Wednesday, August 3, 2011


"The eagerness of a listener quickens the tongue of a narrator."
~ Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

As I mentioned in my last note,  I went to Spanish camp with Senora Goldstein last week, with Jean, Kelsey, and Sneed.  Things were a little loco in the beginning, but we quickly learned to be okay with the fact that a teacher was living down the hall from us.  I learned a year's worth of Spanish in two months, passed the final with a 90%, and am going to be in Spanish 3 this school year.

that's not the main point of this note.

I found the Charlotte Bronte quote above in Jane Eyre, a book assigned for summer reading by my language teacher.  I read the sentence, put the book down, and grabbed a piece of paper and pen as fast as I could.  I wrote the quote down and thought about it for a while.

I've been thinking for a few weeks now that I should temporarily stop writing for this blog. 

And I have a few good reasons.

1.  Last year's finals.
I started this blog last year right around the time that I should have been studying like mad for my finals.  My grades on the finals were pretty good, but not as good as they could or should have been.  I need to focus more this year on school, and less on my writing.

2.  This year's schoolwork.
For my sophomore year, my schedule includes three Advanced Placement, college-level, classes, plus the new level in Spanish.  I am going to have to work harder now than I ever have, and I don't know if I'll have the time to maintain this blog.

3.  Is anyone reading?
Just as Charlotte Bronte said, in 1847, storytellers work best when they are listened to attentively.  Even though it has been a while since I've written, it is a little disheartening to get so few comments on my notes.  It is difficult to want to keep writing here if no one is reading, or liking, what I write.

That's basically it.  I'm giving up the blog for a while for extra time, because I need to focus, and for my own personal reasons.  At least for the first half of the school year, I won't post much on this blog.

But fear not!
There is hope.

When not enough people signed up for the brand new creative writing elective class, none of the teachers wanted to add the class to their work load, and there were rumors that it would be shut down before it had even started.  The few students who had signed up would have to take something else.  I have never been in a creative writing class, but it sounded like so much fun, I signed up for it last year.  I was so sad at the thought of not being able to take the class.
When my mom called the school to see what my sophomore schedule would be, creative writing was one of my classes!  The Flare had found a language teacher who would also teach creative writing.

In a few weeks, I'll be in her class, writing for a grade and having other students read my work, giving me constructive criticism and helping me to improve.  This is exactly what I need.

Just because I'm leaving the blog for a while doesn't mean I'll stop writing.  I'll write even more frequently now, and I see my situation as more of a happy beginning than a sad ending.

I won't give up the blog forever.  At least I don't think so, but you never can tell.  This isn't goodbye.  It's more of a "ta ta for now", like Tigger always says.

So TTFN, dear reader!

Ta ta for now.

Grace Kent

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Adventures with Senora Goldstein

As many of you may have noticed...
It's summer!

I don't know about you, but when I think of summer, I think of swimming pools, ice cream, road trips, friends, airplanes, tank tops, movies, family time, sunglasses, and Glee reruns.  Something kind of like this picture!

That's not my summer.

In May, before school ended, Senora Goldstein offered me, Kelsey, Jean, and a few other people the opportunity to learn Spanish 2 over the summer, so we could be in Spanish 3 next year.  I agreed to do it, so I have been studying harder than I ever did during the school year to learn Spanish.  Tomorrow, I'm leaving to go about four hours away from my house to spend a week in "Spanish Immersion" in the mountains.  Kelsey and Jean are both coming, along with two other students, Senora Goldstein, and her husband.  (Senor Goldstein?  Mr. Goldstein?)

Everyone coming on the trip has acknowledged that Sra. Goldstein is a little "loca en la cabesa".  (For those of you non-Spanish speakers, she's a little crazy in the head.)  To be fair, she just does whatever she can to make Spanish fun.  And it is fun.  It's my favorite class!  But the road from "fun" to "awkward" is a short one sometimes...see my earlier note on her spontaneous dance lessson in the classroom.  No es bueno for this chica.

Her teaching style is similar to the style of the man in this video, and she is always in teaching-mode.  Watch the video, then imagine spending a week with him, driving for four hours in a car with him, in the wilderness, without cell service.

