School district recalculates class rank
Courtesy Matt Smith, principal, Centralia High School
Beth Heimann has been in many roles during her academic career in the Centralia R-VI School District….a hitter on the volleyball team, a cheerleader for CHS’ basketball teams, an alto in the CHS Chamber Choir, a manager for the football Panthers, a member and student leader in numerous organizations such as FFA, Beta Chi Pi, SKRUBS, as well as a performer in numerous CHS theatrical productions. Above all else, however, she is a winner who loves to challenge
This quality is one that has driven her to pursue excellence and push herself academically to achieve the honor of CHS Class of 2019 Valedictorian. This academic honor is not one that ever comes easy, but was particularly challenging in a year where so many CHS graduates were in contention. To meet her goals, Heimann maintained a strong focus throughout her years in high school on taking many dual credit courses, all the while knowing she continually needed to produce A’s. Produce she did. Over a period of four years, Heimann brought home As in 62 semester classes at CHS, including an impressive 19 semester As in college-level classes. “The largest challenge I faced academically throughout my high school career was time management, as I was involved in a wide range of activities.” Heimann has also
received an academic letter three years in a row, one of Centralia’s highest academic honors.
An academic track record such as this might lead one to think of this valedictorian as a book worm, or someone that spends all her time grinding away in solitude at her academics. Not so. While there were many long nights reading volumes for dual credit American literature, constructing persuasive essays for college composition class, or figuring vapor pressure or surface tension in advanced chemistry, there were also many hours poured into extra-curricular activities.
She earned four varsity letters on the volleyball team at CHS, and was a key player on teams that finished as district runner-up her junior year, conference champions her junior year and conference runner-up her senior year. As a cheerleader at CHS Beth earned three varsity letters and was also named to the Academic All State squad her junior and senior years.
Heimann spent four seasons working as a manager for the football team, an activity that requires lots of late nights out at games. “Sports at CHS were a really positive experience. I loved all the times I had and people I got to spend time with.” As a senior, coaches at Centralia High School selected Beth as the 2018-2019 MSHSAA sponsored sportsmanship female athlete award winner, for integrity, determination and ethics.
Beth was a member and leader of Centralia High School’s state champion FFA program, serving as the reporter as a sophomore, and as the recording secretary as a junior. In addition, Beth held the position of president during her senior year in National Honor Society, Beta Chi Pi, and SKRUBS, and Vice President of Key Club.
During the summer of 2018, CHS’ valedictorian was one of only a select handful of students across the country to be accepted into the Duke University summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program. While there, she attended lectures about topics such as mobile technology in health science. The experience gave her the opportunity to be exposed to high level academic programs on a major college campus. “I was definitely a minority at Duke, being from a public school, and a small public school, but I felt that I fit in all the same. I credit this to all the great teachers at CHS, like Mrs. Schmidt, Mrs. Higginson, Dr. Darr, and all the faculty.”
Heimann also pursued excellence throughout her academic career in fine arts. She sang in the CHS Chamber Choir, earning “outstanding” ratings in multiple competitive performances. Beth took part in annual CHS Madrigal productions, playing the role of Mrs. Cratchet in the CHS production of “Scrooge” this past year. She was part of the cast of “Cinderella” in the Spring Musical her junior year and played the lead role of Dolly in the spring musical performance of “Hello Dolly” her senior year.
As if academics, sports, agriculture, and fine arts weren’t enough of a challenge, She also consistently devoted time to community service during her years as a student in Centralia. Through National Honor Society she participated in blood drives and fruit basket delivery. In Key Club she helped run the annual elementary track and field day, made pillowcases for MU Children’s Hospital, and took part in activities that supported the Salvation Army and UNICEF. Her service role in FFA included putting up flags at the cemetery, supporting the local food bank, and painting picnic tables at the Audrain County Fairgrounds. As a leader in SKRUBS Heimann got a taste of teaching as well as learning, helping to design curriculum for, and teaching, physics to Centralia kindergarteners. An active member of her faith community, she values her time in her church’s student ministry, and worked with disabled residents at Woodhaven. “My favorite memory of community service at CHS was when I gave blood with Maddie Lipford. Anatomy fascinates me, first of all, and donating blood is just such a tangible experience. I remember I couldn’t stop giggling.”
Heimann said she is looking forward to continuing to challenge herself academically as she will head to Lawrence, Kansas in the fall to attend the University of Kansas where she plans to study pre-law. “In my time at CHS, I’ve discovered a love for language, and thanks to the high level of academics at CHS, I’ve discovered aptitudes for many different subject areas. I’m excited for the next step of this adventure.” Beth is the daughter of Bob and Nancy Heimann, of Centralia.