Students of the month: Kaitlin Guyer and Maci Welter

Kaitlin Guyer and Maci Welter, both MHS juniors, were named Students of the Month for February. The girls co-organized the mini dance marathon, held on Feb. 21 at MHS. They raised almost $3,000 for the Iowa City children’s hospital. (Photo submitted)
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.

MHS juniors Kaitlin Guyer and Maci Welter were both nominated for Students of the Month due to their hard work and dedication in planning and carrying out the mini dance marathon that took place on Feb. 21. The event raised almost $3,000 for the Iowa City children’s hospital.

The girls were nominated by associate Sarah Domer-Sleep because of their hard work that made the dance marathon a success.

“They went above and beyond in gathering sponsors and securing donations, as well as coming in on their time off to help plan (the dance marathon),” stated Domer-Sleep. “They are excellent leaders for our school and for the our community.”

The girls found out about the honor after Guyer’s mom texted them both to congratulate them.

“I didn’t know what she was talking about,” said Guyer of the surprise.

Welter said it feels so good to be honored for planning such a worthy event; however, they said they didn’t plan the dance marathon hoping to get recognized.

“We put so much work and time and it’s nice people noticed,” added Guyer.

This is the third year MHS has hosted a mini dance marathon. Before now, the event was planned by now-MHS graduate Jaelynn Kraus. Guyer and Welter took lessons from Kraus in how to successfully carry out the event. Now, they plan to work with a couple of freshmen or sophomores and show them what’s involved in planning the event.

“We can coach them like Jaelynn coached us,” Guyer said.

Welter said it’s important to keep the event going, even when they graduate.

“I’m scared it’ll disappear when we’re gone,” she said.

The dance marathon is carried out by members of the MHS Interact Club. Both Guyer and Welter have been involved in the club since they were freshmen.

It was actually Guyer’s mom, Shannon, who started the Interact Club. It serves as a community service group inside the high school. The club can be seen putting notes on every student’s locker with positive messages written on them. They also donate toward the Giving Tree every Christmas.

Raising money for the Iowa City children’s hospital is something near and dear to Guyer’s heart. Her sister, Sara, has sought treatment at the children’s hospital over the years. In addition, the girls’ classmates and peers have connections to Iowa City as well, namely Amelia Anderson and Madison Butterworth and Allie Riches.

“That’s the really great aspect of it,” Welter said.

“It’s a really good cause,” added Guyer.

Several people spoke during the marathon about their experiences with the children’s hospital. The girls said they have a running list of speakers from which to choose from; some are more comfortable sharing their story than others.

The girls spent a lot of time and energy trying to raise money for the dance marathon. They designed t-shirts and sold them during school.

“Designing the shirt was the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Guyer. “I enjoyed it.” She wanted to go with a retro theme for the design.

They visited businesses in person and sent letters to others, seeking sponsorship donations.

“That was the hardest part of the entire thing,” Guyer said of making contacts with local businesses.

Welter said she likes to keep track of how many businesses donate and how much they donate so that the organizers year after year have a record of it.

Before any of the legwork can happen, they have to pick a date for the event, working with school officials. They also have to reach out to UNI, which sends its own dance marathon students to MHS to assist throughout the night. All of the behind-the-scenes work starts in November.

The girls learned a lot through this experience, namely that not everything will go as planned, and to start the process early.

“I learned about time management,” Guyer shared. She said some students started showing up before everything was set up and ready to go. So they had to offer activities for the kids to do.

Welter said meeting with businesses and asking for donations provided her with self-confidence.

“It’s not the easiest thing,” she admitted. “And my leadership skills grew a lot, too.”

Both Guyer and Welter spend a lot of time together inside and outside of school. They enjoy high school because they’re able to get involved more in school, exploring their interests.

They both admitted to not being huge fans of math class. Guyer enjoys science, and wants to pursue a future in nursing one day. Welter likes history and learning facts.

Both girls also stay busy with extra curricular activities. Welter is involved in choir, drama, speech, cheerleading, and soccer. Guyer, choir, drama, speech, dance team, and student council.

While they have another year of high school until graduation, Guyer is considering going to Mount Mercy or St. Ambrose. Welter, the University of Iowa. And, no matter which school they choose, they plan to carry on the dance marathon tradition.

Welter is the daughter of Ron and Lori Welter. Guyer is the daughter of Tim and Shannon Guyer.


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