Top Lakeside Lutheran students are announced

The Lakeside Lutheran top 10 students in the class of 2018 were guests of honor at the May 14 Capitol Conference Honors Banquet in Madison. Back row from left are James Neuberger, Skyler Christianson, Zachary Cichanofsky, Jenna Gaal, Sarah Taylor Evert and Principal James Grasby. Front row from left are Emma Guld, Kelly Koch, Matthias Winters, Morgan Thiele and Kalies Birkholz.

LAKE MILLS -- Lakeside Lutheran High School announced its academic top 10 from the class of 2018.

These individuals cumulatively earned 289.5 high school credits, an average of slightly above 28.9 credits each; 26 credits are needed to graduate. Their grade-point averages range from 3.83 to 4.000 -- a difference of only 17/100ths of a grade point. In one case, the difference in grade point between two of the top 10 was 1/1000th of a point. They had a 98.5 percent daily attendance rate and were on time to class in excess of 99.9 percent of the time. Their profiles, in alphabetical order, follow:

Kalies Birkholz, daughter of Gregg and Sheryl Birkholz, is a member at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown. She received the Wisconsin Lutheran College Presidential scholarship and the WIAA Scholar-Athlete award. She participated in track, basketball, Teens for Christ and was a member of the National Honor Society. She will attend Wisconsin Lutheran College to study nursing.

"My goals for the future are to start a loving family, and I want to become a nurse and help people feel better," she said. "What I liked best about Lakeside was my experience on the basketball team. I became good friends with girls that I probably never would have if we weren't on the same team together. Team dinners and team bonding were always fun. Another thing I liked about Lakeside is that all the teachers know you. You're not just a random face. They care about you and your interests and your faith."

Skyler Christianson, son of Jeffrey and Heidi Christianson, is a member of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Janesville. He received the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Engineering Excellence scholarship and Support for Undergraduate Research Fellow. He was active in soccer, basketball, baseball, math team, band, percussion ensemble, A Cappella Choir, Swing Choir, National Honor Society, STEM Club, student council, church activities and volunteering. He will attend UW-Milwaukee to pursue a degree in computer engineering.

"I want to work hard to achieve success in my career, get married and have a family, and travel throughout the United States as well as internationally," he said. "It has been a blessing to have God's word at the center of all my classes. My teachers really cared about me and my education. Being involved in sports and music activities let me develop friendships that will last a lifetime. It also taught me to work hard and allowed me to have fun and enjoy success at something I love doing."

Zachary Cichanofsky, son of Michael and Shelly Cichanofsky, Watertown, is a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Watertown. He has been involved with National Honor Society, church activities and volunteering. He will attend Waukesha County Technical College to study diesel equipment technology.

"Long-term I would like to one day have my own truck repair shop and towing services," he said. "What I like best about my Lakeside years was all of the good memories I have made. I have enjoyed taking tech ed classes and broadening my horizon in different areas, learning how to work with different tools and pieces of equipment that I have never used before. One final thing that I liked is having Christ-centered classes."

Jenna Gaal, daughter of Jeff and Jennifer Gaal, Oconomowoc, is a member of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Oconomowoc. She received the Educators Credit Union scholarship and the Wisconsin Association of Cheer/Pom Coaches Inc. scholarship. She participated on dance team, National Honor Society, A Cappella Choir, Swing Choir, forensics, piano, newspaper, mission trips, Teens for Christ, yearbook, track and field, Wisconsin School Music Association, church activities and volunteering. She will attend UW-Madison to study elementary and special education.

"I love how Lakeside has so many considerate teachers who are passionate about their job. I also love how there is so much to get involved in, where close bonds are created all while doing something that's enjoyable. Those Christian friendships are something that will not be taken for granted as I venture off to a public university 100 times the size of Lakeside," she said.

Emma Guld, daughter of John and Nicole Guld, Lake Mills, is a member at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lake Mills. She received the Wisconsin Lutheran College Presidential scholarship. She was involved in STEM Club, forensics, drama, Teens For Christ, cross country, basketball, student council, National Honor Society and Badger Girls State. She will attend Wisconsin Lutheran College to study biology (pre-med).

