21 senior portraits

PHS recognizes its Academic Scholars

Posted May 18, 2020
Updated May 26, 2020

Plymouth High School is honoring 21 seniors for maintaining a 3.85 grade-point average during the first seven semesters of high school.

The annual PHS Academic Honors Banquet would have been held April 15 but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Academic Scholars will receive a gold cord to wear for graduation.

For the past 18 years, the event has been sponsored by Plymouth Lions Club, which also funds four scholarships for PHS seniors. “It gives us a great deal of joy to recognize these young men and women, who have worked so hard during their years at Plymouth High School,” said Lorena McKerrow of the Plymouth Lions Club.

“This year's senior Class of 2020 has experienced a senior year unlike any previous graduating classes,” she added. “Even though everything has been outside the norm, the importance of these milestones is not forgotten.”

Students were invited to identify two honored guests and to share some thoughts about each of them.

2020 PHS Academic Scholars

(listed with their parents, honored guests, and post-graduation plans)
  • Jordyn Anderson, daughter of Angel and Curt Coenen and James Anderson; honored guests are PHS choir director Amanda Smith and show choir director Carter Krzyzaniak. Jordyn plans to leave in January for six months with Up with People, an organization that travels around the world to perform and volunteer.
  • Nora Argall, daughter of Neil and Traci Argall; honored guests are her parents. Nora plans to major in architecture at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
  • Jacob Ashworth, son of Jeannie and Scott Ashworth; honored guests are technology education teacher Jake Sherman and IT Professionals advisor Scott Bunyea. Jacob plans to pursue a degree in computer science at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
  • Maggie Berg, daughter of Maren and Aaron Romanoski and Michael and Stacy Berg.
  • Elise Bleck, daughter of Jeffrey and Lea Ann Bleck; honored guests are her parents. Elise plans to study dairy science at UW-Madison and to go on to medical school.
  • Kathryn Brinkman, daughter of Todd and Tracy Brinkman.
  • Carolyn Britt, daughter of Jason and Sarah Britt; honored guests are her mother and 4-H director Sarah Tarjeson. Carolyn plans to study packaging engineering and possibly graphic design at UW-Stout.
  • Ashlyn Fleck, daughter of John and Victoria Fleck; honored guests are her parents. Ashlyn plans to study biochemistry at UW-Madison or the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
  • Katie Heun, daughter of Steven and Judy Heun; honored guests are her parents. Katie plans to study marketing at UW-La Crosse and then to work as a marketing manager.
  • Lauren Kent, daughter of Paula and Brian Gatzke and Ryan Kent; honored guests are her mother and PHS choir director Amanda Smith. Lauren plans to take a gap year to further explore her interests and to travel abroad.
  • Sarah Klas, daughter of Dennis and Jody Klas; honored guests are her father and Catherine Parrish, her Youth Apprenticeship mentor. Sarah plans to major in finance and risk management at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
  • Kyle Kraus, son of Robert and Synde Kraus; honored guests are PHS math teacher and golf coach Jeremy Ross and PHS technology education teacher Greg Gritt. Kyle plans to study mechanical engineering at Northwestern University.
  • Dallas Kreisa, daughter of Drew and Tracy Kreisa; honored guests are PHS ag teacher and FFA advisor Tracy Heinbuch and PHS English teacher and soccer coach Brad Feick. Dallas is enrolled in the honors program at Marian University, where she will major in biology and chemistry with a certification in biotechnology, as well as play on the women's soccer team.
  • Alexis Meyer, daughter of Kathy and Dave Rockhill; honored guest is her dog Honey. Alexis plans to attend UW-River Falls to pursue psychology with the goal of training animals to aid those who struggle with mental health.
  • Grace Mooney, daughter of Matthew Mooney and Sara Truesdale-Mooney; honored guests are her parents. Grace plans to major in nursing at Creighton University.
  • Alec Nicholson, son of Brad and Cheryl Nicholson; honored guests are PHS golf coach Jeremy Ross and PHS band director Jason Sebranek. Alec plans to study nursing at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities or UW-Milwaukee, then work for two to three years before going to grad school to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist at a hospital.
  • Jessica Norton, daughter of Charles and Debbie Norton; honored guests are her mother and PHS art teacher Ryan Krippendorf. Jessica plans to complete Army National Guard training and then attend UW-Eau Claire with the goal of becoming a doctor who truly lives out the Army values.
  • Jennifer Novotny, daughter of Todd and Angela Novotny; honored guests are her sister Julia Novotny and PHS math teacher Kay Tharp. Jennifer plans to study nursing at UW-Milwaukee.
  • Alex Oty, son of Alan and Linnea Oty; honored guests are third-grade teacher Lori Brown and PHS swim coach Alex Krueger. Alex plans to study aerospace engineering at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
  • Claire Strehlow, daughter of Kristin and Gregory Strehlow; honored guests are her mother and equestrian trainer Kelly Mahloch. Claire plans to attend the University of Kentucky to study sociology and ride with the UK eventing team.
  • Grace Wynveen, daughter of Michael and Tresa Wynveen; honored guests are her cousin Jessica Fenske and PHS English teacher and forensics coach Megan Hummitzsch. Grace plans to study architecture at UW-Milwaukee with minors in Spanish and art history.

