News/opinion editor says final ‘goodbyes’

Elise Wilke-Grimm
News/Opinion Editor

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Young Elise Wilke-Grimm smiles for camera on Easter morning. Photo by Briget Wilke-Grimm

I’ve tried not to consider myself a very emotional person but, as I’m looking back on all of the memories I’ve had in our school it makes it hard not to cry. I can’t tell if it’s out of sadness or happiness but I think it is both.

I’m 100% looking forward to not having to attend anymore Zoom meetings (crossing my fingers) and getting out of this little school that once seemed bigger than the White House.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved my life as a high school student, even when I started my freshman year having basically no friends and a perm… it feels weird leaving and I’m excited, but it all just happened too fast, and the harsh reality of not being able to see the WGHS roaches again is starting to kick in.

It feels like I woke up one day and was just a senior in high school, then I rubbed my eyes and had only one week of school left. It’s crazy how much has changed and I definitely do not feel like the same girl who could barely even hold her pencil still while taking my first interviews.

I remember how at first I laughed at my parents for even suggesting that I join the Echo, I thought, “Wow, they must not know me at all that sounds so boring.” However, now I owe them for encouraging me into signing up for journalism.
Journalism was what I needed to pull me out of the dark hole of being a voiceless and freedomless weirdo. I didn’t know how much I needed the Echo until I joined, and I noticed my happiness level rising because I finally found something that I loved to do. I’m at a loss of words right now for how much I was saved by finding my passion.

Anyways, to start off with the “thank yous”: thank you mom and dad for seeing me in a way that I wasn’t able to see myself, I don’t know where I would be right now if I hadn’t joined the Echo.

Thanks to Improv Club, it was the first club I ever joined in high school, and it showed me that it is okay to be different. Thanks to Interact Club for providing some purpose to my little life.

Thanks to French class for getting me out of my comfort zone. Thanks to the film club for the Netflix Parties and the pre-COVID memories.

Thanks to the friends that have come and gone and made me the person I am today.

Thanks to my English teachers who have made me have so many existential crises yet feel so self-assured at the same time.

Thanks to the whole ECHO for being an open and non judgmental environment, and thank you Mr. “DonJohn” Johnson for being the most influential teacher I’ve ever had and for inspiring my future.

Though high school is only a small fraction of our lives it is a time of extraordinary change and growth. “Where are they now” is a question that will probably runthrough our minds frequently in five or 10 years if there is a lack of staying in touch due to how busy it gets trying to shape ourselves into the people we want to be.

However, I strongly believe that the connections we’ve made won’t dissipate after we walk the platform of “we made it,” because we will keep the memories and history we have together in our hearts so we can truly be friends forever (cue ‘Graduation’ by Vitamin C).

Anyways, I’m going to be studying journalism next year at Mizzou as soon as they let me into J-School. I will probably end up seeing a bunch of you there actually, and wow the world does not seem as huge as it did four years ago, so I will do all of you incoming freshmen, like my brother Calvin, a favor and answer that one grilling question: no, it’s nothing like “High School Musical” (but, I’m sure about 50% of all yearbook quotes could’ve told you that).

Elise Wilke-Grimm – News/Opinion Editor

This is news and opinion editor Elise Wilke-Grimm’s second year on ECHO staff. She is excited to continue working on the ECHO and get lots of chances to write.

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