2013 Valedictorian Can Sing, Act, and Speak Chinese

Not every student can speak Chinese, lead an award-winning marching band, and captivate audiences with a wonderful singing voice and riveting acting skills all while  maintaining near-perfect grades.  But Michael Hardenberg can.

Talking to Mike is not like talking to an average high school kid. His poise, deference, and flawless grammar make Mike seem more like a fully grown and highly educated adult. Finding the time to speak with Michael isn’t easy, as he is either running to class or rehearsal.

As valedictorian of the class of 2013, he has a jam-packed course load keeping him very busy. It is no surprise that he is at the top of the class, with brains, his clever ideas, his great work ethic, and his perfectionism.  Even Mike’s handwriting is perfect.

But even with all he has to do, Mike always finds time to help his classmates.

“Without help from Mike, I definitely would not have done as well in Calc as I did last year,” says senior Jane Spardel.

Outside of academics, Michael is an active member of the VHS concert and marching bands. He was the drum major of the Marching Maroon and White and was a solo clarinet player in the concert band. His musical career also includes his wonderful singing voice. Whether it is singing in the school musical or the jazz band, Michael steals the audience members’ hearts, as he did when singing Landslide at the Verona Jazz and Beyond concert.

It seems that everyone knows Mike Hardenberg, so when I asked him for some “insider information” he was stumped for a few seconds.  Then he smiled and says, “Well I have acid reflux!” Not what I really expected to hear but the amused tone and goofy grin is indicative of Mike’s good-natured personality. He says his favorite acting part was in Pippin. Although he stole the show as usual, his part was not exactly “Michael-like” at all. The part was a challenge because the character was the complete opposite of Michael – mean and sly. Of course he met the challenge head-on and transformed into a malicious and scary persona on stage.

Michael is heading to Messiah College in the fall, where he will definitely be an active member of the college community. Taking part in the band and continuing to excel in everything he does, Michael undoubtedly represent Verona well.  In class and extra-curriculars, Michael will not be afraid to voice his opinion, make others laugh, and spread his kindness and curiosity to every person that he comes across.