Learn more:

• Check out the Academic Excellence section of our award-winning District Report Card to learn more about how our students create knowledge and develop skills to become leaders and innovators in the ever-evolving global community.


Jordyn Anderson

Honored guests: Amanda Smith, PHS choir director; and Carter Krzyzaniak, show choir director
Mrs. Smith: Thank you for always believing in me and helping me find out what I want to be. It was always nice knowing there was a teacher I knew I could always talk to. Thank you for teaching the start of becoming a choir director and giving me my first experience conducting. I can’t imagine my life without all of the experiences I have gained while singing with you. Thank you for helping me achieve my goals and always supporting me. I hope to be a teacher just like you someday.
Carter: Thank you so much for all you have done for me. Watching you perform in Momentum Show Choir inspired me to audition. Thank you for believing in me and trusting me. This has been a very stressful year but I always got to look forward to coming to show choir and just having fun. I knew that when I needed to I would always be able to talk to you. Thank you for always cheering us up when we were down. I hope you know we all appreciate it. I know this was only your first year directing but you killed it! Thank you for everything.

Nora Argall

Honored guests: Neil and Traci Argall, her parents
I would like to thank you for always being there for me. From helping me apply for colleges and scholarships to pretending you know what’s going on in volleyball and giving me coaching on it. I appreciate everything you have done for me. Words cannot explain how big of a role model you are for me. I don’t know where I would be without you today and will miss you so much next year.

Elise Bleck

Honored guests: Jeff and Lea Ann Bleck, her parents
I am very thankful for everything my parents have done for me. They have supported and inspired me through every decision and activity. Additionally, they have given me the keys to succeed, such as hard work and self-confidence. My parents have shown me the value of a good education and being involved in various extracurriculars. I feel very blessed because they allow me to pursue my dreams and accomplish my goals. I would not be where I am today without my parents.

Carolyn Britt

Honored guests: Sarah Britt, her mother; and Sarah Tarjeson, 4-H director
To my mom, who was there believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself.
To Sarah Tarjeson, who showed me what I was capable of and helped me grow.

Ashlyn Fleck

Honored guests: John and Victoria Fleck, her parents
I want to thank my parents for always providing me a back bone of support even though I incessantly dismissed it the last four years. In the times I would get anxious, it was comforting to know they didn't expect the perfection I believed I needed to achieve.

Katie Heun

Honored guests:Steven and Judy Heun, her parents
Thank you to my parents for always supporting me and encouraging me for the better. I wouldn't be where I am today without them.

Lauren Kent

Honored guests: Paula Gatzke, her mother; and Amanda Smith, PHS choir director
I would like to thank you both for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Your kindness and inspirational words helped me grow into a stronger, more confident person. Overall, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you both. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Sarah Klas

Honored guests: Dennis Klas, her father; and Catherine Parrish, her Youth Apprenticeship mentor
I would like to thank my dad for always supporting me. You worked very hard to get where you are now, and that's inspired me. I'd also like to thank Katie for helping me learn as much as possible and for being extremely patient with me as I continue to learn more. 

Kyle Kraus

Honored guests: Jeremy Ross, PHS math teacher and golf coach; and Greg Gritt, PHS technology education teacher
Thank you so much for helping me through high school, both by teaching me so many new skills, and also mentoring me through difficult problems and being enjoyable to be with. I truly look forward to school every day because of people like you who make it fun and interesting to learn and grow.

Dallas Kreisa

Honored guests: Tracy Heinbuch, PHS ag teacher and FFA advisor; and Brad Feick, PHS English teacher and soccer coach
Thank you, Mr. Feick, for pushing me to become not only a better student and soccer player, but also a better leader. Even out of soccer season, you supported me when I was struggling with my spot on different teams. Thank you for everything you have done for me.
Thank you, Mrs. Heinbuch, for the amount of support you have given me through my time in FFA. You helped me find my passion and grow my leaderships more than I ever dreamed. I will never forget how much you have done for me and the opportunities you have given me.

