Central Class of 2015, Stender & Orr are top graduates

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Kiana Stender, Central’s top female graduate.

Luke Orr, Central’s top male graduate.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

Based on academic achievement alone. Kiana Stender and Luke Orr are Central’s top female and male graduates. They recently answered questions about being the head of the class, their post-high school plans and their advice for Central undersclassmen.

Mr. Yanda has informed me that you are the top male and female graduates at Central. What does it mean to you to have achieved that distinction?

Kiana: I am very thankful to everyone who helped me achieve this throughout my high school years. Teachers, my classmates, and my parents (especially Debbie) were top supporters of helping me with school, and I could not have done it without them.

Luke: I am glad to have accomplished this distinction. Throughout high school, the standard for my goals has been to achieve at the top of my own abilities.  

What sorts of extra-curricular activities have you be involved in throughout high school?

Kiana: I have been involved in cross-country, basketball, track, one year of softball, swim team, and Food and Fitness.

Luke: Throughout high school I was a member of National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America, and the football team. Outside of school, I was participated in many 4-H activities and teams as well as church groups.  

What are your outside interests/hobbies beyond extra-curricular activities?

Kiana: I love reading, animals, and being outside. I can’t wait to go kayaking as soon as summer rolls around!

Luke: I am interested in agriculture and spend most of my time outside of school working on that. If I have any free time from school or work, I frequently spend my time hunting whatever is available to be hunted at the time. 

How did you balance studying with everything else?

Kiana: Like I said before, I had lots of support! Some nights I would be doing a project at 11 o’clock and my mom would be helping me by cutting up whatever I needed or helping me study for a test. There definitely were some stressful nights, but school isn’t meant to be easy!

Luke: There wasn’t really any balancing to it; if I needed to work on my studies I simply made time. I had no specific time frames for my school work; I just completed it when and if I had time. Usually this would include staying up after farm work was completed or waking up earlier before school.

What have been your favorite and least favorite classes, and why?

Kiana: Anatomy and English Lit were probably two of my favorite classes, because the human body is truly a fascinating machine, and I love to read. I honestly can’t say I have a least favorite class, because there is something fun in every class, whether it’s your classmates, the teachers, or the material you’re learning!

Luke: My favorite class is Anatomy and Physiology. Anatomy and Physiology has provided me with useful information that I will carry with me as I continue my education. Additionally, the class was more of a challenge, which gave me a good insight for my post secondary education. As for my least favorite class, it’s hard to say. All of my classes were relevant to me in some way. The only one I can think of is when I took art in middle school; my artistic ability is substandard.

How do you think you have benefitted by attending a smaller school most or all of your academic life?

Kiana: I would say that attending a smaller school benefited me in that teachers were understanding about schedules. Teachers would take into consideration that if Monday night you had a game or a meet or some type of event, a test the next day might not be the best choice. It also allowed me to participate in lots of sports, which I love!

Luke: In a small school setting it’s very easy to become friends with everyone. My peers and I worked together very well, especially during challenging times. A social atmosphere where everyone is willing to help made for a great learning experience along with some enjoyable memories. 

What honors have you received?

Kiana: I was honored with the KWWL Best of Class and the Governor’s Scholar Award!

Luke: Throughout my high school career, everything that I was involved in was an honor, I was proud to be a part of the organizations that I was a part of. Aside from that I was able to make the supreme honor roll each semester of my career, I made the All District Academic Team for football, and I was inducted into the National Honor Society. Outside of school I received various awards for 4-H and FFA projects shown at county and state fairs. One of my proudest accomplishments is having won or been named champion in every division available to beef project participants in Clayton County 4-H except two. 

What are your plans after graduation?

Kiana: I am attending the University of Iowa’s College of Nursing next fall, and could not be more excited about the upcoming opportunities and knowledge!

Luke: After graduation I plan to attend Iowa State University for a major in the agricultural field.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Kiana: I would say I either see myself still in school, or (hopefully) working in my career field of choice! 

Luke: In five years, I will have completed college and will return to Northeast Iowa. I will find a job within my major and also assist with farm work on the side. Graduate studies is also a possibility. 

What advice do you have for other Central students?

Kiana: Well, for me the best advice came from my mom when she told me “you just got to put your nose to the grindstone.” Of course you want to have fun and enjoy moments in life, but school should be a top priority. It creates opportunities for a better and brighter future, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices to do what you think is best for you. It might not be years of schooling for everyone, but at some point in your life, you have got to buckle down and get something done if you want to be proud of yourself and your achievements in the future.

Luke: All I can really say is give an effort; you get out of school what you put into it. Choosing to make the most out of your education will help build a foundation for future success. School does in fact prepare you for the future, if you’ll allow it to. 


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