NRHEG valedictorian wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps
If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, Lexie Ignaszewski’s mother should be feeling pretty good.
The New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva valedictorian plans to attend South Dakota State University for Agriculture Education and has aspirations of becoming a 4-H program coordinator, just like her mother Tracey Ignaszewski, who has spent the past 25 years working for Steele County 4-H.
“I fell in love with the program and it has been such a huge part of my life,” Lexie said. “Her job is to create opportunities for kids, and she does that all school year and with day camps. She plans for the summer and organizing the 4-H livestock part at the Steele County Fair.
“It gets kids involved in the community with doing community service and volunteering, and it provides opportunities for kids to explore different project areas to find new areas of passion,” she continued. “I’ve seen the positive impact she's had on all the kids in the 4-H program and how much joy she has brought to the program and I want to be able to do that same thing.”
Ignaszewski has been involved with 4-H since she was a kindergartener and has been a county ambassador, a camp counselor, the president of her 4-H club and the club council, a swine superintendent and on the Junior Fair Board.
“All those years I have showed pigs, sheep, and rabbits,” she said. “As I got it older, I started becoming more involved. Four-H has just allowed me to try new things and has pushed me out of my comfort zone, which I really liked. It also allowed me to meet so many new people.”
The valedictorian graduated with the rest of her 2019 classmates on Sunday at NRHEG High School.
“It was a bittersweet day, but I’m super excited to see what the future holds,” she said. “At the same time it's hard to say goodbye to those I’ve grown up with over the past few years. It doesn't quite feel real, I still think I’ll be coming back to NRHEG for school. I don't think it will truly sink in until I move to college in the fall.
“I loved going to Friday night football games and cheering on the boys,” Ignaszewski continued. “It was especially cool this year because they made it to state, and all the endless laughs with my volleyball and basketball team.”
She finished high school with an incredible 3.952 GPA.
“Honestly, I never thought I was going to be the valedictorian [coming into high school as a freshman],” Ignaszewski said. “But it was something I was always working towards. It is a great honor, and I take a lot of pride in it. It was something I needed to work towards for a long time so it does mean a lot to me.”
Ignaszewski said she doesn’t agree with the many schools around the country, including Blooming Prairie, that are eliminating the titles of valedictorian and salutatorian.
“I personally do not agree with it,” she said. “I believe that those kids have worked hard their four years in high school, and they should be awarded for that just like how others are for sports. I don’t think competition is a bad thing.”
Ignaszewski said she was thankful for all of her teachers, advisors and coaches for continuing to challenge her to do her best and while she will miss seeing all of her friends everyday, she will never forgot the memories made.