St. Louis High School Top Ten honor students revealed!


Autumn Mann

SLHS Top Ten poses for a group photo.

Autumn Mann, Staff Editor

St. Louis High School recently announced the Top Ten for the class of 2023! This year consists of Jenna Abell as Valedictorian, Marlena Pestrue as Salutatorian, William Tuzas in third, Payton Kuhn fourth, Colton Markwell fifth, Dylan Marr sixth, Ash Conn seventh, Dylan Luft eighth, Cole Lombard ninth, and last but not least Wisdom Zanquo. 

These students have worked hard these past four years having to battle sports and school all while having to maintain a social life as well. How did they do it? Well, Valedictorian Abell expressed, “Over the years, I have done my best to turn in quality work on time. I always try to stay organized and maintain awareness of upcoming due dates. I have put a lot of time and effort into this achievement. The support of my friends and family has helped me a lot in getting through the harder parts of school. It is also very helpful to have people around you who care for you, especially when they are able to celebrate the happy moments!” 

Ash Conn also commented, “I’ve worked diligently throughout high school to maintain As and Bs while balancing high school and dual classes and my personal life. Covid was a huge obstacle in my education. I’ve had many stressors whilst in school and at times I’ve struggled to do the work or show up at all. Every time my grades would begin to slip, it was like a little wake-up call though, and I managed to stay on top of it. My family has been a great outlet for me in terms of the support I’ve been given by them throughout my schooling, including my most stressful or difficult times. Certain staff members at the school pushed me to do the best I could do, too, and I’m extraordinarily grateful to everyone who has been a part of my high school journey. ” 

For most, the SAT and other mandatory testing provided small obstacles or a stress trigger. The SAT is one of the big factors when it comes to placing in the top ten. Here’s some advice from the top 10 honor students. Cole Lombard suggested that removing most of the stress in your life can help clear your mind to focus on the SAT. Abell also commented, “Instead of focusing on the SAT during class time, I would do a few lessons on Khan Academy before I went to bed every night. I did this for a few months prior to the test and it seemed to help me review older topics. I also ended up retaking the SAT the following summer. Having taken it once before, I was a little more prepared for the test the second time around.” Another student, Laney Pestrue, talked of how important it is to at least look and actually try to do the SAT prep given in class. 

As for the ten students’ future plans, Valedictorian Abell plans to attend Cornerstone University where she will be studying exercise science. While at Cornerstone, Abell will work as a team manager for the cross-country and track and field program. Salutatorian Pestrue’s future plans consist of attending Northern Michigan University. Pestrue plans on majoring in biology and will participate in a pre-dental program. After she finishes attending NMU, Pestrue would like to attend a dental school where she can further her education in dentistry. 

Next, Will Tuzas plans on pursuing a welder career at trade school Lincoln Tech. Payton Kuhn plans to attend Central Michigan University to pursue a degree in education, in hopes of becoming a teacher. Colton Markwell also plans to attend CMU where he wants to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a music-focused minor. Dylan Marr plans to attend Hobart’s Trade School in Ohio to further his education in welding. Ash Conn will be attending Mid Michigan College for a transfer associate degree in either art or psychology. Conn plans to transfer out of state where she will pursue a career in art therapy or art education. Dylan Luft wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University. Cole Lombard plans to attend CMU where he will get his bachelor’s degree. Lombard hopes to become a movie director for action, horror, and musicals. Wisdom Zanquo plans to study computer science at Ferris State University. 

These students have put in a lot of dedication and hard work throughout these past four years. With COVID and of course, being a teenager, life can be difficult. Balancing hormones, friends, grades, sports, and grades can be tricky. For students, no missing assignments and keeping up that GPA is key! Salutatorian Pestrue explained, “The advice I have for any future students who wish to be in the top ten of their class is to care about their grades starting their freshman year. Once you ruin your GPA, it’s very hard to fix. Your freshman and sophomore year grades matter just as much as your junior and senior ones, so start caring about them right away. It’s also very important to practice for the SAT since your score is factored into the top ten, and you can use Khan Academy for this. Not practicing for the SAT is one of my biggest academic regrets.” Abell also expressed, “For anyone wanting to place in the top ten of their class, remember that your grades do not define you. Although they seem important, it is not the only thing you should be worried about. Make sure to have fun and make memories along the way. Also, it is okay to be stressed, just know that it will get easier eventually. Keep working hard and putting the effort in!”