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TCT’s The Countless Thanks: Lynlee Derrick

My biology group, the “Clowns,” for supporting me, even when I can’t say phosphorylation

I genuinely think I would not be passing AP Biology without you guys. Amelia, Megan, Abigail, Val, Julia—you guys make the two-hour block feel like a blink, whether we’re discussing our enzyme cartoons or how to dismantle Big Pharma.

It feels like everything I say is listened to, even if I’m complaining about greenwashing in the middle of a cellular respiration lab. And you guys never hesitate to help me. In all honesty, I know I am no Harvard-accepted, award-winning Einstein, and when the Kreb’s cycle is involved, I am a kindergartener, but you guys never get annoyed with me. You never tell me to just “Google it” or ignore my texts—more like audio messages decorated with despair—and instead explain it. I mean really explain it, like explain it to the point where I wonder why you didn’t test out of this class.

So, my fellow “clowns,” thank you for the graphing help—everyone knows I need it—the Kreb’s cycle breakdowns, the Big Pharma takedown discussions, and everything else we have laughed about over lab tables that Ms. Butler has most definitely heard.

Mrs. Penninga, a fellow bibliophile, for being the sunshine I need at 7:45 am

AP Literature with you, Mrs. Penninga, is an actual blessing. Despite being virtual even when school was in person, your teaching never faltered; you laugh through the technical difficulties and put your all into the presentations, especially with Bitmojis. And you care. You are the biggest cheerleader for words and writing and books, and your support in class and for The Central Trend warms my heart. I appreciate that more than I could ever know; seriously, I am so, so grateful to have had you in my final year here. You are a symbol that this year can be good—that it is what we make it—and I am so thankful for you and your Bitmoji every day.

Señora Dykhouse, una mujer de compasión, por animarme siempre y apoyar a sus estudiantes de todo corazón

Señora Dykhouse, se siente raro hablar inglés con Usted, así que creo que este debe ser en español (pero Abby no puede ser capaz de corregir esto). Usted hace AP Español divertido con Sólo Danza (Just Dance?) y tolerar todos los elogios de Shakira, y lo hace una clase que espero con ansias. Constantemente, estoy aprendiendo sobre más de lo que pensaba: el idioma, la cultura, sobre mí mismo, y el mundo. Realmente nos apoya como una clase; nos deja hablar como iguales, y valora nuestras voces. Se siente bien ser apreciada—ser escuchada. El español es una de mis pasiones, y quiero agradecerle por darme el espacio para aprenderlo y amarlo.

Ms. Butler, whom I need to apologize to for having to deal with freshman-year me, for embodying science and care

I try every day to convince myself that I have a science brain, and I want to thank you, Ms. Butler, for putting up with that in AP Biology—a class where I probably should have a science brain already. For two hours, you probably overhear more than you want to, especially as I lament loudly that my downfall will be spelling restaurant and pronouncing biological terms that old men named specifically, I believe, for me to stumble over (example: phosphorylation). I want to apologize for that but also thank you. AP Biology with you and our class is something I have missed as we have transitioned online; I miss the class-wide discussions, I miss accidentally killing all three of my plants, and I miss, somehow, fumbling through the labs. Yet you have made the online Zooms as similar as possible. You have tailored them to our schedules while still constantly reaching out and supporting us, proving that compassion and empathy have a place in science. Every day, even when I change my Zoom name to Bhad Bhabie fan and everyone in class kills their plants, you still listen and show your excitement for all that biology encompasses. Thank you, Ms. Butler. Thank you.

Ashlyn Korpak and Mrs. Korpak, my gloomy-day go-to’s, for the cookies and the love

You two are an unstoppable duo—something out of a T.V. superhero show or, in my lucky case, my life.

Ashlyn, I miss you. Like miss you miss you. I know you are thriving at Lipscomb (as I knew you would), but I miss having my rock, my motherly friend, my “let me bake weird desserts and pass them out in the school parking lot” kind of friend. You are such a soulful and empathetic friend, even telling your mom to bake me and Abby cookies because we had bad weeks. I will never be able to thank you enough for your impact on my life; you have taught me so much about caring and compassion and continue to do so even when in Tennessee. And Mrs. Korpak, I can see where Ashlyn gets it from. Both of you are such warm, sunshiney-day kind of people. Your texts never fail to make me smile, and oftentimes, they are a nice little boost in the sea of senior year. Dinners with you and Abby make my entire month, especially as you genuinely seem to care about my trivial mishaps in Calculus and how I truly don’t know my future, and your food deserves its own cookbook. I am so thankful to have you in my corner—both of you—and I hope to bake cookies as good as yours one day.

Taylor Baumgardner, my Spanish companion, for loving Shakira as much as I do

Taylor, you seriously inspire me. You have grown so much, and I wish to be as open-hearted yet authentic as you are. Also, your style deserves a shout out. I will be a happy woman when I have the shoe collection you do.

But, on a more serious not, thank you for fumbling through Spanish with me. Te aprecio más que lo sabes. Me haces reír tan duro durante clase, pero también, podemos tener discusiones sobre las cosas escondidas—las cosas importantes. Nuestro día en el parque por el proyecto de Nomofobia me mostró lo similares que somos. Tu corazón, tu alma, tu risa—gracias por siempre ser tú. Has hecho mi último año, y has hecho AP Español.

