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Stories of us: Altamont | Beecher City | Dieterich | Effingham | St. Anthony | Teutopolis

Blood, kindness, and hard work.

Ellie Waymoth Effingham High School

As someone who spent most of her time, growing up, in a swimming pool, it might have been hard to imagine what sort of arc would take form in her life, but after her competitive swimming was interrupted at age 12 by a ruptured appendix, and then a broken foot that same summer, Ellie Waymoth found a new gear: hard work. Even harder work than that which had brought her this far. Struggling to regain her competitive position was both hard and, at the same time, rich with perhaps the singular key lesson of her life to that point, that hard work will always beat talent that doesn’t work hard. Ellie is quick to admit, when I ask her about her how she likes school, that “It’s good; I love it, and I do well, but I have to work for it.” She tells me that she studies really hard for every grade she earns. All of which brings us back to blood, kindness, and hard work; these are all things to which Ellie seems inexorably drawn. And it’s a good thing, because she intends to be a nurse.


I ask her how she will change the world through becoming a nurse and her answer tells me everything I need to know about her. “Nurses are important because they play a huge role in a patient’s mood, and that patient’s mode plays a huge role in their recovery.” She could have told me about the importance of expert medical assistance in the generalized administration of medical care, or she could have told me about the 95% of contact nurses have with their patients versus the 5% their doctors have. But she didn’t. Instead, she told me of the value of kindness and compassion. And that speaks volumes. She saw it when her mother was a cancer patient years earlier. Through the eyes of her youth, she saw nursing compassion up-close and personal and it led her to an interest in helping others. But the patients she wanted to help would never be able to thank her or pay forward her brand of compassionate care; Ellie wanted to become a veterinarian. For as long as she could remember, she wanted to work with animals. And then one day, that all changed.


She and two other Health Occupations students had been invited to scrub-up and join the surgical suite at the local hospital as a surgeon performed an unnamed, but ‘particularly gory’ procedure. At the first sight of blood, two of the three students made their polite, but shaken exit. Neither of them were Ellie. Nope, Ellie stayed for the entirety of the procedure and decided then and there that she was hooked. She would become a nurse.


Ellie heads to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville this Fall and will be rooming with two of her friends from EHS. They say empathy, kindness, and compassion are in short supply in our modern world. Through her passion for helping others, Ellie Waymoth will be working to amply restock those shelves.

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