Berns, Diehl are MFL MarMac’s top scholars

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Valedictorian Kaitlyn Berns

Salutatorian Chloe Diehl

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Kaitlyn Berns has earned the title of valedictorian of MFL MarMac’s Class of 2019, while Chloe Diehl is the salutatorian. 

“It’s been my goal for awhile,” said Kaitlyn, who is the daughter of Tom and Jo Berns, of Luana. “It’s pretty exciting to achieve something like this.”

Chloe, the daughter of Jeremy and Amy Diehl, of Marquette, said the announcement wasn’t too surprising. The two have been highly ranked throughout high school.

“I think we both knew we had a shot at it,” she remarked.

Both students have been heavily involved in extra-curricular activities the past four years. 

Kaitlyn was a member of the choir, FFA and National Honor Society, performed with the dance team and was a wrestling cheerleader. The latter was her favorite experience.

“I could be really loud and cheer for my team,” she said. “It felt like a family.”

Chloe participated in choir, show choir, National Honor Society, dance and wrestling cheer. Her best memories came from the dance team.

 “You can express yourself through dance,” she noted, “and I like to make a lot of sassy faces at the audience and get them engaged in it.”

They said being so involved was beneficial because it helped with time management. 

“You’ve got to know that you’re going to be up late at a wrestling meet or at a football game,” Kaitlyn said, “so you have to get your homework done earlier or you’re going to have to stay up late.”

Chloe said it also helped her meet new people. 

“It was fun to get to know a lot of people you probably wouldn’t if you weren’t in those activities,” she shared.

Out of all they’ve learned at MFL MarMac, Kaitlyn and Chloe said the college courses they were able to take have been the most valuable.

“It gives you a taste of college,” Kaitlyn said, “to know what you’re getting into.”

 “That really helped me realize how much work I’ll have to do, how much harder I’ll have to work,” Chloe added.

For Kaitlyn, math was one of her favorite subjects. She especially enjoyed learning hard equations. Her comp class was a favorite too, because she also likes to write.

“It’s nice to write different kinds of stories and express myself through my writing,” she explained.

As a result, math teacher Diane Rothmeyer and language arts teacher Jasen Thompson are two instructors who stand out.

“The classes I’m in are both kind of small, so we really get to connect with them more,” Kaitlyn said.

Like Kaitlyn, Chloe also gravitates toward math. She enjoys numbers, as well as knowing there is just one answer to a problem. 

Rothmeyer is one of her favorite teachers, as is social studies teacher Adam Simon.

“He made us all feel comfortable,” Chloe said of Simon. “We weren’t afraid to ask questions. And he was just fun to joke around with every day.”

Following graduation, Kaitlyn plans to attend the University of Iowa for four years, where she’ll major in human physiology and study the pre-medicine program. After that, she’ll go to medical school, in hopes of becoming a pediatric doctor.

She first became interested in the career field while working as a resident assistant at Garden View Place, in Monona.

“It really opened my eyes and I noticed I wanted to help people in the health care field,” she said. “And I really love little kids, so helping kids would be awesome.”

Chloe will head to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville this fall, majoring in civil engineering. The profession has interested her since childhood.

“My grandma told me I was going to be an engineer because I would create things out of construction paper, tissue paper, whatever,” she recalled. “Then, in middle school, I started researching it more and we did projects on it and I realized I like to design things. I think it just fit right with me.”

Last fall, Chloe toured two civil engineering companies in Manchester and also visited the Delhi Dam, which one of those companies helped rebuild. That experience cemented her decision.

“I think it was really cool seeing that in person, what civil engineering was,” she said.

Looking back on high school, the two said they will cherish the friendships they’ve made. 

“Make a lot of memories your senior year,” Chloe said, “because I kind of took mine for granted and, now, I’m toward the end. It doesn’t feel like I should be graduating.”

She hopes her classmates will remember her as someone who worked hard on her education, as well as a person they could lean on in hard times.

 Kaitlyn felt much the same.

“I hope I’m remembered as someone who was kind and who was willing to listen to their problems whenever they needed it,” she shared.

Commencement for the MFL MarMac Class of 2019 will be this Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m., in the high school gymnasium in Monona. For more on all the graduates, see pages 8-11.

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