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Class Acts: Knowledge is power; Moorhead, Minn., teen helps youth

Annise Montplaisir of Moorhead, Minn., has spearheaded a literacy program to help grade school children improve their reading skills, is an active member in 4-H where she stands out as a leader and mentor in Clay County and also at the state level, and coaches middle school children for a Horse Knowledge Bowl team.

Editor's Note: This is the final story in a six-part series recognizing teenagers who make a difference in their communities.

Name: Annise Montplaisir

Age: 17

Hometown: Moorhead, Minn.

Parents: Perry and Annette Montplaisir

Future career plans: The Moorhead High senior is still looking at colleges and is considering a major in journalism/communication and a minor in Spanish. She would like to work in the horse racing industry.

How she makes a difference in her community: Annise is active in 4-H and competed twice at the national level in horse knowledge and speech. She coaches middle school students on a Horse Knowledge Bowl team, leading them to state their first year.

She also spearheaded a literacy program to help grade school children improve their reading skills.

Annise teaches Sunday school and is a liturgical dance team captain at her church. She's also been involved in horse shows, student council, track and orchestra.

What her nominator said: "Annise loves to read and is never seen without a book. Her belief is that being a good reader is extremely important and can take you anywhere you wish to go in life. Assisting grade school students with their reading skills is a way for her to help children stay on track for a brighter future. Tutoring children in an afterschool program is her way of sharing her own love of reading."

Why it's important to her to be so involved: "It's really important to me to make a difference in my community and I guess make a difference in people's lives because, if you want to see change in the world, it's never going to happen if somebody doesn't make that change and somebody doesn't put in the effort to help other people."

Her favorite volunteering moment: "I've really, really enjoyed coaching the junior Horse Knowledge Bowl team because I've competed in Horse Knowledge Bowl for so long myself and I learned so much from it that I decided that I wanted to start my own team and coach my own team so I could pass on my own knowledge and what I love most.

"It's been really exciting to see these girls learn about their horse and just the understanding that they have as they're coming along and learning and then also learning about sportsmanship and stuff as they compete and learning that you have to work hard to be successful. That's been really, really rewarding.

"I've gotten to pass on my passion to a younger generation."