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Minnetonka High School

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Georgia Brabec

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite memory from high school was being able to travel to India with my International Studies class. It was an incredible experience that taught me so much about myself and the world around me.

What are your plans for next year?

I’ll be attending the University of San Francisco’s Honors College next year to pursue a degree in arts management.

Who would you like to thank?

I want to thank all my incredible teachers who helped me discover and pursue what I’m passionate about, specifically my art teacher, Mr. Nugent, and my English teacher, Ms. Cushing. I also want to thank my counselor, Brad Burnham, who has helped me immensely throughout my time at Minnetonka High School!

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Erika Bussmann

What is your favorite memory?

Picking a favorite memory is next to impossible, but one of the best experiences I’ve had as a student at Minnetonka High School was at the recognition ceremony for the National AP scholars this past fall. As a recipient, I got to honor two teachers with a brief speech addressed to them: Mrs. Lundgren, a geometry teacher at Minnetonka Middle School East who encouraged me to join the math team and taught me the importance of being myself; and Profe Peso, a Minnetonka High School Spanish teacher whose humor and growth-mindset focus helped me get through my first two years of high school. Spending that time not only reflecting on how far I’ve come, but also personally thanking two of the individuals who’ve helped me get here was really special. That night was a fun reminder of just how much this community has given me to be thankful for.

What are your plans for next year?

Next year I will be attending Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. I’m interested in applied math and computer science, but I’d also like to continue writing. I want to use my interests in STEM and apply them across disciplines to understanding and solving social and humanitarian issues.

Who would you like to thank?

To thank anyone is to inevitably and unintentionally leave many others out, but nonetheless, I have to thank my parents, family and friends first. Principal Erickson and the teachers at Minnetonka have also been infinitely generous towards me and my peers, and every day I am reminded of how incredibly fortunate we are as their students. Most of all, I am thankful for the individuals who have challenged me even when I did not wish to be challenged. I would not be where or who I am without them.

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Patrick Carroll

What is your favorite memory?

It’s hard to nail down one favorite memory, but if I had to pick, I would probably say eating dinner with the boys swim and dive state team last year before we won state. I had been decent at swimming when I was on the high school team in my freshmen and sophomore years, but I had never been fast enough to swim alongside the fastest members of the team until the end of my junior season when I dropped 4 seconds off my best at sections to qualify for state. I had always respected the work the leaders of the team put in to be as fast as they were, and being able to spend some time with them before the state meet made me feel like I was really a part of the team. 

What are your plans for next year?

I am going to be studying biology at the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Who would you like to thank?

First, I’d like to thank my parents. They’ve been my most loyal supporters through the high school experience and they have always encouraged me in whatever pursuit I choose. I also want to thank all of my International Baccalaureate friends who have endured the IB program for the last two years. IB is a very rigorous program, but having a bunch of friendly, smart people surrounding me at all times made it much easier, and I think I’ve learned a lot from them. Lastly, I want to thank all of my teachers. I think every teacher at Minnetonka is an upstanding adult that many kids don’t have in their lives and I would feel comfortable approaching any of them to talk about any difficulties I was experiencing in my life.

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Saahil Chadha

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite memories in high school have definitely come from my teachers. Nearly everyone has gone out of their way to assure that their students understand the material taught in class and are prepared for adulthood. In particular, I recall Ms. Price from AP Chemistry being an exemplary teacher as well as a pretty amazing tap dancer, which was evident from her famous in-class demonstration.

What are your plans for next year?

I’m planning on going to the University of California Berkeley to study computer science. I have not decided on a vocational plan yet, but I might end up in software engineering, computational biology or educational technology. 

Who would you like to thank?

I’d like to thank Mr. Nathan Van Dyke for giving up hundreds of hours so that students at Minnetonka High School can grow in debate, speech and math team, as well as several other clubs that he has led. I’d also like to thank Ms. Sarah Finn-Sommerfeld for being a caring teacher and friend to her orchestra students. Of course, I’d like to thank Ms. Kim Hoehne for spearheading the effort to start the Minnetonka Research program and for working continually and relentlessly to give MHS students the amazing opportunities we have. Finally, I’d like to thank my friends and family for making high school a wonderful time in my life.

