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Bailey Yliniemi: A one-of-a-kind Menahga School senior

Menahga School senior Bailey Yliniemi, right, met Gov. Mark Dayton through the VFW Voice of Democracy program. (Submitted photo)

“Idle hands are the devil’s playground.”

Apparently Menahga High School Senior Bailey Yliniemi has taken this saying to heart.

Now almost graduated, Yliniemi has kept herself consistently busy throughout her high school career, being a part of numerous student and community groups while also writing speeches, giving presentations and winning awards through it all.

Yliniemi has a lengthy resume already, having never gone to college. It includes involvement in organizations such as being the president of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), involvement in the National FFA Organization, Agriculture Education, a four-year participant at the annual Knowledge Bowl, involvement in the National Honor Society (NHS), 4-H, and various VFW sponsored programs.

Bailey took a minute to describe some of the participation she has had in her various groups.

“(Through 4-H) I work with kids through the Boys and Girls club in summer activities, 4-H after school and I do a bunch of projects for them with clothing, sewing and crafts. I’ve gone to the state fair and Washington, DC for a leadership camp through the organization in 2011,” Yliniemi said.

“For the FCCLA each region has a representative for a category. My category was digital stories for change and I made a video about making healthy choices. There are a bunch of motivational speakers and workshops. For FFA I did a prepared public speech about wolf hunting, which I will be going to state for because I got first in regional competition,” Yliniemi said.

Her details of community and academic involvement didn’t stop there.

“I was inducted into the NHS my junior year of high school and elected as the chairperson. Through NHS we do a lot of community service. One of my biggest ones is Ruby’s Pantry, which is a non-profit food distribution organization. We unload a truck of food, organize the food based on weight and each person gets so much to distribute to the community,” Yliniemi said.

“I have also always helped with veteran’s dinners and Memorial Day services; whatever is needed. Just this year I went to the “state of democracy” competition through the VFW. I felt that I needed to do something, so I went home and made a t-shirt, and am now selling shirts for The Bent Star Project which raises funds to bring the remains of MIA’s and POW’s home, focusing on the Pacific battles during WWII. It’s going really well and we’ve raised almost $1,000.”

Not high on self-promotion, Superintendent Mary Klamm and high school Principal Dan Stifter both praise and admire her efforts within their school.

“Bailey is a hard working student, who is willing to take on challenges in her school work and volunteer work. She brings an ‘I Can Do’ attitude to our school. She is very involved in projects, clubs and activities, participating not only to improve her skills and abilities, but to also help and support those around her,” Stifter said.

“Bailey will be successful in whichever career path she decides to pursue. She is a very driven young lady.”

Not one for organized sports, Yliniemi likes to keep busy in her free-time by hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and generally spending time outdoors.

Yliniemi plans to attend The University of Minnesota-Crookston this fall to major in either natural resources (in the hopes of being a wildlife biologist and avoiding a “desk job”), or a motivational speaker.

Nick Longworth
A graduate from St. Cloud State University, Nick photographs and writes a variety of stories for nearly every section of The Park Rapids Enterprise. His duties also include section layouts and online content submission.
(218) 732-3364