TCT’s The Countless Thanks: Day 9 – Irene Yi

Over the 15 school days leading up to Thanksgiving, each member of The Central Trend’s staff will release a list of 5-15 people who inspire, motivate, or brighten our days. Today- Day 9- features Irene Yi and her list of nine people who constantly enhance her day.


Kelly Cool – for taking me in

KCool, thank you for letting me be an honorary Cool sister. Thank you for showing me how Americans do Thanksgiving, Easter, and hand-crafted graduation parties. Thank you for always supporting me as if I were one of your own.

I remember the first trip we went on– the excursion to Meijer Gardens to show Audrey around Grand Rapids, one month after my mom had gone to China. You showed me how one woman could be a mother to nine wild girls running amok.

After that, the Cool household became a place I frequented. Sometimes, the whole gang was home, and we’d be throwing jello at each other in the kitchen. Sometimes, it would just be Reagan and me, hanging out with the dogs. And sometimes, I’d just be on Grace’s floor, admiring the decorations in her room, each one carefully designed to show a sliver of her personality. Through it all, you never wavered in your openness; you made sure I always felt welcome.

Thank you for giving me a place to call my second home.

Nicole Marco – for being hardworking yet humble

Looking back on the last two years, you were one of the most inspirational underclassmen that I’ve ever met. You might be short in height, but you’re one of the people I look up to the most.

During every hard workout, I see you poised on the line– ready to attack the next lap around the track. I see you give each rep your all, even when I feel like taking it easy. I see you end each lap faster than the last, because that is the true definition of hard working paying off.

You’re a natural leader, just by example. You take all your responsibilities seriously, and you do everything without complaining. Heck, I turn to you when I don’t know what to do for the next set of dynamics! Even so, you’re incredibly humble– and you are always there to cheer the rest of your team on. No matter where I am on the racecourse, you and Chloe are there as well, smiling brightly and cheering for me. I can’t thank you enough for that kind of support.

You’re going to do great things, Nicole. I know you are. Be where your feet are and never lose your fire.

Mrs. Stone – for showing your passion

(I promise this isn’t just because you wanted an AP Physics shoutout.)

I’ll be honest; I was really nervous about taking physics. It’s a subject that has intimidated me for as long as I can remember. Going into freshman year, there were two classes I vowed to myself that I would never, ever take: physics and comp sci. The idea of taking either one scared me out of my mind.

But now, I’m so excited about this year. I’m so excited about this class. I’m not sure if you realize that your love for physics is rubbing off on me, but it is. You have an unapologetic, shameless love for the subject. Your energetic demos make me pause, reconsider, and see new lights in things that I once thought were mundane. It’s an amazing feeling to delve into a subject I was afraid of for so long; it’s exciting to take a class that I never thought I would.

Thank you for a class that I look forward to every day, a class that I’m excited just to learn new things about– something I didn’t think I would find after calc last year.

Andy Travis – for always being happy to see me

I know it’s kind of silly for me to be afraid of someone who is two years younger than I am, but I was definitely intimidated by you on the first day of calc last year. I thought you were some math genius (which you are) who was scary and mean (which you aren’t).

I quickly learned that you were a lighthearted, funny person– and a good friend. You have never not said hi to me in the hallways, and it makes my day every time you do. I’ve never met someone so genuinely friendly, someone who is so kind from the bottom of his heart.

You probably don’t even know how ecstatic I was to see you sitting in my physics class on the first day of school this year. Not only do I know that there will always be one person I can wave and say hi to in the mornings, I know that you love calc just as much as I do; I can always count on a smile from you whenever something in physics has even the slightest fingerprint of calc on it.

Thank you for never losing your joy and for spreading positivity to all those around you.

Becca Surman – for being fearless

Becca, you are so, so inspiring. Wow. You never let anyone confine you to their definitions; rather, you establish yourself by fiercely promoting what you believe in. You’ve been a role model for me since the moment I met you.

Everything you do is so truly you. You are the most down-to-earth, most real person I know. You scream to the skies with your views and beliefs. When you love someone, you tell them without shame. You go about life in a way that leaves no room for regret. I’m beyond lucky to have been in your AP Lit class– a class left so open to interpretation and discussion, a class where every view was valid, a class that taught us values beyond literature. In this crazy world of chaos and all too much hate, you bring love and acceptance to even the most taboo topics; you allow and instigate conversations that are productive and beneficial to the world in the long run. You embrace what it means to be part of humankind by being both human and kind.

Thank you for all you have taught me to be: passionate, honest, and unashamed.

Coach Marcia – for running with me

Alright, so I’m going to try and write this without crying. Marcia, I miss you already, and it’s only been a week since I last saw you. You are monumental in my growth as not just a runner, but a person as well. I know I can go to you with any issues I have, whether it be sore calves, period cramps, or the latest gossip.

I was lucky enough to have been able to keep up with you when you were still pregnant. I’ll cherish those runs forever: all the laughs and silliness accompanying the inspiration you gave us to always work hard. Even when I was injured and couldn’t race, you made me feel needed. We took splits for the team and cheered on with all our heart. When I needed guidance, you would always be there for me.

Thank you for being as much a teammate and friend to me as you were a coach.

Amytess Girgis – for all my questions

Where do I begin? First, thank you for being the most motivational and hardworking teammate. Not having you at FHC this year was weird, but you taught me how to trust in myself when I didn’t have you at an arm’s distance away.

Thank you for all your reassurance. You’re my rock when I’m unsure of myself. You have an answer to almost all my questions, and if you don’t, you help me at least get an idea. You always look out for me when I stress myself out.

You help navigate my train of thought through all the twists and turns it takes to get out of my worries. Even when we can’t come to a solid conclusion, you tell me that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to– and I believe you.

Thank you for picking up the phone. I love calling you and talking to you about everything on my mind. I love hearing you talk about everything on yours. I love the love that goes on in our conversations: love for the world, for each other, for everyone in our lives.

Makayla Erdman – for being so, so patient

Makayla, you are one of the kindest, most humble people I have ever met. I’ve sat with you for so many years in band, and you’ve never once been mean or judgmental to me or anyone else. You certainly do not get enough credit for setting such a magnificent role model for the entire Flutes section.

You guide us with your extensive musical knowledge. You amaze us with your hard work in balancing cheer and band so well. You teach us how to be better people with your compassion and love.

You empower those around you by helping them realize their potential. You seek out the best in everyone. You welcome each member of the Flutes section (and beyond) with an open mind and an open heart.

Veronica Edgar – for everything

On one of the worst days I’ve had, you texted me out of the blue. It was a simple text: “Hey pretty girl, I miss you and hope today is wonderful for you!” Everything that had happened that morning had slowly accumulated into a snowball of stress; I was on the verge of tears. Yet when I saw your text, I smiled for probably the first time that day. There was no way you could have known about the bad day that I was having, but you checked in on me anyway. Your constant kindness and care for those around you inspires me every day.

On the first day of freshman year, I was so intimidated by you: you were (and still are) so driven, smart, insightful, kind, and passionate. I never thought that we would become friends, but here we are today, 13.1 miles and a little bit of Russia later. I love all the philosophical conversations that we’ve had, from my basement couch to the drive home from Kalamazoo.

You’re so unapologetically you, and you’ve taught me to be unapologetically me.