NR Valedictorian honors

Ten students shared New Richmond High School Class of 2022 Valedictorian honors and two students shared honors as Class Salutatorian. They were recognized Monday night.

Back row, from left: Hattie Harrold; Kaisa Engstrom; Cassie Dolezal (salutatorian); Alexander Jarchow; Jacob Doehrmann and Olivia Burns

From row, from left, Principal Tom Wissink, Jaclyn Andersen; Kaylin Trosen; Rhea Warner; Alanna Knutson and Carolin Fuchs. 

The New Richmond School Board met Monday night, April 18. 

Here is what you need to know:

Distinguished Alumni Award 

Dr. Neal Melby was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award he won in 2020 at Monday night’s School Board meeting in New Richmond.

Neal Melby

Dr. Neal Melby was presented with the New Richmond High School Distinguished Alumni Award he won in 2020 at the School Board meeting Monday night.

“Dr. Melby is a very humble person … You would be hard pressed to find somebody who has done as much as he has over his lifetime for the community of New Richmond whether it was as a doctor or as a mentor, as a role model, as a father or as a board member. He’s just a wonderful, wonderful person who has done so much for our community and that is why he was recognized with this honor,” Principal Tom Wissink said. 

The New Richmond High School Distinguished Alumni Award was started in 2019. The purpose of the award is to:

  • Recognize and honor outstanding graduates of New Richmond High School who have excelled in their professions and/or made significant contributions to their communities.

  • Display to students and to the public the accomplishments of graduates who have distinguished themselves as role models.

  • Provide opportunities for students to participate in the selection and recognition of former New Richmond High School graduates.

  • Provide opportunities for students to interact with these role models.

Excerpted from the plaque awarded to Dr. Melby Monday night.

“Dr. Neal Melby is a 1958 graduate of New Richmond High School where the value of learning the encouragement of his teachers inspired him to continue to learn throughout his life. When Dr. Melby was 10 years old, he was in a serious farm accident and spent several weeks in the hospital. That experience coupled with significant encouragement from his parents, especially his mother, were the catalyst for Dr Melby to capitalize on his desire to become a doctor. After graduating from high school, Dr. Melby earned a pre-medicine degree from the University of Wisconsin River Falls and then his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, Class of 1965. He completed an internship at Avera Mckennan Hospital in South Dakota from 1965-1966 and practiced medicine on a Native American reservation in Sisseton, SD, before returning to his hometown to practice in 1968. 

“Dr. Melby is a rare asset in the medical profession. People typically enter the field with a specialty in mind such as family medicine, emergency medicine or surgical medicine. Dr. Melby has successfully held all of these roles. He recognized the need for a surgeon and went back to school to complete his residency in general surgery at Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse from 1977-1982.

“For many years Dr. Melby would be the only surgeon on call with an anesthesiologist in the area. Together they would travel as needed to the hospitals in Amery, Baldwin, Grantsburg, Hudson, Osceola, River Falls and St Croix Falls while also fulfilling their obligations in New Richmond. Dr. Melby single handedly covered large swaths of Western WI by serving the counties of Polk, St Croix, Brunette and Pierce to take care of surgical patients. 

“His career was devoted to taking care of the people where he grew up and ensuring local care for those who needed it. For nearly 50 years, Dr. Melby held the role of family practice doctor, emergency room doctor and surgeon and he performed all of them with skill and compassion. He took care of babies, and then their babies and in some cases, their grandbabies.”      

  • Board members approved the purchase of a Bobcat UW56 from Tri-State Bobcat for $64,938.49

  • Barb Simon was recognized for her 24 years of service to the School District of New Richmond. Simon began her career as a paraprofessional at East Elementary (now Paperjack Elementary) in 1998 and finished her career as a special education paraprofessional at Starr Elementary. 

  • Board members approved changes to Policy 5330 – Administration of Medicine/Emergency Care, which will allow students to self-carry and self-administer medications authorized in writing by their parents and when indicated, their practitioner.

Valedictorian, salutatorian

A packed community room joined board members in applauding each of the 10 students who shared Class of 2022 valedictorian honors and one student who shared honors as Class salutatorian as they were recognized Monday night.

“You guys have been through a lot. The last two years have been especially trying,” Superintendent Patrick Olson said. ”I just want to say congratulations on behalf of the board. This is one of our favorite nights to be able to recognize all of you and your accomplishments.” 

The Class of 2022 joined one previous class to share the distinction of graduating 10 valedictorians.

Valedictorians are awarded based on the highest cumulative GPA over their high school career. All 10 Valedictorians had a 4.0 cumulative GPA.

“It’s pretty extraordinary when you are the salutatorians and valedictorians of your class. We’re honoring your dedication, perseverance and hard work, everything you’ve put into your last four years. We know that success doesn’t just happen by yourself. There are people in this room that love you and have supported you. I’m talking about your parents and family members, teachers and mentors who all have been a part of that. We’re really proud of you and we know you're going to do great things,” Principal Tom Wissink said.

The New Richmond High School Class of 2022 valedictorians are Jaclyn Anderson, Olivia Burns, Jacob Doehrmann, Kaisa Engstrom, Carolin Fuchs, Hattie Harrold, Alexander Jarchow, Alanna Knutson, Kaylin Trosen and Rhea Warner. 

The New Richmond High School Class of 2022 salutatorian is Cassie Dolezal. 

The keepsake key chains each honoree received were engraved with the words, “Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop me. Class of 2022.”

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