Outstanding Senior looks to teach English

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

Kirsten Ranke’s commitment to helping others, even as she overcame challenges herself, started as a youngster working on her family farm.

“It really turned into a passion for animals and for kids,” said Ranke, a 2019 Waterford Union High School.

Kirsten Ranke

Ranke, who became involved with Clover View 4-H Club in third grade, served multiple leadership posts with her most recent as a youth camp director overseeing about 60 children and other volunteers this summer.

In addition, through 4-H and Waterford FFA, she has exhibited foods, poultry, beef and dairy at the Racine County Fair for almost a decade.

She also maintains herd health records at her family’s beef farm as well as a nearby dairy farm.

Her community involvement, including passion for assisting others, did not go unnoticed by teachers and coaches at Waterford.

“Kirsten has accomplished much during high school, all while involving herself in music, athletics and work,” English teacher Natalie Tolbert wrote in a recommendation letter. “Indeed, with the demanding schedule of rigorous coursework, her dedication to her family’s farm and her impressive array of extracurricular activities, Kirsten’s ability to make time for others and to share her talents is truly exemplary.”

For efforts, including willingness to confront challenges, Ranke has been selected as Waterford Union High School’s Outstanding Senior by editorial staff of Southern Lakes Newspapers.

Academic success
At Waterford, Ranke was a four-year honor roll student, earned two department awards, became an AP Scholar with Distinction on her 12 total AP exams and notched a 34 on her ACT.

With her cumulative grade point average above 4.0, along with her ACT score, she earned a McCready Scholarship to attend Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota, where she was recruited to run cross country and track.

In addition to serving as treasurer of both National Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honors Society, Ranke was involved in choir for four years, including working as a volunteer at the school’s annual Madrigal Dinner.

Ranke’s achievements, however, came with a series of challenges as she entered high school.

“When I started high school, I struggled academically. I think that I was not prepared for the rigor of classes. I was used to everything coming easy for me,” she said. “It took a little bit an adjustment period. I think my first year, I had a GPA of about 3.4 and then I just graduated with a cumulative GPA of just over 4.0.”

The adjustment included seeking help from instructors, her family, and others, which she said was difficult for her to initially admit.

“What strikes me the most about Kirsten is her fortitude, how she vigorously embraces her academic challenges and perseveres, displaying outstanding character,” Tolbert wrote in the letter.

English teacher Nathan Schreiber, also the school’s head cross country coach, said Ranke always showed determination.

“Kirsten is also a conscientious student who is determined to succeed in the classroom. She has consistently challenged herself with college bound class classes while maintaining heavy involvement in athletics,” Schreiber wrote in his recommendation letter.

Active Wolverine
With NHS, Ranke developed a fundraiser to resell prom dresses from peers, which raised funds for the organization’s playground project. Some dresses were donated to a local special needs dance organization.

Ranke, meanwhile, had an active role with the choir, receiving the Director’s Award for her outstanding service to the department as a freshman.

In addition, she also served at the school’s annual Madrigal Dinner, organizing the event’s uniforms and robes all four years.

Along with continuous commitment to the NHS and Tri-M Music Honors, she completed one year in each of the following organizations, including Student Council, Community Helpers and Student Educators Club.

A member of Homecoming Court as a sophomore and senior, she was also chosen a Youth Frontiers leader for the sophomore class as a senior.

Outside of the classroom, Ranke ran cross country, a sport she was inspired to join because of her older brother.

“I started cross country in fifth grade, I believe. I was influenced by my older brother Ryan. He started running in fifth grade as well,” she said.

She found her senior season as the most memorable, especially after she helped the Waterford girls program to its first Southern Lakes Conference championship since 2010.

Ranke entered the season holding one of the final varsity spots, but during the conference meet, she remembered jumping to fourth to propel the Wolverines to a title.

“Her clutch performances in championship meets propelled Waterford to one of its finest seasons,” Schreiber said. “Kirsten helped lead a young team to a successful season, complete with an SLC championship.”

Ranke was awarded second team All-Conference.

“It completely blew my mind,” she said. “They year before, I was running times two minutes slower than what I ran at the (conference) meet.”

She finds satisfaction for running even when she isn’t representing the Wolverines.

“Personally, it has always been something I really enjoyed,” she said. “It is a great way for me to relieve stress.”

A future in education
Her enjoyment did not stop at cross country, however, with her remaining involved with children in various capacities.

Ranke, who has worked at Green Meadows Farm as a cashier since eighth grade, has spent every summer since she was a sophomore working as a nanny for three different families.

