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Silent leader strives for big goals

Plum City High School student Heather Von Holtum, one of 18 students graduating at a ceremony May 25, said her senior year has been fast but fun. (Republican Eagle photo by Rebecca Rudolph)

PLUM CITY -- Some leaders hold megaphones or stand atop soapboxes, but for one Plum City High School senior silence is golden.

Heather Von Holtum, who will walk in the Plum City High School graduation ceremony this weekend, has been called a silent leader by teachers and coaches.

"Her results speak for themselves, in the classroom and on the track," said Josh Bentley, a math teacher and one of Von Holtum's track and field coaches. "The underclassmen look up to her, as well as some of her peers."

Von Holtum is enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for the fall, where she plans to pursue a pre-chiropractic degree.

"That's my dream," she said, "to do team chiropractics."

Von Holtum said if her dream comes true, she may not be able to live in Plum City because of the lack of professional sports teams in the area.

Although her goals will lead her away from the small-town lifestyle, Von Holtum said she is thankful to have gone to school in Plum City.

"I'm really happy I came here to this school because it's amazing," she said.

She said she especially enjoyed the opportunities that only a small school could provide.

"I can go in (to visit teachers) whenever I want. They know you. I mean, there are only 18 of us," she said with a laugh.

It may be small, but Plum City High School provides students with a wide array of extracurricular activities. During her senior year, she was a member of volleyball, basketball, track, FFA, student council, National Honor Society, band and choir.

"If she didn't have things to do, she'd be looking for things," volleyball coach Nanette Murray said.

"We need kids like Heather to be involved in a lot of different things," Principal Paul Churchill said. "A lot of our coaches, teachers and advisers compete for those good kids and we need those good kids to be in all the programs otherwise we wouldn't have programs."

Von Holtum said it was important for her to develop a strategy to help manage all of her activities.

"You just have to be very organized and work hard at things," she said. "As sports get harder and things get more involved, it's definitely harder to keep up. I just tried to stay busy with it."

According to teachers and coaches, the strategy paid off.

"She's very determined," Murray said. "(She) wants to achieve high goals and she has high standards, both in the classroom and on the playing field."

"You can tell some days she's not feeling the best, and she's not 100 percent, but she gives 100 percent and that's what you hope for," said Bentley, adding that Von Holtum inspired other students to follow her example.

"She was the leader and the go-to person that a lot of people went to," Murray said. "She's going to have a very bright future."

Class of 2013

What: Plum City High School graduation

Who: 18 students

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday May 25

Where: High school gymnasium

More info: 715-647-2591