Kyle Mohrmann recently left the Competitive Robotics Enhancing and Advancing Technology Education (CREATE) U.S. Open Robotics Championship in Council Bluffs, Iowa, under the impression that he finished in second place.
It was a solid finish and a great end to the year, but disappointing, nonetheless.
“When we left the competition, they told us that we had finished second because they had scored it in one way that we didn’t feel was right,” Mohrmann said. “But, we accepted it and left.”
Weeks later, the news was delivered to him in front of the entire student body: The competition had been rescored.
He was a world champion.
“They kept it a secret from me for three weeks,” Mohrmann said. “We had a big get-together, and I didn’t know what was going on. It was a huge surprise, and probably my favorite moment of high school.”
Mohrmann, along with 83 of his fellow classmates at Lakeview High, graduated Sunday inside of the school’s gymnasium. This year’s seniors were distinguished both academically and athletically, something that school Principal Steve Borer emphasized.
“The class of 2019 is a real good class,” Borer said. “They’ve achieved well academically, they’ve achieved well in their extracurriculars, they’ve achieved at a high level and they’ve really served as leaders for our high school.”
Among the many achievements included a third straight Class B state runner-up finish for the speech team, a Class B state tournament appearance for the girls basketball team (the first in 28 years), eight state competitors for the wrestling team, a Class C-1 state championship for the dance team and Mohrmann’s world triumph in robotics.
“They’ve excelled in a lot of different areas,” said Aaron Plas, superintendent of Lakeview Community Schools. “Sports, activities - you name it, they’ve really pushed our district forward. They’re going to be a class we’re really going to miss. We know that they’ve put a solid foundation for the coming classes to continue to build upon.”
Plas noted that a relatively high percentage of the seniors (seven in total) scored at least a 30 on the ACT. With all of these accomplishments, Plas couldn’t help but be enormously proud of the class’ effort.
“You name it, pretty much every area of education and extracurriculars, they’ve excelled in,” Plas said.
It was an emotional day for most involved. Mohrmann - the class' president - had the important duty of delivering the class speech. He said he prepared for two months, wanting to deliver a meaningful speech that his fellow seniors would remember. He emphasized the accomplishments of his classmates while encouraging them to stay close after high school ends.
“Wherever the next few years take us, I am sure that all of our futures are bright,” Mohrmann said to his peers. “We are the future of the world, and I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things that we will accomplish. I look forward to hearing about all of your achievements in the years to come.”
Borer's daughter, Grace, was among the graduates. As a proud father, he said he was ready to celebrate what she and the other seniors achieved.
“It’s a special day,” Borer said. “It’s a day to celebrate success. It’s a milestone for all these kids, they’ve reached an achievement, they’re receiving a diploma and that’s important. Any milestone in life, when you reach a point like that, you have to celebrate it and recognize it. It’s important for our families and it’s important for our community as well."
Future classes will be hard-pressed to live up to the expectations laid out by the graduating class of 2019. Mohrmann advised underclassmen to continue working hard during the coming years, even if they don’t achieve a world title or make a state tournament appearance.
“You just have to keep trying,” Mohrmann said. “It gets rough sometimes, but if you just keep putting in the effort, you’ll get through it and you’ll get to where you want to be someday.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for the Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org