The first time I saw Thomas, it was the year 2007 and I was in 8th grade at City High-Middle and Thomas was in 7th. He had very long hair and was kind of short and chubby, and I remember walking past him in the hallways thinking “that poor girl looks so sad.” It was until years later that Thomas and I first became friends in Mr. Tu’s physics class in 2010-ish. I was a grade above him, but I wasn’t placed into a physics class my junior year and I was hoping Ms. Ralston wouldn’t notice and I could somehow skip taking it. She did, in fact, notice and I was placed into physics as a senior. The classroom seats were in alphabetical order, so I was seated next to my friend Lashia Starks. Thomas was also in this class, and he was now tall and regarded as being one of the cuter boys in our school (or, at least in my group of friends!).
Thomas ended up pulling up a chair and sitting on the edge of our table most days, and the three of us enjoyed spending time together in that class. I copied off of Thomas’s class work pretty often (sorry, Mr. Tu!). We became good friends, occasionally hanging out outside of school. We dated different people throughout high school, but it wasn’t until the summer after I finished my freshman year of college (and the summer after Thomas graduated from City) that we started hanging out together almost constantly. We had a close friendship and originally never considered dating, until one day when Thomas texted me that he was thinking of asking out another mutual friend of ours. I replied, in a moment of bravery, something like “no I don’t think you should ask her out, I think you should date me instead.” And so then we began officially dating! Thomas went to Aquinas college and I went to GVSU, but he would often take the bus out to come visit me, and we spent summers working only about a block away from each other in downtown Grand Rapids. We began dating in 2013, got married in 2018, then moved to Kansas for a couple of years while I got my Master’s, then moved back home to Grand Rapids in 2020. In 2021, we bought a house only a couple of blocks away from (the new) City High, and Thomas now works as a K-8 art teacher, at Sibley Elementary and Shawmut Hills (which is where I went to school!).
Side note: one of the photos I attached is of our feet in Christmas socks. This was the first photo we took together, and the only one of both of us when we were in high school. In the background is Nolan Quinn, who ended up being Thomas’s best man in our wedding!