Krien shines bright in and out of the classroom

By Jason Arndt

Krista Krien

Jana Krien describes her younger sister, Krista, as a driven leader humbled by her achievements while showing kindness to everyone she meets.

Jana Krien, who is four years older than Krista, remembers seeing these traits in Krista as they grew up in Waterford.

“She put so much effort into everything she has done, and then also, I think she is outstanding for how kind she is,” said Jana, who graduated from Catholic Central High School in 2015.

The Kriens, daughters of Tom and Jeanne, have two other siblings, Cara and Evan.

A year later, Krista arrived to Catholic Central, and had an objective to achieve valedictorian.

Upon graduating, she did more than meet her goal, taking home other honors, including National Merit Scholarship Finalist, AP Scholar with Distinction, Herb Kohl Excellence Scholar and certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.

“I went into freshman year and (valedictorian) was what I wanted as the end result,” said Krista Krien. “It was kind of the cherry on top, or highlight, to see all of my hard work did pay off. It was worth it. All of the sleepless nights that we talked about, they meant something.”

Her hard work required balance, which included participation in multiple co-curricular activities, such as playing three sports while serving several student leadership posts at Catholic Central.

Krista, who played varsity soccer her first two years, also garnered two varsity letters in volleyball and four as a member of the Hilltoppers dance team.

For her efforts, she has been selected as Catholic Central’s Outstanding Senior by the editorial staff of the Burlington Standard Press.

Rare company
Last February, shortly before she learned about becoming valedictorian of Catholic Central, Krista was named National Merit Finalist.

She was among 1.6 million students nationally to enter the National Merit Scholarship program and became one of about 15,000 finalists.

While Krista entered rare company, Jana noted her younger sister stayed humble, noting Krista has never bragged about any of her academic accolades.

“She is actually very humble about all of the achievements that she has had,” Jana said.

Krista, meanwhile, capped off four years involvement in several student clubs and organizations.

Active student
Krista served as president of both Student Council and Model United Nations, and was also Key Club treasurer, manager of the boys varsity basketball team and member of Student Ambassadors.

As a leader of Student Council, she was responsible for organizing multiple activities and led school assemblies.

Her responsibilities included speaking before the student body.

“I never shied away from public speaking. I mean, even in grade school – way young – I always volunteered to read in class, I always wanted to speak at church,” Krista said. “I have no problem talking to my peers, talking to the parents and definitely speaking at events, like the homecoming pep rally.”

Inducted into National Honor Society, she was also on the prom court, while serving the community.

Community commitment
Outside of Catholic Central High School, the Waterford resident played club volleyball, volunteered as a volleyball coach, tutored students and stayed involved with her church youth group.

She went on mission trips with the church group.

“I feel like it is my obligation to help other people, and to no fault of their own, they are in circumstances that aren’t comfortable,” Krista said. “It is my job to give them my time because they are just as deserving of it.”

As for jobs within the local community, Krista worked as a nanny and assistant coach for Waterford Wave Volleyball Club.

Currently, she works as a private tutor, and also hones her love of swimming as a lifeguard at the Burlington Community Aquatic Center.

She spends her free time running.

Large leap
Krista Krien plans to attend Boston University in the fall and major in international relations and diplomacy with a minor in French.

Her transition is a large leap, considering she will go from a school of around 150 students to Boston, where more than 600,000 people live.

However, Krista said she is not fazed by the change to a major city after watching her older sister complete four years of study at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

“I think I am ready for it, I lived vicariously through Jana and her four years in college in Philadelphia and I loved every second of it,” she said. “I am definitely excited about big cities.”

While Krista acknowledged she will miss the close-knit community, she looks forward to building a new foundation in Boston.

“I will miss the community – knowing everyone and everyone knows you. It has its pros and cons, but ultimately I will miss the supportive community,” she said.

“I want to find that in Boston if I absolutely can, especially in the program that I am.”

Krista hopes to become an ambassador to the United Nations, or serve in a position that can help others.

Jana Krien, without hesitation, believes her younger sister can achieve any task or challenge.

“She is very driven and has such high aspirations for herself, but again, knowing her her entire life, I have every confidence she can achieve any of her goals,” Jana said.

“When she was younger, she told everyone she was going to be the supreme world ruler, and I honestly believed that.”

But, Krista will approach that goal with kindness, Jana added.

A look at the other nominees
Here are capsules on the other three nominees for Standard Press Outstanding Senior from Catholic Central High School:

Douglas Januszewski
Januszewski, the CCHS salutatorian, is the son of Mitch Januszewski and Kim Hennigan.

A high-honors student all eight semesters, Januszewski was named Outstanding Scholar, earned Special Congressional Recognition for Academic Achievement, and was named Academic All-State for boys golf.

Along with four years on the golf team, where served as captain, Januszewski suited up for the Hilltoppers football team, earning All-Metro Classic Conference honorable mention. He also played basketball for two years.

A two-year National Honor Society member, he was also on the Key Club Board of Directors for four years, performed in the school musical for two years and spent a year with Model United Nations.

He worked for Royal Barks, LLC, before moving onto Regulatory Compliance Associates, Inc.

He volunteered as an after-school math tutor and at Lakeland Animal Shelter.

Januszewski, an avid flier, received his private pilot’s license after nine months of training. He plans to attend University of Texas at Austin and major in Aerospace Engineering.

Elaine Nevin
Nevin, awarded the Herb Kohl Foundation Student Initiative Scholarship, is the daughter of Chris and Elizabeth Nevin.

She was a four-year honor roll student, earning induction into NHS, of which she served as vice president her senior year.

In addition, she was also vice president of Key Club as senior, an organization she was involved in all four years.

Nevin played four years for the basketball team. She ran cross country three years and for the track and field team for four years, serving as captain her last two seasons within both programs.

She worked at St. Patrick’s Parish, Elkhorn, volunteering at various dinners, and cleaned the cemetery. She also worked with Elkhorn Area Youth Center and helps lead Vacation Bible School.

Nevin plans to attend University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in fall and major in nursing.

Simon Pedone
Pedone, son of Alison and Carlo Pedone, was on the high-honor roll and member of NHS.

A prom king his junior year, he was also on the homecoming court, participated in the school musical for four years and was in Key Club all four years.

Pedone also served as Student Ambassador from 2016-2019.

He spent four years on the football team, serving as senior captain, earning All-County second-team kicker and All-MCC second team lineman.

He also played four years of golf, three years of basketball and ran track for two years.

Pedone, who works at Wisconsin Vision Associates, served as an Altar boy at St. Mary’s Parish from 2012-19 and volunteered at Vacation Bible School for two years.

A Pere Marquette Scholarship winner, Pedone plans to major in biomedical sciences at Marquette University in the fall.