Everyone always says that you never talk to your high school friends after you graduate. That may be true, and I wouldn't know because I'm currently a junior in high school. But even if, after June of 2017, I never speak to my group of best friends again, I will always be grateful for them.

In middle school, everyone said the same thing: your group of friends changes when you get to high school. You never talk to your best friends again. And while high school has definitely weeded out the bad friends from my life, it has also been an opportunity for my core group of friends to get closer and to be there for each other no matter what, even if we attend different schools or don't get around to seeing each other as often.

Friendship is something that everyone needs and that every person should value highly in their life. Being a good friend is just as important as having good friends, and we always have to strive to be there for those we hold close and for those we consider our friends, no matter if we've known them since kindergarten or if we met them two months ago. Friends help us to feel included, loved, and like we belong.

I am eternally grateful for my friends. They have helped me through so much in my life, and half of the things they've helped me with, they don't even know about. They've simply been there for me through it all, and they have never once uttered a single word that wasn't in my defense or "on my side". They have given me the stern, honest truth when I'm emotional, and they have been there for me to confide in no matter what. Gender plays no role in whether or not my friends have been there for me; over half of my closest friends are guys, and they have been there for me just as much as the girls. Anyone who says that guys are incapable of being caring shoulders to cry on or trustworthy people to confide in has certainly never met my friends.

So, to my friends, thank you. Thank you for always being there for me and for never ceasing to make me laugh, especially when times are rough and when I just need a pick-me-up. Thank you for laughing with me, not at me, and for helping me to see the light in every situation. Thank you for sticking with me through middle school, through the awkward phases (there were many) and through all the different other "friends" who came along the way. Thank you for always being there to comfort me and love me, and for always knowing what I need and when I need it. I can only hope that I have made some sort of difference in your lives, as you have in mine.

If we never see each other again after high school-- which I hope will not be the case--then I will still be able to tell stories to my college friends about all of our wild adventures and stories that have come along our paths and that we've gotten ourselves into. I will be able to trust those around me with more ease because I will always remember how much I love and trust you. I will be able to tell my kids about my fun high school experiences with you guys and how you made these past three (and on to the next) years enjoyable. Thank you for always being my friends, and for being people I am always proud to call my best friends.