18-year-old to graduate in May with associate degree


Elise Kruse, an exceptional 18-year-old from Tecumseh, is wrapping up her time at the JC/LISD Academy, a journey that began in middle school.

“The more I learned about it, the more I felt like this was the right experience for me,” she said.

She immediately appreciated the small class sizes and dedicated professors.

“I found some of my favorite teachers here. I formed some pretty good connections with a lot of them so that has been a wonderful thing,” she said. “The sort of curriculum that I feel focuses on the success of the student, rather than trying to make it as hard as possible. They really care about you learning.”

The experience left an indelible mark on Elise. Although there were disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic she credits the academy for fostering her growth in unexpected ways.

“They try to establish team building and personal growth like soft skills, basically your ability to interact with other people,” she said. “With the precautions at the time, it was definitely delayed for me being at home but I eventually came back and I was able to grow a lot which I thought was never going to happen because I’m such a shy and introverted person.”

But, you couldn’t tell by her volunteer efforts. Volunteerism is an integral part of her life. She serves as a student ambassador, president of the Yearbook club, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, recipient of the TRADES award for exceptional work habits, teamwork and responsibility, a chemistry tutor and a student employee at the Jackson College @ LISD TECH campus as an office assistant.

“That has been a really good opportunity for me to grow because I really didn’t have many people skills,” Kruse said. “Especially talking on the phone. In this generation where everybody texts, I never really had to do that. While it was nerve-wracking at first, that has helped me a lot.”

She has dedicated more than 100 hours of community service participating in a beautification project between the JC @ LISD Tech building and the Tech center, trash clean-ups at local parks, participated in various food drives along with volunteering at Child Life at the Toledo Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland and a cat shelter.

“I just really like helping people,” Kruse said. “It’s one of the things that I’m most passionate about. For example, at the cat shelter being able to see people who are getting to adopt a new cat how happy they are. A few people have hugged me because they were so excited and it fills my heart with joy.”

Elise is set to graduate in May with an associate degree in science aspiring to launch a career in the medical field. A dream she has had since childhood.

“I can remember wanting to be a doctor,” she said.

Her early experiences, including being born prematurely and spending time in the NICU, as well as witnessing a schoolmate battle cancer in the first grade fueled her determination to enter the medical field.

She plans on going to a four-year university and majoring in either chemistry or neuroscience. Elise hopes to pursue a pre-med curriculum and go to medical school. She completed the Health Care Career program at the LISD Tech Center where she learned basic medical terminology, how to take vitals, became CPR and Basic First Aid certified and completed three different clinical rotations at an Adrian-area hospital.

“I have a lot of things I want to accomplish,” she said. “I just want to become the most successful version of myself that I can and make a positive change in the world somehow.”

For any middle- or high-schooler considering joining the academy, Elise encourages them to take the leap.

“If there’s anybody out there who feels they really need more independence, who wants a little bit more of an academic challenge I would strongly just taking a look here because it was really wonderful,” she said.

JC @ LISD TECH is located on 1372 N. Main Street in Adrian.