It should be 'interesante'.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I am NOT Lauren... or Greasy.

When I was born, my parents named me Grace, wanting a name that doesn't come with annoying nicknames.  They must have overlooked "Gracie", which I think sounds too much like "Greasy".  It's like some kind of curse; the closer a person is to me, the more they search for a nickname, and the more I am called "Gracie".  It's not my fault that "Gracie" automatically sounds like "Greasy", but I frequently ask people not to call me that.

I have always been a tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed, relatively smart girl.  In 6th grade, the first year of middle school, there was another tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed, relatively smart girl, named Lauren Dee.  As the year went on, students and teachers alike frequently confused us and called us by the wrong names.

Lauren and I were in a lot of the same classes in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, and for whatever reason, people could never get our names straight.  Up until the day of our 8th grade graduation, I was called "Lauren-or-uh-wait-sorry-Grace".  When I wasn't called that, I was "Gracie" (Greasy).

Let me give an example.  In 7th grade, the seating chart put my desk next to Mitchell Louis'.  One day, he asked to borrow a pencil and accidentally called me "Lauren".  I looked at him for a second, waiting for him to correct himself, but he smiled, and decided to call me Lauren for the next two years, as a sort of "inside joke".  I didn't think it was that funny.

Now, don't get me wrong, Lauren Dee is my good friend. But it is very annoying and a little disheartening to know some people for three years, and they can't discriminate you from someone who looks like you.

The summer after 8th grade, Lauren Dee went on to the local high school, while I chose to transfer to a different public high school.  The school I transferred to is much smaller than Lauren's school, with less than 100 students in my graduating class.  I was pretty excited about getting a fresh start, where no one would confuse me with Lauren.

I was tardy to first period on my first day of high school.  (Not a good way to kick off your high school career, I might add.)  There was a lot of traffic, and I wasn't the only one.  Actually, I was the next-to-last person to arrive to class.  The last was standing behind me, a tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed girl.  I was standing outside the door of my first class, where my teacher stood with a sign-in sheet.  The teacher looked at me, and this is how our brief dialogue went:

Me:  Hi, I'm really sorry I'm late, there was traffic, and my brothers, and my mom, and her coffee... (I stutter a little when I'm embarrassed talking to teachers)

Teacher:  Oh, no, it's fine, it's only the first day.  Now, let's see... (looking at sign-up sheet)  You must be... (looking at me)  Lauren?

Is this some kind of joke?

I turned to the girl behind me, then turned back to the teacher

Me:  Oh, no, I'm Grace!  Grace Kent.  I should be riiiiight (frantically searching for my name on sheet) THERE!

Teacher:  Oh, yes... thank you, Grace, was it?

Me:  Yes.  Grace.
Teacher:  Alright, then, go ahead and take a seat, Gracie.
It is a joke!

I went inside the classroom, looked around at the sea of faces I didn't know, and chose a seat near the door.  From my desk, I could hear the girl who was behind me sign in as "Lauren Fredrick".

I groaned.  I knew then that I would be spending the next four years with this tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed girl named Lauren.  It was happening again, I just knew it!

In this respect, the year turned out exactly like I thought it would.

Lauren Fredrick and I got very similar grades, and we are pretty good friends.

At infrequent times throughout this last year, I was called Lauren, I was called Gracie (Greasy), and Lauren was called Grace.  If she had a blog, she could write about this too.  Teachers and students often spoke too quickly and confused names.

Was it my parents' fault?  Destined to be tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed, and relatively smart, should I have been named Lauren?  Maybe.

Maybe it's just a part of my life that I'll have to get used to, like some people have to get used to having an identical twin.  If so, that's annoying.  But I'll get used to it, and I'll make it work.

When my school year ended, I realized that I made a very good decision in transferring to my high school.  In such a small school, I've gotten to know everyone in my grade, and I love them all.  Everyone at my school has a very strong personality, and I've come to learn that I do too.

I may be called Lauren for the rest of my life, but I am not Lauren.  I am not Gracie, or Greasy.  I am Grace Kent.  I am relatively smart.  I love books.  I can write.  I don't like tomatoes.  I can be funny.  I wear too much blue.  I am a good friend. 