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Carmen Eggleston

What is your favorite memory?

I have a collection of memories which shape who I am today. In Mr. Ludvigson’s 10th grade math class, I wanted to give up on math. I was tired of always getting things wrong. I didn’t want a C; I wanted an A on something math-related. I studied really hard, did all the homework and I still got 75 percent. I was on the verge of crying, and he told me that I’m actually very good at this concept, but I just messed up on the smaller things. It really taught me to take things slowly and to work even harder after you fail. Another memory from this year is Mrs. Severson telling me I’m very good at algebra. No one has ever said that to me before. These memories pushed me to excel and try harder in science and math.

What are your plans for next year?

My plans after high school include going to DePaul and studying abroad in India, then pursuing a degree in engineering. I’m narrowing it down to aerospace, biomedical or civil engineering with a minor in microbiology. I want to solve world problems and help those in need. After getting my masters and Ph.D., I want to eventually volunteer with the Peace Corps or Engineers without Borders.

Who would you like to thank?

I would like to thank Mr. Monson for inspiring my love of science, Mr. Mullen for building on my love for science and helping me unlock my scientific potential, Mr. Ludvigson for helping me love math and Mrs. Wacker for showing me what a strong woman in science looks like. For my home life, my mother and father for pushing me out of my comfort zone, sending me to camps across the country and the world to gain perspective and pushing me to be the very best I can be.

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Maria Alejandra Ferrer-Lugo

What is your favorite memory?

I have had many favorite memories, but I think one of my best memories is having made the state tournament with my soccer team my junior year. I still remember the moment that the referee blew the whistle to end the game and we all ran to each other, celebrating that we had won. Going to the state tournament with my teammates was an amazing feeling and an amazing moment that I will never forget.

What are your plans for next year?

After high school I will attend to the University of St. Thomas where I plan to double-major in biology and general business and play soccer on their team. My goal for the future is to have my own dentistry practice.

Who would you like to thank?

Thanking is hard because everyone had an effect on me in one way or another. I am thankful for every person who shaped me into who I am today. I would like to thank all of my teachers for helping me grow as a person. I would also like to thank my soccer coaches — Coach Taylor, Coach Storlie and Coach Hopkins—because all three of them believed in me when I was a freshman by allowing me to be on their varsity team and for pushing me throughout the years to be the best player and person that I could be. I am always thankful for everything they taught me these past four years. Next would be Mr. Erickson, our principal, because if it weren’t for the way he runs the school, I would have never had the opportunity to join all the clubs and activities I ended up joining. Lastly, my parents, for coming to all of my games and activities and for allowing me to by myself. Thank you for supporting everything I would join and for helping me achieve all my goals. A big thank you to everyone who helped me get to where I am.

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Emily Haan

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite high school memory is being a part of swim and dive. The team has such a positive culture. We are very much a family. A specific memory that sticks out to me is when we won the True Team State meet in 2015. Tonka was considered the underdogs at this meet, and by having such an incredible team atmosphere and support for one another we were able to win. I’ll never forget the feeling we had as a team that night. Being a part of such an amazing team has been the biggest honor.

What are your plans for next year?

I plan to swim and study at Iowa State University next year with a focus in business.

Who would you like to thank?

I would like to thank my high school coach Dan Berve for his endless support and guidance throughout my years on Minnetonka Swim and Dive. I would like to say thank you to Madame Orlowsky, the most kind, generous and understanding teacher I have ever had. I also want to thank my math teacher, Mr. Johnson, for being an amazing teacher and having confidence in me. I want to thank Mr. Boline for being another very influential teacher for me at Minnetonka High School. And, of course, thank you to my amazing parents.

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Holly Hazelton

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite memory from high school is probably raising $500 with the Harry Potter Club for the charity Magic for Good. It was so rewarding to give to the charity as well as get a private tour of their building. Being the president of the Harry Potter Club has made me a better person and I’ve discovered a lot about myself through it.

What are your plans for next year?

I am attending the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque to do the American Sign Language program to become an interpreter. Go Lobos!

Who would you like to thank?

