MFL MarMac’s top students share value of getting involved

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Clare Grau (left) is salutatorian of the MFL MarMac class of 2024, while Kaylee Nuehring and Amelya Weigand are co-valedictorians. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


Kaylee Nuehring and Amelya Weigand are co-valedictorians and Clare Grau the salutatorian of the MFL MarMac class of 2024.


The seniors said the status was one they didn’t specifically strive for. All just wanted to do their best.


“I think it’s a huge honor that shows how hard we’ve worked,” Grau summed up.


The trio credited MFL MarMac staff for helping them succeed. 


“We have a great group of staff members at MFL MarMac who really work and put in the time and effort. I’ve always had support,” Grau said.


“They really care about you,” agreed Nuehring. “They care about you doing well, they encourage you. If someone doesn’t understand something, they find another way to demonstrate it.”


They’ve also prepared students well for post-secondary education, according to Weigand.


“When you walk into a lot of the upper level classes, the first thing they say is, ‘We’re preparing you for college. It’s going to be more difficult.’ They give you the workload, and I think having NICC so close and having all those classes offered, really helps prepare us. I’m graduating with around 24 college credits and I’ll start with a lot of my major classes [this fall]. I took advantage as much as I could,” she said.


Grau and Nuehring, too, have completed college level courses and credits. It helps to have teachers at MFL MarMac leading some of those classes.


“People are supporting you and you can ask questions while you’re taking the classes. It’s nice,” Grau explained.


Weigand listed chemistry as one of her favorite subjects, as well as math.


“I enjoyed every class I had with Mrs. Rothmeyer. I really like math, and she makes math fun,” Weigand said.


Nuehring echoed those thoughts. She also appreciated art classes with Mrs. Meyer.


“It was a nice extra class to take, really relaxing and you could express yourself,” she shared.


Grau didn’t have a favorite.


“I’ve just enjoyed watching and experiencing each teacher’s specific teaching style and noticing how they help you out and how you can learn in each classroom. It’s been interesting,” she said.


Outside academics, all three were heavily involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities.


Grau participated in multiple sports, speech, Students Opposed to Drugs and Alcohol (SODA), FFA, National Honor Society, music and cheer. She was also active in her church. 


Nuehring’s slate included cross country, dance and cheer, speech, band, choir, show choir, SODA, NHS and FFA, as well as church and 4-H.


Weigand did wrestling, track and field, soccer and volleyball, along with NHS, SODA, speech and FFA. She was heavily involved in 4-H, with crop scouting, youth committee and county council, and was also part of student government.


For Nuehring, extra-curriculars were a fun addition to school and learning.


“You get to meet new people, create new friends, work with a team,” she said. “You definitely find a lot of joy joining other things and being with people outside of class.”


Grau said being involved makes one a well-rounded person. 


“Getting involved benefits your time management skills, your happiness in life. You can make memories, make new friends, have a positive group to be associated with,” she reflected.


“You make connections, and connections are so important,” Weigand added, “and it gives you a more open mind.”


She listed time management and communication with teachers and peers as important advice for underclassmen. Most important, though, is getting involved and trying new things.


“I think it’s important to try out new sports and activities. You really don’t know if you’re going to like it until you try. So many people find what they like just by trying new things,” Grau explained.


Nuehring was a good example. Grau convinced her to try cross country.


“I didn’t think I was going to like that because I was like, ‘Running three miles? Who does that?’” she recalled. “But it was really fun. I loved it and was out all four years.”


Weigand found a passion for wrestling after trying it her junior year.


“I loved it and had so much fun. Then I tried soccer this year since we have a brand new program, and we have a great time. Take advantage of everything MFL MarMac has to offer,” she stressed.


Along with their teachers, the co-valedictorians and salutatorian have found a network of support in their classmates. The group has long been close-knit, and excels in athletics, fine arts, agriculture and other areas.


“We’re all very encouraging of each other. We want to do well. We want to succeed. We want to give over 100 percent,” Nuehring said.


Grau hopes her classmates remember her for her kindness.


“I want to be remembered for the love I show others and making others feel good about themselves,” she said. “We might not remember what we say or do, but we’ll remember how we made each other feel.”


Weigand wants others to recall how she supported people, whether it was in schoolwork or sports. 


“I try to help when they need it or go to events. It’s important to support one another,” she stated. 


Nuehring simply wants to be remembered as having a positive impact on others’ lives. 


“I want to be remembered as a joyful part of their lives, that it was a good thing to say ‘hi’ to me in the hallway,” she quipped. 


All three plan to attend four-year universities in the fall. Grau is unsure of what she’ll major in at Iowa State University, but is enrolled in an open option program to explore different interests.


“Further on, I’d like to have a job with travel—I’d like to travel the world someday,” she said. “But I’d also like to come back and give back to my community in the future.”


Nuehring will pursue pharmacy at the University of Iowa, and Weigand will major in animal biotechnology at Kansas State University. She might someday work in university research or for a pharmaceutical company.


“I’ve grown up in agriculture my whole life and I’ve always wanted to stay in that field. With the biotechnology route, I can help make it better and more sustainable for the future,” she shared.


MFL MarMac graduation will be Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m., in the high school gymnasium in Monona. View the special graduation section inside this week’s edition to learn more about the class of 2024.

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