Pattonville sophomore Elise Banks was chosen to participate in the 86th annual Sophomore Pilgrimage sponsored by the General Federation of Women's Clubs of Missouri (GFWC-MO). A sophomore from each high school in the state is selected by the faculty to attend the event.
She was told by high school principal Dr. Joe Dobrinic about three weeks ago she was the Pattonville High School representative.
“I didn’t know why I was being called down to his office because I knew I didn’t do anything to get in trouble.”
It was actually a meeting to let her know she has done everything right. Selection is based on the student's demonstrated citizenship, scholarship and qualities of courage, service and honor. The student selected must also be scholastically in the top quarter of the sophomore class.
After being told she was selected, she questioned why it was her, but a conversation at home that night reassured her she was the right person.
“I felt like so many others deserved this until I had a discussion with my mom and she reminded me of a story I wrote that was chosen for Best of SNO.”
Her article titled “The Hidden Battle” was selected as one of the nation’s best examples of student journalism and addressed facing challenges, wanting justice, and creating a welcoming learning environment.
“She reminded me that I have a voice and I can speak up for others and share my experiences through being a part of journalism,” she said. “I really enjoy writing stories and taking pictures and doing all of that.”
She is a part of other clubs and organizations in school and is also an active member of Grace Church.
“In everything I’ve done, I’ve always been taught to be kind and always try my best,” she said. “I have also always been taught to have no excuses and to be disciplined in everything I do because my dad is big on that.”
The event is normally an all-day exclusive visit to Jefferson City, where selected students can observe the state Legislature in session, tour the Capitol and other government buildings and meet state legislators. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was held virtually.
She sat in B104 today and Zoomed into a mix of live and pre-recorded sessions that included a welcome greeting, speakers including Gov. Mike Parson, tours of the buildings and closing remarks.