Missing a Member: Kimber Romick


Shelbee Burke, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, October 7, 2021 a tragic automobile accident occured, taking the life of 16-year-old, Alliance High School junior, Kimber Romick. Romick was not only a kind person who was always willing to go the extra mile, but she also touched the lives of many students, teachers, advisors, administrators and community members. Three months after the accident, her absence is still well acknowledged at AHS. Being an extremely involved student in FFA and as a wrestling manager, she was a vital part to both of these activities. During her time at AHS she was also involved in softball and speech and worked at the local hardware store Carter’s. As more competitions begin taking place in these activities, FFA and the wrestling team are all working to adapt to losing an important member.

Romick joined FFA as a sophomore but quickly became an extremely active member. She was elected for office in the spring of last year for the 2021-2022 year. She was one of six officers within the Alliance Chapter of FFA and she competed in several contests such as food science, livestock judging, cooperative speaking [and] parliamentary procedures. FFA Advisor Ashtyn Vivion explained, “She had done a couple different team components too, and that’s what we’re kicking off right now, we do most of our competitions in the spring.” 

FFA Officer Braelyn Shrewsbury remarked, “meetings are different and difficult; contests are very difficult too, especially the ones [Romick was] on a team with. Just knowing those were her interests and knowing she would want to do something like that with us, those are difficult.” Vivion expressed the same feelings, saying, “as we look towards these contests where she was an active part, we are having to find somebody to fill in that spot or figure out something different for this year.” She continued, “You can just kind of tell when it comes up or when we’re looking through study materials and we come across things that were hers, everyone still feels it for sure.”

Shrewsbury, who knew Romick for three years, explained that FFA members, especially officers, are able to form a special bond with each other, and they become like a family. She explained, “It’s a different kind of relationship than sports; we understand things differently and preparing for different contests you get really close spending all those hours together.” The officers of FFA even do team bonding and Shrewsbury added that they “went down and floated the river in Thedford and that was such a good bonding experience.” Because of this special bond, this loss was hard for the members of FFA. Shrewsbury stated, “at first it was difficult of course, and it still is sometimes day to day, but we’ve come together, officers for sure and we found a way to figure things out without her and we are becoming stronger.”

Romick played an extremely important part in FFA, and she is being missed this year, especially as competitions are beginning to get into full swing. The team is struggling knowing she is not going to be apart of FFA anymore and Vivion remarked, “You can’t replace her ever. I think that probably the biggest piece is those missed opportunities. Just still overall the sadness of her not being here in and out of everyday.” She stated that it’s “like a missing puzzle piece.” All of the activities she was involved in feel as though there is a missing piece to their organization.

Her sophomore year, Romick also became a wrestling student manager. Head Wrestling Coach Nick Myers explained, “within the first week of [summer] going into her sophomore year, I asked her if she would like to [manage] and she was very excited to join the team.” Student managers play a vital role in every sport, but more so wrestling than any other sport in AHS. Myers remarked, “I probably depend on my managers more than any other head coach.” He continued saying, “On a daily basis I’m relying on them for attendance, knowing where people are, cleaning the mat and keeping the entire [wrestling] room clean and put together.” Wrestling managers are also in charge of putting together hospitality bags for opposing teams. Myers said, “If you see anything Alliance Wrestling in the school or in the community, it’s the managers that put it there.”

Losing a vital part of the team has been a big struggle for the wrestling team, and they are definitely feeling a void this season. Myers stated, “It’s definitely heartbreaking and just strange. Charlotte [Schmidt] said it best: each time we get together, it’s just one more time of realizing [Romick] is not walking through the door.” He continued, “It was just hard to hear. When talking about managers or thanking them I have to catch myself.” Wrestling student manager Chloe Mann added to this saying, “There have been plenty of times conversations have been brought up and it’s just quiet because there’s the silence of realizing she’s not here anymore and it’s really heartbreaking.”

Mann met and became close with Romick last year when they began managing together. Managers are able to become close with each other throughout the season. Mann explained, “I am 100% certain that our bond was one of the best, even for the year I knew her we got so close. [Romick], [Schmidt] and I, we did have some great times together. Managers for sure have one of the most unbreakable bonds because we just do everything together for the short three or four months that we are in wrestling.” Not only do managers get close with each other, but they also get close with the wrestlers that are competing on the team. Mann said, “[Romick] was friends with basically all of them, they all loved her. She was easy to talk to and she could talk to anyone. We do have a special relationship with the wrestlers, and I know [Romick] did for sure.”

This loss has been tough for Myers so far this year. He noted one of his favorite memories he had with Romick was the day after the wrestling team’s bonding trip to Lincoln Fire and Rescue, when Myers took them to the Stragic Air and Space Museum. He explained, “[Romick] repeatedly came up to me at the museum and was telling me just how awesome she thought it was and how much fun she was having and she can light up a room with her smile so she was definitely such a bright spot on our team.” He explained the last time he saw her saying, “I had a hat to give to her and she was working so I stopped by Carter’s and she was very cheerful. Once I got through the initial shock of when I heard the news I tried to think of the last time I saw her and it took me a little while to come to it. But then I thought it was a good interaction. So that’s something that I cherish very much.”

Romick was an exceptional person, as expressed by every person she had met. Vivion explained, “Her personality was really unique in that she connected with everyone. And so it didn’t matter if it was a team that she was on or one that she wasn’t, she was just really good at being able to interact with everyone in the entire group” She continued saying, “I think that’s a character trait that I hope she is able to pass on to a lot of our members and leaders. It’s so easy to get caught up in your little friend group or cliques, but that just wasn’t [Romick]. She would make a friend wherever she was put  and she could fit in wherever and so I hope that that piece of her stays with the members that are here and that they remember that about her and kind of try to copy that.” Shrewsbury added that, “she was an amazing person, [with] such a kind heart. I don’t think she has an enemy. She’d talk to anyone and everyone, was a great friend even if you didn’t really know her, just a great person overall.”

Mann spoke highly of Romick, saying, “[Romick] could talk to anybody. She was really respectful; she would say yes sir and yes ma’am and you could tell she was brought up right.” She continued explaining, “[Romick] was one of the nicest people that I have met. She would be friends with anybody, she had a great work ethic where everything I showed her and taught her she soaked in and she would be willing to do that.” Myers stated although this is a terrible accident, it shows nothing in life should be taken for granted. He explained, “I can only say what I hope [students] take from it is that to understand, to take advantage of your opportunities when you can. Her accident exposed that truly there are no guarantees on tomorrow.”

Romick is being remembered each and every day at Alliance High School and she is greatly missed. Wrestling is doing a number of things to honor her throughout the year including putting a heart on their team sweatshirts with her initials in it. Also, at a home wrestling dual, each of the wrestlers placed a flower on the chair that Romick would have been sitting on. Mann also explained that “We have this thing called the line of discipline and it has a quote that says ‘what are you bringing to family dinner.’ [Wrestlers] step over it before each practice to make sure they are focused and the whole ‘family dinner’ saying is just showing we have an unbreakable bond. We have all of our names on it and at the bottom we have [Romick’s] name, forever in our hearts.” Shrewsburry explained that in FFA, “We are going to try to do a scholarship. The officers are thinking about trying to put a scholarship together in her memory and keeping it going for as long as possible.” Both Mann and Shrewsbury expressed that they miss her a lot. 

Romick was a bright light at Alliance High School, and she is remembered by students and faculty alike, as well as community members in Alliance. Her kindness was able to make her well known throughout the school, and she was extremely well liked by everyone she interacted with. As the activities she participated in begin to get into the bulk of their competitions, they keep Romick close in their hearts.