I would first like to thank all the teachers and staff at Minnetonka high school for making my transition so easy from my old school. Transferring fourth quarter of sophomore year was not easy, but the teachers and administration made it much easier to adapt to the rigorous academics and new experiences. I would also like to thank Kayte Haagenson, my school counselor, for helping me so much with both personal and academic issues. I’ve never had a counselor care so much about me, not just my grades. Finally, I’d like to thank Merlin Zimmerman and Ann Kaste for the memories in Harry Potter Club I’ve been able to make. I’d be a completely different person without you and the club.

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Alexandra Hernandez

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite memory from high school was the beginning of senior year. As college applications and the stress of my final year of high school began, the amount of aid and support I received was very significant. It was a very overwhelming time, but with the support I received, it made the start of senior year and graduating bittersweet. I will always remember the fall of senior year as not only commencing my plans for after high school, but also reminiscing on the previous three years I had at MHS. From the teachers to the guidance counselors to my friends, starting the school year as a senior was unforgettable.

What are your plans for next year?

I plan on attending the University of Toronto.

Who would you like to thank?

I would like to thank Kelley Mosiman and Laura Herbst. As significant figures in the IB diploma program, they have helped me tremendously manage and pave my way through the two-year program offered at MHS.

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Anna Hoffmann

What is your favorite memory?

I have so many great memories from high school. Even the bad or stressful moments are fun to look back on as everything was a piece of the giant growing experience that is high school. If I really have to pick one memory, though, it was probably my time in International Studies. My sophomore year I went to the Netherlands. It was also my first time out of the country, making the experience that much more special. That trip was pretty vital in helping realize my future plans. Junior year I went to India. That trip was great — everything from going on an absolutely horrible hike (thanks for nearly killing us, Mr. Masteller) to seeing the Taj Mahal that was so magnificent. The entire International Studies experience was eye-opening and so much fun.

What are your plans for next year?

I will be attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities’s College of Liberal Arts. Most likely I will study Global Studies, but may add some history and psychology somewhere in there. If there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that plans often evolve, so I’ll see what I end up doing.

Who would you like to thank?

There are so many people whom I want to thank. I’ve had awesome teachers. Frau Fairbrother, Ms. Mosiman and Ms. Czajka are a few that I’ve learned a lot from. It was early in high school that I realized Minnetonka’s greatest asset is the teachers. I also want to thank my counselor, Kayte Haagenson, and our school’s social worker, Melissa Feller, for being extreme angels during some rough points in my life. Honestly, if I can tell any student one piece of advice it would be to build relationships with teachers and counselors at MHS. You will learn how helpful they actually are, academically and personally. Additionally, I want to thank my family and friends for being supportive. High school is something I wouldn’t have got through alone, so thanks to everyone who was there along the way.

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Stanley Kohls

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite memory from high school is not a single instant, but the collection of experiences that made up my time on the cross country team. I made my best friends and learned much about myself while on the team!

What are your plans for next year?

After high school I will be attending Marquette University in Milwaukee and studying environmental engineering.

Who would you like to thank?

I would like to thank many of the teachers at Minnetonka who helped me push myself and learn so much. Specifically, I would like to thank Mr. Burns, who after teaching me for three years in the sciences, through research and freshman science, has helped me find my passion for the sciences and helped me learn how to be a caring and funny person.

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Will Murphy Vossberg

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite high school memory was probably my entire tenure with Minnetonka DECA. I was fortunate enough to become the first freshman from Minnetonka to qualify for international competition and returned each year following. This time was a turning point in my life because I realized that even with the stress, I could be successful in high stakes environments. This last year, one of the best experiences in my life was having the honor to lead the Minnetonka DECA Chapter as president.

What are your plans for next year?

This experience also greatly influenced my desire to enter the business world. Next year, I am very excited to attend the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and I plan on double majoring in management and marketing.

Who would you like to thank?

I would like to thank my amazing DECA advisors Stephanie Lolich, Connie Strand and Erik Sill. In addition to invigorating the chapter with their energy, they work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that students have the resources and opportunities to succeed. I would also like to thank all of my amazing teachers at Minnetonka High School, namely Mrs. Hedstrom, who encouraged me to find deeper meaning in my work, and Mr. Olson, who cultivated my creativity and always had time to talk. Most importantly, I would like to thank my first and greatest teachers: my parents. I will forever appreciate their constant support and all they have done to help me become the man I am today.

