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Delivering News From The Source

A Heart Full of Life


Aryanna Weibke Photos courtesy of Aryanna's mother Emily Weibke

Aryanna Weibke
Photos courtesy of Emily Weibke

By: Molly Maschka

Aryanna Wiebke was full of life. The brightest bulb in the world who could make anyone smile is how her family described her. As her mother Emily would share “Aryanna was sassy, spunky, and wise beyond her years.” These are just a few special memories the Wiebke family will now cherish for the rest of their lives.

Aryanna passed away August 31, 2014 due to chronic transplant rejections from a heart she received at seven months of age. She was 11 years old. Her death affected many people, including the Waldorf Theatre Department, to whom Aryanna became known as their “baby bear”.

“We are all devastated by the loss,” said Prof. Bob AuFrance reflecting on Aryanna. “She has been a big part of this Theatre department, participating and attending every play we put on, coming into the suite with a smile. Even though we knew it was going to happen, it was only a matter of time.”

Taking some time to relax during Waldorf’s annual 24 Hour Theatre, AuFrance, along with David Sollish and Liz Taylor, took a moment to remember the free spirit girl who they grew to cherish and love.

“She was so sassy, yet intelligence,” Liz Taylor pointed out. “She would tell me about medical terms that she would learn at the hospital and I would look at her like she doesn’t need to know these terms!”

“Aryanna was giving and always a joy in the theatre,” David Sollish mentioned. “If she could be accepted here at Waldorf as a student, we would have taken her.”

Aryanna had been in three haunted houses, one 24 Hour Theatre and played a baby bear in Waldorf’s 2011 play A Winter’s Tale. It was not until two years ago that Aryanna’s health began to decline.

“I kept checking her Facebook page constantly until her death,” Sollish said. “Then I got the call. It is all still very shocking.”

“It is hard, no parent should ever outlive their child,” Taylor expressed, trying to hold back tears.

As it was known throughout the campus, the 24 Hour Theatre event this season was dedicated in honor of Aryanna. Students part of the tribute wrote skits that involved certain attributes the precious 11 year old enjoyed- ranging from princesses to a teddy bear. Before and during the shows the Theatre Department made snacks for audience members in which all proceeds went to the Wiebke family. At least 25 family members of Aryanna were in attendance, including her mother Emily, who is grateful for what Waldorf has done for her daughter throughout her whole illness.

“I am completely speechless,” Emily Wiebke said.