The Valedictorians of Woodstock High

Staff Writers: Olivia E. Bernal & Ashley Humphries

From the days of infant bliss, when she was born, brick by brick, to now, when strange creatures and their voices echo throughout her stony flesh, old bones settle on their foundations. Woodstock High School was opened in the year 1996, and was taken in by the first Wolverines.

Our predecessors consisted of 55 teachers, 1 principal, 2 assistant principals, 3 guidance counsellors, and 725 hormonal teenagers. It is from those 725 students our list of Woodstock Wolverine Valedictorians began.

You might have never heard the word ‘valedictorian’ throughout high school, so far.

A valedictorian is a person who has the most academic achievements in a graduating class who delivers the valedictory speech at graduation. A valedictory speech is a goodbye speech to everyone graduating with you and wishing them luck in their future life.

People choose the valedictorians by the level of academic achievements and the GPA’s of the student. The average GPA of a valedictorian is a 4.0 to 4.3 on a 4 point scale.

While researching the past valedictorians from Woodstock High, we came across the names of some teachers that had the valedictorians in their classes. Emails were sent out to the teachers found, asking them if they remembered these students and if they could describe how they were and what made the student stand out from the rest. Emails were not received of any responses.

Although every student stands out in their own unique way, valedictorians are the ones who keep their grades up and ask for help, possibly, if needed.

“When I visited Georgia Tech in the spring of my senior year of high school… I had always known I wanted to pursue a degree heavy in mathematics, but with a practical component to it as well,” said 2006 valedictorian, Alina Staskevicius. “Industrial engineering seemed like a perfect fit- and I was right!”

Of over 10,000 applicants, Staskevicius was awarded the National Scholar Award scholarship in her senior year, soon using it to advance her education at Georgia Tech. By the end of 2006, Staskevicius was pursuing her undergraduate degree in engineering, later going on a study-abroad-trip with her peers to several European countries. Already attending Harvard Business School in the fall of 2012, and graduating with her MBA in 2015.

“Long term, I hope to either end up in the medical field in hospital management, or working for the Department of Education.” Staskevicius says.

Staskevicius is currently a senior consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP (strategy and operations) and resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Andy Capanyola and their child.

Lynn Marie Gransewicz, 2012 valedictorian, works in Macon County as a doctor. She is currently advancing her education in health care, and receives much support from friends and family, including her mother, Celeste M. Gransewicz.

Michael Gustafson, 2016 valedictorian, is studying chemical engineering at Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE). The ChBE is one of eight schools at Georgia Tech and is among the top ten engineering programs in the United States.

Currently, there are seventeen Woodstock Wolverine Valedictorians from the year 1998 to the year 2016. By the close of this school semester, the senior valedictorian of 2017 will be named, and so on and so on as the years fly by.

Elizabeth Milam (2000), Joanna Todd (2001), and Samuel Mixon (2014) are among the majority of our valedictorians still residing in Georgia.

Maybe you’ll be next, so keep your grades up and your head high.

Previous Valedictorians at Woodstock High

Jason Goodman                     1998- 1999

Elizabeth R. Milan                 1999- 2000

Joanna Todd                           2000- 2001

Tracy O’ Brien                        2001- 2002

Lauren Clark                           2002- 2003

Lynn Marie Gransewic          2003- 2004

Adrienne Amador                  2004- 2005

Alina Staskevicius                   2005- 2006

Elise Reinemund                      2006- 2007

Amira A. Saleh                         2007- 2008

Courtney Ann Wisted             2008- 2009

Samantha Nicole Stone          2009- 2010

Emily Ward                              2010- 2011

Truc Dinh                                  2011- 2012

Sara Graf                                  2012- 2013

Samuel Mixon                         2013- 2014

Porth Patel                              2014- 2015

Michael Gustafson                 2015- 2016


Photo One: The school the valedictorians attended in their high school years.

Photo Credits: Creative Commons

Photo Two: Georgia Tech Mascot with star background.

Photo Credits: Creative Commons

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