Class of 2011: Wesselink follows in familiar footsteps
This is the first in a four-part series profiling graduating senior students at Worthington High School. The stories will be published on this page every two weeks.
WORTHINGTON -- Like most high school seniors, Matt Wesselink is anxiously counting down the final days of his high school experience. He's ready to don the cap and gown, grab his diploma and say goodbye to the hallowed halls of Worthington High School.
But the path that Matt has chosen for his future will have a familiar feel, and he won't stray too far from home. He's following in the footsteps of his parents, Mike and Tami Wesselink, and older sister by choosing to attend Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, just about an hour's drive to the south.
"My sister, Alyson, goes there, and both my parents went there," Matt explained. "It just felt very comfortable-like from past experiences."
It's not the first time Matt has trod where other family members have gone before. Born in Crookston, Matt was in the second or third grade when his family moved to Worthington -- where mom Tami grew up and graduated from high school.
His parents are both musically inclined, and he's been similarly active in both band and choir during his high school career.
"I play the baritone, and that's what my dad played," said Matt, who inherited his father's instrument.
Mom and dad are both golfers, and Matt is just beginning his final stint on the high school golf team.
"I like that it's a challenge against yourself," said Matt, a tall young man who also went out for basketball until his senior year. "You don't have to depend on your teammates as much."
Matt has been hitting the links since he was a small tyke, but those years of experience haven't given him complete confidence in his game.
"I'm OK," he said with a shrug of his shoulders. "It depends on the day."
On the musical end of his extracurricular activities, Matt not only sings with the choir and plays in the band, but also participates in several ensemble groups, including Trojan Express -- a mixed select group of singers -- and VOX, an all-male chorus.
"Pep band I really like," noted Matt about his instrumental endeavors, "and taking trips."
When it comes to academics, Matt feels more comfortable in classes that have a technical aspect -- math, science, engineering, woodworking. Again, that's not surprising, since dad Mike is a mathematics teacher at Worthington High School.
"I don't like writing a whole lot," Matt reflected on his likes and dislikes among the school's class offerings. "Probably English is my least favorite."
But no subject is a real struggle for Matt. A member of National Honor Society, he's currently on track to graduate No. 14 in his class, and he admits to not spending a lot of time cracking the books.
At Northwestern, Matt intends to major in mathematics, although he has no intention of pursuing a teaching profession as his dad did. He has his eye on a career in engineering -- either aerospace or civil.
"Northwestern doesn't have an engineering program, but I liked Northwestern, and I wanted to start there," he explained. "I'll probably transfer somewhere else to go into engineering. I'll wait until I get my generals done, then I'll see if I want to switch majors. I'm not completely set on engineering."
Ten years down the road, Matt can envision himself working as a civil engineer for a larger city or maybe for a larger company in the aerospace field.
"Ideally, not in a huge city," said Matt. "But based on what I want to do, that usually requires you to work in a big city."
His current job reality is working in the kitchen at the new Hy-Vee Food Store in Worthington. The opening of the new store has entailed putting in quite a few extra hours. In recent weeks, he's put in between 24 and 30 hours, although he usually doesn't work more than 20 a week.
"I've been working there for a year and nine months," noted Matt. "It's lots of helping customers, making stuff. ... It's work, but you get paid for it, so it's worth it."
What he gets paid goes to spending money and his future.
"I save some of it for college," he said. "I'm pretty good at saving my money."
This summer, when he's not working at Hy-Vee, Matt will likely be found either on the golf course or an area lake.
"I like to wake board, ski and tube," he said. "My grandpa and grandma have a lake house in Okoboji, and I'll basically get down there as much as I can."
And then, in the fall, he will make the short trip to Orange City to start his collegiate life. Matt anticipates that he'll miss the good friends he made at WHS, but there's another aspect of his high school career that he'll be glad to leave behind.
"Waking up at 8 every morning -- that I'm not going to miss," he said.