October 2021 Alumni Spotlight – A Spartan Friendship
Auriana Hyllested (Audette) and Mei Li Brown (Alumni 2010)
It certainly takes a special friendship to remain so closely connected to an elementary school classmate. This is exactly what Mrs. Auriana Hyllested (SJS Middle School Teacher) and Ms. Mei Li Brown (UW-Madison Marketing Coordinator) have created with one another. Their friendship is a great example of what we at St. Joseph Catholic School try to embody in our students – a sense of family and belonging.
Here is their story:
What have you been doing since 8th grade? Explain your friendship.
In high school, we participated in show choir together for two years. We also shared a lot of classes including, Spanish, Choir, Mythology, and AP English. We graduated from Rice Lake High School in 2014.
Auriana: I attended UW-Superior and pursued a degree in Elementary Education.
Mei Li: I attended UW-Madison and pursued a degree in Communication Arts and Digital Studies.
How has your faith guided you?
Our faith gives us strength knowing that God is always with us. When we are feeling grateful or upset about something, we turn to Him for guidance and support. This gives us comfort and lets us know that we are not alone.
One of our favorite memories from St. Joseph School was participating in the spring plays. We had so much fun acting and singing on stage! We enjoyed participating in other after-school activities too like band, handbell choir, choir, serving at Mass, basketball, and volleyball. We also loved going on class field trips, especially the 4th grade Madison trip and the 8th grade Wisconsin Dells trip.
Advice for current students?
Auriana: When things get tough, reach out to those around you. God, your family, your teachers, and your friends will be there for you.
Mei Li: Be curious and ask questions! The only way we can grow as individuals is by learning from others and growing from our mistakes.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Auriana: As a senior in high school, we were told at the 8th-grade graduation mass that, “St. Joseph School is your home and you will
always be welcome here”. I remembered this throughout college as I completed my student teaching at St. Joseph School in the 4th grade classroom. My dream of becoming a teacher was closer and closer to coming true. In 2019, I started teaching at St. Joseph School as the middle school science teacher. During my time teaching here, I have been able to build so many relationships with students and, with the help of my amazing colleagues, have helped them to become motivated to succeed spiritually,
morally, and academically. This, I believe, is my greatest accomplishment so far.
Mei Li: One of my greatest professional achievements was being asked to write articles on nonprofit associations and their website analytics. The research I conducted allowed me to learn more about different organizations and their impactful programs and networking opportunities.