Abbey Calderwood – for being my ‘grughfriend.’
I could have never expected a more peculiar start to a friendship, but I can’t say I’m surprised because the very things I love most about you are what set you apart from the rest. Thank you for always exuding an aura of warmth no matter how heavy the situation is; you have the innate ability to make any moment feel tranquil and serene, no matter how chaotic it naturally is. Thank you for never breaking eye contact and always greeting me with kind eyes every time our paths cross.
Thank you for lending me your shoulder when I needed it most, and I hope you understand that I am always here for you, too. You will forever have the best-shaped head for hugs. I am forever indebted to your kindness, and I will repay you with your Biggby soon enough.
Sam Schwarze – for reasons unknown
Sam, I don’t know why, but I think you’re the bee’s knees. I haven’t had enough conversations with you to pinpoint my reasoning for declaring your greatness, but I know it’s there, and I’m going to find it.
For better or for worse, you never cease to surprise me. Your kindness, openness, and humor is insanely amazing, and I’m glad you’ve shared it with me. The day our paths crossed when you woke up at 3:00 AM, and I went to bed at 4:00 AM was my first inkling that I’m meant to know you. That one hour made me realize how much I have yet to learn about you. Count this as a thank you for the future—a thank you for when I know what I need to thank you for. Until then, thank you for always responding at the most convenient, opportune times, and thank you for always keeping me company in the backseat on Team ERLS’ adventures.
Ashlyn Korpak – for being my always.
Oh, Ashlyn Korpak, you are too good for this world. I have neither the poetic prowess nor emotional intellect to describe how brightly your soul shines. I have never met anyone in my life who is as kind and giving as you are; thank you for always being so lovely and loving.
I look forward to seeing you every single day because there is no one I would rather hear the words ‘sweetheart,’ ‘baby,’ or ‘honey’ from; though, at times, I have doubted whether you know my name or not, your endearments reach deeper than the surface-level nature of birth-assigned titles. You could call me whatever you want, and I would still love you for it. For better or for worse, you are always there for me; you’ve seen me at my worst and at my best, but no matter what, you have always seen the light inside me, even when the shadows are stronger. You will forever and always be in my heart. Thank you for always sticking by my side.
Mrs. Whalen – for making me believe in myself
Mrs. Whalen, when I first looked at my schedule, I never would have thought that precalculus would be a class I enjoy and genuinely look forward to, but you yourself are inconceivably amazing, so I guess my surprise at the greatness of your class shouldn’t come as a shock. You have done the impossible; you’ve made me love math again.
I remember the days when I used to spend my allowance on Scooby-Doo-themed math workbooks because I loved math so much. I remember spending hours practicing my times tables because I needed that knowledge. I remember beaming every time a math problem was put before me. I’ve lost that spark over the years, but you’ve reignited it. I am by no means a mathematical prodigy—my first test grade reflects that—but you’ve helped me find my own potential, and I am forever grateful. When you saw that I got off to a rocky start, you immediately swooped in to help. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for always brightening up the room in fourth hour—even when it may seem like you’re talking to yourself; I promise I will always be there to listen.
Jasmine Dawson – for never letting me go.
It’s hard to believe I platonically fell in love with the girl who unabashedly titled herself the ‘smart one’ at our table in Spanish III in our very first meeting. Yet, I have never been more thankful for a seating arrangement in my life.
Jasmine, I am so glad that you have shared the absurdities of your mind with me; I have yet to find a person as interesting as you. The best part about you, though, is not your quirkiness; your best characteristic is your everything. I have yet to find a flaw in your personality, and that is no lie. Though our days of sitting together are long gone, you still act as though you see me every day. Every time we catch each other’s eyes, you smile at me in a way that makes me feel like “Robarte Un Beso” is playing. The jury may still be out on who the true ‘smart one’ is, but you have always made me feel like the ‘loved one’ no matter where I am sitting. Thank you for giving our seating group a chance. Our audiences are not ready for what’s coming in 2020.
Zach Guikema – for being the weirdest person I know—and the best.
I never realized how boring my life was until I met you, Zach. Thank you for always giving me a reason to smile. Whether it be through one of your many jokes or just your weird screaming sounds, you can always make me laugh—even in the moments when I think there’s no laughter to be had.
Your generosity and ambition in The Crucible did not go unnoticed by me, and I can wholeheartedly say that I wouldn’t have known my lines without you. Your bright attitude and buoyant demeanor washed away all fears and nerves I had at every practice, and I can’t thank you enough for that. Thank you for constituting the majority of the quotes in my quote book. Thank you for making me smile. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for being you—please never change.
Sarah Tiggleman – for dancing your way into my heart and my writing.
Sarah, thank you for responding to my text and for letting me write my first profile on you. I don’t think either of us expected to form such a wonderful friendship after the interview was over, but I’m elated to consider you a good friend now.
My first impression of you was that you were the most poised, kind, and generous person I’ve ever met. It’s a relief to know that you are as crazy as the rest of us. Thank you for letting me get to know you during The Crucible. While we may not remember the specifics of our dance routine, I’ll always remember you. I’ll remember rap-battling with you and Susan Toppen backstage. I’ll remember creating eraser-shaving art exhibits on my pant legs. I’ll remember reciting Mercy Lewis’ lines in an Irish accent. I’ll remember your artistry when it comes to producing and starring in your TikToks, but most of all, I’ll remember your kindness. Sarah Tiggleman, thank you for going from being my first profile to being a fast friend.
Ella Guikema – for starting your car on the second try and stealing my heart on the first.
Ella, Ella, Ella. When we met, we clicked. That’s all there is to say. I don’t think I’ve ever made such worthwhile memories in such a short amount of time with anyone as I have with you. In a few weeks, you went from a stranger to someone I trust almost too much.
Ella, thank you for being so wonderfully accepting of my strangeness and always listening to my stories. I feel like I can tell you anything, and honestly, after our post-cast-party adventure, I feel like I have told you everything. With each word you say to me, my yen to learn more and more and more about you grows stronger. Thank you for always laughing along with my anecdotes. Thank you for being my chauffeur friend (‘chauffriend’?) for every cast event. Thank you for always cranking the volume on the Paw Patrol theme song. Thank you for being the ringleader of Team ERLS. Thank you for always dropping me off last. If appreciation were gasoline, my love for you could fuel an infinite number of late-night adventures.
Susan Toppen – for everything.
Susan Toppen, you’re the reason flowers bloom in the springtime. You’re the reason the sun shines. You’re the reason the world spins. You’re the reason I’m so happy.
My love for you can’t be counted. My love for you can’t be compared. My love for you can’t be defined. Thank you for everything. You will always be the reason for some of my best days. I’ll never forget everything you’ve done for me. Who could?