Remington Grunewald will graduate from College of Western Idaho (CWI) on May 13, 2017. Grunewald, who began his college career as a dual credit student, discovered an unexpected interest after enrolling in a required communication course leading him to one of the best decisions he has ever made.
His parents, unimpressed with the public school system when Grunewald was in kindergarten, chose to begin educating him at home and continued to do so through high school.
“Prior to college, I had 20 days of public school experience,” he recalled. “Maybe I am a little biased, but I think [my parents] did a good job!”
At 17, Grunewald learned of an opportunity to gain college credits as a high school student at half the cost through CWI’s dual credit program. His parents anxiously encouraged him to get started, even offering to pay for his schooling.
“I just had to pay for books, keep my grades up, and do a good job,” he said, “they took care of the rest."
Within a year of enrolling in dual credit, he was taking a full load of classes on the CWI campus and pulling a 4.0 GPA. Grunewald was already halfway to earning an Associate’s degree by the time he turned 18.
Grunewald thinks highly of the instructors at CWI, but says he is particularly fond of instructors in the Communication Department, as it was in their classes he discovered his love for public speaking.
“I took THAT course, with THAT instructor,” he said.
THAT course was Jim Gatfield’s COMM 101 class where Grunewald says he gave his very first speech. He describes this experience as a defining moment where he discovered “unexpected areas of interest”. Grunewald continued exploring these interests in a Critical Thinking and Argumentation course where he first met Johnny Rowing. Rowing ended up extending an invitation to Grunewald that semester to join the Speech and Debate Team.
Joining the CWI Speech and Debate team was “single handedly the best academic decision I ever made,” he said. “It has been so much fun!”
Grunewald also took Rowing’s Business and Professional Speaking course where he says he became a “visual aid snob”, learned that “threes work”, and was taught basic presentation and delivery skills that can be cross applied to many different areas of life.
Grunewald recently put his communication knowledge to action competing in the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Tournament where CWI placed first among community colleges, making them five-time national speech and debate champions.
“The CWI speech and debate team has become like a second family to me. It has some of the most phenomenal, hard-working people I’ve ever met, and I’m proud to call them my teammates. Our success at nationals was well earned and I wouldn’t want to share the victory with any other group of people,” he said.
Grunewald will graduate from CWI with two degrees: an Associate of Arts degree in Communication and an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. Feeling very fortunate to be where he is at, he says his effort alone did not get him here. He accredits much of his success to good instructors, people willing to work with him, and the financial support of his family.
Beginning the pursuit of his bachelor’s degree this fall at Idaho State University (ISU), Grunewald says he plans to major in Communication, Media, and Persuasion, with emphasis on Business Leadership and Public Relations. He hopes to use his skills to become an effective advocate for social change, specifically in the interest of minorities. Grunewald is already on the ISU Debate Team, where he has been nominated as vice president, and has already secured an internship assisting ISU’s Director of Debate.
Although Grunewald is excited for the next chapter in his life, he admits he is sad to leave. “I am going to miss CWI!!”