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Rochester Central Lutheran School


8th grade class of 2020
Robin Kaufmann


In the midst of what is likely the most unusual end to a school year that we’ve ever seen in the U.S., RCLS is graduating a remarkable class of 39 students. Most of these students have been at RCLS since at least Kindergarten. Many more have joined this great class along the way to this graduation. They are all promising, young people––the sort of youth that should give us great anticipation for good things to come. 

These students won’t get a traditional RCLS graduation ceremony, but they have had some experiences in these last weeks of school that are unique to their class. This story is one of those experiences––a brief moment to highlight their memories, personalities, and promise. Enjoy their memories and reflections of what is soon to be their alma mater, and pray for them each as they graduate on to the next stage of life and learning. 

Taylor Atwell has spent her entire academic career at RCLS since her early days of Preschool. She has loved her time as a Bobcat, and most loves the tradition of Chapel Families at this school. She has innumerable memories, though a 1st-grade class trip to the Minnesota Zoo stands out as one of her favorites. After these years of learning and memory-making, she will most miss the school’s teachers and the close, daily connections with her classmates. Taylor will be a Mayo Spartan next year.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Leadership, participation, friendship

Dream job? Taylor hopes to be a veterinarian or to work in the medical field.

Gracelyn Atwood has spent all of her elementary and middle school years at RCLS, where her memories are largely centered around the quality of her friendships. She will most miss “hanging out with friends” once she is not in daily contact with her classmates, who, after these formative years together, will strengthen the student bodies they will join in the next stage of learning. She is also grateful for the quality of teaching that she perceives in her RCLS teachers, who have known and encouraged her for many years. Gracelyn will attend Byron High School in the fall.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Friends, teachers, homework

Dream job? Gracelyn would love to be a maritime archaeologist.

Calvin Baum has been an RCLS student since Kindergarten. He loves the Field Day tradition at RCLS, but he also holds fond memories of the annual ski trip to Welch Village. He thinks he’ll really miss close contact with classmates who will be at local high schools other than Mayo, where he will attend in the fall.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Fun, happy, bright

Dream job: Calvin thinks he’d like to do something with athletics and/or work as an Orthopedic surgeon.

Josh Clark has been an RCLS student since 1st grade, and he gives his elementary and middle-school years a hearty “thumbs up.” Among the many formative experiences he has had at RCLS, he counts Chapel Family lunches and RCLS basketball among his favorites. These are memories and “good years” that he will take with him to Mayo HS, where he played on the boys’ soccer team already this year.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Shorter than normal

Dream job? Ever the outdoorsman, Josh would like to be a professional fisherman.

Kyle Clark is amazed that his years at RCLS are coming to close. The RCLS Basketball Invitational Tournament, the Winona Track & Field Day––these are annual events that he always looked forward to as a Bobcat. Now, they stand out as special memories from his elementary and middle school years. He, too, anticipates playing soccer at Mayo HS, where he will start high school in the fall.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Weird, unexpected ending

Dream job? Kyle hopes to be a business owner.

Briar Daire has been at RCLS since she joined her class in 4th grade. She is proud to be a Bobcat, most significantly because of the school’s efforts to facilitate service for the local community through Chapel Families. Briar was widely involved in activities at RCLS, but her most memorable experiences are the annual track and field days at both Winona and at RCLS. She has been grateful for the connections that she’s been able to make with younger students and her teachers, something she will miss as she moves onto high school at Century HS.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Adventure, fun, exciting

Dream job? Briar doesn’t know what she might like to do, but we think she’ll shine in any discipline. 

Peter DeLone has been at RCLS for his middle school years. In that time, he has made some great friends and memories. The 7th and 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. last year is a particularly fond memory. Likewise, he has enjoyed and will long remember the RCLS Basketball Invitational Tournament every February. Peter will attend Mayo HS, where he plays on the boys' soccer team.

8th-grade year in 3 words? World’s most interesting

Dream job? Peter would like to be an F-35 pilot.

Anika Engelmann recalls her many years as an RCLS student for the opportunities she has had––friendships, musicals, Chapel Families, and more––as well as for the caring support that she has received from her teachers. One of her favorite memories is the Mary Poppins, Jr. musical that the theater department produced just a couple of years ago. She’s grateful for the Christian emphasis of her early education and for the number of opportunities she has had to serve and to support our surrounding community, a “tradition” that makes her proud to be a Bobcat. Anika will be at Mayo HS next year.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Friends, joy, responsibilities

Dream job? Anika thinks she’d like to be a History teacher.

Ethan Fligge has been an RCLS student since Preschool. One of his fondest memories is from his early days of school; he remembers being the lion tamer in the Kindergarten Circus that was a tradition at the time. He is grateful for a number of the traditions that RCLS maintains, most particularly Chapel Families and Field Day, which he will miss once he is a student at Pine Island High School. We do hope to see him back for Field Day next year.

