Minah Ganjani

Jessy Scarpone has been an influential part of my life for so long. I first had the pleasure of meeting Jessy in the 3rd grade at Rondout school. Jessy was the first person I met after moving into Libertyville. Rondout was a new school for me and I was eager to make a new friend. Jessy and I were both new that year and as an 8 year old girl, talking to another new student seemed less scary than talking to the other students. Our 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Skoien asked us to come up in front of the class and introduce ourselves. At that moment, I was terrified. I hated having attention on me in the classroom, but I remember Jessy being so unphased by it. She was so calm and cool. I admired that. On the first day of school, I shadowed Jessy. I put my cubby next to her cubby and I sat next to her. I even asked her to be my partner. This was something I had never done before. As a child, I never had the confidence to ask other kids to play with me. I struggled with the fear of rejection. Jessy, however, made it easy for me to ask her to be my friend. Her aura radiated confidence and I wanted to be a part of that. As we grew up, Jessy and I would make jokes on how I made her be my friend Although it was slightly true, I'm glad I did because we were able to create decades of memories together.

I will always remember Jessy as the friend I grew up with. The friend who is family. She was my sister. Jessy was always on my side encouraging and fostering me to become myself. She gave me experiences that I would not have discovered without her. Jessy was the first person to challenge my creative side. At such a young age, Jessy was already an incredible artist. Her work amazed me. After school, we would spend hours doodling together. I would watch her work her magic with her artistic techniques. She would inspire me to create.

When we were about 9 years old, we were obsessed with interior makeovers We would draw floor plans with our ideas on how to decorate our bedrooms. On my birthday, Jessy gifted me some decorative pillows that she made for my bedroom. She told me that she wanted my room to feel cozy and cute. That was the first time I experienced someone giving me a thoughtful gift, something from the heart. It was a good feeling. I thought to myself: Wow, she MADE this for ME? I felt so special and cool. To this day, I still have those decorative pillows on my bed. I want to share the feeling Jessy instilled in me with other people.

Jessy taught me how to make people feel special by creating something with one’s hands. To show them the labor of love through creative expression was something that cannot have a price tag. I'm glad for this experience with Jessy because she taught me to love harder than before. I wasn't the only person Jessy made feel this way. She had a charm to her that shined and a personality so contagious that you wanted to be around her. She always made you feel good She always restored confidence that was lost. She could turn a bad day into the funniest day ever. She did this effortlessly because all she had to do was be her true genuine self and that could brighten the day of anyone.

Not only was Jessy a friend who always made me feel good, but she was a friend who grew with me as well. Jessy was the friend I always did ’firsts’ with. She was the first person I talked to boys with, the first person I stayed up late with, and the first person I had secrets with. The most impactful first with Jessy was when she invited me to go jump on the trampoline. After that first day, the trampoline became a place where we would discover a sport so challenging on our bodies yet so fun, we were dedicated nearly 10 years to it. The trampoline became a place where we tested new tricks , pushed ourselves to limits, and challenged each other to do our best. We were each other's cheerleaders from the beginning. We were always excited for one another when accomplishing new tricks. When we both got our back handspring down we were so happy we couldn't stop doing them. It was truly the time of my life practicing this sport with Jessy. I learned dedication, discipline, and that my body could do weird things and go in weird positions. I never met another person in my life who had so much discipline and was truly dedicated. I loved this so much about her. Jessy would always try her hardest in anything she did no matter what. Her artwork and track career are just some of the tiny examples of how Jessy showed true dedication. If she put her mind to something, then her mind was up and she was going for the challenge. Nothing seemed to scare her. She was tough. I should mention she beat my high school boyfriend in an arm wrestling contest. Oh man, was I proud of her that day!

Jessy, I could go on all day talking about memories I made with you. There are hundreds upon hundreds that are sacred in my heart. Memories that make me laugh, cry, feel happy and feel sad. I can't understand why the universe took you so soon. If you ask me, it wasn’t fair. I feel like your life was just getting started, that the potential you created was ready to blossom to its fullest. You were a ROCKSTAR. I am so outrageously grateful for the time I had to spend with you while you were here. I am forever grateful to have had a friend so loyal, so thoughtful , so creative, so disciplined, so funny , so genuine, and so caring Thank you for being the sister I never had and the therapist my mom never paid for. Thank you for being the friend that was always down to do something new and exciting, the friend who had no problem pretending to be eastern European for hours without breaking character, and the friend who always had me laughing til it was painful. Thank you for always listening to me when I was down and for making me feel better about myself. Thank you for always giving the most genuine advice and always sticking up for me when people were mean. Thank you for encouraging me to do better, to create more , and to try my hardest at everything that crossed my path. Thank you for being my cheerleader. Thank you for farting in my bathroom that one day in third grade and saying that it smelled like the corn beef patties from school lunch and creating the longest running inside joke in the history of friendships. Thank you for being so nice to my family, especially Cyrus. Your kindness towards him was a gift when so many kids were impatient with him. Thank you for always making time to see me even when your schedule was so tight. Thank you for making it like not a day had passed since the last time we had seen each other. Thank you for always being you and never letting anyone change you. Thank you for letting me choose you as a friend and thank you for sticking by my side for so many years. Thank you for being in my life, Jessy. I miss you everyday, and life without you legit kinda sucks but I am so happy for our time together and I would not change it for anything I love you Jessy. Thanks for being my bestie. Love you biffle

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