With two Fennimore High School seniors maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average through seven semesters, the deciding factor in this year’s valedictorian race came down to one half credit.
Sydney Whitaker earned the prestigious Valedictorian position for the Class of 2012, as announced at last Wednesday night’s school board meeting. Whitaker ended up with a half-credit edge on Bradley Dick, finishing with 29 credits, while Dick had completed 28.5.
Based on the school board policy, “if two or more have the same grade point average, the student who has earned the most credits at FHS in all subjects shall be the nominee.”
Whitaker said she wasn’t expecting to receive the honor, and the news came as a surprise to her.
“I really thought Bradley was going to get it,” she said. “It’s pretty exciting to know that all the hard work has paid off.”
The two said they have been at the top of their class all throughout their high school careers. However, there was never any sort of competition between them for the number one spot.
“We kind of expected to finish as the top two,” Dick said. “We’ve always been there it seems.”
Dick, the son of Peggy and Kevin, has been involved in many activities during high school. While serving as the Student Council and class president, he has also been involved in National Honor Society, SWAL Math cmpetition, prom court, band, cross country and track.
He was the captain of the cross country team the past two years.
“I think being involved in things outside of academics helps make you well-rounded,” Dick said. “It’s important to not bite off more than you can chew though.”
Dick plans to attend UW-Madison next fall, majoring in engineering.
“I am very interested in aerospace engineering,” he said. “I have always wanted to learn more about flight and would love to work for an aircraft someday.”
As far as advice to younger students, Dick said to stay organized and try to get involved in other activities.
“Don’t try to do too much, though,” he added. “It’s hard playing catch-up if you fall behind.”
Whitaker, daughter of Bill and Nikki, has also kept herself busy, both in academics and extra-curriculars.
She has been heavily involved in the school’s music programs, participating in band and choir all four years. She has been a member of jazz band, solo ensemble, show choir, Madrigal, honors band and honors choir. She is also a frequent singer of the National Anthem for sporting events.
“Music is a huge part of my life,” she said. “It has been the best part of high school for me. A lot of people know me for my singing, and I’m OK with that.”
Whitaker has also been involved in forensics, volleyball, basketball, softball, National Honor Society, Student Council, prom court, and SWAL math competition. She has served as the Class Treasurer and National Honor Society President, as well as captain of the basketball team.
“When you’re involved in a lot of activities, you have to make sure you manage your time a certain way,” she said. “It doesn’t help being a procrastinator, but I am guilty of it. I have had a lot of long days, but I am one of those people who work better under a deadline.”
Whitaker said she plans to attend UW-Madison next fall for law, business or anesthesiology.
“I haven’t really decided exactly what I’d like to do,” she said. “I am really interested in law, but I have to look at the job outlook. There is good job placement in the medical field, and I also think I could do well working for a company.”
She will be trying out for the different choirs UW has to offer as well.
“Music will always be a part of my life,” she said. “It’s a part of who I am.”
Whitaker’s advice to younger students involves hard work and some fun, too.
“Work to your fullest potential,” she said. “Don’t give up, but don’t let your grades be all you care about. Make sure you have fun, because it is possible to work hard and have fun.”
Graduation is set for Saturday, May 26.