Former classmates, teachers pay tribute to Allison Widderich

In memory of Allison Widderich, an outstanding student and friend, a few of us from Eastern Alamance High wanted to write a piece commemorating her love, dedication, and many talents. Here are some sentences of those closest to her.

Joseph Banko - Friend

“By the time we were five, Allison and I had our entire lives planned out. I don’t recall the full extent of what we decided on, but there are certain things I remember. I know that we planned on sharing a dog. I know that we planned on sharing a really big house. Our “planning years,” if you will, were the best I have ever known. She would write me notes with the phrase “ILUMU” (which means “I love you miss you”) scribbled in nearly illegible handwriting. I would reply with a random assortment of small plants and leaves I had discovered in my yard, taped to printer paper and dubbed a “nature collection.” The little things were all we had.

I’m almost eighteen, and those are the things I remember — and cherish — the most. Sure, there are many other things that stick out in my memory: early morning dog walks; her bizarre fear of clouds; kicking the exercise ball into the fan and not telling her parents; climbing on the shed roof and not telling MY parents; but it was the beginning of Joseph and Allison; the inception of a life-long friendship; that is of the utmost importance to me.

The little things are what remind me of what was fundamentally Allison: thoughtful, supportive, witty, driven, and just plain beautiful. She was my rock. She was my pillow. She was the best best friend I could ever hope for. She was always there, even if I didn’t want her to be at the time. Allison, I don’t know what I’ll do without you; where I’ll go on a torrid summer day; who I’ll look for in the crowd of every musical; where I’ll find solace in my hardest moments. For now, I’ll just say thank you. Those seventeen years we spent together were the best of my life. I know you’ll stay by my side forever. I’m so glad we’ve always had (and always will have) each other. I love you.”

Katie Evans - Friend

“Working as a lifeguard with Allison, I always joked that if someone needed to be saved, I hoped it was her who was there. With Allison in the stand, parents could relax easily, knowing their children were in good hands. With her by my side, I knew I would always have a dinner date, a ride, and a best friend. I will be reminded of her every time I hear Bruno Mars, see a blue civic, or step into New Millennium gym. She was the most faithful and reliable friend I could have asked for, and I will miss her dearly.”

Jenna Cary - Friend

“Allison was the epitome of an amazing student, daughter, sister, and friend. Whether it be because of her amazing swimming ability or obsession with Lil Wayne, her radiant personality always found a way to shine. She taught me so many different things like how to survive calculus and our traditional A relay handshake during swim. Allison could light up any room with just one smile. She truly was one of the most giving, dedicated, kind-hearted people I have ever met. I had the honor to have her as one of my best friends, and for that, I will be forever thankful.”

Chloe Glasgow - Friend

“I, along with everyone who was lucky enough to be her friend or even know her, was incredibly blessed to have her in my life. I’ll never listen to HeadBand without thinking about her. Thanks for being one of my best friends and my workout buddy, love you always.”

Kaila Hulsey - Friend

“Allison was one of my closest friends, and she was a positive light in my life as well as many others. She was so selfless and always ready to help me in any way she could. She is the only person that agreed with me that Bangerz is a good song, and she always told me that when Miley Cyrus came close to us we would go to the concert together. I will always cherish the many memories we have together, and I will continue to love and miss her forever.”

Matthew Neese - Friend

“Allison never rested, that’s what made her amazing at everything she did. She drove and pushed herself to be the best that she could be, all along with pushing everyone around her to be the best they can be. She was one of the most motivated individuals that any of us who knew her have, and will meet.”

Eric Swanson - Boyfriend

“Whether she was in the classroom, on the soccer field, or in the gym, Allison would always give it her all. She never gave up on anything, and her passionate personality is what led her to be the inspiration she was. Although she wasn’t very good at understanding sarcasm or keeping calm after seeing a cloud (yes, she was afraid of clouds), Allison truly knew how to make someone smile and enjoy every little moment. Her energy and upbeat attitude toward life is what I fell in love with and I will never forget the times we had.”

Patrick Stokes - Teacher

“Allison was extremely dependable, trustworthy, and a real difference-maker in our community. Her contagious smile and love of helping her fellow man are what made her such a wonderful person. Her initiative was second to none and words cannot express the admiration I always had for her.” 

