Successful class of seniors graduating from BHS
On Sunday, a group of 108 seniors will be leaving behind a legacy at Baldwin High School.
Whether it’s been state championship teams, national titles in engineering, organizing dozens of military veterans at a football game, leading clubs and groups or earning academic honors, the class of 2011 has left its mark at BHS. These graduating seniors have been busy during their four years, but they’ve enjoyed their time as Bulldogs.
“Our class likes to take charge,” Michaela Krysztof said. “We are very dominant in the clubs, sports and everything we do. We have a big class that is full of talent. I think the kids in our class will go very far, because we have bright futures ahead of us. It’s cool that we have a big range of kids that can do everything.”
This year’s senior class will officially leave BHS at the commencement ceremony, which starts at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Baldwin Junior High School gymnasium. While it’s usually a day of mixed emotions, some of the seniors are ready to leave BHS.
“I think I speak for the entire class when I say that I am way beyond excited for graduation,” Ann Wallsmith said. “Of course there are some things that are bittersweet, but life is all about moving on.”
Many of the soon-to-be graduates have kept a running total of days remaining before Sunday’s ceremony.
“I am ecstatic about graduation,” Myranda Behrens said. “I know myself and my classmates have been counting down the days for a very long time.”
Behrens is one of many students in the class of 2011 that has been a part of history. She was on the BHS girls’ track and field team that won its first-ever state championship a year ago. Joining her on the team were fellow seniors Allison Howard, Ramie Burkhart and Samantha Meisenheimer.
The girls’ track and field championship was one of many honors earned by this class of BHS students. Senior Heather Karlin became the first BHS girl to win four cross country state team titles. There were many all-league, all-area and all-state honors for this class of seniors, as well as countless athletic victories.
While the athletic teams may gain prowess over other BHS accolades, the others don’t go unnoticed. This group of seniors has won art, music, band, cheerleading, pom squad and other extracurricular activities during their four years at BHS.
One of the most notable is the Real World Design Challenge team’s national championship in 2010. The BHS RWDC team finished third at nationals this year for another top honor. Seniors Brandon Baltzell and Carson Barnes were members on the team last year and this year.
“I personally have fond memories of cross country and the team's success,” said Baltzell, who ran cross country for the first time this fall and helped the Bulldogs win its first state title since 2005. “Carson and I spent a great deal of time on the Real World Design Challenge and I'm sure I will always remember how much I enjoyed it.”
When asked about the accomplishments of the senior class, Wallsmith will remember the RWDC’s national title.
“Obviously, the RWDC team and their success at nationals is a big deal, but I also think that the continued success of the track and cross country teams shows a lot of dedication from the athletes and coaches involved,” she said.
This year’s class was also involved and lead many clubs and organizations at BHS. Senior Colin Thomas, along with the help of Krysztof, Barnes and others, started the BHS Patriot’s Club. In the fall of 2008, they honored military veterans at a BHS football game. The Patriot’s Club brought the event back this fall and expanded it, too.
BHS faculty members spoke highly of the graduating class.
“One example is when we asked the seniors to submit speeches for gradation,” said Natalie Schmidt-Konkel, senior class counselor. “We choose two each year. In years past, we’ve had two to four at most, but this year we had seven students submit speeches.
“This class is a group of go-getters,” she said. “They really are. Another example is the White House Challenge. They see something like that and then they go do it. They put themselves through a lot of things like that, because they enjoy it.”
Alex Daffern and Wallsmith entered a national challenge in which the winning school would have President Barack Obama as its keynote speaker at graduation. This year’s speaker won’t be the president. It will be John Richards, BHS alumnus and assistant professor of history at Baker University.
“He was a crowd-pleasing favorite two years ago,” Krysztof said. “We decided he would be fun to bring back.”
Thomas and Wallsmith will represent the class with speeches.
“I've never been terrified of speaking in public, but this is going to be a big audience and a bigger honor so I just hope that I can represent my class well,” Wallsmith said.