Solon Springs senior earns $10,000 Herb Kohl scholarship

Hannah Koivisto plans to help inner-city youth in the juvenile detention system.
Senior Hannah Koivisto talks about the different items that were ordered for mental health wellness boxes at Solon Springs School on Feb. 26. Funded by the Solon Springs Educational Foundation, the 380 boxes of items will be distributed to students and teachers as part of Koivisto's senior project. (Jed Carlson /

Solon Springs High School student Hannah Koivisto earned a $10,000 Student Initiative Award from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation, the organization recently announced.

In addition to 100 Teacher Excellence Fellowships, the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation gives out 100 Student Excellence and 100 Student Initiative scholarships annually. The intent of the Initiative Scholarship is to recognize students who put forth extraordinary effort to do their best in the classroom and have overcome significant obstacles or adversity.

Solon Springs Principal Holly Jones called Koivisto a “rockstar” student.

“She’s a really kind, passionate, empathetic individual — just one of those seniors we’re proud of,” Jones said. “She is really sensitive to social emotional health. I think that’s her career path.”

RELATED: A box of hope: Solon Springs student creates boxes focused on youth mental health Solon Springs senior's project provides positive avenues for students to work out their feelings.


RELATED: Superior teacher's passion for education earns state recognition A recipient of a 2021 Herb Kohl Fellowship, Andy Wolfe is known among colleagues and students for his passion and intensity.

Koivisto said she wasn’t aware of the scholarship when she started making plans for her post-high school education. She will attend Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College for two years. After that, she plans to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago to double-major in psychology and criminal justice. She wants to focus on institutional racism and helping inner-city youth.

“I want to work in inner cities — that’s why I want to go to Chicago,” Koivisto said. “And I want to give them the opportunity. I want to work in juvenile detention centers, especially because there, they just feel so alone all the time.”

Past local Student Initiative Award winners

2021: Hannah Koivisto, Solon Springs High School

2020: Cayleigh Burdick, Superior High School

2016: Taya McClure, Northwestern High School

2015: McKayla Waggoner, Northwood School

2014: Anna Kirkwood, Superior High School


2009: Timothy O’Halloran, Northwestern High School

2003: Eric Jacobson, Northwestern High School

2001: Megan Elm, Solon Springs High School

2000: Megan Landgreen, Northwestern High School

1999: Nhia Xiong, Superior High School

1998: Jared Bielanski, Northland Secondary School, Superior; Monica Moen, Northwood High School: Emily Rico, Maranatha Academy, Superior

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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