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Joseph Burke

Joseph Burke KWWL Best of Class Honoree

INDEPENDENCE – Joseph Burke, a senior at Independence High School, has been named a member of Waterloo TV station KWWL’s Best of the Class for 2020.

He is the son of Michelle and Bob Burke of Independence.

Best of the Class is a joint public service/community relations effort by KWWL and the University of Northern Iowa that encourages academic excellence among high school students by honoring those who serve as role models in their communities. This is the 36th year of the program, which has honored more than 500 outstanding high school graduates since 1985.

The public service announcements honoring Joe and “the rest of the best” was to take place at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Saturday, April 25, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the segments will likely be taped at a later date.

“There is no prize associated with this award other than recognition, as far as I know,” Joe said. “Each school submits either their valedictorian or [another] top graduating senior to KWWL for the award. I was called into the principal’s office and informed.”

In addition to his parents, Joe’s family includes his sister, Jessica, who attends college outside of the state of Iowa.

When asked about his hobbies and interests, Joe said, “I enjoy playing tennis and playing games on my computer.”

As for his future, “I plan to go to Iowa State University after high school for undeclared engineering, but I am leaning toward computer engineering. Beyond that, I hope to end up in a good job in whatever field I choose that I enjoy,” he said.

And how is Joe handling the break from his much-anticipated senior year due to COVID-19?

“With a lot of boredom. At first, I was angry and saddened to have so many important moments in my life up in the air, and while I’m not thrilled about it now I understand the need. My graduation, prom, and the final months I’ll see many of my friends for a long time may be gone, but hopefully, just delayed,” Joe said.

“With all this being said, these sentiments are very much shared with my fellow classmates who are just as displeased with this situation. The only ones who I think went into this break happily are underclassmen who aren’t missing out on much. Moving away from how I feel, most days I spend on my computer talking to my friends and playing games with them,” Joe concluded.