Each and every year, the White Lake Beacon pays tribute to the graduating seniors finishing out the school year.
The paper does this in a number of ways. We publish photos from graduation, but we also pay tribute to those students who graduated at the top of their class.
We call this our “Senior Top 10.” Although information on when and how high schools can have their graduation ceremony remains uncertain, that doesn’t mean we should needlessly toss out tradition and ignore these students who went above and beyond.
The White Lake Beacon would like to offer its congratulations to our seniors. So without further ado, we present the top 10 from Whitehall, Montague and Reeths-Puffer high schools.
1. Morgan VanderLeest: VanderLeest is the daughter of Bobbi Oldenburg and the late David VanderLeest. Morgan plans to attend the University of Michigan to major in engineering.
Throughout high school she participated in National History Day, National Honor Society, Environmental Club and Law Day. VanderLeest also ran cross country and track where she earned six all-region medals in track and was a part of two regional championship teams in cross country.
Other accomplishments include being an AP Scholar with Honor, NHD alternative in 2017 and NHD finalist in 2018, and the 2020 Academic West Michigan Showcase nominee for Whitehall. Her personal interests include reading, writing and being outdoors.
2. Kate Conkright: Conkright is the daughter of Brie and Joe Alvesteffer and the late Kevin Conkright.
Conkright plans to attend the University of Michigan to major in electrical engineering. She ran cross country for four years and participated in the National Honor Society.
She also earned AP Scholar status. In her spare time enjoys cooking and volunteering at Heaven Can Wait.
3. Isabelle Uganski: Uganski is the daughter of Tanya and Ken Uganski. In the fall, she plans to attend Siena Heights University to major in Environmental Science. Uganski ran cross country where she earned all-city, all-conference and all-region awards and played soccer where she earned all-district and defensive MVP awards.
She was also active in clubs that included: Student Council, LINK crew, Chess Club, National Honor Society, National History Day and Business Professionals of America. She earned honors being a Business Professionals of America state qualifier and a National History Day national qualifier along with earning academic honors and being a scholar athlete.
Her personal interests include going to the beach, running and watching movies.
4. Karoline Glamzi: Glamzi is the daughter of Katrina Langlois and Jeffrey Glamzi. Glamzi plans to attend the University of Michigan to major in Environmental Engineering. For four years, she played both basketball and softball.
She was also a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, the Muskegon Youth Advisory Council, LINK, Business Professionals of America, first chair as Alto Saxophone in both symphonic and jazz bands and was a part of the color guard for the marching band.
Her accomplishments include being a scholar athlete in both sports and on the honor roll every year. In her spare time, she likes to paint, be outdoors and hang out with friends and family.
5. Lauren Schneider: Schneider is the daughter of Gretchen Schneider and Penny Evert. She plans to attend Calvin University where she will major in Biochemistry and minor in Chinese. She played volleyball and tennis throughout high school where she earned all-academic awards in each sport.
Schneider was a part of the 2018 state volleyball team. She also participated in the National Honor Society, marching band, jazz band, symphonic band, pep band, chess club, Link Leader, First Priority, and theater productions. She also tutored students.
Lauren likes to sing at church, play the keyboard/piano and is involved in numerous church/community revitalization events. She hopes to be a virologist that studies viruses.
6. Emily Martin: Martin is the daughter of Debbie and Kyle Martin. Emily will attend Hope College to major in Secondary Education in English. She hopes to teach for Teach America after she graduates from Hope College.
During high school Martin played softball and basketball where she earned all-conference in basketball and all-conference and all-district in softball. She also participated in the National Honor Society, Student Council, the Writing Center, LINK crew, Business Professionals of America and tutored students.
Other accomplishments include ranking in the top three for BPA states extemporary speech and global marketing, and playing for a state ranked travel softball team that won four state titles. She also earned state accolades for singing.
Martin likes to sing, hang out with friends and family and be on the water in her spare time.
7. Emma McAdow: McAdow is the daughter of Daniel McAdow and Marci Beckey. Emma will attend Grand Valley State University next fall to major in education or psychology. She was a part of the National Honor Society, LINK crew, Business Professionals of America and the Chalkboard Project.
McAdow has earned the Academic Excellence award for four years, taken four AP classes and received a 4 on the AP Language test. She also received two $1,000 scholarships. Her personal interests include painting, writing and playing the ukulele.
8. Braley Johnson: Johnson is the daughter of Mandie and Brad Johnson. Braley will attend Hope College to major in elementary or music education. She has had many accomplishments, which include the Hope College Distinguished Scholar and Music Distinguished Artist Award, the West Michigan Showcase Literary Representative for Whitehall High School, National History Day Top Twenty National Placement, Varsity Tennis Most Spirited, 1st Chair Honors Band, District 7, and Honors Band, District 7 and four years of academic scholar awards.
