Humans of Appleton North: Erin Wayland


Skye Iwanski, Contributor

“My scoliosis [was a] huge part of growing up… I don’t need to hide it.” Erin has a condition, scoliosis, which means her spine curves to the side. It was an integral part of her childhood- she had to wear back braces to try to “correct” the spinal curve. It wasn’t all bad, though. She has an optimistic view: “I got to get out of class a little bit during the doctors’ appointments… I would see people in the doctor’s office and see their braces… and we both connected immediately to each other…” A lot of her time was spent in doctors’ offices and wearing a stiff plastic brace that would not allow her much flexibility. Since we had been talking about her childhood, I asked her the following question:

When do you think you “grew up”?

“I think I grew up… the end of freshman year. That was when I had my surgery [for the scoliosis]… They screwed in two titanium rods that are pretty much the size of my back… I think it was 12 vertebrae [long],” she told me. The surgery had a very long recovery period, and was incredibly intense. She no longer wears back braces, though, and that has been a big plus to the painful surgery. However, she was still in a lot of pain for months and months after the surgery. This was not a small event.

I didn’t want to focus entirely on the past, so I asked her about her future plans. She actually just got officially accepted to Winona State University in Minnesota:

“[There’s] a good chance that I’m gonna go there. [Knowing that I’ve been accepted] helps take the edge off of the [stress] because I know I’m gonna be able to go somewhere next year.” The relief of getting accepted to college is something many seniors here at North will hopefully be experiencing throughout this school year.


I asked Erin about her hobbies, and she explained her need to me to read whenever she has any time off of work and school.

“I like to read adventure, action, the occasional romance… but mostly action [novels],” she laughs. These are also her movie preferences. Another activity that she holds close to her heart is visiting High Cliff State park.

“I love going to High Cliff. It’s relaxing… There are a lot of possibilities… [and] things to do there.” She does some casual nature photography as well, and she’s quite good. Erin’s love of nature was highly influenced by her father:

“I love nature. My dad loves nature… He often went on hikes [when he lived in Colorado] on mountains, and skiing; pretty much everything I like to do.” She has grown up in an active family, having played soccer for many years and regularly going camping and skiing with her family.


She also plays the clarinet and is head of the second clarinet section of the honors band. She is quite skilled, and I have played many a duet with her in solo and ensemble music competitions. Her love of music most likely stemmed from growing up listening to her sister play the flute, because her parents didn’t play instruments when they were her age.
Erin Wayland is not only a human of Appleton North; she is a musician, a reader, a lover of nature, a person with a bumpy path behind her and a bright future ahead of her. Congratulations, Erin.