Get to Know the Class of 2019

We talk to some of the area’s most exceptional rising seniors about their past accomplishments and future goals.
Left to right: Ava Monro, Grant Kirt, Makaela Foderer, Alexander Heath, Abby O’Neil, Dylan Kinneavey.

Dylan Kinneavey
Southwest High School

What do you like best about your school?
I like the strong emphasis and support from the administration for the arts in our school. In addition to our orchestra program, which keeps growing, I also have the opportunity to play drums in a jazz combo at school. Most schools have a jazz big band program, but very few have combos. I think [Southwest’s] is really fantastic because you have nowhere to hide and everyone is responsible for taking initiative.

Tell us about a favorite memory you have from your time in high school.
I’ve had a lot of great memories, especially being in music at Southwest. We go on tour each spring to somewhere special, we do a mini-tour for middle schools in the area and we do a super awesome concert at the Basilica of St. Mary each winter. I don’t think I’d be able to pick just one moment as a favorite memory since there are so many and so many yet to come.

What are your hopes for after graduation?
I hope to go to college to study cello performance and maybe cinema studies, and pursue a career in music and/or film.

What’s your favorite book?
Harry Potter.

Makaela Foderer
Southwest High School

What do you like best about your school?
I really like how much support there is for the arts programs. The administrators support the arts and music programs, and they always come to all of the orchestra and band concerts—which is really nice.

What teacher has made the biggest impact on you?
My orchestra teacher, Mr. Wixson. He’s really supportive, and you can tell that he really cares about his job a lot.

What are your hopes for after graduation?
I’m planning on majoring in violin performance. There are a few schools I’m looking at—Boston University, Rice University and University of Southern California all have really good music programs. For my job, I’d love to be either in a professional quartet or a chamber orchestra. I really enjoy playing music because I get to communicate with people without using words. Music brings a lot of people together, and through playing it, you get to meet a lot of people that you wouldn’t otherwise.

What’s your favorite book?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s really well written, and I really like historical fiction. Plus, the protagonist is a really strong female character.

Ava Monro
Groves Academy

What do you like best about your school?
I love the small classrooms, and how all the teachers know exactly how to help students with their different
learning struggles.

Tell us about a favorite memory from your time in high school.
At the end of every school year, we go to Wolfe Park. A couple of years ago, we did a Mario Kart race in real life. Each advisory had their own car decorated like the Mario characters, and there were banana peels on the ground, and we threw acorns at the other cars. I think that was my best experience because it was so much fun.

What are your hopes for after graduation?
I’m hoping to go to college. I’m not 100 percent sure what I want to do yet, maybe something with kids or animals. I really love working with kids—I work at a summer camp every year and my synagogue every Sunday as a teacher’s assistant for the first graders.

What’s your favorite book?
There are too many to choose from! Can I say a favorite author instead? I like Nicholas Sparks. I love romantic stuff, and I’ve probably read almost all of his books by now.

Grant Kirt
Groves Academy

Tell us about a favorite memory you have from your time in high school.
It would definitely be a school trip we took to Spirit Mountain up north. We stayed up all night in our little cabin talking about life and drinking coffee—a lot of coffee!

What do you like best about your school?
One thing I like is the connection with the teachers because it makes doing homework and being at school so much more enjoyable. You can connect with them since class sizes are pretty small—there are only about nine kids per class, which is amazing. I transferred over to Groves from Wayzata, which was a big change to go from a school with 4,000 students to one with about 120. But it’s been a really good fit for me. I’ll miss it when I graduate, but at the same time I’ll be glad that a new chapter in life is about to start.

What are your hopes for after graduation?
I’ll either take a gap year and travel around the world to see different sites, or I’ll go straight to college. I’m interested in studying biology and/or engineering.

What’s your favorite book?
I really like The Lord of the Rings series, and the first one, The Fellowship of the Ring, is my favorite.

Abby O’Neil
Benilde-St. Margaret’s School

What do you like best about your school?
I love the community. And I like how there’s a lot of different classes available that cater to a lot of different interests. We have engineering, we have a biomedical class—which I’m in. We have a ton of art classes, business classes—it’s super nice … you can kind of explore all sorts of different subjects you’re interested in.

What teacher has made the biggest impact on you?
Mrs. Roushar was my biomedical teacher last year, and now she’s my chemistry teacher. She makes class really interesting and engaging, and she teaches subjects that I’m already interested in. She’s a really good teacher—she explains stuff well and she’s funny. She wants to connect with students and get to know them.

Tell us about a favorite memory you have from your time in high school.
This is kind of a random one, but for student council, we’re all in the same homeroom and we meet every morning. All of the guys started singing this acapella song every morning, and it just made everybody laugh. Student council is like a little family, and it’s just one of the funny aspects of what we do.
 
What’s your favorite book?
Open Heart is about a heart surgeon and his career, which I think is just fascinating. It’s by Stephen Westaby, an English doctor, and he pulls you in because he tells you about all these surgeries that he’s performed. It feels like you’re in the operating room with him.

Alexander Heath
Washburn High School

What do you like best about your school?
I really love the community here at Washburn, honestly, between my friends and teachers. I’m able to have a really nice bond with a lot of the teachers, and to have people that I know and like in the classroom around me—helping me learn—is really nice. I think it’s different than going to a private school where things are a little bit more cutthroat. Here, it’s a really nice community that really helps me learn.

What are your hopes for after graduation?
I’m definitely thinking about college. I’ve already started looking at some schools—[University of Wisconsin] Madison and the University of Chicago. I’ve delved into some of the majors I’m interested in. One is economics and finance. I’ve always been interested in the whole process of exchanging goods and how money circulates through the economy. I’ve also been really interested in science, especially chemistry, and I’m thinking about majoring in environmental science so that I can apply what I learn to actually making my community better and the world better as a whole.

What’s your favorite book?
One of my all-time favorites is obviously Harry Potter. I’ve always loved that series, ever since I was a little kid. I can reread them any day—I just love them so much. More recently, I’ve gotten into nonfiction novels, especially Bill Bryson. I really like his writing style, and he tells really interesting stories.