8th-grade year in 3 words?  Went by FAST

Dream job?  Ethan hope to own his own business after college.

Aiden Frick has been at RCLS for all of his academic career and has early happy memories from his elementary days, including a fun 1st grade zoo trip when he had Mrs. Andersen. Like so many of his classmates, he loves the tradition of Field Day, where we hope we will see him next year at about this time. Aiden is a basketball player and has many great memories from the basketball season. Although he anticipates missing his RCLS friends who go to other local high schools, he is excited to attend Mayo HS this fall.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Exciting, long, anxious

Dream job? Aiden hopes to work as a medical doctor.

Owen Frick is also a lifetime RCLS student. He takes with him to Mayo HS happy memories of Track and Field days and his many great RCLS friends, some of which will attend other high schools. This is the hard part of leaving a school that has shaped him, but Owen is a great guy who will build on the foundation he’s built to thrive in this next stage of learning.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Fun and short

Dream job? Owen would like to work for a professional sports team.

Kaelyn Johnson has been at RCLS since Kindergarten. Like other students, she has loved being a part of Chapel Families for so many years and, this year, leading a Chapel Family of her own. She is grateful to her RCLS teachers and expects they will be what she most misses about RCLS. Kaelyn will attend high school at Pine Island HS.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Fun, crazy, unforgettable

Dream job? Kaelyn would like to work as a NICU nurse.

Albane Jonglez de Ligne has been at RCLS just since February, when she joined the student body through an exchange program. Her short time has been sweet, even with the abrupt change to Remote Learning, and she’ll take back to France with her memories of leading and caring for a Chapel Family, snow tubing and pizza with the middle school, and of teachers who “organize a lot of different and original things for us and are always there to help.” Albane will attend high school in her hometown in France when returns to her home this summer.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Fun, original, unforgettable

Dream job? Perhaps Albane will work as a nutritionist or a NASA scientist.

Daniel Krieger was born in Bogota, Columbia, but now calls Rochester home. The memories he will take with him from RCLS are “active” in nature: soccer is one of his favorite activities, the annual basketball tournament is something that makes him proud of RCLS, and the annual middle-school snow tubing trip to Ironwood Christian Ranch is something he won’t forget. Along with a number of his classmates, Daniel is headed to Mayo HS next year, though he will miss regularly seeing RCLS friends who will be at other local high schools.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Shortened by pandemic 

Dream job? An avid cook even at his young age, Daniel thinks he’d like to one day own a successful restaurant.

Luke Liedl started Kindergarten at RCLS many years ago, and now he graduates 8th grade. In all of those years of memory, he names a 2nd grade field trip to the Science Museum as a favorite, and he loves the tradition of the RCLS Field Day. Like so many of his classmates, Luke will most miss all of his RCLS friends every day when he is in school at John Marshall HS.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Great, but bittersweet

Dream job? Luke thinks it would be great to be a scientific engineer.

Tor Lindell has been at RCLS since his Prekindergarten year, and he has loved every one of his nine years as a Bobcat, he says. He names the Kindergarten Circus as one of his favorite RCLS memories. In the Circus, he held up a “big ‘fiery’ loop for the ‘seals’ to do tricks,” he remembers. In this last year at RCLS, he has loved serving as a leader of a Chapel Family, which has been another family to him. When he thinks about what he will most miss about RCLS, he names his “kind and helpful” teachers as that which he will miss the most. “They are always there when you need help or support,” he says of them. Tor will be a Mayo Spartan next year.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Engaging, enjoyable, faith-filled

Dream job? Tor hopes to work in healthcare, perhaps as a doctor like his parents.

Aidan Morcom has been at RCLS since 2nd grade. He has enjoyed much as a Bobcat, most particularly those opportunities to engage with technology. When asked about his favorite RCLS memory, he names the Drone Club as one of the activities he most enjoyed and Lego Robotics Club and competition as what he will most miss about his elementary and middle school. Aidan will attend Century HS in the fall.

8th-grade year in 3 words? We were bold. 

Dream job? Aidan hopes to be a pilot.

Isaac Nelson has spent his entire academic career at RCLS, where he has enjoyed participation in various extracurricular activities, including the school’s annual Spelling Bee, which he has participated in and won more than once. His regular participation in that academic competition makes the event an enduring memory. Isaac’s experience at RCLS is unique, in part, because his father has been one of his middle school teachers, something Isaac will miss once he is a high school student at John Marshall. Like others in his class, he also will miss seeing his RCLS classmates every day.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Learning with Jesus

Dream job? Isaac potentially has ambitions to become a commercial pilot.

Isaac Neveau has been a lifelong RCLS student who delights in the great friends he has at his elementary and middle school alma mater. Of all of the things that make him proud about RCLS, he is most fond of the Cross-country team, which is consistently a leader in RCLS’s athletic division. Isaac is enthusiastic about his RCLS experience, giving it a hearty thumbs up, and he knows he will miss seeing all of his friends every day next year. Isaac will attend Century HS.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Friends, sports, homework

Dream job? Isaac thinks it would be great to be a professional soccer player.

