Wrenshall senior class gives up trip to help classmate

The class asked to donate more than $7,000 to their classmate, Janae Sjodin, who was injured in a serious car crash on March 24.

Senior photo
Wrenshall senior Janae Sjodin poses for her senior photo with a basketball, a softball and a volleyball.
Contributed / Emma Grover

WRENSHALL — Instead of taking a trip together this spring, the Wrenshall senior class has asked to donate the funds to the recovery of one of their classmates.

Wrenshall senior Janae Sjodin was injured in a serious car crash while driving with her sister on March 24. In order to help her family pay for her recovery, the senior class petitioned the school board on Monday, April 17 to donate the funds for the senior class trip to Sjodin's recovery.

Teammates, community come together to support Janae Sjodin

Senior class advisors Tim Rahkola and Delaney Knudson read a statement prepared by the students and presented the board with a petition signed by nearly every member of the class.

"Janae has had a long road to recovery and we feel it is important and necessary to donate our money to this cause and there is nothing else we would rather put our money towards as a senior class," read the statement. "Janae is our classmate, friend, teammate and so much more. She is a kind, hard working, dedicated and positive role model ... We have been keeping her in our prayers every day. We know she will pull through this and come out on top even better than before as she is strong-willed, determined and courageous."

The class had raised $7,280 in their trip fund.


A handful of community members wiped away tears and called for a round of applause for the students' generosity.

Superintendent Kim Belcastro stated that some legal concerns would need to be addressed in order to make the move, and the board would have to approve the donation at the next meeting in May.

She also thanked the students for their gesture.

"This just speaks to the amazing students that we have here," Belcastro said. "I couldn't be prouder of our students for handling it the way that they did. I didn't know this was happening, and I just couldn't be more impressed with their commitment and support for Janae and her family."

Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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