I am Grace Kent.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SNEED: The Musical!

I've searched for so many pictures, but haven't found any that really
capture the essence of Sneed... but this picture will work for today.

I would like to introduce the world to my friend and locker neighbor, Sneed.  He is what some would call "a character", some would call "creepy".  I just call him "Sneed".

Let's hear what teachers have to day about Sneed!

"Sneed, the world you live in is immensely interesting."

"Beware: Sneed will find out where you live."

"Always suspect Sneed."

And yes, even the teachers call him by his last name.  Almost everyone does.  His mother named him Cody Sneed, but why let such a unique last name go to waste?

Today in our Intro to Spanish class, Senora Goldstein was getting annoyed by a fly buzzing around the room.  According to her and several eyewitnesses, it had been inhabiting her classroom ever since zero-hour that morning and was persistent in her futile attempts to kill it.  She couldn't catch it for the longest time, until it landed on Sneed's desk.  (He sits all alone in the front and center of the room.)

When it landed on Sneed's desk, he grabbed his ten-pound government textbook and brought it down on the desk with a noise loud enough to interrupt the class.  Senora Goldstein rejoiced at the death of her four-hour arch enemy.  She ran to the back of the room to get a tissue, but Sneed had already picked it up between two fingers.

He was making a move toward the trashcan in the back of the room, until Evan uttered those immortal words that I think we'll all remember until the day we graduate.

"Eat it."

We were repulsed and urged him not to... until we thought about it.  How funny would it be if he actually did eat it!  I don't know about my classmates, but I've never seen anyone eat a bug before, and it seemed interesting.

Soon we were all cheering him on, chanting.


He looked tempted, standing between Senora Goldstein and the trashcan.  She was pleading with him, begging him not to do it, but she was barely audible over our laughter and chanting.

Then he did it.

He ate the fly.

Threw his head back, smiled, and let the black dot fall into his mouth.

We screamed, we laughed, we clapped.

He made retching noises, he grinned, he returned to his seat.

And class resumed.  Senora Goldstein walked back to the front of the room, rubbing her forehead.

When the bell rang again, I found myself at my locker, grabbing my Biology book.  I turned to my left and saw Sneed standing there.  I asked him how he was feeling.

He responded by giving me a huge smile, and singing in the tune of that song we've all heard about an old lady, "There was a cool red-head who swallowed a fly.  I don't know why he swallowed the fly."

And I replied, singing in feigned mourn, "Perhaps he'll die..."

I told him that they would make a musical about him one day.

He laughed and gave me the name of the Broadway hit that will one day make millions.

SNEED: The Musical!

And as he walked around school for the remainder of the day, he sang his song.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Making babies!

We've been learning about genetics in Biology, and we did a lab today.  The goal was to better understand how genes combine, and Dr. Harris passed out thick packets.  No kidding, the first direction was to "Pick a mate with whom you would like to have a baby."  I looked at the person sitting next to me, knowing full well that we were both too lazy to get up and find someone.

The smartest girl in our grade, with the highest grade in our Honors Bio class.

"So... uh... do you want to..."

"Um... sure... how do you spell your last name?"


Just when I was getting excited about having a "free day" in my toughest subject, without any notes, Jean broke the news to me that the baby would look more like her.  Being what some may call "dumb" in Biology, I had no idea why our baby should look more like her.  I asked why.

She started to explain that I was a "festival of recessive genes" (her words, not mine). 
Festival of Recessive Genes…

Hey, I think that just came to town!  The Seattle Recessive Festival!  Oh, no, wait... that was the Renaissance Festival.  What would a Recessive Gene Festival be like? 

Would people dress up in their DNA necklaces or mad scientist costumes? 

Would the concession stand sell slushies from the Citric Acid Cycle machine? Would they be served in beakers?

Would people ride the new thrill ride, The Mass Extinction?  (It'll drive your nervous system CRAZY!)

