Students, staff, faculty count their blessings

By Thunderword Staff

Turkey, stuffing, and pie are not the only thing on people's mind right now.

With Thanksgiving being this week, people at Highline are reflecting on what they are most thankful for this year.

"I had my first kid this year, Aniyah Rose, she is that I am very most thankful for," said Rodderick Hall. "Everything I do is for her and I feel so blessed to have her in my life."

Campus security officer Frances "Frankie" Mckeever emphasizes immense gratitude for her child as well.

"[My daughter] is a miracle baby," Officer Mckeever said. "She only had a 30 percent chance of survival the day she was born."

Family was on the minds of other people as well.

"I am thankful for my mom, we just found out she has cancer and that has changed my perspective on everything," said Amelia Stumph, a Highline student.

This illness has changed her view.

"I have always known how lucky I am to have a mom that is caring and always there for me. The things you take for granted every day are more apparent after something like this," she said. "I appreciate every moment with my mom she is my world."

Another student reflected on her family.

"I'm thankful for my sisters and my mom," said Juliana Reneè. "They offer so much support and great advice."

Some people cherished friendships in their life.

"I'm grateful for finally establishing a friend group that is supportive and persistent," Alyda Marincovich said. "I finally have that group of friends whom I feel close with, and will be there whenever I need them."

One student was grateful in the peace she found, despite recent stressful times.

"In a world filled with so much hate I am thankful for love. Right now it's hard to not be frustrated with everything that's going on in America," said Marquetta James.

Her perspective helped her find solace.

"The way I view things is the only thing I can control is myself," she said. "My thoughts, my reactions, my actions and the way the show love to others. I'm thankful to find peace in remembering that.

Another student reflected on the recent election.

"Things can get chaotic in life, especially with this recent election, but it's good to give thanks to your friends and family that will hold your hand through that chaos," Cindy Greyson said.

Some people reminisced on the past.

"I'm just really glad and thankful that I have friends that accept me for who I am, I didn't really have that growing up," said a student who asked to remain anonymous.

Another student was inspired by her growth.

"Last year I was in such a bad place, I could hardly get out of bed, let alone live day-to-day life," Lessy Radmacher said. "Now, a year later, I may still be reluctant to leave my comfy bed in the morning, but I'm getting things done. I want to live, and I'm thankful for that."

Simply living was one student's reason to be grateful.

"I'm thankful I've lived to past 18. A lot of people don't make it past those years, and I think it's a good milestone," Alex Ryding said.

Life is a true blessing to said one student.

"I have a lot of medical problems, diabetes and bad kidneys to name a few," said Troy Hutchison.

"I have been in and out of the hospital for years," he said. "At one point the doctors said I would not make it another five years. That was eight years ago. I am blessed. Every day I am thankful."

Highline faculty and staff seemed to be thankful for their jobs.

Derek Dean, a Public Safety officer, said that he is thankful for a positive work environment.

"I'm really thankful that I work in an environment where people are constantly supporting each other and feeding into each other's growth," Dean said. "It creates a positive atmosphere."

He said even the positivity of the students is uplifting.

"Highline College [students] are motivated to better themselves with learning, and in turn will grow to contribute to the world and give back to the community."

Another highline staff member talked about her job.

Maria Toloza, the events coordinator for the Women's Programs, said that she was grateful for having a staff that's dedicated to making a change and staying passionate about their work.

She said she's thankful that they were able to help abused women move on and grow.

"Women's Programs is all about helping the community and finding ways to make things better," Toloza said. "That's the community that we have at Highline. We give because we know it's going to give back."

A Highline faculty member commented on her job as well.

"I'm grateful for having a job that I like, traveling, and being financially stable," said Cyrille Piton, a Highline French instructor.

Piton said that she will be spending Thanksgiving with her daughter and a former student who she taught more than 20 years ago, who she recently reconnected with.

Reporters Jacqueline Robinson, Zico Duma, Cris Romero, and Aleyah Bennett contributed to this story.

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