Meet Delaney Greene-Gretzinger: Valedictorian
Delaney Greene-Gretzinger and Camille Radies lead the class of 2017 at Marion High School. Delaney is the valedictorian and will be attending UW-Madison in the fall, where she will be a part of the honors program in the college of letters and science.
While opportunities that come with attaining a high grade-point average is something she’s proud of, that’s not her sole focus when it comes to her academics.
“I haven’t really been concerned about the grades,” Delaney explained. “I’m more concerned about learning and what I can gain from the knowledge, and using it in my life. I went through a lot of challenges this winter. I missed a whole month of school for health related issues and I was still able to pull through, get all of my work turned in, and stay at the top of my class.”
Delaney says that even despite the challenges she faced, her senior year was the most enjoyable that she can remember in high school.
“For the first time I feel like nothing is really holding me back,” she said. “I have the biggest social life right now that I’ve ever had. I’m having the most fun of my life, I laugh the most, I smile the most and it’s because I’m healthier now than I ever was. I’m happier now and I’m really grateful for my family and friends and everyone that’s supported me through everything I’ve had to go through.”
Making the transition from a small school like Marion to Madison can be intimidating at first, she acknowledges, but in the end she knows everyone there is equal.
“If you go to a Madison school or if you’re from a small town, you’re equals, you’re still human beings. I feel like you can go really far either way. Don’t let anybody feel like they’re better than you just because they come from a different environment.”
Delaney is thinking about applying to the business school in her second year, considering the possibility of owning and operating her own business one day. She also has an interest in neuroscience and psychology.
Meet Camille Radies: Salutatorian
How does it feel to be in the top of your class?
One thing I’ve always had growing up was perseverance and I’ve always had a goal to maintain a 4.0 [GPA] and it wasn’t necessarily to be at the top of the class, or be valedictorian, salutatorian. I just wanted to prove to myself that I can set myself a long-term goal and I can work hard to accomplish that. It’s been very rewarding knowing that I’ve accomplished that for the most part and it’s proven that it pays off and it’s given me a good spot to start with in life.
So rather than take an easy road you’ve challenged yourself. Do you feel it’s put you in a better spot for next year?
I believe it did because it has shown myself that I can still take the challenges and even if it doesn’t come out the exact way I was hoping it would, that it has still proven to myself that I can do this and I can accomplish these hard tasks of life.
Talk about the work that went into achieving salutatorian.
It was a lot of hard work. It was after school, nights staying up late because of sports. There was a lot of stress involved also with competing with your grades, keeping them up, getting your homework done, but still taking those couple of hours of night time to work on it because of sports. It’s been very hard, but I think it’s paid off in the long run.
What was the best part about high school?
I think the best part of high school is you learn so much, not necessarily about yourself or life, but in general. You make new friendships. You learn hardships of losing them. You just gain a lot of experience in your high school career.
What activities were you involved in?
I’ve been a three-season sport athlete all four years of my high school career. I did track sophomore, junior and senior year. I couldn’t participate freshman year because I had surgery, but I was still the manager. I’ve done basketball all four years, volleyball. I’ve been in student council for a year, FFA, I’ve done math league to help push myself in the math world. I’ve been a part of band, knowledge masters and a big part I was glad to be [inducted] into was the National Honor Society. That’s helped me open up the world of community service and has shown me how to help the community in other ways than simple donations.
Was there a class that’s best prepared you for your life ahead?
I really liked the science programs here. Biology and all that kind of stuff has helped me learn how my interest are in nature and it’s really shown me the path I want to take in life.
What’s next for you after graduation?
I’m going to attend the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and major in wildlife ecology and management. I also hope to go further and pursue my interests in wildlife further and attend the University of Montana Missoula after I finish from Point.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully done with school and with a steady income and good job I’m happy with. A good life, a good flat surface to stay on, stability.
Describe your senior year in one word.
I would say liberating because it’s finally all paying off. You can see all your hard work through all these years has finally come together and produced something you can feel and hold, you’ll have that diploma. It’s just a weight off your shoulders.
What advice would you offer underclassmen?
I would say set your goals high. Even if they seem out of the picture at the time, if you keep working for them it will not only better you, but better your entire life picture and it will prove you to be a stronger person, so high goals and work to accomplish them.