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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)

TITLE: A Soul's Worth
By Barbara Alexander
10/08/08


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A Soulís Worth

From: Sylvia Grimes [grimes.sylvia@middleschool.abc]
To: Jennifer Sayers
Subject: Chat
Date: 12/9/07

Hi Jennifer,
Howís your morning going? Iím lucky to have my planning after 3rd period. Amanda is in that class and she really knows how to push my buttons! Today she was dressed in her usual black pants, black tee, and combat boots. However, the hair is no longer stringy black; itís now stringy red! She paid no attention in class. I saw her taking lengthy looks into her backpack. I imagine she was checking her phone for text messages. I ignored it. I wasnít up to having those black-lined eyes rolled at me again. Christmas holidays, oops, thatís winter break in politically-correct language, canít get here soon enough!

Hope your classes are going well.
~S


From: Sylvia Grimes [grimes.sylvia@middleschool.abc]
To: Jennifer Sayers
Subject: Chat
Date: 12/10/07

Hi Jennifer,
Amanda was written up in 2nd period for stealing a bag of candy that was on Mr. Nicholsonís desk! She said she was going to put it back, that she was just looking at it. Uh, huh. Iíve heard that line before. What bothers me most about Amanda is that Kellie Donaldson has started hanging with her. I wonder if Kellieís parents are aware of this. I donít know her parents very well, but Kellie is quite active in our church youth group.

Four more days till Christmas holidays!
~S


From: Sylvia Grimes [grimes.sylvia@middleschool.abc]
To: Jennifer Sayers
Subject: Chat
Date: 12/11/07

Hi Jennifer,
Amanda is in In-School Suspension for two daysóher punishment for the candy incident. I averaged grades last night and realized Amanda has a 76. She is already on probation because of her low grades last quarter. If she doesnít get her average up to a B by December 14th, she will be out of the gifted program. I stopped by the ISS room and explained this to her. She will have to do all of her work and score well on the final exam in order to stay in the Excel Program. She didnít seem concerned. Maybe she wants out. Oh, well. I tried!

Three more!
~S


From: Sylvia Grimes [grimes.sylvia@middleschool.abc]
To: Jennifer Sayers
Subject: Chat
Date: 12/13/07

Hey Jennifer,
Amanda was back in class today. I havenít received her work from ISS, but she told me she did it all. Weíll see! By the way, do you know when our grades are due? I think itís by 4:30 tomorrow, but Iím not sure. My final exam will be tomorrow and I plan to use the scantron to grade the papers right after school. I hope thereís not a line! Iím going to be cutting it close.

~S


From: Sylvia Grimes [grimes.sylvia@middleschool.abc]
To: Jennifer Sayers
Subject: Chat
Date: 12/14/07

Hi Jennifer,
Amanda did not do any of her work in ISS! Can you believe that? It doesnít matter what she does on the final, sheíll have lower than a B in my class. I guess it just doesnít matter to her. Whatever! My 3rd period will be a lot easier without her. Iíll take that as an early Christmas present!

~S


From: Sylvia Grimes [grimes.sylvia@middleschool.abc]
To: Jennifer Sayers
Subject: Chat
Date: 12/21/07

Hi Jennifer,
Tonight when I was loading the dishwasher, I heard a group of carolers out front. When I turned on the lights and opened the door, I saw our church youth group in a semicircle at the porch. The kids looked so angelic standing in the cold, noses all red, singing of the birth of Jesus. As I scanned the group, I realized Amanda was standing there beside Kellie. Amanda was actually singing. Itís the first time I have ever seen her participate in any group activity. Although she was still dressed the same, she didnít look as hard as she does at school. Her eye liner was smeared as if she had been crying.

As the carolers moved on to the next house, I heard the echo of their voices: "Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth."* Jennifer, when did I let difficult students cease to be people to me? When did I begin to see them as obstacles in my path? God forgive me for not recognizing the worth of each of my students. Jennifer, Iím going to stay in contact with Amanda. Maybe, just maybe, God will give me another chance to help her realize her true worth.

In repentance,
Sylvia

* O Holy Night (Public Domain)


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This article has been read 620 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/09/08
As a public school teacher, I found myself getting more and more aggravated with this woman! I'm so glad you had her "see the light" at the end! Very strong entry.
Catrina Bradley 10/12/08
Ooh, nice. I like the one-sided messges (but really wonder who Ms. Sayers is ;) ). Great!
Lisa Cox10/16/08
Awesome...as a teacher I knew exactly who Mrs. Sayers was, a buddy teacher she chatted with to keep sanity during the school day bustle. Very good and it may have almost been better had Mrs. Sayers encountered her caroling and emailed her buddy back. Just an idea. Very good entry. I hope you place. It deserves it. Very clever piece. Lisa
Lynn Jacky10/16/08
Hi Congratulations on first place - wow! At first, I too was a little annoyed, but kept telling myself read it through to the end - glad I did - great writing, I liked the title too, wonderful truths to remember when dealing with children or anyone for that matter.- Thank you.
Mary McLeary10/17/08
I know this woman! It was me right before many a Christmas (winter) break. What a blessing this story is. Great format too. Congrats!!
Dixie Phillips 01/12/09
I can see why this story won 1st Place! Wonderful job of giving us a peek into the souls of both women. Loved how you used a familiar Christmas carol to help the LIGHT to shine. Great job.... The world needs more writers like you.