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Senior Spotlight: Lily Johnson has the drive to make a difference

In an age where kids are often encouraged to focus on excelling in one area, Monticello High School is full of students that defy such standards.

One of the leading examples for that is senior Lily Johnson. A standout hockey player since she started playing at the age of 3, Johnson could’ve just made hockey her thing and put all of her energy toward that. Instead, she picked up both track and cross country in middle school. She also continued to put academics above each of those sports. And in between, she’s found time for volunteering, mentoring, and earned herself an induction into the National Honor Society at MHS.

It is her drive for excellence in all areas, as well as her kindness and warmth to everyone she encounters, that make Johnson stand out to MHS leadership.

“The words that I would use to describe Lily are kind, selfless and driven,” said MHS Assistant Principal John Reeves. “She is kind to the members of our school community and those that surround her recognize this. She is selfless in giving up of herself to meet the needs of others and she has displayed a consistent drive to better herself as an individual through the activities that she is involved in.”

Johnson has firmly established herself a leader at the high school in a number of different ways. She is a three-sport captain, she is a Magic mentor to freshman, and she puts in volunteer time with community youth, especially at the hockey rink.

“I don’t get much of a break,” admitted Johnson, with a smile. “But that’s OK.”

Johnson always puts school first, noting that if she has to be late to practice for school-related reasons, then that is just the way it has to be. And she thoroughly enjoys aspects of her school work as well, especially science related fields. Currently she’s interested in pursuing science education as a potential future.

But she clearly finds plenty of time to invest in her sports as well. Johnson is a standout in all three sports, helping to lead the Riverhawks to a scintillating start to this season, before beginning to prepare for D-II cross country and track and field careers at Bemidji State University.

Even above the success, it’s been the connections she’s made that have highlighted her sports career.

It really gets you involved. You get to know a lot of different kinds of people, and different groups, so that’s really fun,” said Johnson. “And it just gives you something to do, something to take your mind off grades and stuff like that, it kind of keeps your mind clear.”

People and connections are a consistent theme when Johnson discusses her favorite moments at MHS, and the memories she’ll walk away with.

Some of her favorite stories come from her time spent volunteering with the local youth hockey program.

“That’s a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s really hard work too,” said Johnson, laughing. “You have to hold them up sometimes. But, it’s so much fun seeing their faces when they touch the ice.”

Johnson has worked hard to help make MHS a welcoming place, and she has felt that vibe from others across the school as well. It’s one of the things she’ll remember most about her time at the high school.

“All the teachers have a good atmosphere in their classrooms. They’re always willing to help, and have a big smile on their faces,” she said. “All the people here are just really nice. I like the atmosphere in the whole school.”

Reeves said that Johnson will be missed at MHS next year, but that the school is excited to see what the future has in store for the standout student athlete.

It has been an absolute pleasure to see the growth and impact of Lily Johnson,” he said. “She is well prepared for her next steps.”