Wadena-Deer Creek High School’s National Honor Society held its induction ceremony on April 7 in the Memorial Auditorium where 15 new members were welcomed to the chapter.

The new inductees included seniors Taliah Brown, Emma Hinton and Teagan Roberts; and juniors Jamie Barthel, Anna Church, Corra Endres, Grace Gallant, Lauryn Gravelle, Kaylin Lupkes, Anna Osberg, Madison Packer, Summer Pettit, Payton Rondestvedt, Zooey Rousslang and Codey Wolff.

New members joined returning senior members Emma Bushinger, Elliot Doyle, Sara Goetze, Tony Kreklau, Aiden Larson, Emma Mehl, Nevada Schulz, Kira Sweeney, Corbett Wensmann and Kade Woods.

The guest speaker for the evening was Jil Fiemeyer. Fiemeyer’s daughter Jane, who passed away from cancer in 2012 at the age of 8, would have been in this year's junior class.

A wooden chair sat next to the NHS table with Jane’s name in bright orange along with a monarch butterfly. The empty chair signifies Jane’s memory and a promise to never forget this brave, little girl.

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Fiemeyer recalled moments when Jane was fighting cancer in second and third grade with her faithful friends and classmates there to support her. She read from laminated circles that hung on a tree at Jane’s funeral from when junior students were in third grade. Some wrote how they remembered Jane for her smile; as being nice and a good friend; recalling how fun it was to play outside together; and how Jane had that “Jane smile.”

Fiemeyer said these were beautiful snapshots and descriptions of her daughter’s character that she still treasures to this day.

Jil Fiemeyer shares messages that students wrote about Jane, her daughter who passed away in 2012, during the NHS ceremony on April 7, 2021.
Dana Cantleberry/WDC Schools
Jil Fiemeyer shares messages that students wrote about Jane, her daughter who passed away in 2012, during the NHS ceremony on April 7, 2021. Dana Cantleberry/WDC Schools

She also shared her “secrets of life” that have helped her get through tough days such as:

  • “I’ve realized I’m not a tree! … I’m not planted in one spot. If I don’t like what’s happening or what’s going on, I can take action. I can do it differently. I can make a difference.”
  • “Remind yourself that today is the best day of your life. And tomorrow can be the best day, and the next day. There’s no cap on the number of best days you can have in your life. Even though Jane only lived 3,267 days, she made those days count.”

In her conclusion, Fiemeyer thanked NHS students for keeping Jane’s legacy alive and once again recognized their hard work as NHS members.

“You are beautiful, young adults celebrating a milestone, an elite milestone. One that each of you has worked very hard for and that celebrates your academic success, your leadership, your service to others and what I think is most important, your character,” Fiemeyer said.

NHS seniors received a special gold pin at the April 7, 2021 ceremony.
Dana Cantleberry/WDC Schools
NHS seniors received a special gold pin at the April 7, 2021 ceremony. Dana Cantleberry/WDC Schools

The National Honor Society Pledge was recited by new and current members, alumni, advisors and administration in attendance.

Principal Tyler Church gave the closing remarks including how having a “solid character” leads to success in life.

“Everyone of you have that (solid character). We all have good days and bad days, but everyone of you has strong character and that’s ultimately going to lead to success for you,” Church said.

In his 13th year as principal at Wadena-Deer Creek, Church said WDC continues to have incredible students in their hallways and classrooms.

“You have been through a ton over the last year. … We’ve asked you to do a lot and to give up a lot of things but yet you’ve done a fantastic job. You’ve developed resiliency. You understand how to deal with things that are not perfect, which we appreciate. That to me, is character. Congratulations to each and every one of you.”