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Gratitude.

Thank you Colin for your relentlessly positive attitude and how you chase wonder through the days. Thank you for smiling when you don’t understand Malagasy and thank you for carrying the med bag and all the responsibilities that go with that. Thank you for your southern accent and your infectious laugh and for each and every succulent you showed me.

Thank you Hunter for your smile and for your sly and witty humor that sneaks into the peripheries of conversations. Thank you for accepting challenges and for caring about things and thanks you for buying your snacks quietly and for showing up each and every day.

Thank you Soleil for not hurting any children and for your beautiful writing. Thank you for your initiative and for having your own experience. Thank you for all the jokes you told and all of the ones that you didn’t. Seriously though, thanks for not hurting any children.

Thank you Becky for low-key always kind of being in charge of everything. Thank you for the way you fluttered between social groups like a butterfly and thanks for your snack bag. Thank you for throwing your glasses around and for for never, a single time, making me worry about you.

Thank you Orestes. Thank you for keeping Dragon’s in business if for no other reason than spending your summers arguing with your instructors. Thank you for your wisdom and knowledge and for learning how to better share that with those around you. Thank you for your budgets and for that time you apologized for spending an extra 1.50 on water. Also, thanks for wearing a hat and for puking with poise and grace.

Thank you Sidonie for each and every day you have put up with me. Thanks for making this program happen and for the infinite amount of love and care you have given to make this program possible.

Thank you Lula for your eloquence and the way you sincerely thank people. Thank you for being kind and gracious and for thinking deeply about what is going on around you. Thank you for your humility.

Thank you Jane for trying so unbelievably hard. Thank you for pushing yourself and for pushing others. Thank you for drawing connections between what you see and what you feel here with what you know from a world away. Thank you for showing us all that we are more nuanced, interesting and more complicated than others think we are or should be.

Thank you Lottie for the way you brighten up a room and for your goofy photo persona. Thank you for taking it all in stride and for focusing on the good and the positive and the joy in all of us and in the world. Thank you for leading by example and being a constant reminder to look further, seek more, care more deeply, and think more critically about what we are experiencing.

Thank you Gabe for being you and for telling me the plots of your novels. I’m still unsure how anyone can really make use of three swords but I’ll wait for the final edition to see. Thank you for being comfortable with who you are and not changing for anyone.

Thank you Hope for pushing through the things that you struggled the most with. Thank you for each step you took in Isalo and for always putting your tent stakes in correctly. Thank you for remembering to be positive and for owning your own voice. Thanks for eating rice when you didn’t want to and for only laughing a little when I dumped my pack into a little canal.

Thank you Nica for knowing exactly how hard to push and for when to know when to give a little. Thank you for being who you want to be and for thinking about who that is. Thank you for every time you welcomed someone you didn’t know and thank you for always saying “welcome” and “thank you” and “please join us”. Thank you for the camp fires and the questions and that kept us there. Thank you for loving this place and for loving the people that loved you and thank you for seeing a bigger world and how we can all be a bigger part of it.