Mathwig, Gilbert to speak at commencement
The two students graduating at the top of Weyauwega-Fremont High School’s Class of 2017 grew up together.
Both went to Fremont Elementary and in high school, took challenging courses, participated in countless extracurricular activities and also found time to volunteer and work.
They attend the same church and are close friends.
Jenna Mathwig is this year’s valedictorian, and Kimberly Gilbert is the salutatorian.
Mathwig, the daughter of Thomas and Kelly Mathwig, finished last semester with a cumulative 4.274 weighted grade point average.
“I’ve been taking weighted classes and AP classes since sophomore year,” she said. “This year, there’s probably only one or two classes that are not weighted, AP or college.”
Outside of the classroom, Mathwig participated in athletics and numerous extracurricular activities.
“I tried a little bit of everything except golf and softball,” she said of the sports she played.
Mathwig played volleyball and basketball and is on the track team.
She is a member of National Honor Society and FFA.
This year, Mathwig is the president of W-F’s FFA chapter.
She participated in the school plays and musicals, was on the Math Team and the committees for prom and homecoming and also served as a Badger Girl State representative.
Much of her volunteer work in the community is related to her involvement in FFA and the church she attends, Hope United Church of Christ.
Mathwig has volunteered at a warming shelter, Food for America, Adopt a Highway, the Wisconsin State Fair and more.
She also worked seasonal jobs at Mathwig Excavating, Anchor Point Marina and Hotel Fremont.
In the fall, Mathwig will head to the University of Georgia in Athens, where she plans to be a premedicine major.
“I foolishly only applied to out-of-state schools,” she said.
She did so for several reasons.
Mathwig wants to study abroad and in the future, travel for her work.
She wants to do mission trips to Africa.
“I don’t want to be tied down,” she said. “I knew if I stayed in Wisconsin, I would stay (after college).”
Mathwig is also a triplet.
Her sister, Maddy, and her brother, Gus, will attend colleges in the state.
“I’ve always had someone there I could rely on,” Mathwig said. “I need to be my own person.”
She has family in Georgia, including an uncle who is soon retiring from the university she will attend.
Mathwig is particularly interested in genetics.
“I want to do cancer, epidemiology research,” she said.
When asked who impacted her the most, Mathwig said her parents and her uncle in Georgia did.
That uncle always told her to “treat people like they matter.”
When her father was diagnosed with Lyme Disease a few years ago, he did not let it stop him, she said.
“He always does what he says,” Mathwig said. “He’s always told me, ‘Your actions speak for you.’”
Of her mother, Mathwig said, “She knows what she wants, and she will get it. I admire her for that.”
What Mathwig learned most growing up in Fremont was that “you can work very hard. You can do everything great, but there’s always going to be someone who people like better, someone better than you, someone who has an in. If you work hard and keep going, things will happen.”
Gilbert, the daughter of Douglas and Susan Gilbert, completed the past semester with a cumulative 4.139 weighted grade point average.
She took numerous weighted, AP and college classes during high school.
Gilbert’s extracurricular involvement included FFA, student council, National Honor Society, Math Team, Morals and Ethics and the prom and homecoming committees.
“Through NHS, I tutor high school students with whatever help they need,” she said.
She played volleyball and softball and was on the track team.
Gilbert was also in the high school’s play this school year and was a Badger Girl State alternate.
The past two years, she was a member of the honors band.
As a member of Hope United Church of Christ, Gilbert has volunteered in a variety of ways, including at homeless shelters, community dinners and a daycare.
“Ever since eighth grade, I always worked at the VFW Tent, at the Iola Car Show,” she said. “I have helped park planes at the Greenville airport for EAA.”
Much of her other involvement in the community centers around being a member of FFA.
That has included working at Breakfast on the Farm, Fourth Grade Conservation Day and Ag Olympics.
Gilbert helped with the student council blood drives and with testing the water of Lake Weyauwega.
In addition, she has worked at Gala Resort, Anchor Point Marina and Hahn-A-Lula Resort & Supper Club.
Next fall, Gilbert will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she plans to be a premedicine major.
She recently decided to attend UW-Madison after also considering Marquette University and St. Norbert College.
“Almost my entire immediate family has worked in the medical field,” she said in regard to her decision to be a premed major.
Gilbert is interested in becoming a surgeon.
“I’d like to go into surgery. I really enjoy helping people,” she said. “That’s why I like doing community service – the whole aspect of caring for people.”
There is also another reason for her interest in the medical field.
She broke her right arm three different times.
Gilbert said many people have inspired her.
“My entire family has influenced me throughout my life, and so have my friends and my teachers especially,” she said.
Gilbert also spoke about her friendship with Mathwig.
They sought advice from each other through the years, and both excelled in the classroom.
“She always pushed me. I knew I couldn’t catch her, but I was always right there with her, right behind her,” Gilbert said.”
The two of them went through much together and spent summers hanging out together.
As for what growing up in the Fremont area taught her, Gilbert said. “You honestly have no idea what anyone else is going through. Treat people like you want to be treated.”
Gilbert said people should not let the judgment of others affect them.
“You can go past boundaries,” she said. “Always keep strong bonds with your friends and families.”