April 30, 2024

Graduate profile: Kathryn Wenske

Kathryn Wenske

With Commencement this week, Schoolcraft College is showcasing the stories of several students walking during the upcoming ceremony. The next student is Kathryn Wenske, who is graduating with an Associate in Science Degree.

This week’s Commencement Ceremony at Schoolcraft College is going to look very different for Kathryn Wenske than it did for her high school graduation.

A student who was homeschooled her whole life, Wenske donned a cap and gown and walked across her Dearborn Heights home’s driveway when she graduated. It was a vision, she said, inspired by her mother.

She and her brother graduated at the same time, and her mother knew it had to be special.

“We rented out a giant tent, made a makeshift stage and podium, had all of our friends and family in the garage and my sister was ‘the speaker,’ who was balling her eyes out for no reason,” Wenske said. “My younger brother and I were the graduates. It’s literally just the two of us, on a stage, next to my sister in the middle of the driveway.”

group in regalia

This time around, it will have a completely different feel for Wenske: there will be plenty more people in attendance, except one very meaningful one: Wenske’s mother, who died last year.

The motivation of what her mother, a Schoolcraft College alumna, would want for her helped Wenske push through difficult times while in school. Saturday, she’ll walk across the stage at the TrinityElite Sports Center and be recognized for receiving an Associate of Science.

“She would want to be in the front row. I think she would absolutely be proud of how I’ve spent my time at Schoolcraft and my mother is who’s kept me going,” Wenske said. “There was no way I was going to give up.”

Wenske has long been a face well associated with Schoolcraft College. From her time as Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Schoolcraft Connection, to serving as a Student Ambassador to being a member of Phi Theta Kappa and working as a tutor at the Learning Center, Wenske might be one of the most recognizable student faces on campus.

There’s a reason for that: going from a homeschool environment to a larger community college, Wenske said she was always trying to find her place. Schoolcraft College gave her that sense of belonging.

It’s something she discussed in her transfer essay when she applied at the University of Michigan: when asked about a community she is part of, she said Schoolcraft College.  

“I feel like I can actively contribute. And I think that is a beautiful thing,” she said. “It’s very easy to get to know everyone on this campus.”

Wenske plans to double major in mathematics and the Philosophy, Politics and Economics program. While she has been incredibly active at Schoolcraft, Wenske said she plans to take a step back and focus more on her studies.

“I’m getting all my campus involvement out of my system so when I go to U-M, I can just be a student,” she said. “I told myself I’m only going to do the honors society. I really want to be a student.”

Once she completes her bachelor’s degree, she hopes to continue and earn a law degree.

When it comes time to walk on Saturday, Wenske said she’ll have plenty to think about, but her mom will be the first thing on her mind. She plans on decorating her cap as a tribute to her, a celebration of everything her mom did.

“She always wanted us to pursue what interested us,” Wenske said. “Even if she was suffering in pain, she never tried to display it, because she never wanted us to stop what we were doing for her.

“I think she’d be very, very proud and excited for me.”

Schoolcraft College’s 59th Annual Commencement Ceremony takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4, in the TrinityElite Sports Center on the Livonia campus. Those who cannot attend in-person are invited to watch the livestream of the Ceremony on the event web page.

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