By: Cody Funderburk, Staff Writer
As the year comes to end, many seniors are preparing to venture off into the world and seek out new opportunities. Of these graduating seniors, three are particularly special to the Echo: Grace Hatton, Josh Reiss, and Wyatt Pace. These profiles are a way of acknowledging the work that these students have done at Warren Wilson and the work that they’ve contributed to the Echo over the years.
Grace came to Warren Wilson because she was intrigued by the Triad as well as the opportunity to double major in creative writing and studio art. The student body, which she notes as having “purpose, compassion and drive,” was also a critical aspect in her decision to attend this school. The Circus, Work Day, drum circles, contra dancing, barbeques, service learning opportunities, and Dogwood are just a few of the quirky traditions that make the school so meaningful to Grace. In addition, the structure of the Triad and interrelatedness of student workers only serve to enhance the one-of-a-kind nature the school presents. “I have to admit, when I first came here, I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay, but I’m so glad I did,” said Grace. “This place has taught me so much about my chosen crafts, about people, about creating a healthy lifestyle, about the art of balancing so many commitments, about the world we live in and about how I can make real change.”
Grace joined the Echo her sophomore year at Wilson as a staff writer and social media coordinator. Originally, Grace had worked for the Media Relations crew her freshman year, writing articles for the Owl & Spade, but wanted to progress into writing more genuine and broad topic material. In her last three years on the Echo, Grace has worked as a staff writer, social media coordinator, Reverb editor, features editor, and web editor, and she now serves as the Editor-in-Chief. Being on the Echo has made Grace more responsive to potential news stories, and she is constantly on the lookout for the next big lead on a story. “Being on the Echo has taught me how much of an impact a small paper can have,” said Grace. “There has often been times when stories we’ve published have either received a lot of backlash or a lot of praise. Either way, they start a conversation on campus and to me that’s our goal, to start conversations, because conversations stir change.”
Memories of performing in the Circus every year, living in suites with her best friends, working with various service organizations in the area, hanging her senior art show, publishing her first Echo article, winning last semester’s International Photo Contest, and traveling Europe through International Programs are just some of the highlights Grace has enjoyed while studying here.
After graduation, Grace plans to relax in Orlando to recuperate from having a busy final semester. “I want to take some time to breathe,” she says. “This semester I completed two capstones for my studio art and creative writing majors at the same time, as well as being the editor for the Echo, and it took a lot out of me. So I’m gonna take a few weeks to decompress, then my older sister and I are heading on a cross country roadtrip before she goes to law school and I start grad school applications.”
Writing for and helping to produce the Echo during the past three years has allowed her to meet and engage with all sorts of interesting people in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Beyond the satisfaction Grace finds in writing stories and engaging with the community, Grace has made it a mission to make the Echo the best publication it can be. She hopes the community sees the fruits of that labor. “As a crew we make every effort to achieve excellence,” she states. “It’s a labor of love to create the Echo and no matter what we do, there will also be someone who finds something wrong, but please know that we strive to be the best we can be and in turn hope to provide this campus with an engaging, thoughtful and thorough publication.”
Josh Reiss :
Josh has worked as a photographer and designer, and he has run the advertising program for the Echo. Josh notes that the Echo provided him the potential to experience different aspects of Wilson and stay engaged in the happenings of the school. He chose to attend Warren Wilson out of intrigue for the structured yet experiential education, the small community feel, and the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. He also appreciates the value of having such a rich and diverse student body, full of unique, talented, and interesting students.
His favorite memory at Wilson took place during his sophomore year when he and his friends would drive to the farm and relax on a futon on the tailgate of his truck. After graduation, Josh will remain in Asheville for a few months before moving to Colorado. He said, “As far as the future goes, I’m going to enjoy the home I’ve made for myself in Asheville for a couple more months before I depart for Colorado in July! If anyone who is reading this will be out there– hit me up!”
Wyatt Pace :
“I have captured Wilson through the release of a shutter,” said Wyatt. “The Echo was my way of sharing those photos to the rest of the community.” Wyatt was attracted to Warren Wilson because of the Outdoor Leadership Program and the small student body. However, after being here, he noticed his life direction beginning to shift. “I had this grand plan for my life before I got to college. I knew Warren Wilson would definitely help me along my chosen path, but I did not think my path would completely change,” he said. “Now I am headed in a completely different direction. The good thing is that I am happy with that path.”
Wyatt joined the Echo his sophomore year after doing some volunteer work for the crew taking pictures of Kelly, the RISE director at the time. Now, Wyatt is the Photo Editor and a photographer. Being on the Echo helped Wyatt learn to follow a schedule very closely, having almost missed a couple deadlines here and there.
In particular, Wyatt notes his greatest memories as having his first kiss with his future wife; playing stump in the Steve Irwin Memorial Suite with Joe, Chris, Ryan, Zach, Charles, Eric, Alden, Ted, Drew, and the other honorary suite mates; off-roading on the farm with a golf cart freshman year during spring break with the second-floor residents of Sunderland; and belly dancing in the Circus sophomore year.
After graduation, Wyatt will be staying in Asheville for the next two years with his girlfriend, a stay which will be followed by a mission with the Peace Corps. In the meantime, Wyatt is planning to work as a guide and photographer with a local guide company. Afterward, he would love to open a guide company in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and is accepting applications for current Wilson ODL students and alumni.
As a closing statement, Wyatt would like to add “Vigilante Bears.”