"I love all the people I have met, and all of the great teachers," she said. "A cappella choir and calculus class both somehow make every day a little brighter. I want to go to college, med school, and then work as a dermatologist."

Valedictorian Kelly Koch, daughter of Tim and Rebecca Koch, is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Watertown. The April Student Rotarian in Lake Mills, she also received Watertown Regional Medical Center Medical Staff scholarship. She was active in volleyball, softball, basketball, math team, National Honor Society, Teens for Christ, church activities and volunteering. She will attend UW-Madison for undergraduate biology and then a graduate in physician assistant studies.

"I enjoyed making so many new friends and having an awesome Christian education," she said. "I also loved playing on the different sports teams. It was also really amazing to win state for volleyball this past fall." In addition to her career, she "also would love to travel around the world and help out in my community with various activities."

Valedictorian James Neuberger, son of Dan and Dawn Neuberger, Lake Mills, is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lake Mills. He received the Academic Excellence scholarship, Wisconsin Lutheran College Presidential scholarship, WLC General Endowment Scholarship Fund, Partners in Christian Education scholarship, Herb Kohl Excellence scholarship, Robert Muehrcke Foundation Scholar Athlete Award, Fort Healthcare Handeyside Memorial scholarship, Lake Mills Rotary Club scholarship and Optimist Leadership award. He participated in cross country, basketball, soccer, track, math team, Academic Bowl, Teens for Christ, STEM Club, drama, A Cappella Choir. Badger Boys State, Lake Mills Junior Rotarian, church activities, volunteering and was a member of the National Honor Society. He will attend Wisconsin Lutheran College to study biochemistry en route to becoming a pharmacist.

"One of my main goals is to find a way to make more practical drugs that people can use to help with everyday problems while also looking for a way to use drugs and bacteriophages to combat terminal illnesses or prevent illnesses from taking a foothold in the human body," he said. "What I liked best about my years at Lakeside was being able to form bonds that go beyond the term of friends, as I see many of my fellow classmates as more like family to me. It's incredible to have the trust we have in each other and the support that we all look to provide. I never felt like I was truly alone in anything because I knew I always had my friends and teachers to back me in my endeavors."

Salutatorian Sarah Taylor Evert, daughter of Dave and Jennie, Beaver Dam, is a member of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, Beaver Dam. She received the Martin Luther College Messenger scholarship along with the Richard and Phyllis Frederick scholarship from the Beaver Dam Scholarship Foundation. She was involved in yearbook, handbells and church activities. She will attend Martin Luther College to pursue a degree in elementary education.

"My major goal for the future is to become an elementary school teacher," she said. "Lakeside is a great school that has encouraged me to grow in my faith. The environment of the school and the friends that I have made helped make the past two years an amazing time and continue to encourage me as I grow."

Morgan Thiele, the daughter of Dan and Teresa Thiele, Poynette, is a member of Holy Cross Lutheran in Madison. She participated in National Honors Society, Teens for Christ, forensics, STEM Club, volleyball and track. She has been accepted into the Honors College and Nurse Scholars Program at UW-Oshkosh, where she will study nursing to become a nurse practitioner or midwife.

"The last four years have been a blessing. Surrounded by Christian friends, I have built friendships that will last a lifetime. I have really appreciated knowing my teachers on a personal level and learning from them every day," she said.

Matthias Winters, son of Jim and Kimara Winters, Watertown, is a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Watertown. He is the recipient of a National Army ROTC scholarship, along with the Milwaukee School of Engineering Academic Merit scholarship, Destination MSOE scholarship, MSOE Summer Programs scholarship and the Watertown Conservation scholarship. He was active in band, choir, math team, football, National Honor Society, piano, STEM Club, student council, track, church activities and volunteering. Accepted into MSOE University Scholars Honors Program, he will pursue an industrial engineering degree.

After college, his goal "first and foremost, is to have a family," he said. "Other goals are being an Army officer and graduating college with high honors. My single favorite extracurricular at Lakeside would be football. However, I enjoyed being involved in so many different activities at the same time. It was great getting to get to know -- on a more personal level -- so many different types of people."

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