Stoughton High School senior Elise Fjelstad was named a CESA 2 Student Initiative Scholar.
That $10,000 award was one of 312 Herb Kohl Foundation awards for Wisconsin students, teachers and principals announced Feb. 14.
According to a Kohl Foundation news release, Initiative Scholarship recipients, chosen by their schools, have demonstrated exceptional initiative in the classroom and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond, but have not yet received other academic-based scholarships.
Fjelstad, who intends to study English and Political Science at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said the news made her both excited and relieved.
“Paying for college is something a lot of people are stressing about, and this is a little bit of weight lifted from my shoulders in that aspect,” she wrote in an email to the Hub. “I’m honored that the school picked me over a lot of other qualified candidates that I can think of. I’m quite thankful.”
Fjelstad said her favorite subject has always been language arts, with social studies a close second. She looks forward to continuing with those in college, as well as expanding her coursework, with the “dream job” of being a human rights lawyer.
“I love writing and literature, in particular, and I’m going to college to learn what I want to, not just get a well-paying job,” she wrote. “I’d like to go to law school as well, and poli sci will probably be a good catalyst for that. I’d like to do something in the area of public policy or social justice-related.”
SHS language arts teacher and Norse Star adviser Laura Streyle said Fjelstad is a smart writer and model student journalist who listens to people’s stories in a way that every student can learn from.
“I admire Elise’s fire and brave honesty that she brings to discussions,” Streyle wrote in an email to the Hub.
Fjelstad will receive her award at the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation 2020 Student, Teacher and Principal Recognition Luncheon on Saturday, May 16 at Baraboo High School.
According to the news release, scholarship recipients have demonstrated excellence in the academic arena and high motivation to achieve, have displayed a broad range of activity and leadership outside the academic setting, and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond.
The Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship program was established by Kohl in 1990, and has awarded $20.9 million to Wisconsin educators, principals, students and schools.
“Education is the key to the future of Wisconsin and our nation,” Kohl said in the news release. “I am very proud of the accomplishments of these students, teachers, and principals and look forward to the great contributions they will make in the future.”