The organizations she participated in includes: National Honor Society Member, Varsity Tennis, theatre actress and production crew, section leader of the marching and symphonic bands, jazz band, pep band and National History Day.
She was also the director of Whitehall’s student-led production; They Came From Somewhere. Johnson’s personal interests include: acting, music (French Horn, Ukulele, Trumpet, Mellophone, Piano), tennis, literary arts, going to the beach, and being a sunset and live-music enthusiast.
9. Annika Swope: Swope is the daughter of Amy and Matt Swope. She plans to attend Central Michigan University to major in environmental science.
During high school she participated in jazz band and marching band, where she was the drum major. She also participated in National Honor Society, school theater productions and was a LINK leader. In her spare time Annika likes to draw, play with her dog and play her flute, piccolo and ukulele.
10. Chloe McCarthy: McCarthy is the daughter of Amanda and Pete McCarthy. She will attend Grand Valley State University to major in elementary education.
Throughout high school McCarthy has played soccer, participated in LINK, National Honor Society and Law Day. She was also the Student Council vice president. She earned the scholar athlete award. In her spare time, she likes to read, hike, play soccer and spend time with family and friends.
1. Clay Jancek: Jancek is the son of Steven and Jennifer Jancek, who he appreciates for setting high standards and holding him to them. He is attending the U.S. Naval Academy this fall to major in computer science.
He also hopes to service select Naval Aviation upon commissioning. Other scholarships and awards include the Mona Shores Optimist scholarship and the Red Cross scholarship.
Jancek ran cross country and outdoor/indoor track, earning MVP on both teams, and was a member of the wrestling team. He served as class president freshman, sophomore, and senior years, and was Student Senate president junior year.
He was active in the FFA, serving this year as Chapter vp, as well as the Region V secretary. Jancek is also a student representative to the MAPS School Board, and a member of NHS.
Jancek was chosen as this year’s Student Showcase Representative in Academics.
Jancek’s biggest challenge lately has been staying motivated during quarantine, and he will miss the way he and his friends pushed one other to be the best.
Outside of school, Clay likes to hunt, play guitar, and work out. He’s a co-founder (along with Chase Peterson) of Shoreline Guardians, a nonprofit that teaches youth about the importance of environmental stewardship and organizes local beach cleanups.
2. Chase Peterson: Peterson’s parents are Bob and Sue Peterson, they are both teachers and have pushed him to strive for a deeper understanding in his studies. He plans to attend University of Michigan and study data science or economics.
Challenges in high school included balancing sports and extracurriculars with academics, and because of that Peterson’s most proud of being involved in multiple activities and sports while maintaining high grades.
He was recently awarded the Spencer and Sally Weersing Memorial Scholarship. At MHS, Chase played basketball and golf. He was a co- president of NHS and vice president of DECA.
For fun, Chase loves watching movies and hanging out with friends, who he will miss greatly. He hopes future travels will take him to Japan. He’s a co-founder (along with Clay Jancek) of Shoreline Guardians, a nonprofit that teaches youth about the importance of environmental stewardship and organizes local beach cleanups.
3 (tied). Caitlin Coppess: Coppess is the daughter of Chad and Tricia Coppess, who encourage her to work her hardest at everything she does. At MHS, she ran cross country, and participated in FFA, Student Run Credit Union, Student Senate, and NHS.
This fall, she’s headed to Ferris State University to major in Biology with a pre-optometry focus Caitlin is a recipient of the Ferris State President’s award, MEA Scholarship, and Red Cross Scholarship.
Balancing everything and, “finding time for everything and everyone” was a big mountain to climb in high school, but she’s most proud of her FFA experience. Not only was she given the honor to serve on the officer team the past three years, ending as the President, but she was also part of the state winning demonstration team.
Coppess will miss being able to see friends every day as well as the long talks and advice from teachers and coaches. She keeps busy during quarantine watching New Girl on Netflix and learning Tik Tok dances.
3 (tied). Asher Erickson: Erickson is the son of David and Julie Erickson.
He said his parents are always, “[...]motivating me to try my best and reach out of my comfort zone.”
At MHS, Erickson played basketball, baseball, and golf. Asher was NHS co-president, Academic All-State first Team for baseball, and number one Academic Team in the state for basketball.
Like many of the MHS Top Ten, managing his time was a lot of work, but Erickson managed to improve his golf game and practice his piano skills while earning a stellar GPA.
