Pokemon's Strong Bonds

What makes you happy?

On a sweltering July day, five other teenagers and I, varying in age from fourteen to eighteen, were sprinting across the fields of Horsham Park, hoping to catch a level 897 Nidoking or maybe even the elusive Dratini. We would take down infamous red gyms together, then build them up to double-digit levels for our yellow team. Although the days of Pokémon waned along with summer, our ambitions of becoming the best Pokétrainers in all of Montgomery County united us.

My friend groups, just like the group that tried to catch ’em all, tend to be diverse, hailing from various backgrounds and perspectives. Some of my closest friends come from across the world: Akosua was born in Ghana, Sophia’s family is from Greece, and Brien spent most of his life at an international school in Beijing. Different as my friends may be, I love chatting, eating, hanging out, and bouncing ideas off them all. We are, regardless of our other differences, all linked by our similar aspirations and ideas. We spend hours of free periods, lunch, and break sitting by the first-floor computers, arguing about the presidential debates or molecule structures or how mediocre the day’s cafeteria food had been. Being surrounded by people who pursue complementary...

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