October 2006 Student of the Month

Kate Plautz, Century Junior High“Kate is active in making the world a better place to live.”

— Lance Meier, Social Studies teacher

School: Century Junior High
Grade: 9th
Age: 14
GPA: 3.95

For the past two years, Katelin Mary Plautz of Forest Lake— also known as Kate—has finished in the top 40 of her class. For the past two years, she’s taken all the accelerated classes that were offered at her school, and for the past two years, she has been on the A honor roll and played softball year-round, plus volleyball in the fall. She’s played the piano and the tenor sax. She’s won writing awards. She’s led SADD. This list could go on and on, but the real point is: for the past two years, Kate was in middle school. Yes, middle school.

“She is a positive force in all her endeavors—academically, socially, and athletically,” says Lance Meier, her Social Studies teacher and Student of the Month nominator.

Now a freshman at Century Junior High, some would say Kate’s just getting started—after all, she does have four years of high school ahead of her—but her resume of activities and achievements begs to differ. Kate is clearly on a roll… that doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

“Kate exemplifies what we empower our students to be at Century— a leader both in the classroom and in the community,” says Eric Stang, the Dean of her current 9th grade class.

In 2003, Kate stuck out from the pack as a top contender in a Future Problem Solving competition (contestants solve futuristic problems in a creative way). That year she won third place in the individual writing portion of the state competition. The next year, Kate moved up the podium and won 2nd in the same event. This commitment to creative and free thought naturally follows her into the classroom as well.

“Kate has already excelled and distinguished herself in class by offering advanced insights in class discussion and is a positive influence on her peers,” says Karleen Boettner, Kate’s Advanced English teacher.

This positive influence stems most noticeably from her role as Century Junior High’s president of SADD— Students Against Destructive Decisions.

“The SADD program has really helped me enhance my learning experience and make school a more fun place to be,” Kate says.

Perhaps it’s her great role models that have helped Kate solidify her leadership and confidence at such a young age. Finding it difficult to pick just a few, she notes her Algebra teacher, Mr. Vogel, for making the difficult subject fun and interactive. Then there’s Mr. Daniels, her old seventh grade English teacher, who she attributes for her successful (and much more bearable and enjoyable!) transition to junior high. Mrs. Lovett added comedy and drama (only the good kind, of course) to help her get through eighth grade and Mr. Meier provides that energetic attitude this year. But no one stands out like Kathy Bystrom.

“I can honestly say that I would be at a loss without our SADD coordinator, Kathy Bystrom. She is always helping me, whether it be with SADD or something going on in my life, she is always there for me. I consider her my role model and I hope that when I grow up I can be as kind and good of a person as she is.”

Many would say Kate has an awfully good start at doing just that. Her excellence and dedication doesn’t stop at academics and athletics (as if that wasn’t impressive enough). She’s extremely musical as well.

A member of the band for the last two years—playing tenor sax, leading her section in first chair, no less—Kate is included in the Jazz Band as well. Occasionally, she can be found playing in church (sax or hand bells) with the youth music group and somewhere in there she also finds time for piano lessons, which she’s taken at Yamaha Music School for the past seven years.

Did I mention she taught Bible Camp this past summer, too? With all of high school ahead of her, there appears to be no end to Katelin Plautz’s activities and achievements. Century Junior High knows it, and now, so do you.