The Fennimore Community Schools Board of Education recognized the valedictorian and salutatorian of the 2013 graduating class during a meeting Feb. 28.
Brandon Adkins, son of Sean and Lisa Adkins, was named valedictorian. Conner Nelson, son of Jim and Renee Nelson, was named salutatorian.
Trent Napp, son of Tom and Sara Napp, was also recognized by the board. Napp has earned a 4.0 grade point average and will wear a gold cap at graduation.
Adkins, Nelson and Napp have not only excelled inside the classroom, but outside of it. Each have taken part in a laundry list of activities as Golden Eagles.
Adkins has participated in basketball, football, forensics, geography bee, jazz ensemble, national honor society, prom court, solo and ensemble, spelling bee, spring fling, student council, track and field, SWMA honors band, handbells and the SWAL math competition. He was a meal site volunteer and a Special Olympics volunteer.
Nelson has participated in basketball, chordsmen, cross country, FFA, madrigal, national honor society, prom court, solo and ensemble, spelling bee, track and field, SWMA honors choir and the SWAL math competition. He was also a Special Olympics volunteer.
Napp participated in basketball, chordsmen, football, forensics, national honor society, prom court, spelling bee, spring fling, student council, track and field, and SWAL math competition. He was also a meal site volunteer.
Adkins, Nelson and Napp each took time last week to discuss their accomplishments with the Fennimore Times.
What was your favorite subject? Why?
Adkins: “Math and science have always been my favorites. I like history too, but math and science really stuck out.
“When I was younger, my mom read a lot of science books to me. It was kind of cool. When I was little, I had a whole bunch of little stars that we would stick on my ceiling with putty. That was kind of how I first got into it.”
Nelson: “Besides art and physical education, I would have to say math and science too. Science incorporates the laboratory concept, where you get to work with your hands.
“I’ve always been a problem solver, so I like solving the problems in math. When you get the final answer, it is pretty gratifying.”
Napp: “I don’t really have a favorite subject. I like AP Psychology, all my math classes, and anatomy and physiology. Those would probably be my favorites.”
What was your least favorite subject? Why?
Adkins: “I like English, but I definitely struggle with writing. That is the thing I have the hardest time doing. I just can’t sit down and write, it takes me a long time to get something.”
Nelson: “My least favorite subject throughout the years has probably been history. I struggle with that because of remembering the dates, remembering the people and what they did. I have never been too into that.”
Napp: “History is just not my thing. There are too many names, dates and other stuff to memorize.”
Adkins: “It’s not like we dislike these classes at all, but to us they are the most difficult.”
Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
Adkins: “All the teachers are all really good at helping get done what you need here. In my opinion, they can all teach really well.”
Nelson: “I have enjoyed all of my teachers. There is not one of them I could say anything bad about.
“I enjoy Mr. Baker’s enthusiasm. My parents had him as a teacher, so it was kind of cool being the second generation.”
Napp: “I honestly don’t think I have a favorite teacher. They are all fantastic.
“If I had to pick a few they would be: Mr. Davis, Mr. Van Epps and Mrs. Evans. They make English classes fun.”
Describe your study habits.
Adkins: “I procrastinate. I wait until late at night to start my homework. That is one of the things I like about me the least, for sure.
“I definitely think that you have to study and put in the time. For me personally, it is a combination of focusing in class and studying outside of class.”
Nelson: “I procrastinate as well. As far as study habits, the night before a test I like to go over important concepts of a chapter. Before a test you can find me running through everything at the last second.”
Adkins: “It is good to go over it more than once. That is why I go over right before the test. I go over it the night before, and then it definitely refreshes if you go over it right before the test.”
Napp: "Well, by the time I get done with a practice or game, it can range from 6:30 to 11 p.m. when I start my homework. I’ve always tried my hardest to get most of my math done in my study hall so I can do my other school work at home.
“That’s just my routine, but I have a lot of late nights studying and it has paid off.”
Experts say breakfast fuels your brain. What do you eat for breakfast?
Adkins: “I don’t eat breakfast. Day-to-day, it is rare for me to eat breakfast. When I do, it is usually something crazy like cookie dough ice cream. I just get up and go in the morning.”
Nelson: “I usually eat late at night. Before I go to bed, I will eat a bowl of cereal at midnight. In the morning I’m not that hungry because I just ate.
“Throughout the morning, if you stop in with the cooks, every once in a while they will slip me a cinnamon roll or a thing of orange juice.
“I enjoy helping them, and then they reward you with a little bit of a snack.”
Napp: “It depends how much time I have. It is usually oatmeal with some eggs or cereal. I eat the school’s breakfast if I don’t have a lot of time.”
How did you balance extra-curricular activities and academics?
Adkins: “You get home and then you have to eat and shower. By the time you get into your homework it is kind of late to begin with. There are some late nights for sure.”
