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Student earns ZHS’s first letter for community service
Mackenzie Risting has become the first student at Zimmerman High School to earn a varsity letter for community service.
Mackenzie, a sophomore, has been instrumental in working with Operation Christmas Child at her church, Central Lutheran in Elk River.
Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes full of items to children in need throughout the world. Last year, more than 500 shoeboxes were collected at Central Lutheran to be distributed through Operation Christmas Child. The shoeboxes were filled with necessities such as notebooks, toothbrushes, pencils, pens, soap and wash cloths as well as toys like Beanie Babies.
“It’s kind of a good feeling to help people,” Mackenzie said.
She said her sister was involved in the program and, when she graduated, passed it on to her. Mackenzie has been volunteering with Operation Christmas Child since she was in the seventh grade. She is the daughter of Tim and Michelle Risting, of Elk River.
Jaime Hilyar, activities director at Zimmerman High School, said in working with Mackenzie it’s obvious that serving others is important to her and her family.
“Mackenzie is a great kid and we are very happy she is part of our Thunder family,” Hilyar said. “We are hoping her leadership in the area of community service will inspire other students to think about contributing positively to our local and global communities.”
The varsity letter program for community service was first implemented at Zimmerman High School in the 2016-2017 school year. All students in grades nine through 12 are eligible to apply and can earn a letter each year.
“We had many discussions with various groups in Zimmerman about how to get students involved in their communities and serving others. This program was a way to promote and reward students serving their communities,” Hilyar said.
The varsity lettering criteria is as follows:
•150 hours of unpaid, volunteer service completed in any 12-month period. At least 75 hours must be completed through one agency or for one cause to insure understanding and sustained commitment to a selected social issue that is personally relevant to the student, such as homelessness, the elderly, poverty, literacy, environment or health care.
•A record of all service hours verified by an adult supervisor or parent.
•Two recommendation letters from organizations or people served describing the student’s service and performance.
•A written reflection, journal, video, song, work of art, children’s book, presentation or other piece of work based upon student’s sustained service with one agency or in one area of need.
•Digital photo of the student doing service.
•Student must have a 2.0 or above GPA and be chemical-free during the year to participate in the program.
To qualify for her letter, Mackenzie said she did 100 hours of her community service with the Operation Christmas Child project and spent another 50 hours helping some of her mom’s friends, who are teachers. She labeled books and did other tasks for them.
She also made a portfolio of her volunteer work and wrote a paper explaining what she did.
Fall Preview: Zimmerman
Last year: 7-2
Coaches: Tom Kish (head), Chris Riley, John Budreau, Mark Hayes, Jake Zierden, Jim Gornick, Adam Pelot, Dan Melquist, George Kratee, and Brandon Lemke
Captains: Nate Carlin, Justin Robinson, Jake Pensinger, Tommy Laabs, Dylan Larrabee
Returning starters: Nate Boyer, Carlin, Blake Howard, Carter Janu, Ben Kuker, Laabs, Carter McEachern, Andrew Olinger, Ben Ortberg, Pensinger, Robinson, Andrew Thompson
Also in the mix: Ryan Acker, Landon Berroa, Cole Gould, Brett Howard, Aaron Koch, Ben Kuter, Larrabee, Hunter Nelson, Jake Pool, Jeg Schottenbauer, Devin Slaight, Tim Vorobyev, Tre Wilkins
Coach says: “We will be a very experienced team with a large senior class. We will find out a lot about our team early in the season as we have some big games to open our season. The team has had a great summer and has made a tremendous amount of progress.”
Outlook: Expect to compete for both a sub-district and section championship.
Last year: 3-13
Coaches: Jeff Downing (head), Rich Bond
Returning starters: Only three players graduated last year, so the Thunder are expecting 17 returners with varsity experience.
Coach says: “We expect a great deal of competition for the varsity roster this year as we look to improve on last season.”
Outlook: Many players have put in work during the offseason so every position is on the table. The Thunder could be fielding a very young group, but expect to be improved and very competitive. Their primary focus will be leadership roles and service. The record will take care of itself but the takeaway for the players will be deeper than the results on the field.
Last year: The boys were eighth in their conference and 15th in their section, while the girls were fourth in their conference and 13th in their section.
Coaches: Mike Back (head), Lynda Bouley
Captains: Cheresa Bouley, Grace Kerzman
Returning Contributers: Bouley, Kerzman, Sophia Smith, Kaitlyn Wehmeyer, Peyton Opsahl, Lana Schultz, Grace Guentzel, Aaron Coons, A.J. Martin, Jordan Opsahl, Jordan Nauber, Jack Firkus, Blake Lahn, Austin Kitzberger
Coach says: “I am hopeful that some new kids come out, and that our returners continue to develop. I would think that my girls team should be fairly competitive this year. We have had good participation in our summer program.”
Outlook: With the start of a new boys soccer program this year, it’s hard to say how many boys will end up going out for cross country, but the girls should have an improved season from a year ago.
Last year: 5-24
Coaches: Cassandra Olson (head), Emily Zahn
Returning starters: Ilea May, Natalie Miller, Eilysha Rosario, Alyssa Daughtery
Also in the mix: Gabi Wilson, Aly Hanlon, Caitlin Steiskal, Savannah Elphick, Janele Anderson
Coach says: “We have most of our starters returning and a great group of juniors and seniors who can fill in some of the open spots. Our backcourt defense will be strong again this year, but in order to compete at a higher level we will need to improve our consistency on offense.”
Outlook: The Thunder should be able to improve from where they were a season ago. A lot of their key players are either juniors or seniors now with plenty of varsity experience, they just need to be able to find offense on a consistent basis.
What We Do
The Zimmerman Booster Club would like to thank the many volunteers currently involved, now and from the past. It takes many volunteers coming together to make a difference.
As a Booster Club we are interested in any ideas you may have to better our student’s experiences here at Zimmerman middle school and high school.
Getting involved in your school through the Booster Club is fun and a great way to meet other adults and faculty. We are always looking for people to help with ideas and the planning of Booster Club activities. Everything we do benefits the students of our school and community. We support our Academics, Arts and Athletics. Come check out what we are up to!
Booster Club meetings are always the 2nd Monday of each month, except when there is no school that day. Then it will be the following Monday. Meetings are at 7:00 in the ZHS media center. Please Come and Check It Out!
We are always interested in your thoughts, please come to any meeting and help make a difference.
Mike Crego - email
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