And what about that new band, the Retroviruses?  I heard they have a new heavy metal single, Electron Transport Chain.
I couldn't find any picture of a Recessive Genes Festival, but here's the Renaissance Festival!  See the lady on the right side of the picture who ruined it by wearing jeans?  Would that make her a RECESSIVE gene?  You know, because she's recessive, and wearing jeans?  Get it?  Genes!  Hahahaha... I make myself laugh... 

That would be so fun!  I am going to start that some day.  Actually, I can't; I know NOTHING about Biology.  Maybe Jean could start it!  Wait, is she still talking?

Yeah, she was still talking.  I came back to Earth just in time to hear her say that I have blond hair and blue eyes.  Jean is has dark hair and dark eyes.  Dark hair and eyes beat light hair and eyes in the world of genetics.

It still didn't seem fair that the baby (which would be half mine!) wouldn't even look like me, but I didn't switch partners, because, honestly, I would rather get a good grade than have some baby resemble me.

When Jean and I were done making our baby (it sounds so awkward!), we had to draw it.  Our baby looked the most realistic out of anyone's, but it was also the scariest. 

Isn't she so cute?!

If you have keen eyes or a spectacular computer monitor, you'll notice the name.


We didn't think she deserved a good name.  But that beats some of the other baby names I heard today, like "Penny Ann Nickles" or "Itler".

Another thing you should notice is that lovely red check mark on the bottom of the page.  I don't know whatever happened to A's or B's, but in Biology, our teacher believes in the system of checks.  You either get one, or you don't.  Pass or fail.

And we passed!

It's been a while since I've gotten a decent grade in Bio, although I am an "excellent student and a joy to have in class" in most of my other subjects.  As we walked out the door, off on another adventure in Math, I thanked Jean for helping me to get a check.  I looked at our drawn picture and called down the hallway, "But I will never ever ever have a baby with you!"  She smiled and said that she wouldn't have a baby with me either.

So I'm glad we got that sorted out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do I smell? No, seriously.

What does it mean when your locker buddy
comments on your scent? 

On the one day, the one day, this year that I chose to wear perfume, I was grabbing binders out of my locker, when Sneed walked up to his locker, which is right next to mine. 

He sniffed the air and announced, "I smell something... do you smell anything?"

I didn't look at him when I said calmly, "No, Sneed, I don't smell anything."

"Yes... I definitely smell something," he replied, then paused before saying, "May I please waft you?"

"No, you may not waft me!"

But he did anyway.  He burst my large personal space bubble and smelled me.  He made a gesture similar to one that a French chef may make over his newest creation, sweeping his hand through the air, toward his nose.

Then he grinned and said, "Yes, it was you!  I thought it was you, and it was!"

"Good job, Sneed."

When he had grabbed his last textbook out of his locker, he turned to me and said, "You smell good... you smell like JC Penneys!"

Should I feel insulted or complimented?

Friday, May 6, 2011

PROM: Part 2

"All you need is for one person to think you're cool, and you're in.  Everyone else will be scared to question it."
- Never Been Kissed, 1999

Gibby, Kirsten, and Kristen, from the movie Never Been Kissed look a LOT like the
Maybellines that we all know and occasionally get along with: Jessica, Haley, and Demi.
            I feel that prom is a big enough night that it deserves to be split into two seperate notes.  So if you want the whole story, read my last note.  Or enjoy my short and sweet recap.
           When we went back inside, the DJ had put on Beyonce's Single Ladies, as a bit of a "tip of the hat" to all the people that had been excluded from the last song or two.  My friends and I practically ran to the dance floor; this was our song!  I found myself dancing next to one of the Maybellines, Demi, knowing full well that she was NOT a single lady.  But I put that aside and tried to enjoy myself... until my foot got caught on something.  I looked down, and what I found changed the course of the dance for the remainder of the night.

            Demi was dancing in her, I kid you not, turquoise zebra-striped strapless dress that had been barfed on by a Bedazzler.  One of the things that amazes me about the Maybellines, other than their overuse of both eyeliner and bad attitudes, is the fact that they can go anywhere and come back with a new boyfriend.  Whether it is Math class, a field trip to the science museum, or prom, they always manage to meet a new “friend”.  Which brings up the question: why was Demi dancing to Single Ladies?  Possibly advertising that she was "on the market"?  Who knows.  Who cared?  I tried to ignore her and have a good time.

