Humans of Appleton North: Zoe Kraus

Mya Koffie

Zoe Kraus brings a specific sort of serenity into the room with her. A junior at Appleton North High School, Zoe exists like human sunshine: she is quick to laugh, and her clear, blue eyes glint with kindness. “I was actually homeschooled until freshman year,” she shares. Zoe recounts her memorable transition from homeschool to high school at North with a giggle. “It was very different…I remember going back home after the first day of school and going, ‘Oh, I have to go back tomorrow!’ It wasn’t like a one-time thing.” When asked about the most challenging aspect of integrating into North, Zoe notes that “learning how every teacher does things differently” proved difficult at first. The teachers are now Zoe’s favorite facet of the North community. “A lot of teachers are very caring and compassionate towards their students; they really care about their job,” she says. 

A talented musician, Zoe is involved in Appleton North’s band program. She played Keyboard Two (as a freshman!) in the school musical Matilda, which was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19. “I love [being in the] pit,” Zoe chimes. “It was great.” In the upcoming school musical, SpongeBob SquarePants, Zoe plans to play Keyboard One. “For me, it’s a release,” Zoe explains. She uses music to obtain a sense of clarity and peace. Zoe comes from a musical family and started playing music through the Yamaha Music Program when she was four years old. At seven, she began composing music of her own for the Junior Original Concert (JOC), a California-based institution for composers under the age of fifteen. She primarily composes jazz and swing music. Zoe submitted her original music to the JOC competition, and was one of the few young musicians in the entire nation selected to “go out and play.” 

Zoe’s music has been featured at four different JOC concerts, but Zoe is more than a phenomenal musician. An active Student Council member and Sources of Strength Peer Leader, Zoe cares deeply about showing up for others in her community. This year, Zoe says she hopes to determine what lies ahead of her and develop “an idea of where I’d like to go with [my passions]. I do not plan on majoring in music, which surprises a lot of people, but I plan to continue using it as an outlet.” As of now, Zoe plans to major in audiology or nursing after high school. With her caring spirit and incredible talents, the world could use a nurse—or audiologist—like Zoe Kraus. 


Appeared in Noctiluca‘s November 2021 Issue