Mrs. Penninga – for being my in-school mother
You always allow me to come up and bother you with annoying book annotations/realizations and to simply talk about life. Thank you for putting up with me, which I know may be hard because I spend half my day in your classroom. Thank you for always asking me how I’m doing and asking if there is anything you can do to help. Just talking to you helps, Mrs. Penninga. You always support my educational and personal growth, and that means the most. Thank you for always reassuring me that everything will be alright, even when it seems very unlikely. You somehow always find a way to make each of the three hours that I have with you entertaining and enjoyable in their own unique ways. You were the teacher I always wanted but never thought I could have because of conflicting classes, and yet here we are. I only hope I could grow up to be at least semi like you, and maybe even read a 100 books in a year. If you ever need any Nextflix series suggestions, I know just the ones because while you have been reading, I have been binging. Also, not sure if I can say this, but every time I leave your room I have to stop from saying, “Bye, Mom.” So if you ever hear it, thank you for not lecturing me about it and simply embracing that you’ve had that big of an impact on my life in such a short span of time. Finally, thank you for caring for me as a person, and not just as a student.
Lynlee Derrick and Abby Wright – for being my strongholds
Where do I even begin? Thank you for saving me money on therapy. I can always count on being able to tell you any and everything without any judgment, and that means the world. You both have helped me through a year and a half of stress and also provided me with love and entertainment during my recovery from my wisdom teeth removal as well as just every day in general. I don’t think I could ever thank you both enough for all that you have done to bless my days. Thank you, Lynlee, for your never ending comments that make me double over in laughter. Thank you for always referring to me in endearing terms, such as “Jesus Freak,” and for lovingly telling me to shut up. You never fail to brighten my day and inspire me with your bright ideas and beyond-your-years articles. Thank you, Abby, for always walking with me after school and listening to all of my insignificant struggles throughout the day. You have always been someone I can rely on to FaceTime when I need it and support me in my rants about everything that bothers me with the world. Also, thank you for not being upset with the number of memes I send you and tag you in the middle of the night on Instagram. We somehow are able to carry a conversation that consists of simply taking the last thing the other said and making it funnier until we’re both gasping for air, and that’s so special to me. I cannot believe how close I’ve become to two basically 12-year-olds– no offense, of course. You both are people I would consider to be some of my best friends, and that means so much to me. You two are my metaphorical stars, brightening up every dark moment– if I can say that without too much cringe, which I can’t, but it’s true! You two are the only reason I will miss high school. I can’t promise I’ll come back to the school, but I promise to take you to Taco Bell when I return. I L-word you.
Ayah Ayesh – for being a constant ray of sunshine
This is a small one, but thank you for always saying hi to me in the halls and for asking how I’m doing. You always support me in outfit choices, even when they’re questionable, which I greatly appreciate. It may seem minute to you, but it always brightens my day.
Tori Macleod – for the never-ending compliments
Tori, thank you endlessly for always being my hypeman. You never fail to make me smile when I walk into class and when you rant about how “perfect” my middle-part low ponytail is. You support me so much in everything, mostly the things that are insignificant, but it’s always on a day I need the extra support. You encourage me more than you probably realize and make me want to be a more loving person. And thank you for voting for me for Homecoming Court. I told my mom and friends because it meant that much to me. I only hope I can bring you as much joy as you bring me.
Aaron Jachim and Ellie Ingraham – for being my better halves
Thank you for giving me a home in a junior class. I think it’s crazy how I didn’t know either of you before this year, and I now find myself offering to bring you, Ellie, a smoothie during work and you, Aaron, ice cream after your wisdom teeth removal (which I have saved in my calendar). You both always provide sanity through AP Seminar– we all know how utterly insane that class is. You both are some of my favorite conversationalists, and I’ve loved talking about fashion, controversies, and music, along with all of the in-betweens with you two. You are both people I look forward to talking to and also the cause for my sore mouth from laughing so hard when my wisdom teeth were removed. Thank you, Ellie, for being my personal doctor and diagnosing me and Aaron, for discussing all our problems and joking about our “struggles.” Ellie, you alone are probably the only person I would ever allow to show up unannounced saying you’re “kidnapping me” on a school night, and I’d go with you. I’d go anywhere with you two. Aaron, thank you for arguing about colors with me. I know that shirt is mustard yellow and not pea green, but nice try, sweetie. On a serious note, I cannot wait to see where you two beautiful people are going and will love you all the way.
Maddie Vonk – for making every hour better
Thank you for being more to me than I ever could have originally imagined. I met you last year during photography class, but I don’t think it would be a lie if I said neither of us knew how close we would become in the upcoming year. I came into AP Lit, a class full of friend-groups that already existed, but you welcomed me to your table. Now, with nowhere else to go, we have made it our temporary home for the next few months. You have given me everything from laughs, your weird dog food cereal, answers for questions I don’t know, and amazing theater performances in the safety of your seat. In Model UN, you’ve taken me under your arm and have been the receiver of more than a few late-night “help me” texts. Thank you for always replying. Thank you for giving me a friend in the Model UN, the class I thought I had very little in. Thank you for showing me the ropes and making it fun all along the way. You have brought me out of my shell in Model UN and given me comfort in AP Lit. Thank you for being inspirational and for the smaller yet still important tasks of helping me write APA format paragraphs and position papers. You truly are a gem and the epitome of something I would get at Kandy Kitchen, which I’m sure you know is spelled with two Ks and not just one.