            But when I felt my foot catch on something, I leaned down and picked it up.  It was a clump of bleach-blond hair.  I looked slowly from the tuft of hair in my hand to the Maybelline next to me, matching the colors.  I noticed that her hair was less poufy than it had been twenty minutes ago.  I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing out loud.
Oh my gosh.
She was wearing fake hair.

            Being the nice person I am, I decided not to throw it in the air for the world to see.  (Although, it would have been something to talk about for reunions to come.)  Instead, I whispered in her ear and handed it to her.  Her blushing face somehow shone through the pancake layer of makeup she had on as she threw it away from the dance floor, like something that had been snaked out of the shower drain, not wanting anything to do with it.  And for whatever reason, she wouldn’t leave me alone for the rest of the night.  As the Godfather says, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."  Maybe she didn't want to give me the chance to share her secret... however, she doesn't know that I have a blog.  (Ha!)  She even tried to copy my dancing, which led her lemming friends to copy her... you know, because eyeshadow comes in packs of three.  And when other people saw the three most popular girls in school dancing like that, they too started doing the Grace Kent.

It was awesome.

            When prom ended, Demi was still dancing next to me.  Her BFF Haley ran over to us, looking guilty and wringing her hands, exclaiming “Oh my gosh, I just made out with Dylan!”

            Let me give a little background on this.  At our small school, Dylan is the guy who most all of the girls had a little crush on in the beginning of the year… until we all realized that he was a jerk.  He always walks around surrounded by girls of all ages, but it is usually Jessica, Haley, and Demi.  They have all dated him at one time or another, but we never know which one he is going out with currently.  It appears like he treats them all equally, so as to not lose anybody.  If he holds hands with one, he holds hands with the other two.  The part that I don’t understand is that they all seem to be perfectly fine with it, and they are all best friends.

            But I was pretty sure he was “officially” dating Demi last Friday.

            So when Haley walked up to Demi and I, the former being her best friend, Demi surprised me by not getting upset with Haley, but seething, “I’m going to kill him!”

            And at that moment, my phone vibrated.  My parents were here, waiting outside to give me a ride home.  I said goodbye to everyone and got into the car.

            And we drove home.

            I reflected on the night’s events: 
    1. my dancing (and possible new popularity?!) 
    2. Sneed's invitation 
    3. And of course, the newfound Demi-Dylan-Haley love triangle

And I wondered if anything would be different, walking into first period on Monday morning.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

PROM: Part 1

            I wasn't even planning on going... but according to my best friend Kelsey, "If you don't go, you'll regret it for the rest of your life."  So I went.
            I recycled my dress from 8th grade promotion, which is fine, and my parents drove me to this nice burger place, where I met about eight of my girlfriends.  We had dinner there, before we carpooled with Kelsey’s dad to prom.
            When we arrived there, I walked in with my friends and we saw everyone from school.  I must say, it's a little strange to see everyone with their sneakers and backpacks replaced by gowns and tuxes.  Even the teachers were dressed up!  I saw Senora Goldstein, dancing in the same way that she had taught us to earlier in the week, next to The Flare, who was also very dressed up and looked to be having a good time.
           As I mentioned in my last note, I am not the best dancer, and have been known to stomp on the toes of anyone within two feet of me.  I tried my best not to step on anyone that night, though, because I knew that, with my new high heels, ambulances may be involved.
            For a while, the DJ played faster songs that we all know, like Firework, Thriller, and Tik Tok, but about an hour in, he put on a slower one.  All the couples, mainly upperclassmen, rushed out on to the dance floor.  My friends and I, suddenly feeling out of place, went outside onto this patio to cool off.  On our way out, I heard a girl I had never met say to her friend, "This is where singles go to die."  Thanks.  The way my cousin puts it, "Valentine's Day and Prom are also known as Singles Awareness Day."  However, I was perfectly fine with taking a little break from the sweaty room that was a claustrophobic's nightmare.
            Just as my friends and I were making a move to go back inside, Sneed stood in front of the door, blocking our way... and he asked each one of the eight of us, individually, if we wanted to dance.  He seemed a little upset after we all declined, but brightened up when he remembered that we had all seen Senora Goldstein, his favorite dancing partner, on the way in.  He excused himself and went back inside.
            When we went back inside, the DJ had put on Beyonce's Single Ladies, as a bit of a "tip of the hat" to all the people that had been excluded from the last song or two.  My friends and I practically ran to the dance floor; this was our song!  I found myself dancing next to one of the Maybellines, Demi, knowing full well that she was NOT a single lady.  But I put that aside and tried to enjoy myself... until my foot got caught on something.  I looked down, and what I found changed the course of the dance for the remainder of the night.
To be continued...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

