Math adds up to success for Fenwick valedictorian
Fenwick High School Valedictorian Robert Klingenberger
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:46PM
Robert Klingenberger knew he was among the top five students in his graduating class at Fenwick High School, but he didn’t learn he was valedictorian until the graduation ceremony on May 25.
“It’s a tradition there to keep that a secret and wait until the very last moment to name the winner,” said Klingenberger of Hinsdale. “They really know how to build the suspense.”
The soon-to-be freshman at Dartmouth College said he was thrilled when he heard Fenwick Principal Peter Groom announce his name at the ceremony, especially because his twin brother Charlie (also a Fenwick grad, headed to Washington and Lee University) was by his side and his mother, Mary, at Fenwick trustee, was on stage.
Robert Klingenberger maintained a straight-A average during his years at the private Catholic school, with a grade point average of 4.7, after factoring in additional points for honors classes.
Math and science have long been Klingenberger’s academic passions, and he intends to continue studying math at Dartmouth, with a double major in economics and finance.
That’s not terribly surprising, considering the emphasis he placed on competitive extra-curricular activities involving mathematics.
Klingenberger was on the school math team (coached by one of his Fenwick mentors, longtime math department head Roger Finnell) all four years at the school, and the team earned second-place honors in the state each year.
He also competed on the school’s Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering team (coached by another mentor, chemistry professor Ramzi Farran), applying mathematics to solve engineering problems. The team won various sectional and regional honors and finished second in the state during his junior year.
Klingenberger also was a member of Fenwick’s JETS team (also coached by Farran), competing in engineering with other schools nationwide. During his junior year, Fenwick’s JETS team ranked second in the nation and first in Illinois, among all schools public and private. The team also finished second in the state this year.
In his abundant spare time, Klingenberger competed with Fenwick’s Scholastic Bowl and golf teams.
Klingenberger credits economics teacher Peter Gallo with influencing him to study finance at Dartmouth.
“It’s been a great four years,” he said. “I’ve loved being at Fenwick. It offers such a great academic experience: You really get to know your classmates well and the teachers are fantastic, not just in the classroom, but as people. They really care about their students.
“I’m going to miss it, but I’m grateful for my time there. I think it’s prepared me well for college and the future.”