From goalie to goal-setter: Kruse bound for college with eyes on medical career
Editor's note: This is the first of four planned features on graduating Worthington High School seniors in advance of the May 25 commencement exercises.
WORTHINGTON — In a little less than two weeks, Worthington High School seniors will don caps and gowns and celebrate a milestone on their journey of life — graduation.
Among this year’s graduating class is Bailey Kruse, a self-proclaimed tomboy who loves hunting and fishing and tended goal for the girls high school hockey team for the past four years. At the same time, respect from her peers led to leadership positions in the FFA — chapter secretary as a junior and vice-president her senior year — and secretary of the National Honor Society.
By the way, she’s also graduating with highest honors.
Kruse began her education at Brewster Elementary, continuing there until the middle of sixth grade, when she transferred to District 518.
“I am really happy I came here,” she said. “I’m happy I went to Brewster. I just feel like in Worthington, there’s so many more options. There were different classes I could take; band and marching band and National Honor Society.”
As a freshman, Kruse competed on the school’s trap shooting team, and was a member of the tennis team for four years.
“It was something to get me in shape for hockey,” she said of the fall sport. As a senior, however, Kruse stayed off the court due to some hip problems. That, and she didn’t want to cause any injuries that would keep her from goaltending.
Kruse’s love for hockey began in kindergarten, and she begged her parents to join hockey. They told her they’d consider it when she entered the first grade — hoping she’d forget about it, Bailey admitted with a smile.
She didn’t forget, though, and her determination to be on the ice led to a 12-year stint in the Worthington hockey program.
“I played a little bit of everything,” she said. “I had the crazy idea to be a goalie. That’s where I ended up. Not my best idea — it gets to be hard on the body.”
Kruse joined the varsity squad in the seventh grade, and was named starting goalie as a freshman. It’s a position that requires concentration.
“You always have to pay attention. I get caught not paying attention sometimes and that really doesn’t work,” she said with a grin.
Hockey taught Kruse teamwork and leadership. She was the captain for three years and was proud of the camaraderie of the team.
“We didn’t always have the most successful seasons, but we did it to have fun,” she said.
Leadership development and teamwork also came into play in the FFA, which Kruse joined as a freshman. She competed on the Best Informed Greenhand team as a ninth-grader, joined the food science and nursery landscape teams for the experience and was on the Parliamentary Procedure team as well. As both a junior and senior, she served as the chapter’s delegate to the Minnesota FFA Convention in St. Paul.
Being in the FFA, said Kruse, shows students that the harder they work and the more they put in, the more they get out of the program.
“The more effort we put in, the better we did each year,” she added.
Kruse will take what she’s learned in the classrooms at Worthington High School with her as she embarks on her next journey — becoming a student at the University of Minnesota-Rochester to major in health sciences this fall. Her plans are to earn a bachelor of health science degree and then begin four years of medical school. Ultimately, her goal is to become an anesthesiologist.
“I was initially thinking surgery, but I’m not sure I’d like to do that sort of stuff,” she said.
During both her junior and senior years of high school, Kruse enrolled part-time in the Post-Secondary Education Option (PSEO), taking several courses at Minnesota West Community & Technical College in Worthington.
“Hopefully I can shave off a little of my first four years (of college) with PSEO,” she said of the 20 to 30 college credits she’s already earned. “I’m glad I didn’t do full-time PSEO. I like seeing all my friends every day. There’s lots of opportunities (in high school). It’s easy to stay involved with everything.”
During her high school career, Kruse was inspired by several teachers who played an integral part in her success. She listed all three of her agriculture instructors and FFA advisors — Deb Martin, Matt Tripp and Brett Schmidt — along with band instructor Jon Loy and science teacher Paul Olsen, who was also her hockey coach every year since the first grade.
“I’ve pretty much always got along with all of my teachers,” she added.
When Kruse wanted to drop band as a freshman, Loy wouldn’t accept it. Their compromise — she could stop playing the trumpet as long as she joined the marching band’s front line as a banner carrier.
“He can be a pretty smooth talker,” Kruse said of Loy with a smile. “A trip senior year was his bribery to get me to stay.”
Kruse travelled with the band to Florida as a freshman, and to Hollywood, Calif. as a senior.
“It’s a lot of fun; going there with all your friends too,” she said. “It’s something I’m really glad I got to do.”
Outside of high school and sports, Kruse has maintained a part-time job at Subway since the summer before her junior year.
Kruse is the daughter of Chris and the late Jan Kruse and has one older brother, Isaac.