The Mineral Point Kiwanis Club honored its October Students of the Month at its meeting Tuesday, October 3.

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.

Julianna Cool

Julianna Cool is the youngest child of Terry and Andrea Cool. She has lived her entire life in Highland, where she attended elementary school before switching to Mineral Point in middle school where her dad teaches social studies. She has three older siblings; one sister that is studying music at Lawrence University, one brother that is studying audio engineering and guitar performance at UW-Oshkosh, and one brother who graduated from UW-Madison and is now living in Chicago. 

Julianna has been attending Mineral Point since 6th grade. She is currently in her second year as Drum Major of the marching band, an officer of the Future Business Leaders of America, an officer and founder of the Earth-Wise Environmental Club, and a leader of the Pointer Media team. She is also involved in Forensics, Mock Trial, Musical Theater, Key Club, and Choir. Last Spring, Julianna was accepted into the National Honor Society and was also awarded the Fetal Pig Surgeon award for being the top student in the Biology II class.

From a very young age, music has been an integral part of Julianna’s life. She grew up performing at barbershop shows with her cousins – as in the style of music with four part chords, not cutting hair. She began taking piano and voice lessons in 2nd grade which allowed her love of music to flourish. One of her favorite parts about Mineral Point is the outstanding musical theatre program. Julianna has participated in the musical during all her years of high school. She played Kitty in “Chicago,” Gangster #2 in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and finally, this year, Julianna is thrilled to be cast as the Witch in “Into the Woods.” Julianna understands how time-consuming and stressful musical theatre can be, but she looks forward to working together with all the cast and crew to make her final show the best experience possible for all, both on and off stage.

Outside of school and extracurricular activities, Julianna works two jobs as a certified nursing assistant. She loves spending time with residents and helping them through their day. Working with the elderly has taught Julianna just how valuable time is and how important it is to spend it with those you love. 

Because of her dedication to helping people, Julianna has decided that she will actually be graduating a year early. After graduation, Julianna is not sure where she will be attending college, but she hopes to continue a career in the medical field, most likely in the research side of things, where she can help those who need it. 

Julianna would like to thank all of the staff members at Mineral Point High School for making it a place where curiosity and knowledge can blossom; their time and work is vital and greatly appreciated. She would like to thank Mr. Tom Steger and Ms. Erin Sincox for fostering her love of science; she never knew just how big the world of science was until Mr. Steger and Ms. Sincox showed her, and now she can’t wait to keep learning more. Julianna would also like to thank Mrs. Kristin Staver for being a constant source of support ever since Julianna was a 4-year-old girl who wanted to run the music at basketball games. She thanks Mr. Matt Nevers and Mrs. Ashley Calderon-McHugh for providing her seemingly endless opportunities to grow and expand musically. Finally, Julianna thanks her parents and siblings for their endless support, encouragement, guidance, and love throughout the years.

Julianna would like to thank Kiwanis for this opportunity and congratulates her fellow student of the month Derek Hottenstein, and all the previous and future Seniors selected for all their hard work and dedication. 

“While I have only known Julianna for a couple months, I can already see how determined and involved she is! She is in almost every club the school has and yet, is always willing to lend a helping hand! She has an infectious smile and is a joy to be around.” ~ Mrs. Valerie Martin, Middle/High School Business Teacher

Miss Julianna Cool is an admirable young lady. From academics to the arts, her name is quite familiar. Although Julianna did not go to our elementary school, I have been lucky to experience her musical and artistic talents in other venues throughout her high school career.  I am excited to see what the future holds for such a motivated and talented young lady!  Congratulations on becoming October’s Student of the Month, Julianna!  Best Wishes for a bright future!” ~ Mrs. Jill McGuire, Kindergarten Teacher

“Congratulations Julianna on your selection as the October Student of the Month.  You are talented, kind, and motivated.  Each year you have taken hold of opportunities to grow and learn, which has helped you become a wonderful role model for others.  I am excited to see what opportunities the rest of this year will bring and how you continue to grow and excel.  Best wishes as I am sure the future holds great things for you.” ~ Mr. Matt Austin, High School Principal

“Julianna Cool is humble, kind, and driven.  Never one to shy away from a challenge, she is bright and headed towards a future filled with continued success.  Did you know she is graduating a full year early? Her work in the classroom, and outside the classroom, in order to reach her goals has been an amazing thing to watch.  She leads our band as the Drum Major and is a true talent on the stage, too!  Julianna, thank you for sharing your gifts and kindness with us.  You are a wonderful role model for all students and we will miss you in the coming years.  Congratulations; you are very deserving of this honor.” ~ Mrs. Erika Brunson, Middle/High School Counselor

Spiritual coach and author Lachlan Brown said, ‘People with old souls don’t require outside validation of their worth or value.’ Miss Juli Cool is the purest example of an old soul. I met Juli when she was in Kindergarten; she became my music assistant during Sy’s basketball games. I am embarrassed to admit that there were many times when I had to question which one of us was more mature. As a Freshman, Juli became a driving force in our now thriving Pointer Media program. Juli defies the theory of having a dominant right-side/left-side brain, as her creative ability matches her intelligence. I can’t imagine life without Juli next year, but I am so excited to see the doors she opens on the journey. You will always be part of Staverland, Jules!” ~ Mrs. Kristin Staver, High School English Teacher

“Julianna Cool has been extremely dedicated to the music department throughout her middle and high school career. She has participated in nearly all musical extra curricular activities that our district offers. Juli has always served as a role model for her peers in her determination to improve, professionalism, and team mentality. I have truly enjoyed working with her within the Musical Theatre Club in particular. For her role in ‘Chicago’ she earned the Most Caring Castmate award; for her role in ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ she earned the award for Most Dedicated. I greatly appreciate her leading role as the Witch in this year’s production of ‘Into the Woods.’ This year, she is taking so many academic courses in preparation for her plans after an early graduation, but this has not stopped her from participating in choir tours, solo competitions, and vocal festivals around the midwest. Her ability to balance so many interests and commitments has always amazed me, and especially so during her final high school year.

