Hello Rising Dragon readers! I’m so excited to announce that the Rising Dragon will be starting to publish a habitual fictional story. This means that at least once a month a chapter of a story written by Amelia Kimball will be released. I think that this will be a unique and interesting addition to our newspaper, and I hope you start to enjoy reading these stories as much as I will writing them.
Sincerely, Amelia Kimball (Gr 8)
The worst part of the first day of school is roll call. Last year after having four class periods of torturous roll call, I spent my entire lunch period researching how to get your name changed. I was disappointed to find out that the first step was to have your 18th birthday. And since I was only in the 7th grade, that clearly wasn’t happening anytime soon. Fast forward a year later and here I am, first day of 8th grade, getting ready to endure it all over again. As I take a seat at the desk on which a year’s worth of Sharpied-on swear words have scrubbed off, making it look clean but hardly new, just like this school year, I assess the faces I see in my first-period History class. I groan inwardly at the sight of the worst-possible group of kids. The mix-up looks something like this: half of the room are kids who are the type to make fun of my name even though they’ve heard it over and over at roll call since we started kindergarten, and the other half are faces I’ve never seen before. Kids who have never seen my face either, or more importantly, heard my name before. It’s going to be a long class period.
The classroom is the quietest it’ll be all year, I’ll bet you 5 bucks. On the first day of school, everyone is in tip-top shape, and right now, there are no spit balls flying, no pencils being made into slingshots, no yelling. As the young and innocent-looking teacher walks in, she looks like she thinks she’s won the lottery of classes. Optimism is always high on the first day too. She pulls out the dreaded clipboard that I know has all 25 of our names listed on it. I watch as she looks curiously, then concernedly, at the first name on the list. I shrink in my chair, waiting as her crinkled brow assesses five letters. Then- she butchers it. “Wh-hall-ee?” She says, smiling pertly. Not one teacher has ever messed it up that badly. Now she’s put me in an even worse position- I’m going to have tell her what it really is. I can just feel the snickers coming to the surface of the mouths of the cluster of rowdy boys in one corner of the room. My hand timidly reaches up. “It’s Whale,” I say, “Whale like in the sea.” Not one of the kids can control themselves as laughter erupts like an angry volcano all over the classroom that suddenly seems too small. And apparently, this teacher can’t control herself either. I see a grin creeping up her cheeks and a little laugh comes out her nose. The worst kind of laugh. I can’t say I’ve ever had a teacher laugh at me, but my guess is this one’s too fresh out of college to ignore my larger-than-healthy (so the gym teachers say) body, combined with my unique-to-say-the-least name. Then, suddenly, she remembers that she’s supposed to be playing teacher right now. Her face goes stern and she glares at the class, though carefully avoiding my eyes. “How rude. How terribly rude.” Her chin points up at the stained and cracked-in-some-places ceiling as her lips purse and she gets back into character. But it’s too ironic, even I can see that, and the class’ laughter only grows in decibel. She sees the irony too, and her pale, freckled face takes on a bright pink pigment. Almost as pink as mine. My long sigh gets lost in the noise and I can see my future in 8th grade as clearly as I can see out the freshly-scrubbed windows. What I see in both places, the muddy field of dirt called our recess yard or an entire year of horrifying humiliation, is not pretty.