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2013 Graduates: Steele, Kiekhoefer and Burzynski are New LIfe Academy's top 3

New Life Academy's Matty Steele (left), Kolin Kiekhoefer and Michele Burzynski. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner

When parents and friends gather in the New Life Academy gymnasium on June 2, they will honor 45 graduating seniors, including the top three students.

Though the school keeps student data on class rankings, the information is not released to students, parents or colleges.

Modest about the honor, Matty Steele, Michele Burzynski and Kolin Kiekhoefer, all of Woodbury, are happy to be the top three graduates.

Kiekhoefer and Burzynski have spent all their school years at New Life and Steele has been a student there for all of her high school years.

Steele plans to attend Baylor University in Texas. As an undergraduate, she will study biology and plans to attend Baylor's School of Dentistry.

Steele said she felt a "calling" to become a dentist and plans on working in the mission field.

"I love my math teacher who made it easy for me," Steele said.

Steele also liked studying history and the time she spent in Bible class.

The three said it was important to them and their families to attend a Christian school.

Teachers urge you to go deeper into your faith, Steele said.

Though she hasn't had much spare time during high school while also playing varsity basketball and volleyball, Steele runs a nonprofit organization and belongs to a local church.

"I love to read, though," she said.

Kiekhoefer has been admitted to Bethel College and plans to major in finance and accounting. "I'm a numbers guy," he said

Being in a faith atmosphere is important to Kiekhoefer.

"It's a great atmosphere," he said, "otherwise I wouldn't have chosen to be here."

Burzynski plans to attend Loyola University in Chicago where she will study English as an undergraduate because English and Spanish are her favorite subjects. Beyond that, she'd like to enter law school.

Having lived in a suburb all of her life, she's always wanted to live in a city.

"I love the busyness of city living," she said. "I wanted to go to college in New York but my family said that would be too far from home."

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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