iAhora, bailamos!

Bailamos en la clase de Espanol.
(Or, we dance in Spanish class.)

I don't know why.  
I don't know whose idea this was. 
I don't know who benefits from this. 

But today, Senora Goldstein decided that our Intro to Spanish class needed to know how to dance before prom on Saturday.
She lectured us about how sad it was that our generation doesn’t know how to dance, in her opinion.  She interrupted her own class time, and told us all to stand up, with guys on one side of the room and girls on the other.  She can be a bit loca sometimes, so we were pretty sure she was joking.  Unfortunately, she wasn't.

While the girls were, for the most part, extremely excited,
the boys looked ready to walk to their own funerals.
I stood next to my best friend, Kelsey, looking down at my feet.  I'm not shy, but I certainly did NOT want to dance with any of my amigos.  We then entered the World of Awkward, as I looked up and saw my friend Evan standing across from me, my dancing partner.
Senora Goldstein found a YouTube song (in Spanish, of course), and showed us what we were going to do.  She was so excited... I felt a little bad for being such a teenager, standing sullenly with my arms crossed.  She put her left foot forward, brought it back in, and put her right foot back.  Easy enough.  We all copied her. 
Then she wanted to show us how to do the same thing with our partners.  She asked for a volunteer, and ended up with her arms around Sneed (officially Cody Sneed), slow dancing with him around the Spanish classroom.

Sneed, who really does have red hair, sweeping Senora Goldstein off her feet... kinda.
              Senora Goldstein put Sneed's hand behind her back, put her own hand on his shoulder, then held his free hand, as they salsad (salsaed?  salsaid?  past-tense of salsa.) around the room.  He looked like he could have thrown up.
            While Evan and I awkwardly tried to imitate the happy couple, many others were actually getting into it.  Senora Goldstein had said that we didn't actually have to hold hands if we didn't want to, which we didn't.  That may have made things more difficult, but we didn't really care too much.  One of the Maybellines, Jessica, danced near me with her boyfriend, perfectly.  I have always had two left feet, and kept apologizing to my friend for stepping on his feet.  Jessica saw me struggling, rolled her eyes, and dropped her partner's hand to try to teach me.  She shoved Evan out of the way, grabbed my hand, and danced with me.  I know she was trying to help, but honestly, I don't think anything could have worked.  When she thought I had it, she relocated Evan, and put us in the same position as Senora Goldstein and Sneed, hands together.  (And I must say, I'm glad I'm not the only one with sweaty palms.)
           I don't know how long we danced like that, but I can tell you, I am not any more prepared for dancing at prom than I am for running the marathon.  Now, I just have to hope that Senora Goldstein won't grade us on our dancing skills.
          The next time I write a note, it will definitely be about the happenings at prom, which is on Saturday.  So there's something to look forward to!

Teacher's coming, so I'm folding the note up.  Please pass it on!
Grace Kent

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Long Hallway

The Flare.
The scariest principal in the History of Ever.

I don’t even know if they have a detention system at my school.  If you get in trouble, the teachers just tell you to "go to Ms. O'Flaherty's office".  Known for her strict expectations, The Flare is a punishment in itself.

Then why am I walking down the long hallway to her office?

Let me explain the hallway.  The hallway with her door at the end is architecturally structured to seem endless, like some sick optical illusion.  It's like something out of Alice in Wonderland.  It's like the farther you go into the hallway, the longer it gets, until you can turn around and not see where you came from.

