Drew Denton

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“We met in this hallway during seventh grade. I was walking back from lunch & I had an All Time Low band shirt on. It was my brother’s shirt. She said, “Oh my gosh I love your shirt. I listen to them all the time.” I said, “Thanks, I don’t really listen to them but I appreciate your kindness.” We just started to talk & text each other after that.  

My first impression of Kiersten was that she had a really good sense of style. I also loved her personality. It was so different. She was weird in a good way. I’m so weird,& she was just as weird as me. I think that is why we clicked so much because we could just relate to everything. We were awkward & cringe together. 

We didn’t really have many classes together, but we would talk to each other outside of school & hangout on the weekends. I had only a handful of friends up until that point. She introduced me to Gracie, Abi,& Elizabeth. From there we immediately clicked. We were all into the same things like boy bands, youtubers,& other nerdy stuff.  

In 7th & 8th grade I considered Kiersten to be my girl best friend which I didn’t really have a lot of. Most of my close friends were boys. She was just easy for me to talk to. She always understood what I was going through. She touched my heart all the time. I think she got it from the way she was raised by her parents. They are all super sweet & outgoing & she was all of those things.  

Ross, Kiersten,& I started to hangout a lot towards 8th grade & freshman year. I would sometimes go out & ride bikes with them. We went downtown with Ross’s mom. We just walked around the circle together.  We loved being in that kind of atmosphere together. 

We would hangout a lot at the football games then we would go back to her house & I would spend the night. We would listen to music all the time. Sometimes we would just lay on her bed & scroll on our phones in complete silence. It was just nice for us to be in each other’s presence.  

I remember her high top bright highlighter neon yellow vans. I thought they were so ugly. I said, “Kiersten you cannot wear those,” but she said she loved them. Pretty sure she wore them once & then they sat in her closet. 

I remember her talking about Herron. I thought it would be really good for her, even though I would miss her a lot. I just felt like she would have so many good opportunities for herself there. Her personality, her art, her style,& music taste would make Herron a good place for her. There are so many different people there with all different kinds of taste & I thought she would be more prodient, in a good way.  

She was nervous about Herron at first. It was such a different school. I think she got a lot more comfortable when she found her crowd like Athena& others. I feel like she really sparkled there. It brought out her inner Kiersten.

When she left for Herron I didn’t see her as much. I would see her sometimes on the weekend, but I would usually just text her & facetime her. I have this picture of us factimeing& she had this black face mask on & she made this weird face. It was funny, I had to screenshot it. 

One time I was over there freshman year sometime during the summer. I had just gotten my bangs because I wanted to be just like Kiersten.  I felt like I didn’t look very good with them at first, I thought I ruined my hair, but they grew on me. We sat on her driveway,& we had these canvases & paint. I ended up painting her. It looked so bad. It was when she had blue hair. Kiersten said it looked good, but it definitely did not. I appreciated her kindness though.”

“Sophomore year we kind of drifted apart. I would still talk to her over text a lot. She would always slide up on my pictures saying, “Oh you look so pretty!” It made me so happy. We were both occupied with school & our other friends so it was a natural drift. 

When I heard she was coming back to Mooresville I was so excited, although I was kind of sad that she was leaving Herron because that was where she was feeling herself & in her element. But it made me happy that she wanted to come see us again. 

We got a little closer when she came back. It wasn’t as close as we used to be because I still never had any classes with her. I would see her in the hallway or walking out to her car & I would always say hi to her. Anytime I saw her I would compliment her on her shoes or her outfit. She would always tell me that she loved me. 

We hung out together once junior year, it was in August. We went to Goodwill & thrifted some things. Then we went to Starbucks & ate. After that we went to Walmart & Kiersten bought Halloween costumes for her dog & I bought one for my cat. 

The Monday of the accident I didn’t really see Kiersten. I probably saw her at her locker that morning because that’s when I would normally see her. I think I might’ve seen her in the hallway. Whenever we did see each other it was pretty brief. I would mention a little bit about my day and she would tell me how she was doing, just normal stuff. I always felt connected with her. It never felt like we had distanced or anything. 

I was sitting on the couch in my living room that night. Abi called me. She told me Kiersten had been in an accident & that she died. I didn’t believe her. I ran to the bathroom & just started sobbing so hard. It really hurt. I could not believe it. I told my mom & she just cried with me because she loved Kiersten too. I cried in her arms for an hour. Then I had to go to bed. 

