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Isabella Kronewitter Effingham High School
Funny thing about the pursuit of a passion…sometimes it sneaks up on you when you’re least expecting it. Such is the case here. Had it not been for a chance encounter with Bella, 3, and Miah, 5, Isabella may well be headed in a very different post-secondary direction. Through a series of unlikely events, the two wound up being fostered in the Kronewitter home for 8-months. During this time, Isabella saw in Bella and Miah the up-close and personal value of spoken communication and the implications of developmental delay. The children had a difficult start in life and lacked much of the nurture most children in Effingham County take for granted; socialization was especially bare. The elder Isabella became very attached to her namesake younger, and to her brother, and realized that she’d found her calling — Speech Pathology.
In a matter of weeks, she was able to arrange for a job shadowing opportunity with Kristin Greene in Flora at [need citation.] The experience was eye-opening and confirmed that she was on the right path. She will attend SIU Edwardsville in the fall as a Speech Pathology major, but it hasn’t always been a straight or an easy path. As a Junior in high school, she had a serious falling out with her best friend, a girl she’d grown up with. She says it was just ‘silly girl stuff,’ but it is clear that this was a hard loss for her. Junior year is usually the most challenging year in high school already, and this made it that much more challenging for Isabella. While she still had friends, she really missed her bestie. Recovering the friendship was clearly important to them both and, as it turns out, their reconciliation has led to them becoming college roommates this fall in Edwardsville. Beyond the nearly year-long hiatus from her best friend, the junior year and ramp-up to college applications also taxed her in surprising ways she hadn’t seen coming.
I asked Isabella how she would advise her younger self and she said, “Knowing now what I know, I’d definitely tell my younger self to work hard in school and be sure to manage your time well — I could have done much better — but don’t spend so much energy worrying about your grades. If you manage your time and efforts, your grades will take care of themself; spend more energy with your friendships and learn to relax a little.”
Time management has been a priority for Isabella for years. She’s seen it modeled in her family by her father — a firefighter, her mother — a caseworker for Head Start, and through her own experiences as a full-time student, a volunteer at the Effingham County Humane Society, and a member of the competitive cheer team. Life can fill-up pretty quickly, but managing our time and finding a passion to launch into is a wonderful lesson for us all. Isabella thinks she’s found hers and is excited to dig in and launch at Edwardsville this Fall.