TCT’s The Countless Thanks 2021: Kiera Kemppainen

Eva Harshman and Addy Cousins—for being the stop and drop to my roll

Thank you for being here. Thank you for filling my days with joy when our sixth hour in room 139 finally commences. You two have never left me hanging when I needed you the most. I appreciate the moments that you have made me laugh and comforted me when I cry. You two are my lifeboats in an endless depth of stress. The little makeshift trio that we formed at the start of our second semester last year has become a permanent thing; Mr. George seemed to know that before the rest of us. We spent an entire hour searching for names for our little trio because he wanted us to. Thank you for being the “kids on fire” with me.

Maya Sneider—for being my everlasting consistency

At five years old, I started crying because I didn’t want to meet you at our brother’s baseball game. I know that we both laugh about this instance quite frequently now that we are older. Who knew that my parents stealing your family’s seats in the pouring rain would lead to countless late nights spent laughing? Now, I know my life would’ve never been the same without you in it. Thank you for always being my friend, even though it seems we have no choice. I appreciate you being my “cousin” since our dads always say they are brothers; I needed someone close to my age in my family, even if you fell asleep when I was showing you my Minecraft world on the way to Colorado. Thank you for copying my order at San Marcos and almost anywhere else, for shopping with me on The Annual Sneider-Kemppainen day, for making dumb iMovie’s with me, and everything in between.

Liza McCarthy and Jadelin Hinkel—for including me

I think I’ll be the saddest to see you two leave in May. You guys helped me through my first year of high school, and for that, I could never be more grateful. It only seems fitting to have both of you in one section. You were a package deal that I never want to return. Thank you for your unwavering help and support. Thank you for listening and thank you for making me laugh. Jadelin, I think I’ll miss your jokes the most. I’ll miss seeing your smiling face in the halls and your eyebrow-wiggling when listening in on my conversations in sixth hour. Liza, I’ll miss your laugh the most. You never fail to be the sweetest person I know. I appreciate your constant offers to edit my stories and our talks before the meetings every day. Thank you to both of you for never failing to be people that I can look up to.

Nora Ingram—for being my consecutive number

It’s been over five years now since I met you. Standing in a dewy field of weeds, separated by one person from the grade above us, I don’t think either of us knew the everlasting friendship we would create. I miss seeing you every day. I appreciate our friendship even though we love each other from a distance. Thank you for the late-night talks, for the drama that you never fail to tell me about, for the last-minute hangouts, and for being the person that I will go to with anything about my life. You are the one person who will know everything about my life as it happens. Either that or you get a text so long that messages make you click an arrow to see the rest when I haven’t updated you in a month. Also, you better feel pretty special, I wrote you a whole column for your birthday in May. Thank you for being my past, present, and future.

Mickey Mehney—for sticking around

I’m not lying when I said I would’ve never expected us to be friends. Even during ski season, I thought we would only talk during ski, and then our temporary friendship would end. In a way, I was right. We mostly stopped talking, except in civics. Until this year. Now, I don’t want to think about our friendship ending. You constantly make me laugh with your texts in the group chat of you, Lauren, Ella, Rylie, and me. Thank you for making jokes and being able to take jokes. Thank you for trusting me and allowing me to trust you. I appreciate the endless TikToks and the texts of “speak English, Kiera” when you don’t understand the words I’m using. Thank you.

Rylie Scobey—for quickly accepting me

I know I haven’t known you for very long but I want to thank you for everything. Thank you for quickly becoming a key component of our odd group chat with your unsolicited “your mom” jokes. You welcomed me into your group in a snap. I’ve never been one to feel like I can fit into a group so I appreciate your open arms in an unfathomable way. Thank you.

Ella Weichelt—for the jokes

I thought you would just be an interview for a profile and nothing more, but clearly, I was wrong. You quickly became one of my best friends. Thank you for the constant selfies, for commenting on the majority of my TikToks, for always laughing, and for sending me blackmail photos of Mickey. Thank you for putting up with everyone’s jokes about your love life.

Lauren Wolffis—for all the moments

From even before Homecoming to the present day, I wait on being able to see you at lunch every day or until I see you after school. Even if we’re carving Hester Prynne and Pearl pumpkins, or the JoJo Siwa one—I’m not going to mention the Ammond one—I appreciate every single second. I want to spend more days listening to the Potato Song on my Thanksgiving playlist in your car, and I want more times doubling over from laughter with you. I want more endless strings of dumb comments in our group chat and with that, I’m not going to stop embarrassing you in public even if it’s over text. Thank you for the laughs, Tiktoks about books, and for the love of Tinkerbell.

Emmy Willemin—for daily updates

Your life never ceases to amaze me. I love hearing updates about the weekend or the night before. I’ve known you for so long and I could not be more grateful to have you in my life. You’ve been a part of so many moments that I will always remember. Whether it’s dancing to Sabrina Carpenter in our second-grade talent show, or struggling our way through the strobe lights at Witches of New Salem, we’ve stuck together. Even when we drifted away from each other for a while, you found a new and closer place in my life. For that, I thank you. 

Paige Harsevoort—for putting up with me

From fifth grade to the present day, we’ve been through a lot together. Our friendship has flowed in and out in terms of how close we are, but you were my friend through it all. I’ve seen you love, laugh, and cry more times than I can count. You’ve been one of the most helpful factors in my life through the transitions we’ve made together. While going to Goodwillie may have shattered some of my old friendships, it’s the only reason I met you. I think we both appreciate that, even if you might wish it never happened when I yell “horse fart” when someone says your last name. Thank you for putting up with my slight bullying of you. I swear it has, and always will be, out of love. 

Grace Barber—for our dumb decisions

Dumb things are what you and I do. You’re my stair-sledding buddy. I remember one of the first times I slept over at your house, we had to move two twin mattresses down the stairs. I told you that we should slide down on them and you went with it. We also partner with Millie to create the weirdest music video for the rap project in science in eighth grade. I’m still upset we never got to show it. In only a few short years—we weren’t super close at Goodwillie—you’ve become an integral part of my life. Thank you.

Millie Alt—for your laugh

Out of the three years that I’ve known you, your laugh has never changed. In those years, I’ve started to hear it more and more. Even when you’re clinging onto me in a haunted woods attraction, your laugh would still fill the air. It’s the sound of joy. Your laugh has never failed to make me feel welcome. Whether I’m making jokes while you unhook our anchor from a mysterious pole in the lake or curling your hair before Homecoming, your laugh would remind me that I did fit in with the group. Thank you for the laughs that I will recognize from a mile away. 

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