Alexis Meyer

Honored guest: Honey, her dog
I know you can’t always understand me, or choose not to listen to me about a third of the time, but thank you for being the one thing I can always count on for the past two and a half years. You have taught me patience, empathy, courage, and, overall, the kind of person I hope to be even if you aren’t always going to be in my life. I know I grew up fast because of you. I lost a lot of people, but I gained something more noteworthy: an extraordinary friendship that will have forever changed me. I hope in your next lifetime, you change that person like how you changed me. I hope you care for them, help them laugh at their mistakes, talk back to them, and just be there for them when they have no one. You are the best dog I could have asked for, and even after you embarrass me, I’m still proud to call you mine.

Grace Mooney

Honored guests: Matthew Mooney and Sara Truesdale-Mooney, her parents
Thanks for instilling in me a passion to create goals and for supporting me no matter what. I love you!

Alec Nicholson

Honored guests:Jeremy Ross, PHS golf coach; and Jason Sebranek, PHS band director
I spent a lot of time with both of these teachers throughout my high school career and owe each of them a big thanks.
I had Mr. Ross as my math teacher for my freshman and sophomore year, as well as my golf coach for four years. He's taught me a lot in and out of the classroom and I am thankful for my time with him. I'm very upset we couldn't be together for the 2020 golf season.
I had Mr. Sebranek as my band instructor for four years as well as jazz band for four years, German band for two years, pit band for 1 year, and two trips to Disney. I've spent the most time with Mr. Sebranek out of all of my teachers due to these extra activities. I'm going to be honest, for the first few months of knowing Mr. Sebranek I was kind of scared of him. But after getting to know him, he's a really great guy. He's taught me a lot about band and some important life lessons, like punctuality.
I'm very disappointed that I could not finish out my senior year with these two people and would like to thank them for everything they've done for me throughout my high school career.

Jessica Norton

Honored guests: Debbie Norton, her mother; and Ryan Krippendorf, PHS art teacher
I would like to thank my mother, who has continued to guide me through life and has taught me many invaluable lessons. Her words of encouragement have helped me pursue my dreams and never give up.
I feel as though Mr. Krippendorf deserves my appreciation. Unknowingly, he helped me become more confident in both my artistic abilities and my personality. He brought joy into my daily life and shaped me into the person I am today. I am truly grateful.

Jennifer Novotny

Honored guests: Julia Novotny, her sister; and Kay Tharp, PHS math teacher
Thank you both so much for being such positive influences in my life. You have both taught me so much about what kind of person I want to be when I am older, and I truly appreciate everything you have both done for me. Julia, thank you for being the best big sister anyone could ask for. I have looked up to you my whole life, and you continue to amaze me every day. Mrs. Tharp, thank you for showing me what true kindness looks like and for teaching me how to spread it to others, in even the simplest ways, every single day. You have been such an amazing and kind person to me and have truly shaped my character so much throughout high school.

Alex Oty

Honored guests: Lori Brown, third-grade teacher; and Alex Krueger, PHS swim coach
I would like to thank you for always pushing me to do my best in whatever I do. Because of your outstanding support, I have been able to set myself down the right track for success in the future. Through my experiences with you, I learned many important life lessons, such as the importance of never giving up in the face of adversity and having the audacity to think big and set lofty goals. Thank you for your unwavering belief that I can do whatever I set my mind to.

Claire Strehlow

Honored guests: Kristin Strehlow, her mother; Kelly Mahloch, her equestrian trainer
I’d like to thank my mom for being my number one supporter in my academics, horseback riding, and just life in general. I’m forever grateful for the experiences and amazing opportunities you and Dad have given me, and I thank you for sticking by my side.

I’d like to thank my trainer, Kelly, for providing me with my foundation in horseback riding. It’s something I will always carry with me, and I will never forget where it all started. I can’t thank you enough for not only being an amazing trainer, but also an amazing friend.

Grace Wynveen

Honored guests: Jessica Fenske, her cousin; and Megan Hummitzsch, PHS English teacher and forensics coach
I am so grateful to have you two in my life. Not only are you amazing individuals, but you are great friends and role models. The impact you’ve had on my life is one I will never forget. Thank you for every word of encouragement, piece of advice, and laugh you’ve shared with me over the years.