As I am walking down the hall, with my heart in my throat, I am thinking through the last week, wondering what I could've done wrong.  What could possibly merit a trip to The Flare's office?  I don't know!

All I know is that as I am opening the door to her office, she leaps up from her desk, and runs at me.

Wait, back up.

Let's go back a couple hours, to the night before.  It was the National Junior Honors Society induction ceremony.  I was amazed that I had even gotten in, with my Biology grades.  But I had, and I was sitting between Lauren and Olivia, listening to someone give a speech.  We had been given assigned seats ahead of time, and I was exactly where I needed to be.  (We would all exit our rows in order, to receive our certificates.)  I had just gotten a new haircut and was wearing high heels.  Everything was perfect.

Until The Flare started calling names to receive certificates.

The Flare stood in front of all the students and some parents, reading off of a list of new NJHS members.  She called Jean.  She called Nancy.  She called Ryan.  Then she called Lauren.

I was next!

I braced myself.

I smiled.

But she called Olivia.

Then Will.

Then Carter.

Now, I don't know what happened, exactly.  All I know is how awkward I felt standing there, wondering if I had even been in NJHS at all.  Standing there, everyone knew that there was a mistake.  Well, everyone but The Flare, who kept reading her list.  Parents, friends, students I had never even met, stared at me with questioning eyes.  I nervously laughed, held up my palms, and mouthed "I don't know."

Please don't cry, please don't cry, please don't cry...

And I didn't.  Because within five minutes, five long minutes, after everyone had been called and we were about to start another round of speeches, my English teacher came to my aid by running up to The Flare and whispering something in her ear, pointing at me.  She looked at me, smiled, and called my name.  She handed me my certificate and shook my hand.

And the parents applauded!

And my friends applauded!

And the students I had never even met applauded!

The way my dad saw it, I "got the most applause out of anybody."

So back to present time.

The next morning, I am walking, palms sweating, heart pounding, to The Flare's office.  I open her door, she sees me, jumps up from her desk, and runs at me.

And she hugs me.


"I am so sorry!" she exclaims in her heavy Irish accent.  "I forgot you!  It was a complete accident, I was caught up in the moment, I was so nervous!"

I tell her not to worry about it, it was all fine.

But I learned something important that day, something that I will be able to use for the rest of my years in high school: The Flare is not as bad as people say.

Yes, she's tough.

But she's fair.

Teacher's coming, so I'm folding the note up.  Please pass it on!
Grace Kent

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Taking Attendance

There is so much to tell, I don't know where to start.

So let's start with me!  My name is Grace Kent and I am a freshman at a very small school in the Pacific Northwest.  I am not the most popular girl in school, but I don't sit quietly in the back of the room either.  (I've actually gotten in trouble for talking in class, on more than one occasion.)  I am very good at languages and very bad at Biology.  I really like school.  So much so, I feel the need to share my high school stories with whoever will listen, which I guess, in this case, is you!

My vocab word for this week is "eccentric".  It means "not conventional; a little kooky; irregular".  My classmates are eccentric. 

My best friend Kelsey is the loudest, nicest, and most fun person in the world.  We've known each other since we were in 6th grade, and we do everything together.  And, of course, I have to tell you about Sneed.  His full name is Cody Sneed, but we all just call him Sneed.  There is an unspoken consensus that he will one day grow up to be either the head of the Secret Service, or the country's most wanted serial killer, but for now, he's just my locker buddy.  I don't have any "arch enemies", but I try to steer clear from the Maybellines.  You know, they're those girls who are 16 going on 30, wearing too much makeup and trying to be all that and a bag of chips.  And fortunately for my Biology grades, Jean, the smartest girl in our grade, is my bus buddy.  We sit together on the drive to school, where she helps me with my homework.

And then there's my principal.

When you look up the definition of "intimidating", you should see a picture of my principal.  She is Irish, with red hair and a temper to match.  Her name is Ms. O'Flaherty, but we all call her The Flare.  Like the flare of dynamite.

Well, I have to go now; I think the teacher is collecting our math homework.  In my next note, I'll tell you about what happened the first time I got called in to The Flare's office.

Teacher's coming, so I'm folding the note up.  Please pass it on!
Grace Kent