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Brown is OHS Valedictorian and 2024 Leo Volz recipient
Val brown
Katherine Brown has earned recognition, honored as both the 2024 Oakdale High School Valedictorian and the Leo Volz Scholarship recipient. Photo Contributed

The 2023-24 school year has come to an exciting close for Oakdale High School senior Katherine Brown.

The OHS student has been bestowed with two distinguished titles for the Class of 2024. Brown has been named class Valedictorian as well as the 2024 Leo Volz scholarship recipient.

Yet earning the top seeded spot of academics as Valedictorian would be anything but a surprise for the graduate. Brown shared she first set her sights on that goal in sixth after first getting a glimpse of her older brother’s potential outline of high school classes.

“I made a little chart of all the classes I would need to take throughout my four years of high school that would guarantee me being the Valedictorian,” the student shared.

By the end of the first semester her junior year, Brown shared she knew she’d achieved exactly that.

“I think it’s always been about academic validation for myself,” she said of setting the goal early on. “Being Valedictorian proved to myself that the strategy was worth it and that I could overcome the setbacks I faced.”

With a long background with OHS FFA, Brown gained experience in both showmanship as well as public speaking and leadership.

“I’ve done all of it,” she said of her time in FFA, “but my favorite part is leadership.”

“FFA is so unbelievably rich in experience and opportunity for kids,” she continued. “I just wish more people knew that it was more about that, than just agriculture.”

Brown stated preparing her speech for graduation day may be a challenge, however she feels it will be fun to give.

Now as she prepares to attend Columbia University in New York in the fall, the Volz Scholarship – which provides money to assist with tuition and books for four years – will be put to good use. Brown plans to major in Medical Engineering and Neuro Science.

“I think for me it’s always been a dream that I didn’t think was ever going to become a reality,” she said of being accepted to the Ivy League school, adding the gift of the Volz will serve as a tremendous help with the overall expense.

Acknowledging the rigor and competition to earn the prestigious honor, Brown noted her confidence as she pursued the scholarship.

“I felt pretty confident,” she said. “I know the people around me and I have been competing in a way academically. I have been at the top of my class since sophomore year.”

Being called to Principal Mike Moore’s office to learn of her being named the winner, Brown shared had her tearing up. Confiding she figured it would be a really good day or a bad one.

“It’s much appreciated and very helpful on my journey,” she said of winning the Volz.

“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot, but all that I can out of this town and my environment,” she said of now moving on to college. “I’m endlessly grateful for the support I’ve received along the way, but I’m itching to get out and see the rest of the world.”

As she prepares for that, the doubly-honored senior has both visions and goals as she goes forward into the world.

“I’m not entirely sure what that’s going to look like but there’s going to be lots to learn in the next four years that will help point me in the right direction,” she shared of her desire to develop bio medical technology in the future.

“I definitely want to be at the forefront of bio engineering/innovation and helping others in any way that I can with my technology,” she said of where she sees herself in 10 years’ time.

As for achieving both high honors as she rounds out her days with Oakdale High, Brown reiterated none of it is by chance.

“I’ve always loved planning. There’s so much thought that I’ve put into everything,” she said. “Sometimes it looks like things fall into my lap or that I’m so lucky and everything works out for me. I think being strategic is having that as a skill is my favorite thing about myself. But as a personality trait I would say ambitious, I’m always striving for the next best thing.”

“Living here did ultimately help me get where I’m going,” she concluded of her appreciation of the community of Oakdale.