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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

With an immense appreciation for the world around her and a passion for expressing it, Kiera Kemppainen looks readily toward her future

Kirstin Kemppainen
Senior Kiera Kemppainen has a profound affinity for the environment, poetically combining with her aptitude for writing.

Senior Kiera Kemppainen has considered a copious number of potential careers throughout her life. From a young age, she has loved animals, resulting in an interest in designing prosthetic limbs for them. Once that distinct profession faded from the forefront of her mind, she moved on to envision a future spent in interior design.

Then, in ninth grade, it all clicked into place. As she sat in her social studies class, civics, surrounded by the study of government and politics, Kiera set her sights on pursuing a career in political science.

“I’m majoring in political science at Indiana University Bloomington,” Kiera said. “I’ve been set on political science since freshman year, taking civics, which everyone hated. I loved it—I loved civics. I loved Mr. Lowe as a teacher, and at that point, it was wanting to get into the politics side of it. As I got older, I realized that political science has so many avenues for different things. Political journalism, obviously, policy analysis, being a politician, which doesn’t really have any draw for me, campaign management, public relations; it encompasses so much. That’s perfect because those are all things I might wanna do, except politician, and then I don’t have to go into college undecided and figure it out then.” 

The next four years look very bright for Kiera, and she is excited to attend IU Bloomington in the fall. One major influence in her decision to go there was her cousin, who also attended the school and loved it. From the beautiful campus to the high spirits of its current students, IU Bloomington is just what Kiera is looking for. When she committed, she hadn’t actually visited the campus, but her recent visit only reaffirmed her excitement for the upcoming semester. 

I feel like having that freedom right now has given me so many avenues that I know I can do well. I love to write lifestyles, but I’ve also written some very political stories in a way that’s mostly unbiased, and I feel like that’s so important for journalism.

— Kiera Kemppainen

Another prominent aspect of going off to college is the opportunity to meet new people. While Kiera would describe herself as more of an introvert, this is one of the things that she is looking forward to the most, and it even had an influence on where she wanted to go to college.

“I’m excited for college as a whole,” Kiera said. “I love the independence, and I love the idea of meeting new people because, obviously, I love my friends here, but I also want to meet new people. I wanna branch out, which is why I’m so excited to go to an out-of-state school because so far, there is only one other person from high school going there. It’s out of my comfort zone to be surrounded by people I don’t know, but I know that it’ll be better for me than going to Michigan State or Michigan or any of the schools that are right here because there’s so many people that go. I was talking to my cousin about it because she went to Indiana, but she’s an in-state student, and she was like, ‘I was hanging out with people from high school that I wasn’t even friends with just because I wanted the comfort.’ That’s what really set me to [be] like, ‘yeah, I cannot stay here.’”

Kiera is endlessly excited to attend Indiana University Bloomington and begin learning more about political science. Political science has a myriad of different careers within itself, and although she is not fixed on any specific one yet, she can see herself loving a multitude of them. Kiera has spent the past four years writing countless stories for The Central Trend, and although she’s not directly pursuing a career in journalism, it’s a facet of politics that her experience would undoubtedly be beneficial in if she chooses that path.

TCT has also helped Kiera from an academic standpoint, as writing in other classes became much more effortless. She does not have a minor chosen for next year, but if she were to select one, her experience with writing would likely serve as the guiding factor in the decision-making process.

“When I think about a minor for college, journalism is my top one because I know it’s something that I can do,” Kiera said. “What I’ve loved about TCT is the freedom within writing stories, which I know I wouldn’t have as much of if I were a journalist; I would be assigned an area. I feel like having that freedom right now has given me so many avenues that I know I can do well. I love to write lifestyles, but I’ve also written some very political stories in a way that’s mostly unbiased, and I feel like that’s so important for journalism. I really like that I’ve gotten that experience in high school in case that is the avenue that I go later on.” 

Her education at FHC and years writing for The Central Trend were preceded by Kiera’s time at Goodwillie Environmental School, which she attended in fifth and sixth grade. Goodwillie was more than just a school for Kiera; it marked the beginning of a lifelong appreciation for the environment and the Earth.

Goodwillie also had academic benefits for Kiera, as the outdoors-based curriculum left her well-prepared for high school. She learned math, English, and all of the regular core subjects that those who attended Central Woodlands learned about, and additionally, she learned about the environment and economics with hands-on methods.

“I feel like it’s so weird that only two years could have impacted my life so much,” Kiera said, “because I truly do not think I would be at all the same person if I didn’t go to Goodwillie. The outdoor learning has set me up so [well] for high school. I remember last year, with AP Environmental Science, I would be learning something or reading something in the textbook, and I’d be like, ‘I swear I have notes on this.’ And, I would pull out my natural history binder from Goodwillie, and there’s something that explains it so much better. So I feel like it definitely helped academically.”

Kiera fondly recalls the first day of fifth grade feeling like summer camp, in the best way possible. With Goodwillie feeling less like traditional school, she was easily able to thrive and “fall into a natural rhythm.” The transition from Goodwillie to Central Middle School was difficult, as many of the friendships she had made shifted or even ended with elementary-school friends back in the mix.

