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