Bio: Jansen, Xander - Herb Kohl Scholarship (Apr 2019)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Jansen, Kohl, Gebhardt, Anderson

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 4/10/2019

Neillsville High Student Receives Herb Kohl Scholarship (Jansen – 4 March 2019)

Neillsville High Student Receives Herb Kohl Scholarship

Neillsville High School senior Xander Jansen has received an Herb Kohl Educational Scholarship for his efforts in and out of the classroom during his tenure at Neillsville schools. Submitted photo

By Ryan Spoehr

In a press release last month, it was announced that Neillsville High School senior Xander Jansen received the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Student Excellence Scholarship.

With being named one of the scholars, Jansen will receive a $10,000 scholarship.

According to the press release, the Student Excellence Scholarship recipients demonstrated excellence in academics and showed a “high motivation to achieve.” It also stated that recipients displayed a “broad range of activity and leadership outside the academic setting” and have “shown promise for succeeding in college and beyond.”

When Jansen found out he was going to receive the scholarship, he said his initial reaction was that of disbelief.

“Going into it, I didn’t even want to do it. It was my mom who pushed me toward it,” Jansen said.

There was a little trepidation on his part to apply for the scholarship.

“He didn’t want to apply because it was statewide, and he thought he wouldn’t have much of a chance. But, I told him he had as big of a chance as anyone because they look at everything. They don’t just look at good grades,” Jansen’s mom, Kathy, said. “They look at extra curriculars, they look at volunteer work and they look at good grades.”

She said she thought he had a better chance at getting the scholarship than he thought because he is “so well-rounded” and does the volunteer work and extracurricular activities on top of getting high grades.

“He takes a lot of college classes and he still manages to be at the top of his class. “I’m very proud of him,” Kathy said.

She was able to motivate Jansen to apply for the scholarship.

“She was determined, and she said, ‘Nope. You’re going to do it. It’s a lot of money. It’s worth it.’ And, she was right,” Jansen said. “It was shock when I first saw it and there was so much awe because there are so many students in the state.”

Herb Kohl Foundation scholarships were given to 188 graduating high school seniors. Also, 100 teachers and 16 principals, along with their schools were awarded $6,000 each as a part of the scholarship program.

The application process took about three-and-a-half hours to complete, Jansen said. In the process, Jansen had to write essays and explain his volunteer work and academic achievements.

Essays included how his extracurricular activities will help prepare him for college and his career.

Jansen has participated in choir and FFA.

“I’ve done a lot through the FFA here. We took part a lot in Adopt-a-Highway cleanup, we played Bingo at the nursing home, we went to the Ronald McDonald House of Care in Marshfield and prepared food for them [at the McDonald House] and did work around the house for them,” Jansen said. “I participated in the Free Food Giveaway when that was run.”

He added that he and other FFA members also raked leaves at the house.

Aside from FFA. Jansen volunteered on his own at the Ronald McDonald House helping maintain the lawn.

“I was looking around and I wanted to try to find something that was partially medical-related. I want to go into the medical field when I get older. My mom recommended checking out the Ronald McDonald House,” Jansen said. “I didn’t think anything of it, and I talked to the people there and I realized I want to help there. It’s such an amazing organization that I wanted to give back to them.”

Jansen started going there weekly to help out.

“It meant a lot to me to give back to them,” he said.

Jansen was an active FFA member for four years.

“Xander was always seeking perfection. If he was involved in an activity, he strived to do it to the best of his abilities. He was willing to put in the practice to do well at competitions, etc.,” said Amy Gerhardt, Neillsville FFA advisor. “This drive led him to earning many top honors in speaking and judging contests on the local, district, sectional and state levels.”

Jansen said FFA was his favorite extracurricular.

“They offered so many different amazing things with leadership conferences, the volunteering [and] the bond you get with fellow members,” he said.

After graduating, Jansen plans to go to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to major in clinical laboratory science. He plans to get a job as a medical technologist after graduating from the university.

He is still considering whether or not to move on to medical school. If he does, he hopes to get a degree in clinical pathology.

Jansen said his desire to go into the medical field started in sixth grade when he and fellow classmates had to do a survey to figure out ideal careers.

“I got clinical pathology. So, I did some research and I fell in love with it. It’s everything I love about science and medicine, and I love using microscopes and everything with the microbiology. That’s the main focus of clinical pathology,” Jansen said. “So, after doing more research, I realized that it something I could see myself doing.”

After turning 18 later this month, Jansen plans to apply to job shadow in a lab.

“After that, I’m going to be trying to get into nearby hospitals to see what it really is,” he said.

In addition to choir and FFA, Jansen spent some time in the high school’s history and Spanish clubs. He was class president in his junior year. He was also choir president in his junior year and now he is the choir treasurer.

Jansen credited his mom in being able to do so many activities.

“I honestly wouldn’t be able to do anything without her. She’s always there, kind of pushing me to the right direction and make sure I stay on top of things,” Jansen said. “As much as it can get annoying sometimes, she does a really good job in making sure I’m doing enough but not so much that I can’t handle it. And, if it she does see me pushing myself a little too far, she will come tell me to kind of reel it in and focus on the important things and if you have to drop something, then drop something.”

Neillsville Middle/High School Principal Craig Anderson expressed pride in Jansen’s accomplishment and said he has done all of the right things to be even allowed in the conversation to receive the scholarship.

Anderson stresses to students from middle school on that they should become involved in their school and community as much as they can as long as they are comfortable with everything. Anderson said Jansen has done just that.

“Xander is a highly motivated driven young man that has heeded our recommendations for students that seek opportunities that many do not. Xander is a talented young man that has leadership abilities, a gift for music, has given back in his community and has done so while excelling in the classroom as well,” Anderson said. “Those unique talents, in one individual, are rare and we are very proud of his efforts and accomplishments of our Neillsville school community.”

Anderson said all students’ experiences in high school are unique, and Jansen’s is “no exception.”

“Xander has placed a high emphasis on his academic growth and success while at Neillsville High School. However, to be a Kohl recipient, something special has to happen. Xander’s level of involvement in the school community as a whole is what sets him apart from most and opened this door for him.

“This was no accident. Xander has left his footprints all over our school through his level of involvement, and e are pleased to have him in our school.”

Jansen was one of seven students in Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 10 to receive the Student Excellence Scholarship. He and others in CESA 10, as well as CESAs 4, 9, 11 and 12, were invited to a banquet on March 31 at Chippewa Falls middle School to celebrate receiving scholarships. However, Jansen was unable to attend because he was on a field trip with the high school choir group in Florida.

Kohl established the Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship Program in 1990. Since then, $17.8 million has been awarded to Wisconsin principals, students, educators and schools.

“Education is the key to the future of Wisconsin and our nation. 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,” Kohl said in the press release.

Award recipients were notified on March 4. Kohl was scheduled to attend all four scholarship banquets. All CESAs have had Kohl Scholarship banquets, except for CESA 1. Which will have its banquet in Greenfield on Saturday.



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