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May 22, 2024 -- When it comes to Leiana Kraft, it would be no stretch to say that her teachers and classmates think the world of her. You see, Leiana is a 5th grade student at Walnut Street Elementary who participates in the school’s gifted and talented program. According to Christina Millington, Walnut Street’s gifted and talented interventionist, “[Leiana] has created projects for my Exploration Hour class in both 4th and 5th grades that truly set the bar high and serve as examples for me to share in the years to follow.”

As impressive as that may sound and look, (see pictures below of a few of her impressive projects) that is just the beginning of this 5th grader’s long list of accomplishments and activities.

Walnut Street Leiana Kraft

Leiana Kraft presenting a project she prepared on Paris, France.

"Leiana is a diligent and ambitious student who strives to always put a true effort into all that she does both in and out of school,” said Millington.

While Leiana is clearly an excellent student, who always pours 100% effort into every assignment and project, she is also a budding musician and thespian. At Walnut Street, she was the lead in the school’s Drama Club production playing Belle in Beauty and the Beast. As a standout vocalist, she has had solos in the honors chorus and also plays clarinet in the school’s band.

Walnut Street Leiana Kraft as Belle

Leiana performing as Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

"Leiana is a hardworking and dedicated individual who adds a lot to our school community especially the Wildcat Chorus where she has represented us in the Region 3 Elementary Honors Chorus along with four of her 5th grade classmates,” said Mrs. Coe, Walnut Street’s music & chorus teacher. “I am very lucky to have been her teacher," she continued.

Outside of school, Leiana recently auditioned for the Brick Children's Community Theater and has her fingers crossed for a part in one of their upcoming shows. She is also hoping to take piano, acting, or singing lessons over the summer. Further down the road, she is considering attending Ocean County Vocational Technical School Grunin Performing Arts Academy for high school.

But it doesn’t stop there. She enjoys giving back to the community by mentoring her peers. Over the summer, Leiana will be a part of the Teen Leadership/CIT (Counselor-In-Training) Program at the YMCA. Leiana is currently a part of Y-Kids and she will be paired with one of the Walnut Street YMCA counselors to work with an assigned group of youth campers during the summer program.

This comes as no surprise as Mrs. Millington noted, “Leiana is also always quick to volunteer her help to both peers and teachers.”

With all of that, it would seem that her schedule would have to be jam-packed. However, she still finds time to participate in the school’s Kindness Club and Girls on the Run.

“It has been an absolute pleasure working with Leiana and I cannot wait to see all that she accomplishes in the future," said Mrs. Millington.