Graduation 2012: Park High School's valedictorian works hard but has funCamden Knoff's advice to incoming ninth-graders is to make the best of the high school experience and work hard.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Camden Knoff's advice to incoming ninth-graders is to make the best of the high school experience and work hard.
“But don't forget that you're a kid, and have fun,” he said.
Knoff, who graduates at the top of the Park High School Class of 2012, said he “definitely got a good education” in School District 833.
“I have so many favorite teachers,” he said, including all of them who teach International Baccalaureate classes. “One of the strongest things about Park is the teachers.”
Knoff, along with 14 others, are full IB students in that they've completed the entire program of requirements entitling them to a full year of college credit at universities that accept IB grads.
As a full IB candidate, he was prepared to work hard but, at times, it got very hard. His extended essay was on gun control. He tried to look at the subject objectively but came away from the experience more in favor of it than before.
He'll attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute near Boston to study engineering.
Knoff, who throws the shot and discus and plays ultimate Frisbee, is strong in math and science, but is also very interested in English and history. Spanish and band are his favorite classes. He plays the trumpet and piano in jazz band.
He considers himself well-rounded and not stuck in one subject area, “but if someone calls me a nerd, I'd agree with them.”
His hobbies include reading, watching movies and he recently took up biking and plans to bike across Iowa this summer.
Education is a family value, said Knoff. His mother, Celeste, is graduating from St. Catherine University with her second master's degree, this one in nursing education.
“We've been joking about open houses,” he said, “but she doesn't want one.”
Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers opportunities to study abroad and it's strong in making internships available to students, he said.
After college, Knoff plans to join the Peace Corps or just backpack across Europe for a while before looking for his career job.