“It is just really awesome for me to be able make an impact in the lives of kids,” she said. “I just like to give back to the community as much as I can.”

Ranke, an aspiring educator, plans to study English education with a minor in teaching English to Language Learners in the fall.

She decided on Valley City State University following a visit with her parents earlier this year.

“I found out what a tight knit community it was,” she said. “I never thought I would end up at a place like that, but I was really drawn to the ability to run cross country and track.”

After she graduates, Ranke hopes to return to Wisconsin as a teacher, earn a master’s degree and join Teachers Without Borders.

“As Kirsten’s coach, I feel confident that her pursuits beyond high school will be nothing but successful,” Schreiber said. “Her involvement in the community also proves that she is a selfless, caring young lady.”

Ranke credited her supportive family, teachers and friends for always being there to lend a helping hand when she needed assistance.

A look at the other nominees

Here are capsules on the other three nominees for Waterford Post Outstanding Senior from Waterford Union High School:

Isabella North
North, whose parents are Glenn and Marian North, was a four-year honor roll student and became a National Merit Finalist, which earned her a scholarship.

Through her four years, she won four department awards, including two in English with the others in science and social studies.

She enjoyed a plethora of extra-curricular activities, notably in music, where she was a two-year member of Tri-M Music Honors Society.

North participated in the concert, symphonic and pep bands, and served as a two-year captain with the color guard, which she was a part of for four years.

In addition, she sang in the school choir.

North was in the French Club, and was a three-year member of French Honors Society.

A Badger Girls State representative, North spent four years on the school’s Academic Bowl and forensics teams, serving as captain as a junior and senior.

She also participated in the school’s Madrigal Dinner for four years.

Outside the classroom, she ran for the cross country team for four years, and played junior varsity soccer her first two seasons before moving up to varsity as a junior and senior.

A former 4-H member, North also volunteered at a hospice center and St. Vincent de Paul and also participated in a church-run community cleanup from her freshman to senior year.

An apple vendor as a sophomore, she moved onto become a French tutor as junior and senior.

North, who also garnered a Chancellor’s Scholarship and Waterford Union High School Foundation scholarship, will attend University of Nebraska-Lincoln and major in electrical engineering.

Michael Hyland
Hyland, an AP Honors Scholar, is the son of Bobby and Michael Hyland.

An honors student, he was enrolled in nine AP classes, and stayed involved in both music and boys soccer while at Waterford.

He participated in symphonic and jazz band, received three varsity letters, and a first-place solo ensemble medal. For four years, he was the drum major for the school marching band, in which he garnered the FJM Drum Major Outstanding Achievement Award. He was a member of Tri-M Music Honors Society.

He was also selected to participate in the school’s Madrigal Dinner.

With the Wolverine boys soccer team, he was a four-year varsity player, was named to the All-Southern Lakes Conference first team once, second team twice along with second team All-County on two occasions.

In the community, he served as volunteer soccer coach for the Waterford Recreation Department for four years, guiding a group of middle school students to three league championships.

He worked as an usher at Alpine Valley Resort and also as a dishwasher at the Cotton Exchange.

Hyland, who earned both a band and choir boosters scholarship, will attend University of Chester in Chester, England, to play soccer and study biochemistry.

Kennedy Lindeman
Lindeman, daughter of Angie and Loren Lindeman, accumulated a 4.222 grade point average and graduated third in the Class of 2019.

A National Merit Scholar, she was a four-year honor roll student, garnering AP Scholar with Distinction honors along with a Student Council scholarship. She received Wisconsin Academic Excellence and Herb Kohl Student Excellence awards.

Additionally, she earned three department awards, and honorable mention in the Scholastic Art and Writing contest.

A member of National Honor Society, where she served as secretary, Lindeman volunteered to help build an all-inclusive playground.

She held various leadership posts, serving as Student Council president her senior year, and vice president as a junior.

Lindeman led and organized multiple health awareness weeks and spearheaded a “Paint the Lot” fundraiser with a classmate to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. The fundraiser drive, which allowed students to decorate their own parking spaces, raised more than $1,000.

A track and field athlete for her first two years, she was also involved in Model United Nations as a senior, Spanish Club for three years, and theater productions for two years.

A member of the forensics team for four years, Lindeman earned a perfect score at the speech competition, garnered three individual conference championships while helping Waterford win as a team all four years.

On the Academic Team, which won the conference title her last three years, Lindemann was the individual conference champion in world literature for two years.

Lindeman, who worked at Cafe 123 before moving to Crossover Cantina and Eatery, plans to attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., to study biomedical engineering.