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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Maturing: The Hard and Soft of It


Ann loved Howard High School. She loved it for the obvious reasons: that it was located in a small but lovely town of Howard, Ohio, that most of the teachers were competent and caring and knew that her friends loved and cared about her.

Being a senior with good grades and going steady with one of the most popular guys at the school, she felt blest that at the ripe age of seventeen, life was going much better than expected.

Julie, her long-time friend and close neighbor enjoyed attending Howard High but she wasn’t as thrilled as Ann. However, Julie wasn’t a good student and didn’t like most of the teachers.

Ann’s favorite teachers were Harry Culbertson and Marie Hathaway. She liked them because they knew their subjects well and liked their students. Harry taught Music 102 and Ann sang in the a capella choir and sometimes sang solos when there were talent specials in the auditorium.

Marie taught English and Composition and was always there if you had a question or needed extra help with essays.

There were; however, teachers at Howard High that were difficult and unresponsive like Alan Morgan and Elaine Twitter. Alan taught Algebra and Elaine taught Biology. There were some students that liked them but it was always those who got straight “A’s”

Sometimes Ann thought about the difference in the teachers and their methods. It seemed that every teacher had his or her way of teaching and depending on what kind of student you were---especially with the difficult teachers—if you didn’t do well in their class, then they often ostracized you and that didn’t go down well with the lower achieving students like Julie.

Julie and Ann discussed Howard’s teachers one bright April day. Julie began:

“Ann, you know darn well that the reason you and so many other students do well and are treated better by most of these teachers, is because you get better grades and some of the students ‘suck’ up to them. Now, admit it! You know that what I say is true!”

“Marie, yes that may be true but don’t you think that “attitude” and “hard work” are necessary—not only getting good grades but also in how the teacher ‘looks’ at you as an individual?”

Marie shrugged her shoulders and replied, “Well, maybe that’s true but I still say that some teachers only treat you well if you get and maintain good grades!”

Minutes later they walked away; each in a different direction.

Well, they parted that morning with a “See ya later” and marched on to their classes, knowing full well what to expect from their teachers and classmates.

Two years later they graduated with Ann receiving good grades and an even better feeling that her future would be good; while Marie graduated with poor grades and an even poorer attitude and unfortunately, faced a cloudy and uneven future.

It seems like when it comes to our lives after school, it’s what we do or don’t do while we’re there, that makes the difference later on. So often, too, we don’t realize the importance of getting good grades and doing our best, for we think we’ll be young forever and that the future will be filled with ‘rosiness’ and opportunities galore.

Years fly by and middle age creeps in like a familiar stranger who at first has a welcoming smile, a soft and pliable attitude but who soon becomes hardened and resistant to change.

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Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 04/30/09
This was pretty interesting. There seems to be much more to this story than we actually get to read. I can certainly relate to having those kinds of teachers. ^_^ a typo though, "blest" is actually "blessed". ^_^ Great job here! I'm glad Ann did well.
Rachel Rudd 05/06/09
There is a lot of truth here that would be good for many teens to learn! I think it would be great if you could "show" more of the story using dialogue. You could expand the conversation they had to prett much tell all that came before it, but just in a more relaxed teen style. Anyway, just my opinion. Keep on sharing!