One thing I have learned is to always ask God for guidance in any situation and he will help you succeed.”
Tesch will attend Faust Institute of Cosmetology for cosmetology following graduation.
For Remsen St. Mary’s Sidney Tritz and Akron-Westfield’s Aubie Hartman the honor is validation that hard work pays off.
“I am very grateful and honored to have received the Governor’s Scholar Award. This is important to me because it validates my diligence and work ethic that I have put int academics the last four years of high school,” Tritz said. “It wasn’t my sole effort but also the effort of my teachers who are always willing to put in the extra time to help us out.
“The extra hard work, while also going above and beyond does not go unnoticed. It shows leadership to continuously put in effort,” Tritz added noting she has balanced her high school courses along with online courses to get a head start for college. “My determination and effort towards my academics will prepare me for success in college.”
Tritz will attend Iowa State University where she will pursue a degree in business, with the possibility of studying marketing or supply chain management.
“Having this honor shows my hard work and dedication I had throughout school and makes me proud of what I have done,” said Hartman, who plans to attend South Dakota State University to major in agriculture education. “This recognition signifies my hard work by showing others if you work hard it will pay off. I believe anyone can do anything if you work hard and that’s what this recognition stands for.”
A Qualified Group of Leaders
Students selected for the award also had the opportunity to recognize their favorite/most influential teacher and will receive a photo plaque of their meeting with Reynolds and Gregg.
“The principles learned through academic success, like those learned from participation in education-based activities, help develop outstanding leaders and citizens,” said IHSAA Executive Director Tom Keating. “The partnership between the IHSAA and the Iowa Farm Bureau, along with the great cooperation of the Governor’s Office, has made this prestigious event possible for many years.”
Ninety-nine percent of those recognized also participate in extra-curricular school activities, with more than 70 percent participating in at least one interscholastic sport. More than 60 percent of the group plan to continue their education in Iowa.
A Proud Sponsor
The statewide program, sponsored by the Iowa Governor’s Office, Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and its title sponsor the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), honored 419 high school seniors from across Iowa.
Iowa Farm Bureau is proud to support the education of Iowa’s youth in many ways, including the half-million dollars in annual scholarships awarded to students continuing their education,” said IFBF President Brent Johnson.
“Our 20-year title sponsorship of the annual governor’s scholar recognition ceremony is just one way we celebrate the exceptional high school students from across the state. We are honored to support these Governor’s Scholars who represent the next generation of Iowa leaders.”