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Holm recognized for hard work, leadership

Jennifer Holm of Pine River-Backus has a drive that not all high school seniors can brag about, and that's why she was honored by the National Joint Powers Alliance as one of the organization's 2016 Rising Stars.

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Jennifer Holm

Jennifer Holm of Pine River-Backus has a drive that not all high school seniors can brag about, and that's why she was honored by the National Joint Powers Alliance as one of the organization's 2016 Rising Stars.

"I nominated Jennifer Holm because she is one who does not seek out recognition, but is certainly deserving of it," said Holm's French teacher, Melanie Lindquist. "She goes out of her way to assist classmates, and encourages her peers to be successful. She doesn't need or ask for a ton of attention. She just always works hard, is helpful to her classmates, and when asked for her opinion, she is extremely thoughtful and looks at issues from all sides. I appreciate her work ethic, her positive attitude and her maturity."

Holm was one of a few students not nominated by one, but two teachers. She was also recognized by her yearbook teacher, Kyle Bergem. Her hard work doesn't stop in the classroom either, as local cement workers could attest.

"The past three summers, ages 15, 16 and 17, Jennifer worked for Burns Brothers Masonry," Holm's mother, Angela, said. "It was hard work and she did it admirably. She always impressed truck drivers who came across her working with a bunch of guys doing cement work. We know the Burns Brothers and Jennifer's dad works there also, but she was given no slack. She had long hard days."

Holm no longer works masonry. Instead she works at the Shell Station at A-Pine Express in Jenkins and at Jim's Trailer and Marine in Hackensack, all while pushing herself and her fellow students to do well in class. She took her fellow yearbook students under her wing particularly.

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"Before the school year even started I knew I would be joining yearbook from the year before. There was a meeting in August where everyone from yearbook had to go to local businesses and do sales pitches to fund the yearbook. There was slack in that and I offered to take up a lot more than my share because we divided the businesses amongst everyone who was a part of it to make it easier," Holm said.

As the year continued, Holm said she filled in for fellow yearbook students and took photos at other people's events in their place. She had taken on the role as editor.

"I was always the one to try and tell people to make sure they have their stuff done on time," she said.

Holm said her life on a small hobby farm with her family contributed to a responsible environment, and while she and her teachers say she never sought attention, she has been in leadership roles in the past.

"I was involved for a long time with my youth group at a church in Akeley," Holm said. "For a while I did that but after a couple years they no longer had enough kids to have youth group. I helped out as group leader for a year or so. Then I quit because I got a license and a job and did work like that for a while."

Until recent illness kept her out of sports, Holm was a softball player for Pine River-Backus. This year she increased her recreational activities and joined PR-B's Knowledge Bowl team.

"I don't have a lot of athletic ability," Holm said. "For Knowledge Bowl, we went to regions. We were only a few points away from making it to state, which was pretty neat."

Holm is still deciding if she wants to major in English or psychology, but she knows she plans to attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

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Who knows what kind of work she will take up while there.

"I'm pretty excited about that," Holm said.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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