Claire Arneson didn’t have to look far for incentive during her high school years.
First, was her older sister Paige, who was named Spring Valley High School’s Valedictorian two years ago.
“She always motivated me to do my best,” she said. “And if I wasn’t, I felt I’d be disappointing her, not that she’d care.”
Second, were friends Tyler and Tana O’Keefe, whom she has known since all three were in kindergarten. Arneson, who had a perfect 4.0 since seventh grade, knew the twins were doing the same as well.
“I knew it was coming,” Arneson said of the 2014 Valedictorian honors she shared with the O’Keefes. “I was kind of relieved when they announced it.”
Arneson has had a busy schedule during her four years in Spring Valley. She ran cross country all four years, and was a member of Student Council, Honors Band, Marching Band, National Honor Society, Forensics and Science Club.
“I’m going to definitely miss the opportunity to be in all these things since Spring Valley is a small school,” she said. She advises next year’s freshman class to do the same thing, to get involved. “I don’t regret anything I was a part of during school,” she added.
The highlight for Arneson was being a member of Spring Valley’s Ocean Science Team that qualified for the National Ocean Science Bowl, with this year’s edition being in Seattle earlier this month.
“Going to Seattle was amazing, a good experience,” she said. “We did better than what we did last year…It was also nice to get a break from school.”
Arneson admitted when coming back from Seattle, senioritis started to creep in for the first time. She is on her way to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the fall to major in Physics.
“I’m really excited to start my studies and research, but I’m also excited to be living in a new place with a new lifestyle.”
Arneson is the youngest daughter of Wendy and Jay Arneson.
“I think they’ll miss me more,” she said. “I think it will be weird for them not having a kid in the house. Plus, I’m ready to go out and have an independent life.”