“I met Kiersten on the bus going into middle school. I didn’t know anyone or really have any friends. I first noticed her because of her headphones. They were really bright green beat headphones & I wanted to compliment them so I told her “Hey I really like your headphones.” & she said, “Thanks!” & then we just started talking after that. We had a couple classes together & we often saw each other in the hallway. We really started hanging out the summer after 7th grade. We both came up with the idea of riding our bikes over the summer because we thought it would be very cool & trendy. We would always listen to music when we rode our bikes. I had a little phone holder so we would play music. We listened to a lot of emo bands, Panic at the Disco, Halsey, & some Lumineers. The band 5SOS always reminds me of her. Whenever she played it I would get so mad because I never liked any of their music before, & she was always playing it. She listened to Amnesia a lot. We would always be screaming the music we listened to together because no one could hear us.”
“My first real impressions of Kiersten were that she was a person who was never afraid. She was always herself & very confident in who she was. I always looked up to that because growing up I was always afraid to be myself. I was self conscious about who I was. She definitely encouraged me to express myself. Watching her with other people, she was always really outgoing. She really liked art. Whenever I went to her house we would draw or paint, & she would always play with makeup. She would do a look on me & I would do a look on her, we would just take turns & have fun together while being creative. I feel like our relationship progressed over time. We definitely just got closer & closer as the years went on. At first I was not really apart of her friend group because I was a guy & I didn’t really know her friends. Freshman & sophomore year is probably when I got more involved with her friend group.”
“The group consisted of me, Kiersten, Gracie, Abi, Drew, Elizabeth, & Sydney. We would either go to my house or Kiersten’s house & ride bikes & do little photoshoots while listening to music. Or we’d go to Abi’s house & ride our bikes in her neighborhood. That was just what we would always do together. Being with them made me feel appreciated & welcomed. I had never been apart of a group like that before. I was really scared to go into a school not having any friends, & I’m just really thankful I got to grow up with them. We were all free to be ourselves.”
“Kiersten added a goofy vibe to the group. She would always bring up vine references & we would always joke around with her. Not only was she goofy but she was someone I could always talk to. She was one of the first people I came out to, & that was really big for me because I didn’t really have that many friends to depend on at that time. It meant a lot to me that she accepted me & understood. She was just really excited for me & happy as I was bawling my eyes out crying because it was really hard. She didn’t think anything different of me, if anything, she embraced me even more which was amazing. We would also often have deep conversations on bike rides. We would talk about anxiety & other problems that we were having. It was really good for coping. She was a true friend.”
When I found out Kiersten was moving to Herron, I was really upset because she was the first person I could lean on, trust, & hangout with. I thought all of that was going to go away, but in reality I think we got closer because of her switching schools. We would still meet up after school & she would talk about her day at Herron & I would talk about my day at Mooresville. I think we stayed closer because we lived so close to each other & I was always able to ride my bike to her house.”
“Freshman & Sophomore year Kiersten & I went to a lot of concerts. Sophomore year we went to Billie Eilish & even got to hug Billie which was really cool. We also went to a Lany concert, they are not super well known, but it was really fun. There was one day for my 15th birthday Drew, Kiersten, & I went downtown & took pictures, got coffee, & hung out. It was just a chill day. It was super simple. But it’s one day I’m going to remember. It was just really special.”
“When I heard she was coming back to Mooresville I was really excited because I knew that everyone missed her. Summer going into junior year I would go to her house a lot & stay until dark. I would stay so long that my mom wouldn’t let me ride my bike back home because it was so dark, so she’d come & pick me up. Sometimes Kaya & Jalen would be there too & we would play card games. It was always a relaxing & fun time.”
“Junior year I feel like we could’ve been closer. She started making more friends at Mooresville & we didn’t talk as much as we used to. It was just a natural drift apart. We hung out a few times. The last time we hung out we were probably riding bikes.”
On the day of the accident I saw her first period. I was a teacher’s aide for Mr. Damron & the classes were doing secret snow buddies. She got the swedish fish & she came up to me & said, “What is this?!” She was really confused & it was really funny, that was the last time I talked to her.”
I found out about the accident when Christiana called me around 8 o’clock. I was at home with my mom. At first I didn’t know what to feel. It was just really in the face & I was in complete shock. I had no idea what to do. I was in the basement when I found out so I just went upstairs in my room for an hour & just sat there, not crying or anything, but just frozen..
When they had the Celebration of Life it helped me a lot & made it real for me. Drew Ryker & Ava were really there for me & found it easy to grieve together. A lot of the times I would go for a drive & listen to the playlist that Elizabeth had made. Everyone put songs on there that reminded them of her.
I would say I have been quiet for a year because when she passed I feel like I was not that close with her & I feel like I don’t deserve to grieve about it or even talk about it. People that were closer & more important get that but not me. For the most part I had tried to push my grief aside & not deal with it.
If I could describe Kiersten in a word I would say selfless. I would say she gets her selflessness from her family. The Woodward family was very accepting & welcoming of me. I was really scared that they weren’t going to be at first because I’ve never been that good of friends with someone & especially with a girl. There was one time I was hanging out with Kiersten & I didn’t have a ride home. Jill, Andy, Kiersten, & Lainie were going to this family get together at this lake & they said to me, “Oh you can just come with us!” & I said, “Are you sure?” & they let me come with them. My brother has always had really close friends that were like family to him. I have always been introverted, so I hadn’t always had that. Kiersten’s family was that for me.
To live a life making Kiersten proud would be through art. She loved to draw & paint. I am looking to go into an art school to pursue that type of passion. Over the past couple of months I’ve been embracing myself more & not caring about what anyone else thinks, which I feel like that’s is what she did a lot.
If I could talk to her again, I would tell her how thankful I am to have had her as a friend.”