Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: School's Still In
By David Saleeba
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“Sweet!” he shouted. It had snowed last night, .much to his surprise, since this wintry delight wasn’t forecasted. Every student in sophomore English at New Smyrna High School was probably holding their breath, just as John was, to rush to the TV and find out if school was closed. “At least delayed”, John thought. “I can get out of that stupid test if it’s a two hour delay!”
Just imagine the collective groan of 158 fifteen and sixteen year olds permeating the atmosphere of New Smyrna, VA as they heard the news that school was, in fact, neither cancelled nor delayed. Today was the date for a grade-wide writing test and thanks to the team of inclement weather safety assessors they will all have to take it. Reluctantly, John sat down at the table for breakfast. His parents were not helping matters, giving their condolences while winking at each other. This wasn’t amusing to John, so he wolfed down his food, as fifteen year old boys do anyway, and snarled before going back to his room to finish getting ready.
Heading out to the bus stop he saw his best friend Peter walking further on. He ran to catch up to him and see why he didn’t stop where the bus picks them up.
“Oh. Yeah, the bus isn’t picking us up on this road. It’s too tough to navigate, so we have to walk up to Patmos Ave. to get on. But we still have to go to school!” was Peter’s sarcastic answer to John. It didn’t make sense! Why were they being subjected to this cruelty? Why should they even have to go to school today, let alone take this dumb writing test? Both friends agreed they were being treated unfairly.
To their chagrin, they saw Joshua along the way. Leave it to him to rain on their snowy parade. He was calling out to them, “Hey guys! How about this weather, huh?” They mumbled back at him in quasi-affirmation.
“Well,” Joshua started in, “at least we’ll get this test out of the way!” More grumbles from John and Peter ensued, but it didn’t stop Joshua. His dad was the one of the local preachers, so some of the preachiness must have rubbed off, they thought. “Yeah, I know it stinks that we have to do it, but just think: after this test is done, we’re coasting for the rest of the semester!”
Groans were heard again, but at this stubbornly optimistic statement, Peter had to speak up. “I don’t understand why we have to go through all this testing all the time. Most of us at New Smyrna are doing just fine. Why can’t we be exempt from all the tough stuff?”
John thought this was a good point, but of course the PK (that’s, preacher’s kid) had something to say.
“Guys, none of you were listening to my dad on Sunday! This is cool how our life right now is lining up with the Bible.” Vacant expressions followed Joshua’s statement, so a follow-up was needed. “In Revelation Chapter 2, Jesus said to the church at Smyrna that although things were going fine for them and they were doing a good job, they would continue to have the devil on their backs and suffer persecution, so don’t give up!”
At this, the boys were left speechless, and groan-less. They got on the bus, which was conspicuously absent of many of the sophomores that normally filled its seats. John thought to himself that Joshua was probably right on this one. With a sigh, he let go of the whole test issue, just deciding to do what needed to be done at school. He spent his bus ride thinking of more important matters, such as lunch and of course, the massive snowball he had planned for Peter once they got off the bus!
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