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Top of the Class of 2023

Top of the Class of 2023
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Join us in congratulating the valedictorians and salutatorians of Benilde-St. Margaret's class of 2023! Each year, valedictory and salutatory honors are conferred upon students who achieved the highest and second highest grade point averages after seven semesters of course work. Their individual commitment and dedication to academic excellence is surely something to celebrate. 

“We are so proud of the hard work and dedication that these students have put into their high school academic careers,” said Stephanie Nitchals, senior high principal. “The colleges that have accepted all of these amazing scholars are going to be incredibly lucky to have them on campus.”

Class of 2023 Valedictorians

Boston College will welcome Lily Butner this fall where she will dance competitively on their D1 Pom team while pursuing a major in psychology. True to her involvement with BSM extracurriculars, Lily hopes to be involved with BC’s newspaper and student admissions team. 


Class of 2023 Valedictorians
Back row, l-r: Lily Butner, Beth Heymans, Gabriel Mankowski, Max Melancon, Vivienne Larson, Genevieve Larson, Lance Hoover
Front row, l-r: Megan Cornell, Bianca Mojica, Francesca Lichtenberger, Greta Hall, Hannah Coonan, Mary Hewitt, Clara Luger

Hannah Coonan is attending the University of Minnesota this fall where she plans to study mathematics and biochemistry. This gopher-to-be suggests underclassmen follow their passions, because “there’s no point in spending hours doing something if you don’t really like it.” 

Headed to the University of Notre Dame is Megan Cornell, who advises underclassmen not to put too much pressure on themselves during their time at BSM. “Just give it your best shot,” says the National Merit Commended Scholar.

BSM’s Spring musical star Greta Hall is attending Texas Christian University to study pre-business. Reflecting on her time as a Red Knight, Greta enjoyed her time as a part of BSM’s a cappella group, the Red Knotes. 

Mary Kate Hewitt will play both hockey and golf at Lake Forest College next year while pursuing a degree in finance. A dedicated student, Mary was the recipient of BSM’s Dan Bowler Award for her achievements in advanced mathematics. 

Beth Heymans is headed to the University of San Diego next year, joining the trend of valedictorians heading to the west coast for college. A fan of hands-on, collaborative work, Beth shared, “My favorite class was chemistry with Ms. Baker.”

Villanova will welcome Lance Hoover next year where he will study public administration. While at BSM, Lance was a valuable member of the Red Knotes. “Lance was instrumental in creating the a cappella program we have today,” vocal music teacher Ryan Werdon said.

Vivienne Larson is headed to Washington University in St. Louis next year where she looks forward to joining the cross country and track and field teams. When asked to share advice to BSM underclassmen, Vivienne said, “Don’t be afraid to take hard classes!” 

Joining her sister at Washington University in St. Louis is Genevieve Larson. She plans to study both biochemistry and anthropology, on top of joining WashU’s cross country and track and field teams. Genevieve also looks forward to eventually studying abroad.

Notre Dame is where Francesca Lichtenberger will start her next chapter. Francesca plans to continue her involvement in Model United Nations while exploring various pre-professional societies. Her gift to future BSM graduates: a comprehensive library of AP study prep materials on Quizlet under her username, lichtenbergerf.

Group of students wearing college t-shirts gather outside for a photo

Class of 2023 Valedictorians
Back row, l-r: Liam Schaak, Matthew Robinson, Maximos Wendt, Ryan Souka, Roan Ritzer, Lindsay Pfeiffer, Kayla Smart, Alexis Murphy

St. Olaf will welcome Clara Luger this fall. When she’s not busy playing on their D3 soccer team, Clara hopes to become involved in club ultimate frisbee. Clara also looks forward to further developing her passion for photography during the next four years. 

When it comes to Gabriel Mankowski’s future, there is no doubt that it will be a bright one. Gabriel’s favorite class at BSM was Engineering III, and he advises underclassmen to take their studies seriously. “Your grades are important…don’t throw that away.”

Max Melancon looks forward to joining the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers at University of Wisconsin - Madison this fall. While he’s not studying aerospace engineering, Max also plans to explore UW Madison’s intramural sports offerings. 

Also headed west is Bianca Mojica who is attending University of California - Davis this fall where she plans to major in food science. She looks forward to exploring any and all extracurricular activities that UC Davis has to offer, especially those related to baking, a cappella, and Filipino culture. 

Alexis Murphy will attend Creighton University in Omaha where she has been accepted into their honors program. She plans to study biochemistry on Creighton’s pre-medical track, true to her passion for helping others. 

Joining fellow Badgers-to-be, Lindsay Pfeiffer plans to major in animal science on University of Wisconsin - Madison’s pre-veterinary track. Her parting piece of advice? “Don’t cram….spread your studying out throughout the week, even if it’s across a couple of days.” 

Texas Christian University will welcome Roan Ritzer this fall. Roan looks forward to studying finance and real estate while playing club hockey. Outside of class, Roan hopes to become involved in TCU’s Greek life. 

Matthew Robinson is looking forward to becoming a Badger at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. The National Merit Finalist attributes his academic success to keeping calm, urging those around him not to sweat the small stuff. “Life is about finding balance,” says Matthew. 

The University of San Diego will also welcome ultimate frisbee enthusiast Liam Schaak this fall. In addition to pursuing a degree in political science, Liam plans to enroll in Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). 

Washington University in St. Louis will welcome Kayla Smart next year, who plans on studying biology on the pre-medicine track. Kayla hopes to play on WashU’s soccer team and looks forward to spending time on the field when she isn’t busy studying. 

Ryan Souka is calling the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign home for the next four years. The National Merit Commended Scholar chalks his success up to avoiding procrastination. “Start early and don’t do everything the night before.” 

Along with Lindsay and Max, Maximos Wendt is looking forward to becoming a University of Wisconsin - Madison student in the fall. While undecided in his major, Maximos plans to join UW Madison’s club hockey team. 

Class of 2023 Salutatorians

Three smiling students pose together outside

Class of 2023 Salutatorians
Back row, l-r: Ella Kocourek, Grace Ehrmantraut, Jelani Waynewood

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will welcome Grace Ehrmantraut this fall. Along with exploring St. Mary’s theater and choir offerings, Grace plans to continue her involvement in service work and peer ministry while pursuing a degree in nursing. 

Ella Kocourek will attend University of San Diego this fall where she hopes to become involved in intramural sports and Greek life. Ella is grateful for her BSM biomed class wherein she discovered her desire to pursue a career in medicine.

Headed to Iowa State University to pursue mechanical engineering, Jelani Waynewood looks forward to making new friends and exploring intramural sports this fall. When he’s not studying, Jelani hopes to continue developing his hobby of ceramics.

Congratulations, Red Knights!

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About Benilde-St. Margaret's School
Benilde-St. Margaret's (BSM) is a Catholic, co-educational private prep school for grades 7–12 located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, that draws its over one thousand students from throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The mission of BSM is to educate, empower, and inspire learners within a Catholic community to lead lives of faith, achieve academic excellence, and contribute meaningfully to a global society.

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