The Redwood Valley High School Class of 2017 has seen its share of successes over the past four years, whether it be in athletics, academics or in the arts.
Many of them have received words of congratulations, pats on the back and even awards for their efforts.
While they receive the accolades others stand in the shadows. They are the ones whose efforts, in one way or another, have also helped contribute to the overall success of the class, but what they have done has often gone unnoticed. They all have helped to define who this year’s graduating class has been, is and will be.
They are the seniors behind the scenes.
Kayla Barrington is the daughter of David and Marilyn Hester.
As a student at Redwood Valley High School, she has been involved in volleyball, basketball, softball, hockey and the Special Olympics. It is her involvement in the Special Olympics she has enjoyed most.
Through that program Barrington gets to “be with fellow athletes who work hard at what they do. Also, they make me happy, because they are always smiling and having fun.”
Through her involvement in activities outside of the classroom, Barrington has learned that not everyone is the same, and that people need to work hard to think about what they say to people who are different from them and others.
Throughout her high-school career, Barrington said she has appreciated the impact Denise Kaupang has had on her life.
“She is always caring about all of us students, and she pushes not just me to be better but everyone else as well. She makes sure my work is done right and well,” said Barrington.
Barrington said people probably don’t know that she is obsessed with “Ninja Turtles.”
Barrington plans to move to Tampa, Fla. where she will study physical therapy.
Trevor Groebner is the son of Holly Johnson and Brent Groebner.
As a student at Redwood Valley, Groebner has been involved in wrestling and cross country.
“I enjoyed wrestling the most, because it introduced me to great friends and taught me good life lessons for my future, such as determination, perseverance, leadership and discipline,” said Groebner.
Groebner said someone he really looks up to is his uncle, Eric Johnson.
“He has been there for me in many ways through my younger years and still is,” said Groebner. “He always gives good advice, and I aspire to be like him.”
One thing Groebner said most people probably don’t know about him is that he likes to draw.
Groebner plans to attend Southwest Minnesota State University to pursue a degree in sociology.
Denton Jackson is the son of Franky Jackson and Anne O’Keefe.
During his time in high school, Jackson has been involved in UNITY and lacrosse. He said lacrosse has been the activity he has enjoyed most.
“It’s something I’ve been doing since I was little, and it brings my family and friends closer,” said Jackson, adding all of the traveling is pretty fun, too. Jackson said participating in activities has taught him the importance of respecting others, adding over the years that he has played lacrosse he has seen a lot of mean people.
Dan Paur, Jackson’s lacrosse coach, is someone he considered a mentor.
“He showed me how to be a leader with lacrosse and other life situations,” said Jackson.
Jackson said he thinks people probably don’t know just how much he is into comic books.
Jackson’s future goals are to go to college and to continue improving his skills as a lacrosse player.
Kaitlyn Ochs is the daughter of Janell Schmidt and Gerald Ochs.
Cheerleading, gymnastics, track, the Student Rotarian program and Special Olympics are activities Ochs has been involved in as a student at RVHS. She said track has been the most enjoyable.
In track, “everybody is always pushing you to do the best that you can,” said Ochs.
An important life lesson Ochs has learned through being involved is to always do the best you can, and then do a little more.
Her homeroom teacher, Todd Steve, is someone she has looked up to during her high-school years.
“Mr. Steve has pushed me to be the best I can these past four years, and will continue to guide me through the tough times,” said Ochs.
People don’t know that Ochs is really an outgoing person, because she doesn’t talk very much in school.
Ochs is going to the University of Sioux Falls to study special education.
Jacob Prescott is the son of Dion and Jeanne Prescott.
UNITY, the Student Rotarian program and riding motocross are things Prescott has been involved in as a high-school student.
“Motocross is my sport and passion,” said Prescott. “It is different and unrecognized, but it creates a great family bond, friendships and good sportsmanship. I love the thrill of the sport.”
One person Prescott said he really looks up to on and off of the track is Joy Ritt, who is the mom of a friend, because she is “always caring and trying to help everyone out in the same way.”
Prescott said most people probably don’t know that he loves to sing any kind of music.
This fall Prescott will be going to basic training for the military. He plans on going to college soon after that and to further his motocross career.
Chloe Scott is the daughter of Renee and Robert Scott.
As a student at RVHS, Scott has been involved in UNITY, SADD, the Student Rotarian program and video productions.
“I enjoyed UNITY the most, because of Jackie Probst and how much fun we always have helping out,” said Scott.
The most important life lesson she has gained through the activities she has been involved with are to do what you want to do without anyone else changing your perspective. Scott considers her dad to be a role model for her.
“He has always been someone I look up to the most,” said Scott. “He and my mom are people I strive to make happy every day.”
Scott said one thing people don’t know about her is that she knows how to change the oil in a car.
Scott’s future plans are to attend the University of Las Vegas to study criminal justice with the plan to one day become a police officer.
These students and the rest of the RVHS Class of 2017 will be graduating May 22 ending this leg of their life journey and beginning another.
While they may not have gained a lot of attention up until now, one can see their futures are bright and will lead to many successes and recognition down the road.