Sincere Odegaard came to RCLS for middle school. An avid sports fan, he is grateful to have participated in the RCLS athletics program for these past few years. He enjoys a good laugh and good friends, and when asked what he will most miss about RCLS, he says he’ll miss “morning coffee with [his] boys.”

8th-grade year in 3 words? Fun, friends, sarcasm

Dream job? This sports fan would love to be involved with the NFL in some way.

Mitchell Poncelet has been a Bobcat since Preschool, so he has many memories and traditions to choose from when it comes to favorites. Still, he won’t ever forget the tradition of Chapel Family relays at Field Day, and he loves the annual ski trip to Welch Village, which serves for him as a fond school memory. Like other students, Mitchell most will miss the daily connection with his classmates and friends. Mitchell will attend Century HS next year.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Thankful, knowledge, character

Dream job? Mitchell thinks he’ll do something in Business

Luke Poole has spent his academic career thus far at RCLS. He loves the Chapel Family tradition which allows students across the grades to worship together. He asked us to be sure to send a message to his Chapel Family that he loved being their leader this year. Luke is all smiles when he considers his RCLS years, and he says that one of his favorite memories is the Washington D.C. trip that he took with the middle school last year. He has been so grateful for good friends at RCLS. Outside of RCLS, Luke is a proud Boy Scout. He will attend Century HS in the fall.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Interesting, different, great

Dream job? It would be thrilling to be a race car driver, Luke thinks.

Dylan Rossow has been an RCLS student since Prekindergarten. An early memory that is also a favorite is a 1st grade field trip to the MN zoo, but he’s also quite fond of RCLS’s Track and Field Day, a tradition he will long remember. He has loved the advantage of having small classes at RCLS, a school that has greatly benefitted from Dylan’s spirit and enthusiasm. Next year, Dylan will attend Lourdes High School.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Corona ended it.

Dream job? Dylan would like to be an entrepreneur of some sort. 

Hayley Schwartz joined her RCLS class in 4th grade. Her favorite memory at RCLS is playing spoons together in 6th grade math, and she’s most grateful for the annual volleyball tournament, which she experienced as a team-building, memory-making event each year. “We were always so proud of ourselves and each other after each game,” she says. As she and her classmates graduate on to the next phase of learning, she thinks she will most miss the daily access to “inside jokes” that she and her RCLS classmates share. Hayley will be at Century HS next year.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Unique, lively, memorable

Dream job? It might not be so bad to be a Ben & Jerry’s flavor tester, she thinks!

Autumn Young has been at RCLS since she started with Mrs. Mack in Prekindergarten at age 4. She loves RCLS Chapel, and she thinks it was “an awesome experience” to be able to lead a Chapel Family this past year. When asked about a favorite memory, she names her 7th- and 8th-grade years of volleyball, which were fun because RCLS had a good team those years and because that athletics experience gave her time to “spend with friends while doing something [she] loves.” Her enthusiasm for her elementary alma mater is evident when she names both her classmates and the overall experience at RCLS as what she will most miss about the school. “We all have had the best time being in the same class and have made so many memories together,” she says. RCLS is “such a positive and happy environment where everyone’s smiling [. . .]. It’s just an amazing place to go to school.” Autumn will be at John Marshall HS next fall.

8th-grade year in 3 words? Unique, amusing, memorable

Dream job? “Definitely” sports medicine or pediatrics, Autumn says.

In addition to the students we’ve highlighted here, we congratulate the rest of their amazing class:

Brett B., Edra C., Ancele D., Vivian K., Laney K., Colten K., Katherine L., Ava M., Alicia M., Taylor P., Meagan P., Monica R., Elayna W., Sophie W.

Every year we think we are graduating the best group of kids and sending them on to succeed in high school, but this year, we are particularly sure that is so. The 8th-grade year is always an opportunity for real leadership at RCLS, but this year, this group of students has been faced with extraordinary circumstances in which they could practice the traits and talents of a good leader: diligence, resilience, responsibility, and more. The 8th graders have demonstrated a commitment to excellence even in this context, their teachers have noted. "It's been incredible to watch them grow and develop their voices in their writing and communication, for example," Miss Schauer recently explained. "They've grown more confident and thoughtful in their communication. That has been fun to see."

This year's class voted on these texts to represent what they value:

Class Psalm:  Psalm 138

Class Verse:  1 John 4:4 "The Lord is greater than the giants you face!"

Class Motto:  "Stand up for what you believe even if it means you stand alone."

And we want to congratulate these students for their extraordinary academic achievements in a class of achievers:

Valedictorian:  Hayley Schwartz

Salutatorian:  Brett Boie

1st Runner-Up:  Ancele Dolensek

2nd Runner-Up:  Isaac Nelson

We are ever so proud of this class. Watch along with us for great things to come from them. Congratulations, RCLS Class of 2020!