Top marks are only part of the equation for entry into the Delicate Arch Honor Society at Grand County High School.
While students must have a 3.5 grade point average, other factors for admission include good character, leadership and honorability, said science teacher and honor society adviser Ashley Violett, who also advises the Earth Day and Future Farmers of America clubs.
Two honor students – Kimberly Mogensen and Robin Willscheidt – additionally have the distinction of being the only two seniors with a 4.0 GPA. Both 17-year olds spoke recently with the Moab Sun News about their activities outside of school, and their aspirations after high school graduation.
Willscheidt, 17, spent the first six years of her life living in Germany and is bilingual in German and English. Plus, she has studied Spanish for four years during high school. Those language skills may prove especially beneficial if she ends up working internationally as she said she’s considering.
“I’ve always wanted to work with the U.N. (United Nations),” Willscheidt said. “Or, maybe the State Department.”
Willscheidt said she plans to study law, or perhaps architecture when she leaves Moab to attend college out-of-state.
Mogensen said she plans to attend Westminster College in Salt Lake City, having toured its campus last summer. She said she likes the idea of a smaller college where professors interact directly with students. She’s not sure what her major field of study will be, though microbiology is a possibility, she said.
“You can do a lot of things as a microbiologist,” Mogensen said. “Sometimes you can work with medicine; work with bacteria, viruses, and try and understand how they react with the environment.”
Her favorite subjects are English and chemistry, she said.
Outside of their academic pursuits, students must complete 10 hours of community service in their first year of honor society membership. During their junior and senior years that requirement increases to 25 hours per school year, Violett said.
Willscheidt volunteers at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center with the “Amigos to Amiguitos,” a teen-to-youth mentoring program launched in 2013. Once a week she mentors a 6-year old by helping with homework assignments, creating art projects, or, simply reading aloud, Willscheidt said.
Since 2008, Willscheidt has also volunteered with event planning and general office work at the Moab Free Health Clinic (Her mother founded the clinic that serves individuals who are uninsured or underinsured.)
During her freshman and sophomore years, Willscheidt was a student board member for WabiSabi, a nonprofit thrift store that donates store proceeds back into the community.
“I love being part of the Moab community. I’m glad to have grown up here,” she said.
For the past several years, Willscheidt has hosted a two-hour radio show called “Main Street Cruise” at the noncommercial KZMU Community Radio Station in Moab.
“I play any music I want, which is really cool,” Willscheidt said. “It ranges from 70s music to 90s bands; classic rock. It’s a lot of fun.”
Mogensen, 17, serves the community by volunteering with the “Make One, Take One” program, and by donating time to the Beacon Afterschool Program, where she tutors middle school students who need assistance with various subjects.
“I like helping them; seeing them learn, teaching them how to understand,” Mogensen said. “It’s fun to help.”
Mogensen has also volunteered at the Moab Valley Humane Society; Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America; the Hope Club; and with the Christmas Box House.
While Mogensen chose not to name one specific teacher as her favorite — she likes several, she said — Willscheidt admitted that while math is not her favorite subject, Advanced Placement calculus is her favorite class, because of the teacher, Allison Brown.
“I really love my math teacher – she’s very straightforward,” Willscheidt said.
In addition to earning top grades and volunteering in the community, Willscheidt participates in several high school sports – tennis, mountain biking and swim team.
She’s also on the speech and debate team.
“I write seven to 10-minute speeches on any subject, ranging from ‘being yourself’ to optimism,” Willscheidt said. “I took third place at State (competition) in oratory, and second place in region 15. I really enjoy it. If I do go into international work it will be a good skill to have.”
All GCHS students with a 3.5 GPA or higher are invited to join the honor society – as long as they demonstrate good character in and out of school, Violett said.
“They can’t have any ‘unsatisfactory in citizenship’ (marks) for behavior problems,” Violett said.
Nor can members miss more than three chapter meetings, or get in trouble with drugs or alcohol, Violett said. Induction ceremonies take place toward the end of January.
Principal Stephen Hren said the number of GCHS students inducted into the honor society has been consistent over the years. And, it’s not uncommon for a few seniors, like Mogensen and Willscheidt, to earn a 4.0 GPA. In this year’s senior class of 101, 64 students made it onto the first trimester honor roll with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Kim Mogensen and Robin Willscheidt juggle academics, volunteerism and extracurriculars