Last Chance

January 15, 2008
By James Yee, Brooklyn, NY

As Johnny grew up he wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box. Throughout his school
career he kept failing and failing. But as he approached the 8th grade he began to notice that his
grades were getting worse and worse. Everyone in school knew Johnny though. He was the “cool” man on the block. He didn’t give up his cool or break down under pressure. But his
failing, all his classes except art made him feel otherwise. Johnny didn’t know what to do. If he didn’t pass the dreaded Math, English, Science, and History finals he would fail school. Johnny didn’t want to give up hope though. While in school he kept, keeping hope that
he would pass.

“Johnny see me after class,” Ms. Star said.

“Yes, Ma’am,” Johnny replied.

As the end of the period neared Johnny had finally lost his cool. He was sweating and biting his nails from nervousness. As he got up from his seat to see the teacher he looked through her papers rigorously.

“Well Johnny do you know why I asked to see you after class?” asked Mrs. Star, looking

“Umm I think so…” said Johnny in a low tone.

“Look at this score.”

“Oh shi- my God! How did I even score that?”

“Well I honestly don’t know. This has to be possibly the worst grade I have ever seen in
my life.”

“Is there anything I can do to make that up?”

“Well Johnny this score, 0 is the last test of this year so I do not know what I can give
you to help.”

“Do you think I can get a retest?”

“Well, if I give you a retest I would have to make it a lot harder and it will cover all the
subjects in one test.”

“That’s fine Mrs. Star.”

As Johnny walked out the room he was thinking “How will I ever do this?” Johnny pondered all night long. He went without sleep that night. But luckily for him it was the
weekend. The big test of his life was on Monday. He was wondering to himself when did school become all test? How did this school system go from learning to relying solely on
tests? But he had no time to think about this he; had to study. He took a big dusty book called “Know It All” that he had never opened that was given to him by Mrs. Star at the beginning of the year. He plopped it on his desk and all the dusk went flying into the air. From seeing the
dusk he knew why he had failed. As he opened the book he had no clue what the book was saying. It was all Chinese or some foreign language to him. He didn’t know what to do now.

On Monday before the test he went back to Mrs. Star and asked her for her assistance. As she took out another copy of that dreaded book “Know It All,” and she began to read it to him. After awhile she grew tired and left him on page 9 and she had left the room for a bit to get some coffee. When she had returned, he was still stuck on page 9 and didn’t know why. So she decided to test him and write some words on the board. She simply wrote scars.

“Johnny can you read that?” said Mrs. Star asked.

“I think so Mrs. Star. Does it say Cars?”

“How about this one Johnny?” she then wrote Toasty on the board.

“Umm does it say Tasty?”
“Johnny I think I found your problem.”

As Johnny looked at her, he raised one eye brow in curiosity. She had called down to his parents. She had got them all in the same room and told them the news. She
had said that she believed that Johnny is dyslexic. His parents were in awe atthe news and she had calmly explained this could be the reason why he was and is failing school. So Mrs. Star said that he should get tested and find out. Lo and behold, after he got tested for dyslexia he
was found positive for the symptom. Johnny just needed a little extra attention when doing his
work. After that Mrs. Star stayed thirty minutes after school everyday to help Johnny more.

Now that dreaded test day came along once again. It was a bright and shiny Friday. As he took the test he stayed calm and collected his thoughts. He then two hours later, finished the test. Mrs. Star told him to go home and take a rest. Walking home he, could only think
about the test. As he approached the door to his house his mother was waiting for him.

“Johnny dear, Mrs. Star called.”

“Really why?” Johnny got nervous.

“Well she called about your test grade. You had scored… a 78!”


Johnny leaped for joy and ran around in circles in front of his yard. He had passed
the 7th grade and was happily moving on to the 8th grade and graduating with all his friends. And
this was all thanks to Mrs. Star and Johnny’s will to do better in school.

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