The next day I didn’t want to go to school. My mom said it would be better if I did. When the announcements came on in the morning & mentioned her passing I started sobbing. It was embarrassing. I was in my Spanish class at the time & my teacher was very comforting for me. She let me go to the bathroom. Katy wasin the bathroom too. I’m such a loud cryer when I sob & she was crying so softly, but I couldn’t help it. It was comforting having Katy in the bathroom with me though. 

The first couple of months were really hard because I couldn’t stop thinking about the day that this all happened. Now I’m starting to realize that Kiersten would not have wanted everyone to be so sad about this. She would want everyone to celebrate themselves & her life. She would want us to pass on kindness to everyone. 

I tried to be there for the people who were getting really close with her at the time before her death. I tried to comfort both Ryker & Sydney because they had both been spending a lot of time with Kiersten. They had a lot of classes with one another. I felt like they deserved to be more comforted than I did. I felt like I didn’t have that same relationship with her at that time, but now I know that I did. 

My friends & I really did come all together after her death. We all helped each other. At some points people would have moments of sadness during times that I wouldn’t be that sad so I could comfort them. They would do the same for me during my moments. The first person that I would always go to would be Ross because we both had a special connection with Kiersten. We both understood what we were going through because we were both really close with her then kind of drifted away from her a bit. There was grieving & regret that filled both of us.”

“It’s so weird to think of people dying. It’s scary. I don’t like to think about it that much. I really couldn’t accept her death for a long time. I’m starting to kind of accept it more now. I’m accepting it more in a good way now because I can see that she affected so many people, even after her death. More than I will probably ever effect. She was just that kind of person. She had that kind of personality.   

I felt like a part of myself was gone. Even though I didn’t talk to her that much anymore it still really hurt because of all of the memories. I kept thinking about them. When I laid in bed I couldn’t stop thinking about all the times when we hung out. Just laying on her bed with her doing nothing. I just miss it so much. I miss the memories. 

I regret not talking to her as much as I used to. I felt like I should’ve talked to her a lot more. I wish I would’ve been closer with her like we used to be. I wish I would’ve texted her more all the time everyday. Then we would’ve gotten closer & we would’ve hung out more. But I was just so busy & I just kept forgetting. 

Over the last year I have tried to always be positive to my friends. I try to remember to tell them I love them every day. I make sure to always talk to them & text them. Her death really changed how I live & how I treat people.I feel like if you try to be more positive towards people it’ll make them feel better in the long run. They will want to pass kindness on to others. She really put kindness on me most of the time & I feel like I should pass it on. She motivates me to be better. 

When I close my eyes & think about her I just think of her smile. I think about how funny her laugh was. Sometimes it was such an ugly laugh, but I loved her laugh & smile so much. Whenever she did my makeup I would open my eyes & be looking at her & she was always just so cute. I miss her voice too. I wish I could hear it again. Sometimes I go & listen to her voice in the videos I have with her. It really helps with how I am feeling because sometimes I feel so sad. I just don’t know what to do so I’ll just get some old pictures out & it’ll make me feel a lot better. It reminds me of the good times we had & not the sad times. 

“I really liked the song that Elizabeth sang at the Celebration of Life. It was from Dear Evan Hansen & I listen to it all the time now. I also like Waving Through A Window from Dear Evan Hansen. It makes me think of her. It’s a sad song but it gets happy at the end. It reminds of her because it talks about opportunity & being the best you can be even through the hard times. She would always push me through my hard times. She would tell me it’s going to be okay. She was always strong enough to overcome her own battles as well. 

I really appreciate Jill, Andy, and Lainie. They are always so nice to me even when I am annoying. I love their support. I still feel connected to Kiersten when I am around them, especially Lainie. She looks more and more like Kiersten as she is growing up. Their personalities are not the same but they both have that little sparkle of weirdness in them and I love it so much. Lainie is so awkward and cute. 

I feel like we both just really related to each other in a lot of ways. We really got each other because of our awkwardness and weirdnesses. I felt connected to her because we weren’t really the status quo. 

If I could’ve had a conversation with her the day of her passing I would tell her that I love her. I would tell her that I cherished her kindness & her friendship towards me. It really meant a lot. She really changed my life & impacted me as a person. I really just miss her so much.”