SHELLSBURG, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- You don't have to be in high school or middle school to set an example for younger students. 11-year-old Kenna Kurth has already become a role model at Shellsburg Elementary. The fifth grader reads with a second grader every Friday at school and volunteers in the library. “She’s a natural,” says teacher associate Joan Beatty. “She’s very friendly to them and very caring about them. They look up to her.”
“Kenna’s always one of the first ones to volunteer to help somebody,” says her teacher, Lori Franks, who adds that Kurth is always willing to help her in class.
Kurth is also a leader on her soccer team, with the goal of inspiring others to be a good sport. "After every game, I high five the ref and tell them thank you,” says Kurth. “And I go to coaches and say thank you for coaching their team.”
The ref noticed, and her positive attitude led to a sportsmanship award and a ripple effect on her team. "It's spread on them and they do it now. So it's kind of a group thing that everybody's doing now,” she says.
She runs with a group called Soul Sisters. It’s a running club that also helps girls learn to love themselves and be more confident. Through the club, she’s built a stronger bond with her fifth grade teacher. “It brought us a little closer; to have an activity that we can both do together,” says Franks. “We're both motivated, determined and competitive. And I knew that she was a very fast runner. I was expecting at the time and she was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with her."
Kurth strides for excellence in the classroom. She's in the top tier of her class, winning a Presidential Award to round out her career at Shellsburg Elementary. "She's always been very determined, she's always really cared about her school work and she's always cared about herself,” says Franks.
Next year will be a new chapter for Kurth as she moves to middle school. “I've been here for eight years and it's going to be weird to go to a new school with new teachers, but I'm kind of excited for the change.”