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A new, healthy attitude

Kaleb Lewis wasn’t always the best student, but he’s worked hard to get back on track and his effort has left an impression on those around him. He will graduate from Red Wing High School on Friday. (Republican Eagle photo by John R. Russett)

A few weeks before graduation, Red Wing High School senior Kaleb Lewis sat in a stuffy, cramped conference room at the high school and, using close to the fewest words possible, explained what he does.

“I work after school,” he said. “That’s about all I do.”

For Lewis, however, that’s not the full story.

Lewis was kicked out of school in seventh grade for behavior issues.

“I’m not real proud of the choices I’ve made in the past,” he said. “I was pretty bad.”

Through hard work Lewis has turned things around and he plans to attend St. Cloud Technical and Community College – something he didn’t think was a possibility just a few years ago — and said he’s proud of what he’s been able to accomplish to this point.

Options open up

Lewis said it wasn’t until 10th grade, when he started to do well in school, that he began to see college as an option.

“I didn’t see myself where I am today, though,” he said. “I was pretty bad back in seventh, eighth, ninth grade.”

Red Wing High School teacher Jennifer Grove said Lewis has come a long way.

“We’re pretty impressed with him here,” she said.

Lewis attributes his change in attitude to moving in with his aunt and uncle and “growing up.”

Grove said Lewis has participated in two different missions trips – one in Colorado and the other in New York – as well as going on the Goodhue County Education District’s annual Habitat For Humanity trip his sophomore and junior years.

“When he’s on those job sites he’s a leader, he knows what he’s doing and he’s pretty impressive that way,” Grove said.

Lewis said leadership comes naturally to him, so he takes it upon himself to help others.

Grove said Lewis is a great problem solver and he comes to interesting, well thought-out conclusions.

“He has a great sense of humor,” she said, which has been an asset to him.

In preparation for the fall, Lewis will work two jobs this summer – flipping burgers at Culver’s and working for Gilbertson Plumbing and Heating, which he did last summer as well.

A typical day, he said, will start on a job site at 7 a.m., where he’ll work until 4 p.m., and then end with a shift at Culver’s from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Lewis said he’s looking forward to graduation and starting college. He’s excited to study plumbing, get an apprenticeship and start his adult life.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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