Valedictorian Scholars

​​​​​​​​In 2016 DMACC launched the DMACC High School Valedictorian Scholarship. It’s DMACC’s most prestigious academic scholarship that pays 100% of tuition costs for two years, plus a $500-per-year stipend for books and supplies. The total value of this scholarship over two years at DMACC is nearly $10,000. Recipients are automatically enrolled in the DMACC Honors Program.

Seven DMACC High School Valedictorian Scholarship recipients enrolled in DMACC for the fall of 2016. Here’s more on six of those recipients:​

Aubrey Schmitt

Aubrey Schmitt

In April of 2016, Aubrey Schmitt of West Burlington High School, was named DMACC’s first Valedictorian Scholar. She attends the Boone Campus and is a member of the Bears volleyball team.

“I looked at many colleges and universities, but as soon as I met the people and walked around campus I realized that I like it here. This was my choice and I’m honored to receive this award,” said Schmitt.

Besides being a top academic student, Schmitt also played volleyball and ran cross country at West Burlington High School.

“Aubrey is a wonderful student and the perfect role model for this prestigious scholarship program,” says DMACC Honors Program Director Dr. Sarah Waddle. “She could have continued her education anywhere, but chose DMACC. Aubrey exemplifies the many outstanding qualities of the new Valedictorian Scholarship program. We’re looking forward to her arrival this fall.”

Schmitt’s plans after DMACC are to transfer to the University of Iowa where she will pursue a marketing and management degree.


Deann Irlmeier

Deann Irlmeier

Deann Irlmeier was ranked #1 in her graduating class and named class valedictorian.

“I chose DMACC because it offers great facilities and opportunities at an affordable cost,” said Irlmeier. “I was honored to receive the Valedictorian Scholarship and grateful for the opportunity to receive a great education at virtually no cost.”

Irlmeier's accolades include National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America (FFA) Iowa Degree, the Silver Cord Program, World Food Prize Scholar, 4-H President, Spartan Leo Club President and Iowa Governor's Scholar. She was also involved in Talented and Gifted, Winter and Color Guard, Track and Field, Volleyball, Cross Country and Clover Commissions.

Irlmeier said she is looking forward to the challenge, networking opportunities and mentorship the DMACC Honors Program will provide and the distinction it will add when she transfers to a four- year school. She is undecided on her major.

Hannah Larsen

Hannah Larsen

Hannah Larsen graduated first in her class and was named class valedictorian at Tri-Center High School. Tri-Center High School is located 25 miles northeast of Omaha and serves Neola, Minden, Persia, Beebeetown and surrounding areas.

Larsen will attend the DMACC Ankeny Campus. She hopes to become an Elementary School teacher.

“I am looking forward to learning from DMACC professors and connecting with other students,” said Larsen. “I am also excited about the Honors Program and being surrounded by others who want to go above and beyond in academics and areas outside the classroom, such as volunteer work.”

Larsen’s honors include the American Citizen Award, Daughters of the American Revolution Award, Bernie Saggau Award, E. Wayne Cooley Award, President’s Volunteer Service Award, Doctor’s Lee and Welbourne Award, and U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar Athlete Award. She earned 1st team All-State and 1st team All-Conference honors in soccer and 1st team All-Conference in basketball.

During high school Larsen was involved in National Honor Society, Student Council and Battle of the Books. She volunteered at the Phoenix Theater, helped organize four American Red Cross blood drives, served as a board member at Minden Church of Christ and as a Vacation Bible School group leader.

Caitlin Mander

Caitlin Mander

Caitlin Mander is a Gilbert High School graduate. She earned academic letters all four years of high school. Mander raised $400 for the American Brain Tumor Association her sophomore year and was active in several art projects throughout high school.

She plans to study Visual Communication at DMACC. She took the DMACC Visual Communications Career Advantage course her junior year of high school and really enjoyed the class. “I want to pursue a career in photography or graphic design,” said Mander. “I would like to become a concert photographer, taking pictures of bands during performances.”

Kristy Ihle

Kristy Ihle

Kristy Ihle is a Gilbert High School graduate. Ihle plans to enter the DMACC Nursing Program. She would like to be either a labor and delivery nurse or work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“My biggest motivation is my daughter. She was born the beginning of my junior year,” said Ihle. ”I work hard every day so that I can give her everything she deserves.”

Ihle has earned an academic letter each year of high school. She received varsity letters for her work as a manager for the football and wrestling teams. Ihle has also been involved in Future Farmers of America (FFA).

Two of Ihle's older sisters are DMACC graduates.