My mom has always been a firm believer in thank-you notes after receiving any and every gift, which is a custom now firmly embedded in me, too. I see it only fit to pen a few thank-you notes to some people who have given me incredible gifts over the years — whether I can physically hold them or not. My life in Wilton is coming ever more quickly to a close, so why not take this opportunity to express gratitude to these loved ones in the most public way I know how?

Thank you, first, to my amazing family. Sometimes (arguably most of the time), I am the worst. But you have supported my craziest ideas and most creative ventures for the last 18 years. You’ve come to every play and choir concert, and encouraged me to pursue what I love. I am eternally grateful, and I don’t say it nearly as often as I should.

Thank you to my friends who have graduated, and those who won’t graduate for another one to three years. To the former, thank you for being role models and fantastic big sisters and brothers to lean on for advice and encouragement. You guys have been absolute rocks and sources of comic relief, wisdom, and love. To the latter, thank you for giving me hope. Your company fills me with joy because I can’t wait to see the delightful women and men you grow into, and because you’re just plain fun to hang out with. Whether I once supervised you at middle school youth group and are now a good friend, or I have watched you come into your own in theater or improv, your maturity, hilarity, and brilliance stuns me daily. Please continue forging your own path and making your own legacies — and keep me posted on your lives even long after I am gone.

Thank you to those Wilton teachers who have made these past 10 years a little more tolerable. Whether you offer wisdom, guidance, and humor, put things into perspective, let me sleep in the back of your sophomore English class, or all of the above — I am so grateful. Your classrooms have become escapes from the incessant demands of high school life, and places where I can go during the day to just breathe. Us stressed kids: we need you, and we don’t thank you enough for the gentle reassurance and encouragement that you provide.

Shout out to my dogs, Scooter and Lola, just because.

To my wonderful church family, thank you. Since eighth grade you have fostered a deep-rooted faith in me and I can’t thank you enough for that gift. I have made some of my best friends in the walls of those youth groups and know all of the winding secret hallways like it’s my second home. Some of my fondest high school memories will be late-night worship and skit nights on our annual winter retreats, midday card games and concerts at blazing hot summer music festivals, and waking up at 5:30 to start my day off with our breakfast Bible studies. Never stop leading with love and inclusion, because it can and does change lives.

Although you may never even read this, thank you to those friendly faces in the community. Whether I’ve worked with (or for) you at the library for the past five years, or you just make polite conversation when I come into your shop or restaurant, thank you for being the living and breathing heart of this town. People say Wilton can be snobby or impersonal, but anyone could see right through that just by walking into any building in town, because those people want to make real connections. It’s what makes us special, and I don’t think it gets enough credit.

And finally, thank you to the graduating class of 2017. We are so close and with that collective grasp at the finish line, I’ve seen us grow closer — not in a cliché “we’re all one big family!” type way, but more of a breaking down of friend groups way. We’re collectively realizing that this group of people won’t be all together again for a very long time after June 24. Some of you are some of my closest friends, or maybe we’ve just been lab partners or randomly assigned to sit together, or maybe we’ve never spoken — but thank you for many years of surprises, stress, togetherness, and community.


Brook Amodei is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.