Local teens set lofty career goals, both professional and artistic

By April A. Sopkin
Staff Writer
For local teenagers, planning for the future has become a steady thought. Busy now not only with school and extracurricular activities, but also with serious thoughts of future professions.
Most teenagers graduating from high school nowadays feel an obligation to attend college. This is for various reasons, one being that the majority of well-paying occupations can only be obtained with some further schooling after high school.
Here several high school students spout off their future careers with a surprising amount of adamancy.
“I’ll probably go to college out of state,” says Kristin Rathje, who enjoys working with people most. “I just don’t want to stay in Minnesota. I want to get out of here and see other places.” Kristin has her sights set on a profession in physical therapy, but is also interested in massage therapy.
Josh Olson, a local 16-year old, has decided on a future in law.
“Their professional arguers,” Josh explains. “And I like to argue with people.” This is a career Josh has wanted since fifth or sixth grade. “The money is good, and I think it’d be fun.”
Nicole Neumann is not a teenager to hold back her real feelings. As a child social worker, she wants to step in and help those children that can’t fight back.
“I love kids and hate to see them hurt,” Nicole, 17, says.
“I know I want to do something with theatre,” Jeff Larson, 15, explains. “Acting allows you to be a bunch of different people, instead of just being you.” He adds, “I always have to change or else I get bored easily.” This is no lie, as Jeff changes his hair color nearly every month—it’s now bright white.
One thing Jeff never wants to be in a job is stuck behind a desk. “Or something where you have to do math all day.”
Michael Weiland, a creative 16-year old, is most comfortable dabbling in the arts.
“I always thought I’d do something with cosmetology, but I’m changing my
mind,” He explains.
A frequent hobby Michael enjoys is photography. Using a friend as a model, he takes photos with costumes he designs himself. One photograph of Michael’s was impressive enough to win a ribbon at the Wright County Fair.
There’s a lot of freedom [in the arts],” Michael says. “You can express
yourself fully, and basically do whatever you want.”

However, as much as these teens know what they want to be right now, there was a time way back when such clarity didn’t exist. As young children barely aware of life beyond recess and cooties, they were asked that same question adults always ask curious youngsters. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I wanted to be a rock star,” Jeff says. “I was going to have long black hair and wear leather pants.”
“A teacher,” Kristin answers. “Little kids are so fun.”
“The first female president,” Nicole says, simply.
Oh, the things they dream . . .


(From left) Lexi Freund (Big Lake), Betsey Cornelius and Ben Cornelius (Nowthen), Gunner Dorweiler and Colton Dorweiler (Princeton), Ben Manning (Zimmerman), Bailey Dorweiller (Princeton) and Salene Krueger (Big Lake.) The county fair runs from July 16-19. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

Dr. Lola Sutherland is retiring from clinical practice after 33 years in the Big Lake community. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards.)

SMITTY’S AMATEUR FIDDLERS CONTEST drew 22 musicians to compete in Big Lake this year. They were accompanied by Gilmore Lee.

LEE GERHARDSON, 47, from New London, was found dead in Big Lake near the swimming beach in 10 feet of water Monday. Cause of death is unknown at this time but foul play is not suspected.

Adopt-a-Road participants volunteer for Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and work to clean roadsides that border and bisect refuge land. This spring, from April to June, approximately six individuals, three families, and seven groups, such as boy and girl scouts and 4-H groups, volunteered to clean countless miles of roads. (Submitted photo.)