TCT’s The Countless Thanks 2021: Meghan Kennedy

My fellow AP Art people—for helping me explore the differences

Every day at 12:35 p.m., I step into my favorite section of the building—the art department. I am continually greeted by the faces of my fellow artists, together awaiting whatever tribulations and strange yet intriguing conversations the hour will bring. As I see each of your unique styles and works, I am able to decipher the importance of individuality and diversity. Each and every one of you brings a different dynamic to the room; dynamics that make me feel connected to you guys through diversity and newfound friendships. Thank you Gabby Miller for your oil paintings of exquisite talent and your lovable nature. Thank you Michael Boughton for your exceptionally avant-garde collages/canvases and for enriching us with your seemingly expansive knowledge on various subjects. Thank you Rylee Veneklause for being unapologetically you and for creating some of the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve ever seen. Thank you Katie Hoffman for your unparalleled artistic style and for being a friend to absolutely everyone. Thank you Kali Coppess for making the most eye-catching and adorable ceramic creations and for having one of the best personalities I’ve ever encountered. Thank you Ms. Stynes for always understanding, for your constructive criticism, and for being not just a teacher, but a friend. Thank all of you for showing me the beauty of differences.

Sofia Hargis-Acevedo, Sydney Race, and Allie Beaumont—for making gloomy days vibrant

Sofia, you are one of the most enthusiastic and entertaining people I’ve met in life thus far. Your positive energy is infectious and has the frequent tendency to make everyone around you smile and lovingly question your sanity. As this school year continues on, I hope to find more ways to relate to the fact that we live carbon copy lives—also, please say hi to Caitlyn (our hairdresser) for me next time you see her! 

Allie, you are such a sweet, lovable person and a joy to be around. Your kindness is always something that can be relied upon and you single-handedly make our meetings that much better when it’s time for your analytics announcements. You continually bring sunshine to everyday life, and that is something that I regard highly in my daily endeavors.

Sydney, because we both reside within the underworld of the TCT circle—aka the stools—we have a certain kind of resonance with each other. Your lore about your daily mishaps always makes for an entertaining listening experience, and your countless memes make me lose my mind in the best way possible. You have a sense of humor like no other and a quality that mends together any group of people. You are just purely adorable.

Kelsey Dantuma—for always being genuinely you, no matter the circumstance

Kelsey, I have known you for so long, but this year, I’ve truly seen what an amazing person you are. You are the cause of so many people’s happiness and can transform any group of people into a captive audience on your “podium days.” You are so beautiful and hilarious and make school something to look forward to everyday. I’ve immensely enjoyed your company throughout these past weeks, and I will always be there to give you a ride home if you need it!

Emma Zawacki—for being the grounded, knowledgeable, and generous spirit everyone needs in their life

Emma, what can I say except that you are an amazing human. If it weren’t for you and your diligent thesis statement writing, our AP Lit table group would drown. If it weren’t for you, the entire TCT class would be unhinged. If it weren’t for you, school days would be utterly boring. You are incredibly smart, reliable, beautiful, and a role model to many. All I can say is that I am so grateful to have become closer friends with you this year.

Jessie Warren—for being my favorite passenger, my closest friend, the sunflower to my lavender

Where would I be without you, Jessie Warren? Well, I can say for certain that it would not be a place I would never dream of being in. The only life I have ever known is with you by my side. Even though we incessantly bring this up, we have been friends since our fourth year on the planet, now making it around a thirteen-year-long friendship. Our formative years have been filled with togetherness and raising traditions that we uphold to this day. 

My days would be dull without your witty comments, your passionate energy, and your warmth. Every time we hang out together, a simple moment that unfolds finds a way of morphing into something that I will cherish forever. I continually find comfort in our whereabouts such as drives to our favorite places (i.e. Eastown Antiques, Poke Toke, The Downtown Market, and of course, Trader Joe’s) but nothing feels more right than sitting in your bedroom, beaming at the YouTubers we put on a pedestal, snacking on miscellaneous food items, and venting out our struggles in life. 

