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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)

TITLE: Finishing Our Steps
By william price


As far as letters from students went, it was the most moving one Joshua Wolfe had ever read. He had found it on his desk. He knew he had to do something with it.

The drama teacher from Dilbert Memorial High School stood before the five-member Rocky County School Board as they were reading the letter he had just distributed.

To Whom It May Concern,

I believe our School District needs to offer firearms classes.

If a 9mm handgun shoots its bullet at 1,350 feet per second, then any step I begin to take in my school has the potential to be finished in Heaven, if the shooter is a good shot.

Now, don’t get me wrong, starting a step here on a waxed school hallway, and finishing it on streets of gold would be cool, especially if I was on my way to Geometry. But, and this is my point, if the shooter wasn’t a good shot, I could just be wounded and never get to finish that step if the bullet paralyzed me. That would not be cool. You see, I fear never being able to finish that step.

So, if our school is not going to make it more difficult for my fellow students to carry guns, then I’m in favor of offering a firing range class, so potential ‘wackos’, who might want to shoot me, would have the chance to do so more accurately. This would allow us students to at least be able to finish our last steps.

Now, if you are thinking this writer is weird, you’d better stop and think again, because maybe, just maybe, this letter is a creative way to say, “There are guns in our school. Get them out!”

A Ninth Grader who would like to finish his steps.

One-by-one the school board members finished reading. They exchanged quick glances, rolled their eyes and drummed their fingers.

The school board chairman, Mr. Marlin, was the first to respond.

“Okay, Mr. Wolfe, you got us to read a letter by an anonymous student, making unsubstantiated claims about something that has never happened here. Also, this writer did manage to get religion mentioned in a place where it shouldn’t. So, what is your point?”

The teacher stood speechless and dumbfounded. He tried to say two or three things, but nothing would come out of his mouth.

Another school board member decided to speak.

“Mr. Wolfe, aren’t you also the teacher-advisor for the Prayer Breakfast Club at the High School?”

The teacher nodded yes.

“Doesn’t this request fly in the face of your religious political stance? Aren’t you right-wingers supposed to be fighting for gun rights?”

The teacher took a big breath, but couldn‘t utter a word. He just slowly exhaled.

Yet another school board member added her two cents.

“And, I don’t get this part about how getting killed is better than being paralyzed. Alive is alive in my book.”

Finally the teacher could speak.

“So, I guess the firing range is out of the question then?”

“Without a doubt,” the chairman responded.

“That about does it then,” the teacher managed to say. “I would like to point out our high school sits on about a quarter mile of property along Main Street.”

“Meaning,” the chairman added with a sigh?

“Meaning, a quarter mile is about 440 yards, which is pretty close to 1,350 feet. This just so happens to be how far a 9mm bullet will travel in one second. Meaning, one bullet can travel from one boarder of our school complex to the other in the time in takes to make half-a-step.”

The teacher started to smile as an idea came to him.

“I just want to say, I am going to start writing a play called, “Finishing our Steps”. It’s going to be about students fighting to make their schools safer. I just don’t know if I will be able to find any drama students who would want to play the parts of the school board members. And, oh yes, our little Breakfast Prayer Club has 150 students. And by the time the news media behind me finishes writing and airing their stories on tonight’s meeting, I bet we double in size. That’ll be good news, because we’ll have more students praying for you, or the school board members who replace you. Good night and God bless. I have to go now; Channel 7 wants to interview me outside.”

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This article has been read 1075 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kevin Kindrick11/02/06
Nice. Good point, subtly made, with a nice slice of humor - and a good measure of faith.

Thanks, and God bless,

Betty Castleberry11/06/06
OH!! Yea in advance for the "silent majority." I think a lot of people would back this brave teacher. Very well done.
Jan Ackerson 11/06/06
What a creative way to communicate a firmly-help point of view! Loved it.

One spelling error: boarder/border.

Not sure if it's entirely realistic, but it works very well as satire. Very well indeed.
Joanne Sher 11/06/06
Wonderful satire, William! And SO true! I love the comments out of the school board members - but ESPECIALLY those from the teacher. Wonderful!
Phyllis Inniss11/07/06
Very creative. Point well made.
Val Clark11/07/06
Glad your teacher eventually found something to say - know the feeling. The voice of the grade nine writer seemed very realistic. Loved the tongue in cheek layered over a deeper concern.
Sara Harricharan 11/08/06
Way to go with this! I LOVED the ending, great job and awesome writing. I really liked how the 'student' sent in the letter and how the Teacher stood up to the school board.
Catrina Bradley 11/08/06
Oooh, nice! I love that teacher! I think this line from the students letter was the best: "starting a step here on a waxed school hallway, and finishing it on streets of gold would be cool, especially if I was on my way to Geometry." Made me grin and say "Oh, yah, it would!" Good for the teacher not losing his temper, and coming up with the perfect response. Great job!!
Donna Powers 11/08/06
A perfect response to those shortsided board members. I enjoyed reading this very much! Thanks for sharing it.
Beth Muehlhausen11/08/06
An interesting point of discussion - makes me cringe, actually. Liked that bold ending - whew!!! Atta boy!