The Mineral Point Kiwanis Club honored its January Students of the Month at a virtual meeting Tuesday, January 5. The Kiwanis Club is meeting via Zoom during the pandemic.
The students, who are members of the senior class, are selected for this honor through a voting process by staff at the high school, and their biographies are written by themselves.
Emily Cody’s family consists of her brother, Adam, her father, Robert, and her mother, Jody. They all mean the world to her. She spends a lot of time with them doing various things, such as going to their lake house, watching movies, hiking, and kayaking.
She has attended Mineral Point Schools since the age of four. Through those fourteen years she has been given the opportunity to try out many different activities: choir, forensics, cross country, track and field, basketball, Key Club, Blue Crew, Future Farmers of America, Skills USA, homecoming court, National Honor Society, 4-H, Youth Group, and so much more.
All of those experiences led her to discover hobbies that she enjoys. She loves all things active. These things help Emily relieve stress and have led her to many lifelong friendships. She has found that they are her favorite because there is always something to get better at, and the process of getting there and achieving it is one of the best feelings.
Youth Group is her favorite group she has been involved in high school. It has allowed her to realize that helping others is the biggest interest that she has. In Youth Group, she volunteered for hours at many pasty sales for the church in order to earn money to volunteer for a week in both Washington D.C. and Saint Louis. At these places, she cleaned the community, helped at food drives, held dinners for people that were food insecure, sorted items to be given to people that could not afford them, and much more.
During her journey in the Mineral Point Unified School District, she has been surrounded by the smartest, kindest teachers anyone could ask for. The two teachers that have stuck with Emily, and have helped make her who she is today, are Mrs. Lifka Bennett and Mrs. Keri Radtke. Mrs. Bennett was much more than a teacher to her; she is her friend. She has always been one that Emily knew she could tell anything to. Mrs. Bennett has also always had confidence in Emily which has meant a lot to her. Mrs. Radtke once said to Emily, “If your parents are going to make you make your bed, you might as well do it right.” This has instilled into Emily to put forth her best effort in everything that she participates in.
Emily has worked as a lifeguard at our Mineral Point Public Pool for four years. As a lifeguard, it is her responsibility to ensure safety for swimmers, keep the environment clean, instruct swim lessons, take lifeguarding classes, enforce rules, work with cash and checks, be in physical shape, communicate with families, and answer phone calls in a professional manner. Being a lifeguard also includes being a role model for the younger children.
Emily also has her Certified Nursing Assistant certificate, but because of COVID, she did not pursue a career. Being in contact sports would make her more at risk of getting COVID, and she did not want that risk to be put upon her patients. Emily intends to get a job as a CNA this summer in Madison. The reason she wants to obtain a career in Madison is because she has committed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she thought this would help her become more familiar with the area. Emily is going to major in biochemistry with a minor in either chemistry or biology. She has been going back and forth on whether or not she wants to become an oncologist or go into pediatrics, but for now she is set on pediatrics. With all that MPHS has done for her she is very confident she can achieve whatever goals she sets her mind to. She would like to thank the Mineral Point Unified School District for giving her such a great education and the Kiwanis for awarding her with Student of the Month! She would also like to congratulate Will for all of his accomplishments!
“I’ve known Emily since preschool as she and my daughter became friends immediately and have remained so throughout the years. Emily has always been a sweet girl, very well mannered and respectful, not only in the office, but out of school as well. She puts forth all of her effort, not only academically, but when she runs in cross country and track, and in every play in basketball, especially defensively. Emily has been one who sets out to obtain what she wants and goes for it with ease. With this behind her, I know she’ll succeed in whatever she puts her mind to. Emily, I wish you all the best after high school. Follow your dreams and reach for the stars!” ~ Janet Lawinger, High School Administrative Assistant
“Watching these students grow up just sometimes pulls at the heartstrings. Emily is one of those. Such a sweet, kind, and hardworking girl from kindergarten on to now! When I see the posts of her running at meets, you can see the determination on her face. She is quiet but fierce — the kind of fierce that appears when trying to prove something to no one but yourself! Keep the fierce attitude and the sweet personality and you will go far, Emily! Congratulations on being chosen as Student of the Month! Good luck next year! As in every race, finish strong!” ~ Jill McGuire, Kindergarten Teacher
“Emily, congratulations on your selection as the Student of the Month for January and on everything that you have accomplished up to this point. You have been, and continue to be, an outstanding, kind, and caring individual and have been an excellent model for underclassmen. As a student, you continue to impress me with your talents and ability to work hard to succeed in all areas of life. Best wishes; you are going to do great things.” ~ Matt Austin, High School Principal
“‘When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.’ This quote by rock musician Matty Mullins is a perfect reflection of Emily Cody’s disposition. As long as I have known Emily, she is always striving to be better and refuses to quit at good enough. I have always appreciated how she truly wants to understand the concept at hand. It is never just about the grade – it is about growing as a student. Emily’s future is so bright; I am so very proud to have had a small part in her educational experience. You deserve nothing less than the best, kiddo! Stay hungry and driven!” ~ Kristin Staver, High School English Teacher
Will is the only child of Shannon Straka and Amy Whitford. He would like to thank his parents for their endless support!
