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Cedarholm nabs WHS salutatorian honors

Call it a happy accident - a very happy one.

Woodbury High School senior Cassie Cedarholm happened to work really hard in school. It paid off when she was named the class of 2011's salutatorian after compiling a 4.29 GPA.

"(I) never really was trying to be salutatorian," Cedarholm said. "This was just sort of a little nice bonus."

She'll take that impressive academic pedigree with her this fall when she begins classes at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Cedarholm plans to study biomedical engineering at Cornell. She expects the major to be a natural fit with her academic interests.

"Science and math is just one of those things that clicks," Cedarholm said.

Cedarholm said she settled on the major this year after taking advanced placement-level courses in biology and calculus. Both influenced the decision, she said.

Cedarholm shares top academic honors with valedictorian Prithwis Mukhopadhyay. WHS Principal Linda Plante called them "a really interesting pair."

"They're both very high-powered, smart students," she said.

Plante said Cedarholm, a competitive swimmer, "is the epitome" of the school's pursuit of well-rounded students.

"She's a really bright, smooth student that you know is going to excel," she said.

She said her parents stressed at a young age the importance of hard work and being involved in school - and the community.

"My parents got me a little ahead of the curve," she said.

Cedarholm's involvement includes serving as a volunteer through Girl Scouts; she is also a member of National Honor Society and Key Club.

As for the salutatorian recognition, Cedarholm said she considered honored and surprised.

"I didn't realize it was coming," she said, adding that the spotlight should be shared with other top-level students. "It should be more than one spot to be recognized for this. There are so many other kids that are amazingly smart."

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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