Filling in for a queen and a friendFor some girls, being named homecoming queen is something they hope and dream of. But that hasn’t been Ann Haering’s focus as of late.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
For some girls, being named homecoming queen is something they hope and dream of. But that hasn’t been Ann Haering’s focus as of late.
The East Ridge High School senior is currently at the University of Minnesota Medical Center recovering from a bone/blood marrow transplant and subsequent complications related to her battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
As a result she was not able to take part in the Spirit Week festivities. But her presence was felt when it was announced during the royalty ceremony that she was the school’s Spirit Week queen.
“I thought it was wonderful,” said teacher and Spirit Week coordinator Bridget Plante. “(Ann) really is an incredible person and a wonderful student.”
As Haering was recovering in the intensive care unit, her best friend Nikki Soler gladly filled in during Spirit Week.
Soler and Haering first met in eighth grade at Lake Middle School when they played soccer together. They lost contact for several years, but were reunited last year at East Ridge.
“We instantly became best friends,” Soler said. “It’s just Ann.”
When Haering’s mother posted on the Caring Bridge website that they wanted Soler to fill in for Haering during the Spirit Week festivities, Soler said she instantly agreed to it.
“I felt like it was such an honor to be able to do it for her,” she said. “It’s the admiration for her strength and everything she’s been through — she’s literally fighting for her life.”
Coming together as a community
Soler said she had a feeling that Haering was going to get the crown because everyone in the school had been rallying behind her and supporting her.
“Everybody loves her,” Soler said. “It shows how much everyone admires how strong she is — everyone realizes how amazing she really is.
“It just showed that the East Ridge community really cared about Ann.”
Plante said it was amazing to see how much students rallied behind their classmate and supported her.
“She’s a very inspirational person to a lot of kids,” she said. “She’s really shown how courageous she is, how strong she is.”
When it was announced that Haering was indeed named Spirit Week queen, Soler said it was a little bittersweet for everyone since Haering wasn’t able to be there.
“It was really emotional,” she said. “I was super excited for her, but at the same time it was really sad because I would rather have had her been there.
“I was so honored to accept it, but it would have been so much more amazing to see her accept it.”
Plante said the students and staff are just waiting for the day they get to see Haering return to school.
“She was always volunteering, always had a positive attitude, always wanted to help,” she said. “She was always just a delight.”