Ruby Woodson


A mysterious newcomer. A startling knock on the door. Before fourth-grader Chloe Sumner knew what to expect, her door flung open and she was met with the bright, cheerful smile of a girl she'd never seen before. "I'm Ruby Woodson," the girl said. The rest is history.

Woodson, a current senior, has been tied to Sumner, also a senior, for the past 13 years. It all started when Sumner moved to Van Buren in the fourth grade. Woodson was yearning for a friend in her neighborhood, and Sumner was the answer. "She was kind of forced to be my friend," said Woodson, "because there were no kids there." From that time, Woodson and Sumner were inseparable.

At first, Woodson didn't think their friendship would be preserved for so many years. "In my eyes, fourth grade was so young that I didn't think long-term," said Woodson. "By the time I was in late middle school, I was like, we'll probably be friends for a long time." Unlike most middle school friendships that fizzle out, Woodson and Sumner's only continued to grow. Woodson explained that the answer to a sustainable friendship is not as complicated as some believe.

"Sometimes, we just give each other our space for a few days or weeks at a time," explained Woodson. "It's usually a good way for us to just do our own thing for a little while." Woodson believes that facing hardships with time is an amazing way to not get sick of each other. In Woodson's opinion, the next step to a long friendship is a conversation.

Seniors Ruby Woodson and Chloe Sumner

Photo Courtesy of Ruby Woodson

"We will talk it out in a peaceful manner," said Woodson. "If you just throw jabs at each other for an hour, both people end up being hurt and there's nothing accomplished." Disagreeing is not a thing that Woodson and Sumner are worried about.

"I think that part of the reason [that] makes friendships so beautiful is compare and contrast," she said. "We're both wired so differently, [and] we still have a love for just our own sense of finding ourselves, even through clothes or art or music."

One of Woodson's favorite things about people is having an open mind. Luckily, she found Sumner to be the perfect example of that. She finds that being able to converse and connect is one of the biggest things that kept their friendship together.

Another critical factor in their friendship is their confidence in their relationship. "I think we're both crazy, funny [and] goofy together," said Woodson. "I'm sure that they [other people] think that we're just a couple of stupid idiots, which is true."

The last thing that keeps their friendship together is time. "I don't think we trust a lot of people besides each other," explained Woodson. "We haven't gotten sick of each other; we can snip at each other, but not have it alter our whole friendship."

After a long 13 years, Woodson is confident in her friendship with Sumner and their future together. "After being friends with somebody for so long and seeing each other consistently for years, you're bound to get into little arguments, it's just inevitable," said Woodson. "I think a big component to friendship, especially with girls, is just having grace with one another [because] at the end of the day, it's not that deep."

Story by Tajweed Altower