Clinton High School

Clinton High School

From the Salute to Academics and Achievements series
  • Updated

CLINTON High School has selected these outstanding seniors from its class of 264 students:


SAMEER ANSARI, son of Dr. Anis and Roomana Ansari of Clinton, plans to major in biochemistry.

Top achievements:

• Ranked 1st in class since freshman year

• Governors Scholar Award

• AP Scholar

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: I will never forget the impact my AP Statistics teacher had on me. School is something that has never came easy to me. I have always had to study and work extremely hard to maintain good grades, and had been very successful until AP Statistics. This was difficult course that just would not click with me. I worked late nights, came in early mornings for help but nothing was able to give me the understanding that I needed. When I received my grade at the end of the trimester it was not what I was hoping for. My AP Statistics teacher knew that and he gave me extremely important advice. He told me that you should never be ashamed of the hard work you put into something. It's okay to not achieve perfection as long as you gave your 110% and this is something that I will never forget.

GAGE HARRIS, son of Tony and Luann Harris of Clinton, plans to major in engineering at Iowa State University, Ames, or University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• Governor's Scholar Award

• National Honor Society

• IHSADA-NIAAA Student Scholar Award

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: One class that I will always remember taking, and thankful that I did, was a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) course, Introduction into Engineering my sophomore year of high school. Most of my high school career I thought I would become an engineer, but I didn’t exactly know the kind of things they did. This class exposed me to what engineering was about and the opportunities and hands-on projects an engineer might face. We built many different projects: a simple machine, a solar and hydrogen fuel cell car, programmed and created a working marble sorter, and many more projects in-between. I remember looking forward to that class every day, ready to keep on building. To this day, I look back on taking that class and can’t wait to take more classes like that in college.

The Arts

MARCELLA MASCAGNI, daughter of Danielle and Peter Mascagni of Clinton, plans to major in music education/performance at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• All State Band

• 3.0 Club, 4 years

• Principal horn player, 3 years

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: A memorable learning experience is one that has been accentuated in high school band since the beginning. We were never told directly but somehow taught that band is really a team effort. Everyone has something different and when put all of our parts together, there is something beautiful that is more than just notes on a page that we aren't able to create on our own. When we each individually discovered this sense of teamwork is when we really became part of the group and I think that is what will stick with me the most.

ZACHARY SCHWARTZ, son of Patrick and Denise Schwartz of Clinton, plans to major in music and theater education at the University of Iowa.

Top achievements:

• All-State Speech, small group, twice

• “1” ratings for Small Ensemble, twice

• Entered Men's Double Quartet as a sophomore

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: During my 6th grade year of middle school, I decided to participate in the school musicals like my brother before me. The musicals were directed by our choir teacher Mark Kapatsinski. During the last few days of rehearsal before opening night, "Mr. Kap" as we called him, was very stressed because he wanted to make sure the musical went well. He noticed that we would be very glum after our rehearsals because we knew we could do better, but then he came on stage and said something that I will never forget. "Never be satisfied with a rehearsal, never be disappointed with a performance". Those words taught me that even when the chips are down and all is looking lost, that everything will turn out alright. I will never forget that saying and I will never forget my hero, Mark Kapatsinski.


BRETT BECKWITH, son of Vicki Beckwith and Jeff Beckwith of Clinton, plans to major in biomedical engineering/pre-med at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• ACT score of 30+

• AP Scholar

• 3 UPA National Powerlifting Records

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: I'll never forget the fun stories and harmonica playing by Mr. Misiewicz.

JASON LIN, son of Jin Ju Lin and, Rong Ying Wang of Clinton, plans to major in pharmacy at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• National Honor Society, treasurer

• 3.0 Club, 4 years

• Top 2% of class

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: A classroom experience that I will never forget is when I dissected a fetal pig in AP Biology. I was nervous since it was my first time dissecting an organism of that size, but it was an incredible learning experience. It was really cool to see all the organs and tissues of the pig and be able to have a hands on experience simultaneously. Through this lab I was able to deeply learn/understand the anatomy of a pig and its similarity to the anatomy of a human. I am very appreciative of this chance to be able to dissect a fetal pig and I think it is a great learning experience for future biology students to do as well.


