Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight: Pierce's Sydney Erickson

Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight: Pierce's Sydney Erickson

By Tyler Dahlgren

For all the places senior year has taken Sydney Erickson, from Capitol Hill to sunny southern California and Dallas, Texas, her high school days are winding down with a morning walk around a quiet lake in her hometown.

While she misses the normalcy of school, her teachers and her friends and the building excitement around prom and graduation from Pierce High School, this walk is part of her new routine. A nice way to start a new day in her new normal.

One foot in front of the other.

“These are things that people talk about since you’re in elementary school, and then they’re just taken away from you, so it was kind of a shock,” said Erickson. “Really, it kind of rocked my world, but it’s important to also have some perspective. I’ve been really fortunate. My family has stayed really healthy through this, and there are other families throughout Nebraska that haven’t been so lucky.”

Erickson’s ability to articulate such a perspective may be due, in part, to the experiences she’s had during her time at Pierce High School. She’s the state’s FCCLA president, and the president of Pierce’s National Honor Society chapter. As a sophomore, Erickson was president of the State Peer Officer Team (SPOT), of which she was also selected Financial Fitness Chairman and Overall Council Chairman.

Erickson represented the Bluejays at state golf in each of her four years, placing ninth as a junior and sixth this past fall. She was on the speech team for three of those years and has also been involved with choir and Girls Letter Club.

Getting involved is something that came naturally for Erickson. It runs in the family. Her mom and aunts and cousins were FCCLA members. From the start, her parents encouraged her to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible.

Looking back, she’s glad she listened.

“It’s been a great experience that’s not only benefited me in high school, but I’m going to see the lasting effects of it in the future,” she said. “When I start looking for a career and to become an active community member, it’s something I’ll be able to cherish and those experiences I’ll be able to apply to the real world.”

FCCLA has taken Erickson across the country, given her priceless memories and invaluable direction. She advocated on behalf of family and consumer sciences to policymakers in Washington D.C. and would love to land an internship for a senator in the nation’s capital somewhere down the road.

“I’ve really made some incredible friends along the way, too, and I’ll always be grateful for that,” she said.

And for all the places she’s been during an eventful high school career, this one, with her school and the lake and her teachers and friends, is by far one of Erickson’s favorites.

“Pierce is just a really warm and welcoming place,” she said. “Everybody knows everybody here, and everyone cares about everyone. If you’re in a slump, people around the community are going to be there for you and care about you and support you, no matter what.”

Erickson credits family, friends, teachers and her principal, Mark Brahmer, for her accomplishments over the last four years.

“He wants the best for all of us and wants us to have the best experience in everything we do,” she said. “Mr. Brahmer has been a big inspiration for me to really push myself and to get involved. He’s been a supporting factor in everything I’ve done through high school.”

And though classes have shifted online, Erickson still communicates with her teachers on a daily basis. She receives emails and phone calls, check-ins that show how much her school cares. Check-ins that mean the world.

“I would say thank you for pushing us to be the best people and leaders we can be, and for helping us to be prepared for situations like this in the real life after high school,” Erickson said of those staff members. “I would say thank you for staying with us and giving us a sense of normality through the coronavirus and when we’re not together. Even though we may be separated, we’re still connected in so many ways.”

In the fall, Erickson will attend Doane University, where she’ll play golf and major in business administration with a minor in economics and strategic communications. The future, for Erickson, is beyond exciting, built on a past she’ll never stop cherishing.

“I think this has been such an incredible year,” Erickson said. “I’ve had so many amazing opportunities, and then just being able to enjoy the little things with my friends around school and what we’ve shared, it’s something I’ll never forget.”