Cassopolis celebrates top 10 graduates

CASSOPOLIS — Ross Beatty Jr./Sr. High School recently released its list of its top 10 academic seniors.

10. Christopher Harding

Tenth in his graduating class is Christopher Harding, with a GPA of 3.81. He said he is most proud of attaining high grades throughout his high school career, and his favorite high school memory is spending time with his friends.

After high school, he plans to attend Southwestern Michigan College to study computer science and art. He will then transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelors degree or masters degree.

“In 10 years, I see myself financially well and [having] a good career in a field like cyber security or programming, along with having a hobby for drawing/painting and doing a side career where I work for different businesses from time to time doing artwork,” he said.

9. MacKenzee Souers

Coming in ninth is MacKenzee Souers, with a GPA of 3.85. In school, she said she is proud of her high grades and going to worlds with the Roborangers. After graduation, she plans to attend Grand Valley State University to study anthropology.

“In 10 years, I see myself in a bigger city and working as an anthropologist, living in my own house,” she said.

8. Grayson Hagenbuch

Graduating eighth in his class is Grayson Hagenbuch, with a GPA of 3.92, which he said was his greatest accomplishment in high school, as he was able to keep it above a 3.7 all four years. His favorite high school memories include “goofing around with friends during lunch and incentives.”

After graduation, he plans to study kinesiology at a four-year university.

“Where do I see myself in 10 years? I see myself as a college graduate with a degree of some kind, but who knows,” he said. “By then I may even be on a totally different career path that my 18-year-old self would have never expected.”

7. Jonathan Leach

Graduating seventh is Jonathan Leach, with a 3.95 GPA. During his time at Ross Beatty, he said he is most proud to have served on the drive team for the Roborangers robotics team.

After graduation, he will attend Southwestern Michigan College to study engineering and robotics.  After he finishes at SMC, he will continue to pursue a bachelor of science degree at Western Michigan University.

“Although right now the future is full of uncertainty, I am confident I will finish college and have a career,” he said. “But most importantly, I will do my best to live life and be active in a community.  No matter what, I know who holds my future and I am confident in Him.”

6. Hailey Christopher

Coming in sixth is Hailey Christopher, with a 3.99 GPA. During school, she said her friends became her family.

After graduation, she plans to attend college while taking time to explore different career fields. In 10 years, she sees herself with a well-paying job.

“The accomplishment I’m most proud of would have to be keeping my grades up throughout high school, even if that meant staying up all night to ensure that happened,” she said.

5. Megan Evans

Megan Evans was named fifth in her class with a 4.0 GPA. During school, she said her favorite memories include her friends and teachers, and she is most proud of being the senior drum major for the marching band. After graduation, she will attend Kendall College of Art in Grand Rapids to major in illustration.

“I usually don’t like to look too far ahead into the future, but if I have to picture myself anywhere in 10 years, I’d picture myself happy,” she said. “I hope my career as an illustrator fulfills me and is truly enjoyable. I’d love to hopefully own a home and be able to work as a freelance illustrator if I choose to. Most importantly, I hope to have fun and spend time with the people I love and care about.”

4. Katelyn


Katelyn Waldschmidt came up fourth in her class with a 4.02 GPA. During school, she participated in SADD and FFA, and her favorite memory is when her FFA team won state and got to compete at nationals.

She will attend Aurora University or St. Mary’s College. She has not decided what she is going to study yet, but wants to do something where she can help people.

“In 10 years, I will be out of college with a degree and a job where I am happy and helping people,” she said. “I will still be involved in the community and hope to help out with many clubs and organizations that I am involved in now.”

3. Tristin Gless

Graduating third is Tristin Gless, with a 4.06 GPA. During her high school career, she participated in FFA and was crowned Miss Cassopolis 2020.

“My favorite school memory would be watching the football team play in the state semifinals game my junior year,” she said. “I was taking pictures and got to cheer on the boys from the sidelines. The whole community was there for support, and it was such a huge accomplishment for the boys.”

After high school, she will attend Michigan State University to study kinesiology and work towards a masters degree in athletic training. In 10 years, she hopes to work for a top sports team as an athletic trainer.

2. Owen Gardner

Owen Gardner was named salutatorian with a GPA of 4.13. In school, he said his favorite memory was making it to semi-state in football during his junior year.

After graduation, he will attend Hillsdale College, where he will play both football and run track, a fact he said he was proud of. His major is undecided, but he knows he wants it to be sports related.

“In 10 years, I see myself in the world of sports in some manner and being a contributing member to my community,” he said.

1. Kaitlyn Owen

The Class of 2020’s valedictorian is Kaitlyn Owen with a 4.18 GPA. She said she is most proud that she was able to keep a 4.0 or above GPA every year, and her favorite high school memory was helping to plan the 2019 prom.

After high school, she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in elementary education through SMC’s partnership with Ferris State University.

“In 10 years, I see myself teaching kindergarten or first grade in a small community public school, maybe even at Cassopolis.”

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