May 30, 2023 at 5:52 p.m.

A tale of two valedictorians

A tale of two valedictorians
A tale of two valedictorians

By Hans Lammeman- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Tomasek, Woitalla share Holdingford’s top class rank 

Two Holdingford students will receive their diplomas on stage at Holdingford High School this week with the unique titles of co-valedictorians. 

Tanner Tomasek and Grace Woitalla underwent their entire academic careers thus far – preschool through 12th grade – as Huskers at Holdingford Public Schools, graduating with the 59 other 2023 seniors at 7 p.m., Friday, June 2, in the high school gym in Holdingford.  While the co-valedictorians participated in separate extracurriculars and had different career aspirations, the two students shared the achievement of flawless 4.0 grade point averages. 

Woitalla followed in her family’s footsteps, excelling in agriculture classes and spending the last five years heavily involved with her school’s FFA organization.

“I started (FFA) in eighth grade. Ever since the day I walked into the ag room, I knew I wanted to be president,” Woitalla said. “My dad and uncle were both presidents of the Holdingford FFA chapter, and my mom was a secretary.”

Tomasek was a jack of all trades, participating in several organizations and sports. His list of involvement includes baseball, basketball, football, trapshooting, jazz band, pep band, concert band, Leadership Council, National Honor Society, Business Club, student council and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Both students cited hard work and dedication to their studies as the primary secrets to success at Holdingford High School. While Woitalla said her favorite subjects were agriculture and chemistry, Tomasek preferred the problem-solving required in math courses. 

“I just did hard work, and it paid off,” Tomasek said. “I wasn’t really striving to be valedictorian.”

Woitalla echoed that sentiment, saying she focused on performing her best in classes and wasn’t even aware of her position at the top of the class until a school staff member alerted her as an upperclassman. 

Opting to follow his interest in math, Tomasek selected to begin his undergraduate education about 190 miles west to study electrical engineering at South Dakota State University. He said he visited the campus in Bookings, South Dakota, and quickly settled on it as his home for the next four years. 

With a focus on staying close to home, Woitalla chose to pursue a double major in agri-business and precision agriculture at Ridgewater College in Willmar. 

“I knew I wanted to stay as close to home as possible while getting the degree I wanted.,” Woitalla said. “My overall goal is to give back to my local agriculture community because FFA and dairy princess (have) given me so much, and I just want to be able to give back.”

The co-valedictorians said they would miss aspects of their high school experience in Holdingford. Tomasek said he would most miss his classmates, teachers and teammates. Woitalla said she would miss the district’s FFA organization, although she planned to continue involvement with the Holdingford FFA alumni. 

“I will miss Holdingford; I’m not going to be there that much because I will be living down (in South Dakota) for a while,” Tomasek said. “But I will always come back, especially if our team goes to state or has games that I want to go to.”

They are happy to share the title of co-valedictorians and excited to see what the next chapter of life brings after graduation. 

“It’s cool that I get to share it with him (Tomasek) because I feel like ever since we started the race for valedictorian, we were head-to-head,” Woitalla said. “Now that we both get to graduate and be valedictorian, it’s a cool experience.”


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