Students of the month: Payton Jaeger and Carly Hayen


Co-Student of the Month, Payton Jaeger (far left), appeared in MHS’ “Into the Woods” production in November 2019. Jaeger enjoyed the many extra curricular activities she was involved in during high school. She was nominated for her hard work and dedication. (Express file photo)

Carly Hayen, a recent MHS graduate, was named co-Student of the Month for May. Hayen was nominated for her positive leadership. Throughout high school, Hayen enjoyed playing basketball. (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.

     Two MHS Class of 2020 graduates, Payton Jaeger and Carly Hayen, were both nominated as the May students of the month for maintaining positive attitudes while learning from home. The girls were nominated by Tanya Manternach, the high school science teacher.

     According to Manternach, she nominated them for “demonstrating a positive attitude towards any learning task set in front of them and doing their best work. They show caring towards teachers, peers, and learning. They collaborate with others and have strong leadership skills. They even help troubleshoot when tasks don’t go according to plan.”

     Jaeger said she found out about the nomination on May 19, virtual MHS Honors Night. When her name appeared on the screen with her list of honors and accomplishments, it also listed her as co-Student of the Month.

     “I realized I had never been Student of the Month,” she said of the first-time recognition. “I connected the dots and figured it must be for this month.”

     Jaeger admitted she didn’t know who nominated her or why…

     “I feel honored that someone thought my actions were outstanding enough to be recognized,” she said.

     Jaeger said it was difficult to stay positive with school out early for the year and a premature end to her senior year. “Once I found my rhythm, I learned how I have to work from home to be able to be productive. I learned that when I stayed positive about the whole situation, it not only makes life a little easier for me, but also for the people around me, too.”

     In terms of her caring side, Jaeger helps her younger sisters with their schoolwork at home when needed.

     In the aspect of leadership, Jaeger is captain of speech, track, and student body president.

     “I feel that being in those positions, I get the opportunity to change things for the better, and make things more efficient and enjoyable for everyone involved,” she said. “In all three of those activities, we worked on improving what we already had, trying to become an even better team/council. And I had the honor to lead the charge!”

     Jaeger said being a strong leader means including everyone on the team. “That was something I really worked toward each event or meeting.”

     Finishing her senior year at home, Jaeger said she misses the daily routine of going to school and attending classes every day. In addition, she misses “the little things like talking with my friends just before class and getting nervous that I’m going to have to solve a problem on the board.

     “It’s surprising because I didn’t think I would miss those things.”

     During school, Jaeger was involved in speech, drama, track, Forte, student council, and National Honor Society.

     Right now, she is working full-time at River Bend Retirement Community in Cascade, saving money before she heads off to college at the University of Iowa.

     “I am going to be a part of the honors program at UI,” shared Jaeger, who plans to major in biology.

     Jeager is the daughter of Brian and Jen Jaeger of Monticello.

     Hayen found out about being co-Student of the Month through the MCSD’s Facebook page. It wasn’t until she saw the ad inside the Monticello Express that she knew Mrs. Manternach nominated her.

     “This means that I know I was appreciated for the hard work that I put in and I was always caring toward my peers and (school) staff,” shared Hayen.

     Like Jaeger, Hayen admitted it was hard to remain positive since school closed on March 13.

     “I knew we weren’t going to be able to finish the senior years in a ‘normal’ way or even go back to school to get to see my friends and teachers. But I learned that you have to make the most of it.”

     In terms of exhibiting caring toward others, as Manternach alluded to, Hayen said she’s been caring for her grandparents throughout the pandemic by spending time with them and bringing them anything they needed.

     Within the classroom, Hayen worked well with her peers in group settings, not afraid to speak out.

     Her leadership skills were shown through her involvement in student council and National Honor Society. In addition, Hayen helped to plan many of those organizations’ events.

     “I was also the student body senior vice president,” she said.

     Hayen said Manternach’s classes were always fun and enjoyable “because no matter if something did not work the way she wanted, we did it anyways.”

     While there are many aspects to high school and her senior year Hayen has missed out on, she said the biggest memories are the “lasts,” speaking to the last events the seniors never got to have.

     “I honestly miss being in class with my friends and teachers,” she said. “I also miss Mrs. Young (the MHS principal) patrolling the hallways.”

     Hayen was very active in school as a part of basketball, volleyball, student council, NHS, and National Council of Youth Leadership.

     Over the summer, she is earning some money by babysitting and working at Oak Street Manufacturing.

     “I’m also making memories with my classmates before we all leave.”

     In the fall, Hayen will attend the University of Northern Iowa, majoring in communication sciences and disorders.

     She is the daughter of Mike and Judy Hayen of Monticello.

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