The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

TCT’s The Countless Thanks 2018: Abby Wright

Mr. Labenz – for seeing my terrible quiz grades and not kicking me out of APUSH

Taking APUSH might not have been my wisest decision, seeing as I’ve gotten as many Es on quizzes as fingers on my hand, but I am learning to cope with an AP class and its rigor because of your help and guidance. Week after week, you see my failed quizzes and tell me I’m capable of succeeding. Your kind words and motivation push me to try a little harder each week to raise my quiz grades.

I’m trying, Mr. Labenz, and I’m thankful that you recognize that. I know you’ll see my thanks to you because you read everything I write for TCT and comment on it the next day in class. Thank you for reading my columns about failing school and telling me I will succeed, even if I don’t always believe it.

I will always be thankful for you and your kindness. Thank you, Mr. Labenz, for all that you do.

Abigail Cool – for wearing the pants in our relationship

You’ve seen all of me, Abigail, and you’re still here, still my best friend. I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t in my life because you literally drag me out of bed and wash my face for me when I’m too tired to do it myself. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being someone I can fully be myself around. There’s no mask when I’m with you, no hiding the loud and obnoxious person that is only revealed around the people I’m closest to and my family. You are my family; you come to my house and take naps in my bed and love my mom as much as I do. That’s a lot of love.

You wear the pants, Abigail, and I’m so glad that you do. Because someone has to, and it’s definitely not going to be me. You somehow bring out this weird, unfiltered side of me that I didn’t really know I had until I met you. You push me outside of my comfort zone, forcibly pull me out of bed, hide my phone when I need to do my homework, and just take care of me when I’m incapable of doing it myself.

Thank you for everything, Abigail. I love you with my whole heart.  

Linus Kaechele – for hyping me up

Linus, every conversation we have leaves me smiling or laughing and I am so, so grateful for that. Not only are you one of my primary sources of laughter, but you are seriously my personal hype man, and I actually live for it. I live for your compliments and kind words about the weird Goodwill sweaters my mom finds hideous or my words on TCT. Everything I do is supported by you, and I am so unbelievably appreciative of that.

You give and give and give, not with your actions, but with your words, and I’m infinitely grateful for how much you care. I feel like now, it’s almost cool not to care about anything, but you show your depth and your creativity and your appreciation for everything and everyone in your life. You aren’t ashamed to display your depth and intelligence, and you shouldn’t ever be.

Linus, thank you for hyping me up on the days when I need it most and for caring so deeply. It doesn’t go unnoticed, at least not by me. Thank you for being you.

Signa Bylsma – for leading our chemistry labs

I am really bad at chemistry. Like, extremely bad. But when its lab day- and I’m not at all ashamed to say this- I feel a bit of relief from the rigorous class that is Chem because I know Signa will help a girl out. Signa, your ability to quickly understand concepts and apply them in the lab helps me immensely, a lot more than I think I let on. I am often the writer, copying down numbers you quickly punched into the calculator or recording answers you recited. I’m okay with being the writer because you are so, so good at the math and the concepts.

Thank you for being better than me and for helping me on the complicated calculations or even just paying closer attention to the instructions than I ever would have.

I am grateful for you, Signa, not only in Chemistry, but in English, too. Moments before my book talk last week, when I was walking up to the podium, I heard your voice above everyone else’s. Your encouragement genuinely made my book talk go a little bit smoother than it maybe would have if I didn’t hear your voice.

It’s the little things, Signa, and your abundance of them during the hours we have together is appreciated.

The driving instructors at Jungle, specifically Dave – for putting their lives in my shaky hands

I am a terrible driver, and I think it was very, very stupid of me to take Segment One of driver’s training when I was a freshman. I was only a baby and should not have been allowed behind a wheel with a complete stranger in the backseat and a driving instructor beside me.

I remember my very first drive was with Dave, a calm yet intimidating man. The first time my foot hit the pedals and my hands gripped the wheel, I was just thrown onto 28th street along with the other experienced and licensed drivers. I was nervous and timid, and the one thing Dave repeatedly emphasized that still echoes in my mind today was “a little bit of gas” in his unflustered, but also extremely worried voice. Anyone who had Dave knows how often he says this, and I wish I could replicate the way he said it on paper.

The whole hour I was on the road with the mysterious man that is Dave I thought I was going to kill us both, but here I am today. I miraculously made it out of the Jungle car alive, and Dave also walked away without a scratch.

Dave was my instructor for more than half of my drives, so it’s safe to say that we learned a little bit about each other. I will always be thankful for Dave, and my other instructors, for allowing my timid freshman self to drive us around town. I don’t think I would have gotten my permit if it weren’t for Dave, so I thank that man infinitely for blessing me with his presence and occasional driving tips each week.

Lynlee Derrick – for making me both love and hate you at the same time

There really aren’t enough adjectives to describe the one and only Lynlee.

Your way with words never ceases to amaze me, and I’m constantly in awe of your ability to write a meaningful, metaphorical column and then spew something so idiotic right after turning it in that it actually hurts.

I will always be thankful for you, Lynlee, and I am so happy that you are in my life because it would be a lot duller without you in it.

Olive juice, Lynlee.

Julia Beaumont – for traveling the world with me

There is absolutely nobody I would rather see the world with than you, Jules. Every time I plan a trip or want to go somewhere outside of Grand Rapids, I immediately think of you because I’m incapable of exploring Earth without you beside me. The other day, I was starting to plan a trip to Utah because I’m absolutely astonished by the mountains, and the thought of you coming along was second nature. It was habit. I’m going somewhere, so I bring my Julia.

Thank you for doing life with me and for being so passionate about all the things I am passionate about. We click, Julia, and I will always be thankful for our friendship. Our friendship is one adventure after the other, whether it be exploring the streets of London or just the shoe section at Target.

I hope one day every place on our travel bucket lists gets checked off. I won’t see the world without you, Julia, I just can’t. Let’s keep checking boxes until we run out of paper or the world gets tired of our worn-in shoes walking all over it. Whichever happens first.

Sarah Wordhouse – for being my everything

I’m never bored when I’m with you, never at a loss for words or finding an awkward lull in conversation. Your witty humor paired with my ability to laugh at literally anything allows us to carry full conversations filled with joke after joke after joke until one of us falls to the floor laughing so hard because standing takes too much energy, and we can talk on the floor.

You’re more than just funny, though. You’re more than a writer or just one of the many Wordhouse siblings. You’re my Sarah. You’re my home and my everything. There aren’t enough words to describe you or my love for you. I wouldn’t do you, or words for that matter, any justice in trying to sum up my appreciation and gratitude for you in a couple of paragraphs. You deserve every wonderful word in the English language and so much more. You deserve a fulfilling life and an amazing career and everything good in the world.

You mean so much to me, Sarah. So much. I’m trying not to think about the day you’ll leave, the day where the couch and the room will feel emptier. Your warm and welcoming presence is the greatest gift in the world, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without it next year. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you next year.

I love you more than words could ever describe. You are my everything.

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