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ROCKRIDGE High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois, has selected these outstanding seniors from its class of 99 students:

Academics

ASHLEY MINYARD, daughter of John and Katie Minyard of Milan, plans to major in biology at Western Illinois University, Macomb.

Top achievements:

• Illinois State Scholar

• Milan Rotary Student of the Month

• Academic All-State

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: An experience from the classroom I will always remember happened this past summer in my Chemistry 101 class at Black Hawk. I love science and this was my first class I have ever really received hand on lab experience in. I will never forget my first lab experience of extracting the active calcium from a calcium carbonate tablet and finding out how much of that tablet was fillers rather than actual calcium. I think it is a good thing I am going into the sciences for my degree because I doubt many people would find that unforgettable.

The Arts

SETH BLANKENSHIP, son of Seth A. Blankenship of Milan, plans to major in makeup artistry at Michael Vincent Academy, Los Angeles, California.

Top achievements:

• All-state choir

• ILMEA cover art contest, 2nd place

• Color Guard team captain

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: I will always remember practicing show choir during choir and our instructor, Mr. O, playing the piano faster and faster to mess with us and see how fast we could do the dance, it was super fun and everyone was laughing.

Humanities

OLIVIA BATEY, daughter of Amy and Steve Schwantes, and Mary and Ryan Batey of Andalusia, plans to major in microbiology (pre-med) at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• Illinois State Scholar

• Academic Honors

• National Honor Society

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: My English 101 teacher, Mrs. Kline, has made a big impact on my life. One classroom learning experience that I will always remember is that one day we just took time out of class to go around and converse about conspiracy theories. She teaches us to question what we're taught. I love to find out new angles on things. It was an eye opening experience. It was fascinating listening to what other students shared and the reasoning behind it.

Leadership

MAX SCHULTZ, son of Herb and Heidi Schultz of Milan, plans to major in biology at the University of Utah Honors College, Salt Lake City.

Top achievements:

• ILMEA all-state honor choir, 2 years

• High Honor Roll, 3.5 years

• Milan Rotary Student of the Month

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: A classroom learning experience that I will always remember happened in the band room. I remember senior night last year when all of the graduating members of our band were giving speeches to the younger members telling them that it was time to step up as leaders now that they were leaving. Feeling their bittersweet stories about how they were leaving and the roles that needed to be filled really inspired me to be the leader I am today. I hope I have encouraged the classes below me to see the importance of leadership in a group and how it can benefit everyone.

Math/The Sciences

MITCHELL KNOLLENBERG, son of Camie Knollenberg and Mark Knollenberg of Taylor Ridge, plans to major in computer science at Bradley University, Peoria.

Top achievements:

• Illinois State Scholar

• High Honors

• Rotary Student of the Month

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: I guess my most memorable learning experience was not quite in the classroom, but I am sure to remember it forever. One day, my Advanced Chemistry class went on a field trip to learn more about pollution in the Mississippi River and how it is being cleaned. We met with some people from Living Lands and Waters and had a day with demonstrations, experiments, and a lot of interesting information. It was fun to get out of the classroom for once to learn, instead of sitting in a desk.

Vocational Education

BRIANNA GORHAM, daughter of Keith Gorham and Jodie Gorham of Illinois City, plans to major in ag business and international agriculture at Iowa State University, Ames.

Top achievements:

• Illinois State Scholar

• National Honor Society

• High Honors

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: I will always remember being in my agriculture classes, whether it was Animal Science, Basic Ag, Intro to Ag, or Greenhouse Management. These classes were all very and hands-on and a lot of teamwork was required to be successful. It has been great becoming so close with all my classmates because of this communication. I will always remember my agriculture classes because they are what helped me decide that I want to remain in the agriculture industry for my future career and continue to use teamwork to overcome challenges faced in this industry.

Young Journalist

JILLIAN STONE, daughter of David Stone and Julie Ortscheid-Stone of Reynolds, plans to major in computer science at Augustana College, Rock Island.

Top achievements:

• Milan Rotary Student of the Month

• Academic All-Conference, golf, 4 years

• Illinois Principals Association Leadership award

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: As co-editor of the yearbook, I take pride in helping the other Publications students with any yearbook issue they may have. A classroom learning experience that I will never forget happens to partially take outside of the classroom. For yearbook fundraising, we have to work with businesses to place their advertisements in our book. For my past two years, I have experienced the hard work it takes to be a saleswoman, including rejection. I have also learned how to design advertisements, know the importance of keeping in touch with customers through the entire process, all while bonding with my team members.All of this work would not have been attainable without the help of our adviser, Mr. Jay Bizarri. He works with us through the entire process and continues to inspire us to create the best yearbook we can.

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