STRIVE students find their way

by Jim Boyle

Blake Schneiderhan (center) was given a $1,000 scholarship for having the best academic progress of all 2011–12 students.

Blake Schneiderhan captured a $1,000 scholarship for his academic progress while taking part in the Elk River Rotary’s STRIVE (Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education) program.

Of the 17 students who participated in the program, he had the most improved grade-point average of the group.

Erika Roske got a $300 scholarship for having the best grade-point average of the group, and Jesse Cikotte got a $500 scholarship for the second-most improved grade-point average.

Six students got crisp $100 bills for perfect attendance in STRIVE.

For Spencer Scheler, the money was a good hook, as he evaluated whether to be in and stick it out in the program. As the school year wore on, it was the program that won him over.

“This program is worth a lot more than $100,” Scheler said. “It’s actually priceless.”

Students in STRIVE who had perfect attendance were rewarded with crisp $100 bills at the end of the school year. Students who got them were pretty happy about the exchange.

Students grew to like the positive attitude Rotarians brought to their STRIVE meetings and their stories of their own high school experiences. They gained real-life examples of tackling challenges and new techniques for setting, approaching and achieving goals.

Elk River High School Principal Terry Bizal encouraged Rotarians to stay in touch and keep the program alive for decades to come.

He said students in the program have learned a positive attitude takes a person in the right direction, and that people take many different paths to success. “This has been a wonderful partnership,” Bizal said.

Michelle Remer, the school counselor who worked with the program, said students learned to set goals and could take on more stress because they learned ways to better deal with it.

“They have been looking at careers, thinking about their choices of colleges and have been motivated to do the best they could,” she said.

STRIVE, which was started at a club in the same district as the Elk River club, is an international program.

It was founded by a White Bear Lake Rotary club. The Rogers Rotary started a STRIVE program several years ago and the Elk River Rotary started its program two years ago.

“A person would be foolish not to take advantage of this program,” Scheler said.

Student participants included Kara Blomquist, Cikotte, Sabryna Dalbol, Jeremy Denny, Mariah Holden, Erich Kanne, Troy Kovich, Wyatt Menke, Roske, Scheler, Sarah Schmaltz, Schneiderhan, Kayla Snell, Marcus Stockinger, Gabe Vicioso, Brandon Wagman and  Bobbi Wilmes.