Throughout his high school career, Will has engaged in various clubs and extracurriculars. Will participates in football, wrestling, and baseball. He has been involved in almost every club that MPHS offers. Student government, FFA, Skills USA, Future Business Leaders of America, Mock Trial, Math Team, Trap Team, Spanish Club, Musical Theatre, National Honor Society, Key Club, Pointer Media, and church and community volunteering have kept Will busy. Will was a football captain, three time class president, and currently serves as a Skills USA officer and senior class vice president.
Will worked for the Mineral Point Park Department under Mr. Jim Bennett for the last three summers. He would like to thank Jim for three great years!
Will is grateful for his family, coaches, and teachers for the support and life lessons they have provided! He would like to give a special thanks to Mr. Dan Burreson, Mr. Ben McWilliams, Mr. Andy Palzkill, Mr. Justin Leonard, Mrs. Kristin Staver, and Mrs. Jenny Wahlin.
After high school, Will plans to major in civil engineering and play football in college. Finally, he wants to thank Kiwanis and the MPHS staff for selecting him as Student of The Month; he would also like to congratulate Emily on receiving the award.
“I only have one word to describe Will and that is DETERMINED. Will is determined to succeed in whatever he puts his mind to whether it’s his academics, weight lifting, club activities, or football. And now as a senior he’s decided to hit the wrestling mat to prove he’s hard pressed to be stopped there either. Will always says ‘hello’ when he walks through the office and is polite when he inquires about something. Having a strong mind, athleticism, and the determination to go for what you want in life is sure to help Will rise to the top, not only in college, but in his career that follows. Good luck in all your future endeavors.” ~ Janet Lawinger, High School Administrative Assistant
“I can recall a day where there was lots of commotion in the hall by our kindergarten classrooms. When investigating, it was Will and his dad doing science demonstrations for his class! Everyone wanted in on the good stuff happening. That’s how I would describe Will today. Everyone wants in on all his academic talent, his sports talent, and his handsome good looks. Will is sure to make a great future for himself and others! Good luck in your future, Will. And, don’t forget those small town, hardworking roots! Have a great finish to your senior year and good luck in the future! Congratulations on being chosen as Student of the Month!” ~ Jill McGuire, Kindergarten Teacher
“I am so happy to have met Will four years ago! Will has many admirable qualities, but I am always amazed at his tenacity. Will, whatever you choose in life, I know you will be successful. Whatever challenge you face, you work hard and never give up! If you are a lawyer, I want you to be MY lawyer. If you are a doctor, I want you to be MY doctor. If you are an electrician, I want you to be MY electrician. Why? Because I know that whatever you do, you work hard and are tenacious in finding an answer. I truly enjoy your sense of humor and logical way of looking at things. And your senior picture where you are wearing the velvet suit, spinning a football, and reading ‘Lord of the Flies?’ I love it – it sums you up perfectly! You aren’t afraid to be who you are and that is priceless!” ~ Jenny Wahlin, High School Spanish Teacher
“One of Will’s qualities that I will always remember is his drive to succeed. This drive has led him to be successful in all aspects of school, from in the classroom to on the sports field. As you continue to write your story, never lose this passion and continue to strive for the best. In addition, Will has been a great role model for those around him and I want to thank him for his time as a Pointer. Congratulations and best of luck with your future.” ~ Matt Austin, High School Principal
“‘Debate is the way you stir the soul of our democracy’ – Jesse Jackson. Debate and stirring the soul sum up Will Straka perfectly! The enthusiasm and energy Will brings to the table makes every conversation, lesson, and experience engaging and memorable. I am so thankful that I have been able to be part of his educational journey for the last four years. I can honestly say that I have learned as much from him as him from me. My hope for you, young man, is that you never lose that curious nature, that drive to debate, and that thirst for knowledge. You are truly one of a kind who has brought much laughter and joy to my classroom and life. I will miss you dearly in the years to come but am so excited to see where life takes you.” ~ Kristin Staver, High School English Teacher