Though he will miss making memories with all of his fellow classmates and friends, he’s excited to be attending MSU to study statistics and sports management, and he will be a member of the MSU Honors College.
Erickson said he wants to visit, “my homeland,” Sweden someday. He is also a member of his Church Student Leadership Team.
5 (tied): Logan Metcalf: Metcalf’s parents are Amy Myers, Brock Myers, and Carl Metcalf. They have supported him both academically and athletically to be the best he can be.
He will be attending GVSU in the fall to study biomedical sciences.
At MHS, he played football, basketball, track, and golf. He’s especially proud of how far the Wildcats went in football the past two years. It’s been a challenge during the quarantine to find the strength to fight senioritis and keep doing schoolwork, but he’s finishing strong.
In his free time, he plays video games and sports, and hangs out with friends. Bucket list vacation destination is the Maldives
5 (tied). Riley Hagen: Hagen’s parents are Eric and Carrie Hagen. He appreciates the countless ways they supported him through high school--from driving to and from sports practices to making that late night run to the store for project materials.
He’s off to GVSU this fall to be a part of their honors program and study finance. Hagen was on the basketball and track teams and was a member of both NHS and student senate. His awards and scholarships include BCAM Team First Award, Ohio State University National Buckeye Scholarship, Ohio State University Provost Scholarship, Grand Valley State University Faculty Scholarship, Grand Valley State University Award for Excellence Scholarship, Ferris State Founders Scholarship, Central Michigan Maroon and Gold Scholarship, Michigan State University Honors College Alumni Distinguished Award Scholarship, Michigan State University Honors College Scholarship, Arconic Sons and Daughters Scholarship, and the Leonard and Edna Blomdahl Scholarship.
Riley said, “The hardest part about high school was having to wake up at 6:30 a.m. every weekday. ‘Coronacation’ really made me wonder how I did it.”
He will miss the Montague-Whitehall games, but he will always savor his basketball team having the best GPA in the state this year.
7. Katarina Moreau: Moreau is the daughter of Blair and Amy Moreau, she is headed to Siena Heights University to study pre-med.
She said her parents, “...encouraged me to push myself through difficult classes and set goals.”
Kat played varsity softball for four years and varsity basketball for three. She also played volleyball for two years and ran cross country for one. She is secretary of NHS and has participated in community service activities such as blood drives, tutoring, coaching, and helping at Mercy health heart screenings.
Kat takes pride in her determination to excel, despite the pressure of keeping good grades and being a multi-sport athlete. The many late nights of homework after games and practice are paying off: She earned the Siena Heights University Trustee Scholarship along with a softball scholarship, in addition to the White Lake Rotary Club Scholarship and the Marine Corps League Scholarship.
Kat was the West Michigan Student Showcase Female Athlete Representative and has been academic all-conference for all varsity sports.
Highlights of her senior year include being in the student section at football games and seeing friends every day as well as being a captain of the girls’ varsity basketball team that won the conference championship for the first time in 26 years.
Moreau said, “I love Montague and I’m thankful for the people who have helped me grow throughout high school.”
8. Emma Woller: Woller is the daughter of Jack and Sara Woller, she will be attending Michigan State University to study crop and soil science. She said her parents always encouraged her to work hard and take risks.
For her hard work, she has been awarded the Michigan Breaking Traditions 2020 Merit Award, State Star in AgriScience Research, State winner in Demonstration for FFA, Arthur Berkey Science Fair winner.
Woller also received Beck’s Hybrid Scholarship, GreenStone Farm Credit Services Scholarship, Oceana Conservation District Munger Scholarship, Ruth Skwarek Scholarship, Ceres Solutions Scholarship, and MSU Alumni of the Muskegon Lakeshore Area Scholarship.
At MHS, Emma was a member of NHS (historian), FFA (secretary), and Class Government (treasurer). She said her greatest accomplishment was becoming the State Star in AgriScience Research for FFA this year.
She will miss socializing with classmates.
Someday she’d love to see Bora Bora and Tahiti, but in the meantime, she goes to the beach, bakes, and works. Woller has been involved with 4-H for the last 13 years.
9. Kennedy McDonald: McDonald is the daughter of Matthew and Nicole McDonald, and plans to attend Gordon College in Massachusetts to pursue a major in communication arts.
McDonald said her parents, “[...]pushed me to always do my best, and made sure that my character came before anything else.”
McDonald was awarded a CCCU Tuition Grant at Gordon College, as well as Seattle Pacific University. This grant covers 100-percent of her tuition at both institutions.
She competed on the varsity golf team for three years, JV softball and basketball sophomore year, and track junior and senior year, and volleyball and basketball freshman year. She was one of four girl golfers in the division to receive an Academic All-State Award.
