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Elk Mound High School salutatorian: Isabella Hollister

Isabella Hollister

ELK MOUND  — Isabella Hollister is the Elk Mound High School Class of 2022 salutatorian.

She is the daughter of Rick and Jodi Hollister of Eau Claire.

What does it mean to have earned the title of salutatorian?

Being the salutatorian of my graduating class is a great feeling. Throughout high school, I did not focus on being salutatorian, but I worked to maintain straight A’s and retain the information I was being taught. By earning the title of salutatorian, I feel a rewarding feeling of accomplishment because all of my hard work and late nights of studying have paid off and allowed me to reach this academic achievement.  

What was your most memorable event?

My two favorite memories from high school include playing Colfax at home for volleyball my senior year and playing Glenwood City for the conference title my junior season of softball. Playing Colfax this past fall for volleyball was a night I will always cherish. 

This night was so memorable because of the electric atmosphere in the gym and all of the family and friends I had present to support me. Being that it was senior night and we were playing our rivals, my friends from the grade above me who had graduated the previous season came back to watch me play. I also had multiple extended family members at this game, and the student section was extra loud to cheer on their two volleyball seniors. 

While the game did not show a win on the scoreboard, it was still a win for me. It was a very competitive game, and I left my all on the court. This game was memorable because I was doing something I love, with the teammates I love, with family and friends all there to support me.

Playing Glenwood City last softball season for the conference title was another extremely memorable experience. It was finally a hot day for softball, with the sun shining bright, and our team was lucky to get to play a great softball game. 

I remember all of the fans cheering, and our dugout being so loud and involved in the game. The game went for 11 innings with each inning becoming more and more competitive. 

Again, we didn’t have the outcome we had hoped for going into the game, but the game was still a win for me because our team came together to support each other and compete by leaving it all on the field. I will always cherish this night because of the competitive atmosphere and support between teammates and from fans that night. 

What were your favorite high school classes?

My favorite three courses that I took in high school include Spanish III, Biology II and Government. 

I am currently taking Spanish III, and I love the class because not only do we get to learn another language, but we also get to learn about many different cultures around the world. 

Senora Rykal does a wonderful job helping us to learn and understand the Spanish language, but she also teaches us about different Spanish speaking countries. Every Friday we have a “culture day” to learn about a different tradition or aspect of culture. The incorporation of learning about culture as well as the Spanish language makes Spanish III a very enriching course that helps to broaden students’ perspectives of the world.

Biology II is another favorite class of mine because I love learning about biology and applying biology to the world around me. In this class, I had the opportunity to learn about a variety of different biological processes, to learn how to study and interpret case studies, and to learn how to conduct my own research and experiments. This course was a wonderful experience and has strengthened my decision to be a biology major next year.

Government was another wonderful course. I took government my junior year during the election when the political climate was especially tense, COVID-19 was raging and there were multiple controversial cases occurring about policing. 

In addition to taking government during this timeframe of hot current events, our class had a very wide range of beliefs and opinions on each of these topics. This class will forever be one of my favorites because we learned to disagree respectfully with one another, encourage others to share their opinions, even if they were different from our own, and to actively and intently listen to others and their ideas.

Our class was very fortunate to have gotten to not only learn from our incredible teacher, Mrs. George, but to also have learned from one another’s experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed this class because we were able to debate some of the most controversial topics in an in-depth and respectful manner. 

The point of our discussions was not to force our own opinions on one another, but to learn from one another and respect and understand each other’s reasoning.  

In what high school activities were you involved?

During high school, I was a part of the varsity basketball team my freshman through junior year, a part of the varsity softball team my freshman through senior year, the student council class president my junior and senior year, a member of the National Honor Society my senior year, and a 2 to 5 year old Sunday school teacher of my church my freshman and sophomore year. 

During high school, I loved each of these activities equally. I loved being a part of athletics because it kept me busy, allowed me to compete and set goals, and allowed me to make wonderful friendships and memories with both teammates and coaches. I loved being a part of both student council and NHS because it allowed me to give back to my school and community as well as help my peers with any issues or concerns they had personally or related to the whole school. 

Lastly, I also loved teaching Sunday school to 2 to 5 year olds at my church because I enjoyed getting to work with this age of kids as they are little sponges at this time who are eager to soak up information and learn. 

While I was their Sunday school teacher, it was their enthusiasm and energy that reminded me the importance of always staying curious and being eager to earn. Their thirst for knowledge and their empathy towards each other is something I think many high schoolers, and even adults, could and should learn from. This was a very inspiring and rewarding experience. 

What are you summer plans?

After graduation, I will be wrapping up our high school softball season, working a summer job (where is to be determined as I am currently applying and interviewing for multiple places), umpiring youth softball and baseball games, mowing lawns for my neighbors, and spending lots of time with my family and friends outdoors hiking, traveling, fishing and on the lake.

What are you plans for college or technical school?

Beginning in the Fall of 2022, I will be living on campus and attending UW-Eau Claire as a biology major. I will be a biology major because I wold like to complete UWEC’s pre-professional study program for Pre-occupational Therapy school and become a certified OT. I hope to eventually work as an OT who travels to school districts to work with children in need of occupational therapy.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Overall, my time at Elk Mound has been a great experience. I have made wonderful friends, been inspired by many educators and coaches as well as community members, and found a community that has allowed me to plant roots but to also continue growing and absorb as much of what the world has to offer as I can. 

I am so thankful for all of the opportunities as well as lessons I have learned growing up in Elk Mound. As I continue to grow and continue on my life’s journey, I will always look back to the community that raised me and remember the support, love and knowledge that Elk Mound provided me. Wherever I end up on my journey, I hope to impact others and my future community just as Elk Mound impacted me. 

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