I have only considered one person in my life to hold the sole title of best friend, and that person is you. Though our characters have evolved throughout the years, we are still the same little girls that met at the park. From our verbatim recitations of theme songs we wrote as kids to our handshake that officially marked our roles as best friends, our childhoods have brought us so much congruence, melding our pasts to our continuing now. 

Our personalities balance each other out and our contrasting colors complement each other. Life would simply be bland without you, Jessie Warren. Thank you for sticking by my side and for simply being you.

Laura and Gwen—for being my soul sisters

Gwen, when I met you in ballet class for the first time, I thought you were a hater—we even had beef at some point, but I can’t quite remember whatever the insignificant subject matter was. But as years passed, I saw the beautiful, radiant human being you are. Nearly everything you say and do makes me smile or drop to the floor laughing—I have never met someone else like you that has the ability to do that. From making accidental eye contact in the mirror while doing changements, our Grand Haven trips, and mocking you about your irrational terror of Disney ride simulations, you have never once failed to make my life colorful. 

Laura, your presence is something that perpetually brings me solace. We both started out as meek girls who quietly stood at the barre and who would awkwardly speak to store employees, but our past—and quite frankly, cringy—selves provided a recipe for a long-standing friendship. My camera roll still holds mementos from our “rich girl” photoshoot whilst backstage and the days where we thought sticking our tongues out and holding up rock and roll signs in’s was trendy (it was 2016 though, so we can cut ourselves some slack). But since time is ever-evolving as we are too, I know that whatever we grow through together will be looked back at as something endearing.

Within our group, our ironic Goodwill t-shirts, hate for the collection of After movies and Ice Age baby, drives in Gwen’s car, our common love for the world of dance and dank memes, and mom-angled selfies make my happiness unmatched. But what makes our trio complete is always picking up where we left off. Though we used to spend several hours together a week at the studio and in rehearsals, I still feel the same level of bond between us as those times. We are separated by the EGR and Forest Hills districts making it difficult to convene, but I never feel disconnected from you two beautiful, one-of-a-kind souls.

Ben Lutz—for always asking if I’m okay when I cannot contain my laughter

Ben, I first met you at our lunch table in the beginning of the school year. I never would’ve thought that I would look forward to seeing you so much every day. You bring balance to our lunch group and always provide support to everyone who seems to be struggling in their own way. You radiate originality and confidence, and that is something that I continually see reflected in your authentic style and uplifting mood.

Livvy Booth—for making conversations captivating and for making every day different

Livvy, you are a prism of color. With your unique style that demands attention, your individualistic viewpoints and personality, and everything else about you is something that I admire in one way or another. You have said some of the funniest things I have heard in my days, especially regarding this one instance surrounding a social psychology experiment that Rylie conducted on our lunch table one day. Even if it is a simple joke or a grandiose story about something that happened to you, you never fail to brighten my day just a bit more. 

Rylie Beatty—for adding an element of surprise into every moment

Rylie, nothing about you is mundane. You continue to surprise me and simultaneously cause me to break into heaps of laughter every day through your greatly controversial and unpopular opinions on topics. You have a point of view that differentiates from the rest, and that is one reason I love being around you. From breaking down the daily happenings in our math class to discussing your job drama and getting to know your coworkers through stories, you never make a moment the same as the last.

Erin Murphy—for being a constant in my days

Erin, I always find stability in my second hour and fourth hour knowing that you will be there.  Our frequent conversations about The Picture of Dorian Gray within our art class and discussions about our weekly dilemmas are something I always find therapeutic. Even though our problems never end up getting resolved through our complaints, I love spending our classes talking about whatever we need to get off our chest. Debriefing our grievances with our art projects we work on for weeks that end up getting turned in far too late is also a common theme among our conversations, so that is something we need to collectively work on (thank you Ms. Stynes for showing us grace). Before this year, we haven’t had class with each other since we were sophomores, but I am so glad that our schedules have realigned. I am so grateful to have found that friend in you once again.


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