McDonald served on the FFA leadership team as reporter (2020) and secretary (2019). She has been an NHS member for two years, served as senior representative for Student Senate, and was the junior class Vice President.
Proud of staying true to her values during high school, McDonald’s biggest challenge was transferring to Montague her freshman year. She believes that experience will be a big asset as she transitions into attending school in a new state.
Her dream is to one day own a peony farm and roadside coffee shop and travel to Scotland. She enjoys reading, playing violin, painting, listening to music, hiking, and spending time outdoors.
10. Katelyn Roll: Roll is the daughter of Kurt and Julie Roll, they have encouraged her both academically and in her extracurricular activities. She is attending the University of Michigan to major in aerospace engineering and has earned the Tom Reese and Richard T. and Mary Reese Scholarship from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.
Roll was a member of the marching band and symphonic band, and ran on the track team all four years at MHS. She also ran cross country for two years starting last year. The hardest thing about high school, according to her, was managing time between homework and extracurricular activities.
Since moving to Montague in eighth grade, she has made many friends, who she will miss running and playing music with.
Her hobbies outside school involve listening to music, going to the pier, and fishing. She’d love to travel to Finland someday.
1. Gabrielle Nelson: Nelson’s parents are Angie and Lee Nelson. She has plans to study biology/pre-optometry at Ferris State University in the school’s honors program.
Afterwards, she plans to pursue her graduate degree at the Michigan College of Optometry in the accelerated doctorate program.
As a student at Reeths-Puffer, Nelson was a member of the school’s Spanish Club, she was an employee at the Lake House Waterfront Grille, an active member of the Muskegon Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council, a volunteer at The Muskegon Humane Society and was this year’s valedictorian.
2. Lynsey Mura: Mura is the daughter of John and Leah Murah. She is this year’s salutatorian, and plans to attend Central Michigan University (CMU) in the fall, where she plans on pursuing a degree in public health with a concentration in dietetics.
She was awarded CMU’s Centralis Gold Award, and will be joining their honors program.
Mura was a member of Spanish Club, Rocket City Rotary Interact club and was the school’s library assistant.
3. Cameron Priebe: Priebe’s parents are Amy and Brad Priebe, in the fall he will attending Ferris State University, where he plans to pursue a degree in pre-pharmacy.
He then hopes to attend FSU’s College of Pharmacy.
School activities included membership in the Spanish Club for four years.
4. Joey Yang: Yang is the daughter of Jin and Yu Wang. Her future plans include attending the University of Michigan where he hopes to pursue a degree in biology.
Yang participated in many of the activities and clubs that Reeths-Puffer had to offer. For sports she was a member of the varsity tennis team. However, she was also active as a member in NHS, Spanish Club and the Rocket City Rotary Interact Club.
Yang also volunteered at the Muskegon Humane Society, Mercy Hospital and was a pharmacy interne at Walgreens.
5. Parker Harmon: N/A
6. Abigail Fransler: N/A
7. Sydney Edwards: Edwards is the daughter of Steve and Karyn Edwards. Her future plans included attending Easter Michigan University on a full-ride Presidential Scholarship to pursue a degree in nursing
Edwards played softball all four years of her high school career, and served as the captain. She was an all-conference honorable mention.
She also participated in volleyball as the team captain, IMPACT, NHS as the vice president and Children’s Theater
8. Jonathan Krause: N/A
9. Blaine Hynde: Hynde’s parents are Gene and Diana Hynde. His future plans include attending Elmhurst College to pursue a bachelor’s degree and play lacrosse. He is a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship.
While attending Reeths-Puffer, Hynde was a member of the IMPACT Leadership group, PALS (Peer Assistant Leaders), NHS, and Student Council. He was a member of both the hockey and lacrosse team all four-years.
Junior year Hynde earned First Team All-Conference Honors for lacrosse.
10. Lauren Ross: Ross is the daughter of Brent and Kim Ross. Next fall Ross plans to attend a four-year university, where she hopes to study psychology or special education.
Ross also hopes to continue play basketball at the collegiate level on a full-ride scholarship.
Ross played basketball for the Reeths-Puffer High School for four years. She was the captain for three of those years, and received numerous accolades for her time on the court.
She was a Division 1 First Team All-State and Academic All-State (two years), O-K Black First Team All-Conference (three years), was the schools all-time scoring leader and a member of the 1500 point club, was her school’s Muskegon Area Student Showcase representative for female athletes and made MLive Muskegon Chronicle Dream Team.
When she wasn’t shooting hoops, Hynde was a member of NHS, Student Council and was the senior class president, IMPACT Student Leadership Group and PALS.