Our view: Academic All Stars showcase youth achievers

3:30 PM, Apr. 10, 2013  |  Comments
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There are a lot of very smart, special young people here in our community.

You don't need us to tell you that, of course. But we're telling you anyway. The academic achievements of local students, the way they balance extracurricular activities with coursework and college preparation, the sheer dedication that they show to academic achievement - all of these things are, in a word, impressive.

On Wednesday evening, we honored a group of Academic All Stars from across the region at a banquet in Stevens Point. In today's print edition, you'll find a special section dedicated to recognizing their achievements. These young people deserve the high praise they've gotten from their teachers and peers, and we're excited to let our readers and the broader regional community know about them.

Here's how we did it: Gannett Central Wisconsin Media invited principals from high schools throughout the region, including Wausau, Stevens Point, Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids, to nominate their top academic achievers from the Class of 2013. We received dozens of nominations from 34 high schools. And in the end, though virtually all the nominees deserve awards, our judges narrowed their selection to 12 winners. They are the academic stars of our communities, and we hope you'll be excited to get to know them.

So we hope you'll check out the special section in print, and visit www.stevenspointjournal.com/academicallstars online to see videos, photos and more of the winners.

These are just a few of our winners:

? Ryan Eisenman, 18, of D.C. Everest Senior High School, who has developed his love of history into a project to create a traveling Civil War Memorial. Eisenman has traveled with the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, and wrote about his experience in a series of three columns published by Daily Herald Media. He's been a leader in the D.C. Everest Oral History Project and active in theater.

? Alayna Holderman, 18, of Amherst High School, who got straight A's while participating in the Chamber Singers, National Honor Society, Student Council, Spanish Club and theater.

? Gwynna Norton, 17, of Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, who has harnessed her love of math and science to set her sights on NASA. In her junior year, she took a physics course online, and last summer participated in the Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholar project, which took her to Houston to help foster her love of STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and math.

? Alex Viegut, 18, of Columbus Catholic High School in Marshfield, a class president and academic standout who loves teaching as much as she loves learning.

Go to www.stevenspointjournal.com/academicallstars or check out our special section for much more.

We all know our communities love sports, and it feels right and is great when we rally around a winning football team or honor high school athletes of the year. But it often has been remarked to us that there is no equivalent honor or community prestige for academic achievement. And in the past, that's been a fair point.

But it's not true anymore. Gannett Central Wisconsin Media decided to create our Academic All Stars awards specifically because we believe it's important for our communities to remember that sports - which we love, and value, and won't stop valuing - is only one way that our young people excel. There's also math, science, the arts, the humanities, and much, much more. Let's give our excellent young people a hand.

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports