As Hillsboro’s class president and co-valedictorian, senior Callie Arnold learned a valuable lesson this year in how many commitments is too many.
“I learned, especially this year, that I can’t do it all,” she said. “There are some things you just have to relinquish for your own personal health.”
Instead of trying to juggle all her clubs, academics, and her class presidency, Arnold decided to drop out of two clubs. It was a difficult decision that was not without tears, but she said it was important to make.
Now with her first year of college approaching, Arnold feels surer of how much she can handle.
“Senior year hit me like a brick wall,” she said. “I’ve learned and so I’m taking that into my college years. I know I can’t do it all. I’m trying to think, and pick and choose.”
Arnold’s schedule wasn’t the only place she had to make sacrifices. She saw in-person graduation ceremonies as another looming casualty as her high school career drew to a close.
Just anticipating the possibility was gut-wrenching, she said.
“Once everything closed, I thought of graduation, and it hurt me,” she said. “It hurt my heart because I had been working to become valedictorian. I’d worked so hard for that.”
Hillsboro does, however, have a ceremony planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at Joel H. Weins Stadium, and Arnold again is anticipating her opportunity.
Arnold’s tribulations this year have her viewing her career path in a different light as she prepares to attend Bethel College for English and communications.
“With everything that’s been going on, it’s like added fuel for the fire,” she said.
Communication was integral when trying to structure this year’s valedictory speech with co-valedictorians Jacob Denholm and Olivia Jury. The connection with them and salutatorian Ava Weisbeck was forged over years of attending classes together.
“I’m definitely friends with them,” Arnold said. “We’ve always had this competitive spirit with each other through academics. We’d always say, ‘what did you get on the test, what did you get on the test?’ We’d be able to talk about anything that was going on in school.”
Jury will attend Tabor College for piano pedagogy, while Denholm will be going to Wichita State University for mechanical engineering in the fall.
Weisbeck is planning to study wildlife ecology at University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point.
“I honestly really admire that and think it’s awesome,” Arnold said.
Having a small graduating class was an advantage when it came to associating with peers, Arnold said.
“I think we all take an interest in what we’re going to do after high school because we’re all going down different paths,” she said. “It’s all unique to us, and it’s not necessarily competitive when it comes to that stuff. We’re all just interested in where we’re going to end up and if we’ll end up back together.”
Having gone through so many changes this year, Arnold views her experience as an example for younger students to learn from.
“I hope the people who are younger can look at our situation and do better, maybe,” she said. “Take it into account and make the changes we couldn’t make. I don’t want them to admire our situation, but take it, process it, and fix it.”
Hillsboro High School graduates
Callie Arnold, Surinda Bell, Addie Berens, Collin Brown, Jasmine Copenhaver, Faith Dalke, Madison Daniels, Jacob Denholm, Kelli Dyck,
Mallory Ediger, Dayton Foster, Abigail Fryhover, Regan James, Hunter Jones, Olivia Jury, Jason Latham, Roxana Nieto, Logan Oborny, Caleb Potucek, Tiffany Schale, Mildred Sechrist, Cayley Settle, Ava Weisbeck, Thelma Wilson, and Victoria Wintermote.
Co-valedictorians: Callie Arnold, Jacob Denholm, and Olivia Jury. Salutatorian: Ava Weisbeck.