Student of the month: Jaelynn Kraus


The January Student of the Month is Jaelynn Kraus. She was nominated for her dedication in planning the mini dance marathon to benefit the UHIC Children’s Hospital. Kraus is also involved in several extra curricular activities, including softball. (Express file photo)
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Each month, Monticello High School nominates a student who exhibits positive behavior, as part of an initiative called PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports). The students support the school’s characteristics of Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Safety, and Integrity.

     It’s safe to say MHS junior Jaelynn Kraus loves lending a hand wherever needed. Her dedication toward planning and securing donations for the high school’s mini dance marathon to raise money for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital is why she was nominated for Student of the Month.

     Kraus said she found out she was nominated by a teacher associate. She was nominated Associate Sarah Sleep.

     “This is special because I have put in a lot of work and hours,” said Kraus.

     The MHS Interact Club, of which Kraus has been a member since she was a freshman, took on hosting the mini dance marathon. It’s set for Saturday, Feb. 24 at the high school. Kraus has been feverishly trying to secure sponsors and donations since before the holiday break.

     “I started going to businesses in the beginning of December, and I was still visiting businesses in early January,” she said.

     There are three sponsorship levels in which businesses can help sponsor the dance marathon, and Kraus was happy to say more businesses than not have been giving at the $100 level versus the $50 or $25 levels.

     “I’ve always wanted to do a dance marathon,” admitted Kraus. “But I would always suggest it and it never went anywhere. No one seemed like they wanted to help before.” With the Interact Club leading the charge, they have several students involved along with Special Education teacher Chelsea Sandin.

     “It’s been pretty stressful,” Kraus said of going door-to-door to ask businesses whether they’d like to sponsor or not.

     “I went to 200 businesses by myself,” she said. “I didn’t even know we had 200 businesses here. But I told them what the dance marathon was all about and they wanted to be involved and sent in their money.”

     Kraus said Interact is working with college students from the University of Northern Iowa, who also take part in raising money for the Children’s Hospital.

     The Monticello students are selling t-shirts with the business sponsors listed on back. The $15 shirt is the “ticket” into the dance.

     “We’re hoping for 60 kids,” urged Kraus.

     The deadline is fast approaching, Kraus said, for those businesses who still wish to help sponsor the mini dance marathon. You can contact Chelsea Sandin at MHS by Friday, Feb. 2.

     Kraus said their goal was $1,000 and they’ve certainly exceeded that.

     “We’ve brought in over $2,000,” said Kraus.

     Some of the sponsorship money is going toward the purchase of the t-shirts, as well as the food for the dance.

     The event runs from 7-11 p.m. at the high school. Kraus said she hopes to open it up to the middle school students next year if it’s a success this year.

     The proceeds this year go toward the purchase of another air ambulance helicopter for UIHC.

     Kraus said she joined the Interact Club after her two older sisters got involved. She said the club works with the special education students and those with disabilities, focusing on acceptance.

     “I just wanted to help out,” Kraus said. “That’s why I took over the dance marathon.”

     She said walking through the hallways and seeing different students and classmates is the best part of her day at school.

     “We all know each other,” Kraus said.

     She’s heavily involved in school with softball, track, cheerleading, volleyball, choir, speech, drama, and FFA. She also volunteers her time to Family Chiropractic in Monticello, helping to transfer patient files into the computer system for Dr. Emily Recker. In fact, Kraus she after high school she wants to pursue a career as a chiropractor.

     In her free time, which might be rare, she likes to ride her horses and hang out with friends.

     Kraus is the daughter of Don and Nikki Kraus of Prairieburg.

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