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Megan Rivers

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite memory in high school has been participating in the Minnetonka band program. My exposure to the band program beyond curricular classroom band began sophomore year through marching band, which I fell absolutely in love with. From there my involvement only furthered. I joined pep band, participated in the state solo and ensemble contest and played in the pit orchestra for “Titanic,” “On the Town” and “Mary Poppins.” Through the band program, I have traveled to Ohio, Orlando and Spain, and have made long-lasting memories and friends through each of these trips. This year I also had the opportunity to be the assistant drum major for the marching band, which is has been one of my favorite high school experiences. Band has left its mark on me, and given me a place to call my home. I am so proud to have been part of Minnetonka’s wonderful program.

What are your plans for next year?

Next year I will be attending University of Wisconsin-Madison. I plan to study genetics and continue my involvement with music through Madison’s marching band.

Who would you like to thank?

I would like to thank band directors Paul Rosen and Miles Mortensen for the outstanding amount of work they do to ensure the success of all bands at the high school, and for inspiring me to continue music beyond high school. I would also like to thank the Minnetonka research teachers, especially Kevin Burns, for all the assistance they have given me and all research students to educate and encourage growth from advanced science students.

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Elena Romashkova

What is your favorite memory?

A lot of my favorite memories from high school have been from clubs, whether it was our team wearing flower leis and hats at a math team tournament last year, leading astronomy club star parties or winning the dance-off at Science Olympiad state this year.

What are your plans for next year?

I’ll be attending MIT in the fall, and I’m planning to major in physics and hopefully continue doing research in the future.

Who would you like to thank?

I’d like to thank the Minnetonka research teachers for all the work they’ve put into the program and all the opportunities and help they’ve given me.

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Andrew Walker

What is your favorite memory?

I liked how easy it was to try new things and find out what I enjoy most. I remember my first day in each of the clubs I joined as welcoming, and I quickly found myself in almost too many activities. I found a bunch of clubs for activities I was passionate about, but I still loved going to the others because of all the people I met.

What are your plans for next year?

Next year I’ll be attending the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. I haven’t decided on a major yet, but I’ve narrowed it down and will be spending some time this summer to decide.

Who would you like to thank?

I’d like to thank all my teachers for the incredible effort they’ve invested in our growth, with special thanks to Mr. Kokesh, Ms. Norton and Mr. Mortensen, who all taught me in the classroom and through extracurricular activities. Mr. Bierly, my counselor, has also always been a huge help for me throughout my years in high school. His support and understanding have played an important role in coordinating my high school plans and beyond. I’d also like to thank my friends for both time spent studying and time spent unwinding.

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Sarah Zachariason

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite memory from high school was during my sophomore year. I was on the high school swim team, and we were competing in the True Team State meet. I believe I only did a single event, but it wasn’t about what I was swimming. I had never felt so close to something before that night. We all came into the meet with a ton of energy, ready to race and have fun! We were not expected to end up in first, but we did. We beat out the favored teams. I still remember the final relay of the night. Everyone went crazy for about four minutes during the last event. To this day, it is still one of my favorite nights of my life.

What are your plans for next year?

Next year I will be attending the University of Maine. I’ll be majoring in international affairs with a focus in culture, conflict and globalization. I will also be swimming on the women’s swim and dive team. After college I hope to have a job with some type of international company, focusing on humanitarian work. I would like to gain work experience in many different countries.

Who would you like to thank?

Thanking people is definitely hard because there are so many that have had an impact on my life, but I’ll mention some that have had the largest impacts. My parents have always been so supportive with every aspect of my life, and they have worked so hard to help me through many experiences, like choosing a college or helping me with my sport activities. My swim coaches, Dan and Erich, have pushed me to become the swimmer I am today, and they are a huge part of the reason I’m continuing to swim in college. I also want to thank my friends, Alanna and Lizzie, for setting an example of the type person I strive to be.

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