Nonetheless, the effect of that experience still remains with Kiera—it has manifested in a love for nature and an awareness of the outdoors. Although she’s not going into any environmental major, this angle of her life has set her up for a future of consciousness. 

“I think I have a greater appreciation for the world around me because I know how it works,” Kiera said. “I feel like I pay a lot of attention to the outdoors, and it’s not something I’m going into in my future—I’m not doing environmental science anything—but I feel like it’s still a big component and something I think about a lot. When I think about the people who don’t believe in climate change and don’t think it’s that big of an issue, I think if they had spent two years at Goodwillie, they would see the difference. Because if you are educated, you understand. So I think I have a greater appreciation for saving the world around me and then also just enjoying it.”

When she applied, Kiera did not feel confident that she would end up at Goodwillie. She remembers comparing her classmates’ interview answers to her own and sensing that her answers could not compare; nonetheless, she got in and spent two years experiencing nature while learning so much about the world around her.

Her experience at Goodwillie not only had many positive academic effects in terms of science but also regarding writing, which would become an enormous part of Kiera’s life and high school career. Her heightened perception and interpretation of nature have especially helped with columns, providing inspiration and expression.

“With Goodwillie giving me a really good perception of the world around me and an appreciation for the beauty in it, I feel like that’s enhanced my writing, especially with columns,” Kiera said. “I think it makes it so much easier to use figurative language, and with my Colors of My Life column series, I have written some that are just [about] the world around me. One of them is Rocky Red, and it’s literally all about red rocks—red rocks in Utah, red rocks in Nevada, red rocks in Colorado. Because I just think about the world around me so much. Sometimes, the way that I come up with my column ideas is I go into my favorited photos, and I choose photos of scenery, and I literally write based on that being my photo. I think that comes from my appreciation for the world around me. I’m not literally writing about a river; I’ll metaphorically turn something in my life into it based on the photo. And I think that’s such a fun thing to do, and I feel so grateful that I’ve learned to do that and found that ability.”

Throughout her senior year, Kiera’s eloquent columns have each been related to a color, and her final column—her final color—is white, connecting to her last column of her freshman year. Her writing has gracefully come full circle, and she believes this opportunity is part of why she chose her column theme, The Colors of My Life.

I’m so excited to be a part of the alumni of TCT because there have been so many great writers and so many great people, and I’m really excited to have my name on the bricks next to them.

— Kiera Kemppainen

Although it may be hard for those who read her stories to believe it, Kiera claims she was an awful storyteller growing up. Her love for writing did not start from a young age, rather, she discovered her adoration when she joined Writing for Publication in her freshman year. From lifestyles to editorials to reviews to columns, Kiera has found her style and her voice, and she finds herself better able to express her opinions than she once was.

“I’ve always been an introvert; that’s just how I always have been wired,” Kiera said. “I don’t really talk to a lot of people that I don’t know, and I feel like writing on The Central Trend gave me an outlet to express what I was thinking without actually having to voice it to other people. I feel like that was a big thing for me. But then, as the years went on, and I was writing more of my opinion, I started to feel more comfortable sharing it because I got used to writing it down and sharing it that way, and I started to feel more confident in voicing it. I’m still an introvert, but I feel like I talk to more people just because I feel more comfortable. I think the writing aspect of The Central Trend has helped with that, but more so the publishing aspect because I knew people were reading it. Even if it was like five people, those were five people that were hearing my opinions; even if they didn’t agree, they were seeing it, and I think it made me so much more of a confident person.”

Serving as an outlet for growth, Kiera’s writing journey and development of her own voice have bloomed alongside her numerous stories and countless memories from this class.

For four years, Kiera has poured her passion for writing into The Central Trend. As she looks ahead to the next era of her life, she feels excited. Excited to see what happens next with TCT, excited to leave a legacy behind her, and excited for her own, ceaselessly bright future.

“It’s very bittersweet to leave TCT since it’s been such a big part of the past four years,” Kiera said. “I’m so excited to be a part of the alumni of TCT because there have been so many great writers and so many great people, and I’m really excited to have my name on the bricks next to them. I’m really excited to see what happens with TCT in the future, especially from the outside, because I know how the inside works. I’m so excited to see how other people take it over, and I’ll definitely be keeping up with it. Probably not as frequently because I won’t be here, but I’m really excited for the next chapter in my life and also seeing how the chapters behind me play out.”

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About the Contributor
Ella Peirce
Ella Peirce, Copy Editor
Ella is a sophomore who is delighted to be returning to The Central Trend for a second year. Ella has been a competitive figure skater for as long as she can remember, and she also plays volleyball. Her other interests include hanging out with her friends, listening to music, rewatching her favorite sitcoms, reorganizing her Pinterest boards, and spending time with her pet bunny. She is endlessly excited for this year on staff and cannot wait to continue growing her love for writing. Favorite sitcom: Community Favorite stories to write: Columns and Reviews Current favorite rom-com: 500 Days of Summer

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