Wayland Academy Announces 2023 Valedictorian And Salutatorians

(Beaver Dam) Wayland Academy has announced its class of 2023 valedictorian and salutatorians. Lam “Albert” Ho of Can Tho, Viet Nam earned the top spot for his senior class. John “Jeb” Blossom IV of Fish Creek and Alanna Schuett of Beaver Dam were named co-salutatorians. All three are boarding students at the coed college preparatory school in Beaver Dam.

Wayland Academy’s valedictorian and salutatorian honors are awarded to the seniors who not only exhibit high academic achievement, but who also fulfill the school’s motto: Knowledge and Character.

Wayland also elected four junior marshals from the junior class to lead the school’s faculty and seniors to commencement. They are selected using the same high standards used to evaluate the senior class. Representing the Class of 2024 are Elana Agnew of Fall River, WI; Lucia “Lu” McGuiness of Alajuela, Costa Rica; Ethyn Tallman of Holcombe, WI; and Javan Hirwa of London, United Kingdom.

Here’s more information about the valedictorian and salutatorians:

“Being a boarding and day school invites a unique opportunity when it comes to choosing our valedictorian and salutatorians,” said Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Innovation Seth Ahlborn. “It allows us to go deeper than academics; we get to look at their involvement in the community, their role on campus, and their overall demeanor. This is an honor that truly speaks to the well-roundedness of the individual.”

Albert, in addition demonstrating academic excellence (his favorite classes being calculus and physics), is an executive officer of student council, a Model United Nations (Model UN) executive, and a Prefect—the highest student leadership position on campus.

“Albert has been my mentee for four years and has been a strong and dedicated student from the time he arrived at Wayland,” said Amy Throndsen H`14, instrumental music teacher at Wayland. “He shows a lot of interest not only in the core subjects, but in music as well.”

He’s is a percussionist in Wayland’s concert and pep bands, an accomplished pianist, and last year when he wrote his first piece of music, he ended up winning second place in a statewide music composition competition.

Albert has had roles in several Wayland theatrical productions, and for his capstone project he learned how to design and built sets for the theatre department—including the upcoming spring production of Museum, on April 20-21.

He says that Wayland, specifically the fine arts department, has given him space to take risks and push himself.

“Having the opportunity to try out many of these new activities (even being encouraged and welcomed to do them) at Wayland allowed me to explore new horizons and grow in different ways,” Albert said. “From all of these wonderful little experiences, I realized that I am more capable than I think when I put the effort into it.”

Albert ran cross country in the fall, tried powerlifting this past winter season, and is looking forward to running the 100-metre dash this spring during his final track season.

But he says he’s a tennis player at heart. As president of the Ping Pong Club, Albert has been known to bring together fellow students for heated weekend tournaments in the student union.

“Albert is always helpful and friendly to the new students, as well as the rest of the student body,” said Throndson, who’s also Albert’s faculty mentor. (All Wayland students are paired with a staff member who shares similar interests to support them while living away from family.)

“Albert exemplifies what a Wayland Valedictorian should be: academically excellent, a leader, and an advocate for the Academy. I have been proud to see him mature into a fine young man while he has been at Wayland.”

Albert is the son of Chuong Ho and Tam Nguyen of Can Tho, Viet Nam. After commencement, he plans to attend the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada to pursue a bachelor’s in computer science and statistics, along with a Master of Management. In the future, he hopes to enter the data science industry before transitioning into the aerospace (astronautical) industry.

His classmates, co-salutatorians Jeb and Alanna, have been accepted to several colleges, but haven’t yet made their final decision. Jeb plans to double major in political science and economics, while Alanna is headed for the sciences, majoring in biology. Although their next step is still undecided, both agree that Wayland has prepared them well for what’s next.

Alanna is the daughter of Melissa and Timothy Schuett of Beaver Dam. She attended Wayland as a day student for her first three years, and chose to move on campus for her senior year to be closer to friends. In August, she was one of 40 junior and senior girls to be the first to move into Wayland’s brand-new dormitory for girls.

“In Burnham Hall, there’s always someone in the lounge area, or you can just pop into someone’s room,” she said. “Everyone here has something unique to offer and there is always someone willing to help you with homework, be a listening ear, or make you laugh.”

Alanna is an art and choir student and played the role of Sir Robin in the fall musical, Spamalot. She’s also an Admissions Ambassador for Wayland.

An outstanding Big Red athlete, Alanna is a member of Wayland’s Athletic Leadership Council. Over the years she’s played volleyball, golf, basketball, and run track. This year she joined Wayland’s powerlifting team. Outside of Wayland, she’s taken 13 years of gymnastics.

Jeb is the official sports announcer for Wayland and has participated in Model UN all four years at Wayland. He managed the girls basketball team for two years, and this winter he decided to try out powerlifting. After a successful first season in 2022, Jeb will be returning to Wayland’s lacrosse team as its captain this spring.

Jeb is the son of Jaime Blossom and the late John Blossom III of Fish Creek, Wis. He says that living three hours from home gave him the opportunity to discover his own talents, passions, and confidence—with the peace of mind that family was a short car ride away.

“Wayland has made me independent in a way that I would have never achieved anywhere else,” Jeb said. “Living on campus, away from home for four years, allowed me to develop my own habits and learn more about myself, and how I react to changes in environment. I feel a lot more prepared for college than some of my friends in public school do.”

Jeb, Alanna, Albert, and the rest of the Class of 2023 will be honored on Sunday, May 21 at Wayland’s commencement ceremony, held on campus in Lindsay Auditorium.