Kris McClure - Teacher

“Allison had a warm, generous spirit that she showed in many ways. She was never shy about saying thank you or showing how much she appreciates you. From a hug in the hallway to a pomegranate for Christmas (just because she knew how much I loved them), I will always cherish Allison’s thoughtfulness and kindness. I was blessed to have her as a student, and I am sad that we won’t get to see all of the amazing things she was going to accomplish with her many talents.”

Aoife ONeill - Teacher

“Allison was such an incredible young woman—strong, intelligent, hard-working, talented, funny, and so, so kind. It was an absolute honor to teach her, and I will cherish the memories I have of her and all of you together. Her legacy will live on.” 

Kristy Cannell - Teacher

“Allison was a natural born leader. Her leadership abilities were widespread as shown by how she set the curve for almost every AP chemistry test, served as captain for multiple sports, and always stepped up in student council events. She was an asset to the entire Eastern Alamance High School community and will be greatly missed.” 

Marcus Jones - Teacher

“Allison filled me with pride every single day. As a medical professional, it is always my goal to help inspire someone to take up the mantle of helping those in need. One of my fondest memories of Allison was her telling me that she was going to be a doctor and that I’d better clear my calendar for her medical school graduation when the time came. There is no way I would have missed that ceremony and the chance to follow her throughout all she would accomplish. I felt blessed to have a small part in shaping her future.”

Allison Widderich - Personal Essay for her Wake Forest University Application 

“Every passion begins with an inspiration. Something sparks a person’s interest and in turn, they pursue it. Curiosity and excitement become the driving factors in a journey of a lifetime. Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to do in the future. Did I want to be a teacher, a police officer, a zookeeper, etc? Then one event changed my life and set me on the path I wanted to follow for the rest of my life. Having appendicitis inspired me to volunteer at UNC Hospitals as a junior volunteer, and that experience inspired me to pursue a career in the medical field.

On January 14, 2016, I got sick with what I figured was a typical throw-up bug. My mother always taught me to be tough about pain, so I didn’t think much of it. Then on the night of January 17, I felt a horrible pain in my abdomen. The next morning, my mom decided to take me to my primary doctor. This terrified me because I know my mother is not one to overreact considering she is a nurse. My doctor suggested that we go to UNC Children’s Hospital to get an ultrasound. After arriving in the Emergency Department, they took me up to have an ultrasound. The ultrasound was concerning, so on January 18 at 6:00 pm I had my appendix removed in surgery. I went into surgery with the hope of going home on my birthday which happens to be January 19. Turns out my appendix was ruptured, so I had to stay in the hospital for my 15th birthday. I was in the hospital for a total of 10 days because I had an abscess which required a drain and strong antibiotics. Those 10 days in the hospital were miserable, but while I was there I was able to interact with college volunteers. I saw the impact they had on brightening people’s day and decided I wanted to be a part of it. Later that year, I applied to join the junior volunteer program at UNC Hillsborough Hospital. The summer of 2016 I participated in my first summer of being a junior volunteer.

"Being a junior volunteer has been the most rewarding and inspiring experience of my life. Through this program, I have learned how to properly have patient interactions, how various areas of the hospital function, and how to perform multiple medical techniques. I have had the opportunity to work in three areas: GI Procedures, Imaging, and Oshibori. Each one of these areas has given me a different experience. GI Procedures allowed me to work hand in hand with the nurses and helped me understand how the staff function. I learned how to manage charts and read medical terminology. In imaging, I got to learn how to read X-rays and CT scans. In Oshibori, a Japanese practice that uses warm, lavender-scented towels to calm, I got experience with patient interactions. In addition to these experiences, I was able to participate in hands-on training. I ran through an entire trauma scenario with a dummy and a team of other high school students. We learned how to place IVs, to intubate, to drill into a skull (using an egg), and to splint and backboard in the field.

"These experiences have inspired me to pursue a future in the medical field. Seeing the impact medical professional have on patients, has changed my life. The ability to not only save lives but to brighten a person’s day is an experience I want to have every day. I aspire to research new medicines, discover new treatments, and maybe even find cures. Although medicine is rewarding, it is also heartbreaking. The ability to feel compassion for patients is something I have learned. I hope in the future I will have the ability to impact people’s lives for the better.” 

Our dear Allison, you have fulfilled this hope impacting as many lives as you could have ever imagined. May the students, staff, and community attempt to follow in your footsteps. Thank you and love you.