I have come to appreciate her genuineness and leadership qualities over the last few years, and can attest to her caring personality. Juli’s optimism, well-roundedness, creativity, and consideration of others will surely guarantee her success in her future pursuits!” ~ Mrs. Ashley Calderon-McHugh, Middle/High School Choir Teacher

Derek Hottenstein

Derek Hottenstein is the son of Wendy and Dennis Hottenstein and the younger brother of Drew Hottenstein.

Derek was born in 2006 at the Dodgeville Upland Hills Hospital and lived his entire life in Mineral Point. He spent his early years attending daycare and preschool at St. Joe’s School and Daycare in Dodgeville before transferring to the Mineral Point Elementary School. Currently he stays busy working on his college classes, volunteering for community service activities, working on the family farm, playing on the Dodge Point United Soccer team, participating in various school clubs and organizations (such as National Honor Society, FBLA, Skills USA, Forensics, Mock Trial, Book Club, and Math Team to name a few), and the high school plays and musicals and everything in between! It hasn’t been easy to handle for sure, but he doesn’t regret a single second.

When he isn’t juggling enough extracurriculars to make your head spin, he enjoys spending time on the down-low. Going to the movies, playing video games with his brother (and usually losing), curling up with a good book, or just relaxing in his hot tub are all ways he likes to unwind after a hard day on “The Grind”, as he likes to call it.

After school, Derek intends to go onto college but is currently undecided on the location. Whatever the future holds, he would like to thank everyone for helping him get there. Thank you to the Mineral Point Elementary, Middle, and High School teachers for almost a lifetime of stellar education. A big shout out goes to Mrs. Erika Brunson who has been such a life preserver in wild uncharted waters these last few years. And, of course, Derek would like to thank his family for helping make him the man he is today. Even you, Drew! Derek would also like to extend his congratulations to fellow Student of the Month-er Julianna Cool, the person who skipped a full grade and kept on rolling. It’s great to be sharing this honor with you.

Congratulations, Derek, on being chosen Student of the Month!  From a young boy on, Derek’s shy little smile and serious attitude have been part of his personality. He has often been seen quietly reading a book, but one might also see him enjoying life with his peers. Derek has success all around him, from the classroom to the soccer field.  It’s easy to see how Derek is a deserving young man for this award. Derek, I hope you have an exciting Senior year and I look forward to hearing your choices for the future! Best wishes!” ~ Mrs. Jill McGuire, Kindergarten Teacher

“Derek, you always have been, and continue to be, an outstanding, smart, and caring individual who takes advantage of each moment.  Thank you for your hard work within the media program as it has developed over the last couple of years.  Throughout your high school career, I have seen you continue to grow as a student, leader, role model, and mentor for those around you.  Your future is bright and I am sure that you will accomplish amazing things. Congratulations.” ~ Mr. Matt Austin, High School Principal

“Derek Hottenstein is one of the coolest cats I’ve met!  He is the perfect balance of charismatic and funny, and definitely someone you want on your trivia or jeopardy team because of his endless knowledge.  His talents are seen in many places throughout our school and beyond.  From the soccer field, to the stage, to our media program, to the classrooms he excels in, Derek has no doubt made MPHS a better place to be.  Derek, thank you for making us laugh, for being kind, and mostly for just being you.  Congratulations on being chosen as a Student of the Month and I hope you enjoy your Senior year!” ~ Mrs. Erika Brunson, Middle/High School Counselor

‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Believe it or not, one of my favorite memories of Derek was during covid remote learning. He truly brightened my Zooming days. Like Juli, Derek does not have a dominant right-side/left-side brain and has also been a driving force in Pointer Media throughout his four years. He is never afraid to step outside of the box and be goofy. He is famous for his dress-up day costumes! The other day, I heard a funny story: some elementary school kids saw Derek playing soccer and started yelling, ‘Hey, that’s our weatherman!’ Derek’s future is bright with many opportunities waiting for him. I am honored to say he was part of Staverland. Charge forward, Sweet Boy!” ~ Mrs. Kristin Staver, High School English Teacher

“I have loved working with Derek Hottenstein within the Musical Theatre Club throughout his high school career.  For his role in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ he earned the award for Most Thoughtful Portrayal, for his role in ‘Chicago’ I was quite impressed by his efforts in the difficult choreography. I really enjoyed his role in last year’s production of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ for which he earned the awards for Most Stoic and Best Humor Delivery. For this year, he has taken on the Narrator and Mystery Man characters for ‘Into the Woods’ – I have already witnessed great growth and commitment! I have come to appreciate his self-motivated efforts and preparation over the last few years, and can attest to his sweet personality. Derek’s sense of focus, professionalism, and dedication will be missed, but will certainly take him far after high school!” ~ Mrs. Ashley Calderon-McHugh, Middle/High School Choir Teacher

(Cool photo by Libby Peplinski; Hottenstein photo by Lifka Bennett)