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Carlie Graumenz

Returning Home

By Raphael Maurice

“We are a community who likes to be there for each other and to build each other up. “

For Carlie Graumenz, Vandalia will always be a place to return to.

Carlie Graumenz plans on becoming a physical therapist. After earning her degrees and making her mark out in the world, she also plans on returning to practice in her hometown of Vandalia. Carlie was born and raised here, and she wants to return to the community to give back to her community. Just in high school, she’s got her sights set on Northwestern University; nevertheless, she’ll be back one day to help her own community. It’s rare and good to already have these sorts of admirable goals at such a young age. It’s also good to hear her say that she’ll be back once her doctorate days are behind her.

Carlie is already “interested in the body,” its structure and workings. As a physical therapist, she’ll be able to help so many, and the pains and aches that time and effort bring. She’s taking AP courses right now, from anatomy and physiology to chemistry, along with dual credit courses. Even as her school work becomes more and more demanding, she manages her tasks with hard work and natural ability.

Her mother was a physical therapist assistant, so the apple won’t fall too far from the tree. Carlie learned from her mom but wants to go even further with physical therapy. Carlie relays the following about her mom: “I grew up doing sports and all that, and if I had problems, [my mom] would be able to help me if my knee was hurting. And she’d be able to tell me why and things I could do to help that. And I always thought that was really cool.” To see our parents or guardians help us, to feel relief and to take an interest in how the relief came about: what more could we ask for, from them or ourselves?

Carlie is centered and ready to go out and to do her work, and she’s ready to return when she’s needed. She’s got faith and determination, two indomitable traits. She also loves her hometown and the people in it: “I feel like for the most part, we are a community who likes to be there for each other and to build each other up. And just because it is a small town, I feel like that allows people to be closer. And once you get to know certain people, they can help you to get closer to other people. So then we’re all just really close in that aspect.” Carlie’s sincerity about Vandalia strikes us to the heart. It’s one thing to see patients and complete a checklist. It’s another thing to work with the people that got us to where we wanted to go. While Graumenz will be pretty much in the bustle of Chicago, she’ll return to relieve the pain of those in Vandalia. She also has words of wisdom.

When asked what she would advise her younger self, she notes, “Learn how to study. Don’t just think that you got it down.” While school comes naturally to her, Carlie also knows that dedication and work are key to any success. You can’t wait for inspiration to strike; rather, it needs to be a habit, the day-in and day-out routines of learning to learn, of aspiring to be better. She’s prepping for her PSAT, but Carlie doesn’t care to be anything she’s not. When asked about ending up at the top of her class, she simply states, “I hope so. I don’t plan on being valedictorian just because I feel like that’s too much pressure on myself. I just want to do the best that I can do.” While she’s already doing her best, it’s answers like these that highlight Carlie’s humility and smarts. She’s going to thrive in the world, and when she returns home, she’ll see to it that her patients and the rest of Vandalia thrive as well.

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