Betz named salutatorian in Clintonville
By Bert Lehman
With Clintonville High School graduation set for Friday, June 12, Jarren Vanman and Chrissy Betz prepare their speeches as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
Vanman said during the middle of his junior year his dad told him he should try for valedictorian.
“I went for it and it ended up working out that way,” Vanman said.
At that time Vanman said he knew Betz wasn’t far behind him in the pursuit of valedictorian.
Betz said the fact the two were both close to achieving the honor that it became a friendly competition between the two.
She said she was also striving to be valedictorian, and was a little disappointed not to achieve that goal.
“But if anyone should be valedictorian, I’m happy with Jarren because he’s so friendly and just a genuine person,” Betz said.
She added that both she and Vanman took difficult classes, so it was an even competition. In fact, they had a lot of the same classes.
Vanman said to achieve his goal of being valedictorian he wasn’t involved in many extracurricular activities that required an everyday commitment. He also didn’t have a job during high school because he knew it was important to work on his grades.
“I did that instead and it worked out,” he said.
Vanman said he spent about two hours a day outside of school studying.
Betz said she studied “quite a bit” outside of school, which was sometimes difficult as she was also involved in volleyball, basketball and track, in addition to working at Dairy Queen.
“It was a lot of late nights sometimes, but it was worth it,” she said.
Game nights were challenging, Betz said.
“Sometimes I’d get home around 10 p.m. and I’d still have to do my reading,” Betz said.
She said she sometimes found herself doing homework on the bus traveling to and from sporting events.
She added that her work schedule created the most challenges.
At the time of the interview, both Vanman and Betz said they were still working on their speeches for the graduation ceremony.
Vanman said the most challenging part of writing his speech was balancing humor with seriousness.
Both agreed the actual presenting of the speech at graduation will be the worst part.
Vanman said he has done public speaking in the past, but he knows he’ll still be nervous when it comes time to give his speech at the graduation ceremony.
Betz said she doesn’t like speaking in front of a crowd, but knows she’ll get through it.
Vanman said he plans to attend UW-Stevens Point to pursue a STEM degree. He said his enjoyment of mathematics and science has him leaning toward a STEM degree.
“I do enjoy working with numbers and graphs and things of that nature,” Vanman said.
He is also considering becoming a teacher.
Betz said she plans to attend UW-LaCrosse and is undecided about her major. She said she is leaning toward majoring in exercise and sports plans to become a trainer. The other possibility is to be a physician assistant, which would require grad school.
“Once I take some prerequisites I’ll figure out what I like,” she said.
Vanman is the son of Richard and Judy Vanman.
Betz is the daughter of Eric and Beth Betz.
Both Vanman and Betz have advice for underclassmen who want to be valedictorian.
“Work hard in all your classes,” Vanman said.
He added that students shouldn’t let small things, such as missing an assignment, get them off track.
“Make sure you’re not cutting corners,” Betz said. “Do your work thoroughly. It’s a lot easier that way if you’re prepared for all your assignments.
Betz also has advice for student athletes who want to try to become valedictorian of their class.
“Get your work done whenever you can — in between games or one the bus,” Betz said.
She added, “If you are shooting for valedictorian I don’t think you should cut your athletics because I think it’s a great experience and something that’s worth a lot. And it teaches you other life lessons other than school lessons.”