También, es agradable saber que Shakira tiene admiradores como nosotros.

Abby Wright, fellow Editor-in-Chief, for being my actual, literal soulmate

I think to start this off, to do our friendship—our soulmateship—justice, is to mention that you called Little Caesars for me. Despite being in Indiana, despite having much better things to do, you called to see if they were open so that I could get Krazy Bread.

You are a forever friend—not just for Little Caesars but for everything since our freshman year in WFP together.

We are so similar that it shocks me every day. From our similar undying desire to get frog tattoos to our obsession with smoothies and finding ourselves at the mall four times in a week to words being our love languages, I have no doubt in my mind that we are friend soulmates, the best kind. While it shatters my heart every time I realize how far apart our futures may be, I declare here and now that I will not lose you. We will swap shirts (and long socks), and we will get matching tattoos, and we will not fizzle. I don’t think I could survive that, to be honest.

You have made me a better person, and I think we are becoming too similar. We have developed our own language at this point. We are mamas—soulmates, frankly. When I think of you, I think of our endless texts about anything and everything, our constant laughing at things no one else would understand, and that TikTok sound that goes “I’ll love your forever, Syd” because, Abby, I love you so much. Despite my aversion to the word, I truly love you, and no matter where life takes us, I will always love you.

You are my person, my soulmate, my forever friend, my mamas, my please-come-with-me-for-this-minor trip companion. I wouldn’t be me without you. So, let’s continue swapping shirts—I have 20 more Wetzel’s ones—and get those matching tattoos and continue to make big trips out of simple Target runs and work breaks. Let’s continue being friends as you are undeniably my best friend and a much calmer version of me.

There aren’t enough words that can describe our friendship or what you mean to me—none of complex enough nor funny enough—but maybe mamas does the job.

Thank you, mamas, for doing life with me.

Staff, my home in a motley of people, for making every day on The Central Trend a good one and for constantly inspiring me

Lydia, your laugh makes me laugh, and even though you’ve been quarantined far too often, I appreciate your nonstop handwork. And Sophie, you never fail to check in on me or make me laugh—you are one of the most kind-hearted people I know—all while balancing photography and writing. You two are one heck of a team, and I am so glad you are on TCT.

Allie and Emma and Veronica—my social media babes, my pseudo-children (since I don’t want them), the people who brighten my day—I could never thank all of you enough for your hard work. Social media is hard; Abby and I were in the same place as you all when we were sophomores. Yet you guys crush it while putting your own spin on it. Allie, your Instagram stories are literally gorgeous. Not only have you grown so much as a writer this year that it makes me so proud I tear up, but you have also become Instagram’s newest Picasso. Emma, have I mentioned how much I value you in my life? You kill the Twitter game, but you also make me feel so loved with your constant help and jokes. I can’t help but be thankful for you. And Veronica—my mini-me before I dyed my hair—you remind me so much of myself that it hurts. I wish you were Group A so that I could annoy you like a sister like I did last year, but I am grateful to just even know you. Your hard work is recognized and appreciated—all of your guys’ work is.

Linus and Kelsey, thank you endlessly for the support and nonstop effort. Kelsey, you seem to never have your phone, but you never let it stop you; you never give up, and I value you so much. I literally can’t imagine life without you. Honestly, I rely on you a little too much, but if that means I get to have my three-minute car ride rants while driving you home, I will continue to rely on you. And Linus, your words never fail to astound me, whether in English or Spanish. I appreciate your presence more than you know, and I am glad to be able to curse Calculus’s existence with someone else. I think we can both agree derivatives are unnecessary—we would be much better without them—and that the comfort of words is 27 times better than Delta Math.

Honestly, you two are a duo that never stops surprising me, Nat and Lauren. How does your energy match so well? Your creativity together is mind-blowing, and your work on the print edition is recognized and valued even if it may not be possible yet. Nat, you have been in my life since you were a freshman, and your growth has been a privilege to watch. Never ever change. You are so authentically you, and I hope you know I will always be here for you. You have a special place in my heart. Lauren, your columns and short stories are only a fraction of how talented and creative you are. It is a blessing to know you, especially before you become famous for everything that you do: dance, write, just being smarter than I ever will be. I am so glad you are on staff—that I get to see you come out of your shell—and I want to thank you for constantly giving us your all even when not in class. I miss you so, so much, Lauren.

Savannah, I cannot write you anything without saying how much I love your hair and makeup. Seriously. How can you be so talented at makeup and also writing? Moreover, thank you for always laughing at my jokes, and thank you for always being you. I cannot wait to be back in class with you.

Avery, where do I start? You started off so quiet, but I am so glad that has changed as TCT has become a family. You are so, so funny; your texts in the group chat make me snort and laugh so hard that my dogs come in to check on me. And along with your jokes, you are always so dedicated, giving me and Abby your all. You grow with every story, and I always enjoy editing them. So thank you, Avery, for the stories and the laughs and the dedication.

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