We salute top students at South Ripley

Beth Rumsey

Staff Writer

For South Ripley’s 2011 Valedictorian Meredith Knollman, completing her studies with diligence and high standards shaped her choices for a career in Exercise Science. Knollman is the daughter of Elvin and Wanda Knollman of Cross Plains.

“The reward will be worth it,” said Knollman. And her hard work paid off as she was on the high honor roll all four years of high school.

Knollman was active in several clubs including math, social studies, and Spanish clubs. She also was on the prom committee and a member of Students Advocating Education.

Athletics were a part of Knollman’s high school experience. She participated in basketball, track, volleyball and cheerleading.

She will attend Ball State University in the fall to begin her studies in Exercise Science. She was awarded several scholarships including the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship and the Distinguished Dean Scholarship from BSU.

For Sam Stratton, Salutatorian, his studies helped him to be open to new ideas which led to his career choice. “I’ve learned how necessary it is to try things outside of my comfort zone in order to learn what is really for me and what’s not for me,” he said.
Stratton was active at South Ripley and was a member of the FFA, CNN-SR, student council and served as class officer. He was a member of the Foreign Language Club, Science Club, Health Careers Club and the Varsity Club.

He played basketball and baseball and served as varsity co-captain for both teams. He earned the Varsity Mental Attitude and the Varsity Senior Academic award for basketball.

Stratton was named the SR DAR Good Citizen, homecoming prince and king, was a candidate for prom prince and king and was a Hoosier Boys State Delegate.

Stratton will attend Purdue University in the fall to study biology with a focus in health and disease and to attend medical school for sports medicine.

Scholarships awarded to him include the American Baptist Women state scholarship, Masonic Lodge state scholarship, Sandcreek Baptist Association scholarship and the American Legion Scholarship.

Both seniors had people in their lives that influenced them throughout high school. For Knollman, it was fellow classmate Tanner Tucker, who died before his senior year. “He led by example,” she said.

Stratton’s parents, Mike and Janine of Holton, and his siblings shaped him into the person he is today. “My parents have instilled strong morals and values which I know I’ll carry with me as I move throughout life,” he said.

“Both of my siblings showed me the importance of being yourself as well as the importance of treating others kindly and with respect,” Stratton continued.

Everybody leaves a legacy behind them when they leave and these high achieving students are no exception. “When my classmates think of me I hope they think I was compassionate, hard working and confident,” said Knollman.

“I hope to leave my classmates the legacy of someone who led a positive, Christian lifestyle during my time here at South Ripley,” said Stratton.

Final words of advice? “Work diligently and stay focused,” advised Knollman.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things,” said Stratton. “You never know what may be waiting for you unless you’re willing to try something different.”