Nelson: “Planning definitely has something to do with it. They give us a planner at the beginning of every year and I write down every single class I have homework in. That way I don’t forget.”
Adkins: “I write down every class, even if I don’t have homework. So I know what I was doing during the day. It is good to be structured and organized.”
Napp: “It was a lot of hard work, especially in the spring. You have to wake up before school after a late night of homework, do a track workout, go to school, go to a forensics meet, get back at 9 or 10 p.m., then have more homework on top of that.
“I tried not to worry too much about things. It’s sometimes a lot of pressure to get all of it done but if you can just relax and not worry it’s really not too bad.”
What was the best advice you have received regarding education?
Adkins: “For me, it was more of me pushing myself. If I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do something like this, I am going to want to push myself to the limits and be as good as I can.
“As long as you are working hard, I guess that’s all that matters. You can’t ask for much more.”
Nelson: “My parents and teachers always say, ‘make sure you do your best at every task you have been given.’”
Napp: “Persevere and always work hard. Teachers preach it every day and kids should really listen to them.”
What advice do you have for other students hoping to earn a 4.0 grade point average?
Adkins: “It is always fun to be involved in things. Have fun, but work hard and be serious about things when you need to be serious about them.
“Do your best.”
Nelson: “Definitely take up all the extra-curricular activities you can. Be involved, because you only get to go through high school once.
“On the academic side, focus on your school work. It’s not just high school, it is going to take you through college and college takes you into your future career.
“Focusing and academics and extra-curricular activities is definitely very important.”
Napp: “Don’t be afraid to get into extra-curricular activities. Without them you’ll get bored, then not want to do your homework and then not earn that 4.0. They’re fun and they teach you a lot of life lessons.”
Adkins: “There are a lot of people around you that definitely help you. It is not just us that have done this, there are a lot of people that have come in to help us.”
Nelson: “You should talk to your teachers. Being from a small school, everybody knows everybody. If you talk to your teachers, they will help you any way they can.”
Adkins: “If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. There are plenty of people around here willing to help.”
Where do you plan to attend college? What field of study interests you?
Adkins: “I think UW-Madison is where I am going. I am not absolutely positive. As far as major, I keep flip-flopping every other week it seems like. Probably something science or math related.”
Nelson: “I am deciding between UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls. Currently, I am leaning toward River Falls. They definitely have a good agriculture program up there and that is what I will be majoring in.
“Between scholarships and college, it is definitely a big decision, where you are furthering your education.”
Adkins: “It is going to be the next four years of our lives, at least.”
Napp: “I plan to go to UW-La Crosse and major in Biology, with a minor in Exercise Sports Science.”
What was your reaction when you learned you would be valedictorian and salutatorian? Trent, what was your reaction when you learned you will be wearing a gold cap as a 4.0 student at graduation?
Adkins: “That all the hard work finally paid off.”
Nelson: “More or less, relief. It just shows all that work came to something. Not necessarily valedictorian or salutatorian, but just earning that 4.0. Salutatorian, yeah that’s a name, but the 4.0, knowing that you reached that straight As throughout, that is the main thing.
“In elementary school I always focused on school work and always got it done. Following into high school, I still hadn’t had a ‘B.’ I didn’t want all that work and have a ‘B.’”
Napp: “I had mixed feelings, it’s cool to get to wear it because it signifies your hard work, but at the same time, I’d probably just rather wear a maroon one and be like everyone else.”
Adkins: “Obviously, we all worked pretty hard. I think in elementary school, in third grade, it finally clicked for me.
“I actually remember this. I wasn’t always the strongest student before that. It finally clicked in third grade, that I had to be putting a better effort into this.
“From there, I didn’t look back. I just tried to give it my best the whole way. It wasn’t so much the 4.0. I always thought that I would rather have an understanding of what I’m learning and further myself than have a 4.0.
“If that meant getting worse grades because I didn’t understand something but I worked harder to understand it, that is what was important to me. I didn’t really need that 4.0, that came with it I guess.”
Nelson: “More or less, it is getting the most out of what you do and doing the best at what you do. A 4.0 is the reward you get for that.”
What will you miss most about Fennimore High School?
Adkins: “A lot. It’s nice. There is not a lot of people who don’t like living in a small town. If you need help with something, someone is always willing to help you. You are not just a number, you are person.”
Nelson: “Everything. We are definitely privileged to be such a great school. Everybody knows everybody and it seems like everyone gets along.
“You’ve also got some connections, such as connections with the cooks to get you a cinnamon roll here and there.”
Napp: There are a lot of things, but the school lunches are definitely at the top of the list. I don’t know how people can’t like them. From what I’ve heard, they’re the best in the area and I believe it.
“Running out onto the court to Mr. Albrecht’s Mean Machine will definitely be missed as well. I’ll miss everything about high school sports.”