McKENNA GREENWALT, daughter of Bill and Kelly Greenwalt of Clinton, plans to major in sociology/criminal justice (pre-law) at Coe College, Cedar Rapids.

Top achievements:

• Wendy's High School Hesimen Scholarship state finalist

• Better Business Bureau Student of Integrity honorable mention

• National Honor Society

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: As a member of the 2016-2017 Clinton High Student Council, I was appointed to chair the assembly committee, allowing me the opportunity to organize and emcee all the school’s assemblies throughout my senior year. This by far was one of the most challenging, yet enjoyable tasks I have ever taken on. Honestly, the idea of public speaking to 1200 of my peers was very intimidating at first, but as the year went on, the easier it got, and it became one of my greatest attributes. To assure the assemblies ran smoothly, I met with committee members regularly, to discuss ideas, and then presented the plans to school administrators, for approval. My goals for the assemblies were to keep the crowd engaged and create a fun and upbeat atmosphere. I feel as though the assemblies were a success, and this opportunity has helped prepare me for the future.

Math/The Sciences

MADISON RUSH, daughter of Linda Rush of Clinton, plans to major in international relations at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• AP Scholar

• Old Gold Scholar

• Top 5% of class

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: One of the most memorable classroom experiences was in my Honors Physics class when we were learning about electrostatics. Our teacher, Mr. Golden, brought out a metal sphere that could be negatively charged. One of my classmates put her hands on it and we watched as all her hair stood up. By holding hands we formed a chain and were able to get an electric shock to travel through thirteen people, we set a class record. Electrostatics is the cause of lighting, we learned about one of the most powerful forces of nature in the safety of our classroom with a fun experiment. This lesson not only taught me the importance of electrons but also about how we can learn new things in unexpected ways. Golden teaches us to educate ourselves and gain knowledge whenever the opportunity presents itself, and that lesson is one I will never forget

SAMANTHA WOHLSTADTER, daughter of Sally Wohlstadter and Scott Wohlstadter of Clinton, plans to major in physics at Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne.

Top achievements:

• 3.0 Club

• ACT 30+ Club

• Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union: Distinguished in Academic Achievement

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: A classroom learning experience that I will remember forever is the Dissection Lab in AP Biology. The class was split into groups of two or three people, and each group was given a fetal pig. We were to follow the instructions in the dissection booklet to skin the pig and observe various tissues and organs, as well as remove organs to observe them closely or dissect them. The organs and tissues looked different than I expected from looking at pictures. I enjoyed dissecting the brain and lungs the most, because I was able to see and touch the different layers and tissues. It was an interesting way to learn about the body and its systems, and the hands-on experience helped me to learn better than by simply reading information from a textbook.

Vocational Education

AVERY COPPESS, daughter of Cory and Amy Coppess of Clinton, plans to major in accounting at Monmouth (Illinois) College.

 Top achievements:

• Top 15% of class

• 3.0 Club

• Monmouth College dean’s scholarship

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: A class room learning experience I will remembber forever is sitting in my accounting and business classes and realizing that I want to major and have a lifelong career in this field.

SELENA CORTEZ, daughter of Holly McCloud of Clinton, plans to attend Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids.

Top achievements:

• High Honors

• Soccer

• Cheerleading

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: The hands on labs in our Project Lead the Way biomedical class were very exciting learning experiences. In this particular class, we collectively conducted a crime scene investigation to answer the question, "How did Anna die?" We extracted DNA, tested food for high glucose, and tested different types of blood splatters to determine if the death was caused by an accident, natural causes, suicide, or a homicide. This gave me a unique insight into a “real” crime scene investigation in which paying attention to details and following precise procedures is critical to success. This has taught me that organization is important and that a professional in this field needs to be very thorough in this line of work or it could throw the lab results off and lead the investigation in the wrong direction. I will remember this forever because it may be the start of my future career!

Young Journalist

Riley Hubbart


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