Top of the Morning, April 17, 2024

Apr. 17—Want to purchase today's print edition?

On Wednesdays, we'll introduce the students who make up Year 8 of High School Confidential, powered by Danville Area Community College. Next up: Hoopeston Area senior Emmalee Bruens. Follow her on Snapchat (@ebruens) and Instagram (@emmaleebruens).

Born with heart defects, Emmalee Bruens uses her condition as motivation.

Her goal is to become a surgeon because "I want to be able to help care for other people the way my doctors cared for me."

Her life's story plays out in the form of four tattoos, including "an anatomical heart that represents my heart issues I was born with," she said. "My first one I got is my birth flower with a butterfly that I dedicated to my great grandmother. My second one is a vine of flowers because I think plants are beautiful and signify growth. My third one is a small paper airplane that matches my mother's and sister's tattoos."

A class officer, Emmalee also is involved in cheerleading, volleyball, student council, National Honor Society and Link Crew. She's our first correspondent from the tiny Iroquois County town of Wellington (pop: 200). She loves her hometown "because it's so small. Everyone knows each other, and I always felt so safe playing with the other kids in town when I was growing up."