After high school graduation, friends and family members give the new graduate gifts to help prepare him or her for the future. The polite thing to do after receiving a gift is to send a thank you note for whatever they gave you. I’ve had to send out a lot of thank you notes so far this summer, but I’ve come to realize that I can never send enough.
As cheesy as it is, growing up in Geneva was an incredible gift in itself. The people here, and in the surrounding towns, have showed me incredible kindness over the years. The compliments I’ve received about this column have been simply amazing. I’ve therefore decided to use my last column to try and say thank you to all the people who’ve helped me grow up.
Thank you to the teachers who legitimately cared about me and my education. You’ve inspired me to go into education myself, piqued my curiosity in things like European history or German, and helped me manage through tough times and tough classes.
Thank you to the families of my best friends for always being there for me. I’ve received constant love, support and tortilla chips from people who weren’t required to provide that for me. Having other houses I was always welcome at was a lifesaver.
Thank you to the parishioners of St. Peter Church in Geneva, and especially those involved in their youth programs. I’ve found a wonderful community and support system over the years of Masses, religious education and the Confirmation program. The weekend retreats are my best memories from high school.
Thank you to anyone who had to interact with me between the ages of 9 and 13. I’m very sorry for all the obnoxious outbursts and crinkled-up dollar bills that I bought my knee socks with.
Thank you to my TA class for affirming my desire to be a teacher. I will never, ever forget Mrs. Bullock or the third-graders who always brightened my day.
Thank you to the employees of the Chipotle on Randall Road for always giving me perfect steak fajita burritos.
Thank you to my very best friends who were always there for me. I know that I’ve been mean or just plain weird at times, but I can’t imagine growing up without you guys. I couldn’t have survived high school without you.
Thank you to the Kane County Chronicle for publishing me at the age of 16. I have my foot in the door as a writer going into college, and I can’t thank Kathy Gresey enough for dealing with my missed deadlines and accidental comma splices.
And finally, thank you to my family. We’ve had the best family vacations in faraway places, and the best times sitting at home and eating popcorn on the family room floor. I know I can always come home if I need to.
Thank you everyone, for everything.
• Courtney Phelan recently graduated from Geneva High School. She is an outgoing and energetic young writer who likes to swim, read and participate in general teenage activities. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.