How to fail High School

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“The test will include seven subjects, fourteen sub-subjects, and-” Mrs. Cornwell droned on and on about the high school competency test. Last time I checked, being a senior was supposed to be fun. Well, at least we have prom tonight. I think about Jayson, the guy I’m going with. We’re just friends, but he’s such a cutie! My mind wanders to the dance, and the music, and all of my friends, and my dress, and suddenly, my eyelids collapse. I feel wonderful until-


“Charisma, why don’t you answer the question for us?” My best friend Meghan pinches my arm, which serves as a painful reminder that I am supposed to be listening to Mrs. Cornwell talk about the importance of passing high school.


“I’m sorry; could you please repeat the question?” In my four years of high school, I’ve learned that you have to play like you’ve been awake the entire time.



“Exactly. Ms. Diaz is the perfect example of how to fail high school. You know, Charisma, you actually have to stay awake in order to pass the test. You do realize that, don’t you?” She gently chided. She had this smirk on her face that clearly read ‘Who’s in charge now?’ I had had enough. I was sick and tired of this substitute proclaiming to my class that I was going to fail high school.



“You know what? I haven’t made anything less on my report card than an 81 since 6th grade. That’s six years of all A’s and B’s. If that doesn’t impress you, I can’t fathom what will. I really don’t appreciate you humiliating me in front of all of these people, and I really would appreciate it if you had the courtesy to apologize.” You see, I never really intend for these things to come out of my mouth they just sort of do.


“That’s quite enough, Ms. Diaz. Straight to the office. That outburst of yours definitely deserves an office referral. Here is the pass, and you can see your way up there right now.” She is clearly exasperated with my use of large words that don’t seem to appear on her somewhat limited vocabulary list. She places the inscribed plank of wood on the palm of my hand, and points towards the door. I feel a mass of eyes piercing the back of my neck. As I tread towards the door, I wonder how much trouble my words have gotten me into this time.

“Charisma Diaz. Hmm, that’s one I’ve never heard before.” The school secretary, Mrs. Barnes mumbled to herself after she had called my number, 546, to go see the assistant principal, Mr. Coleman. He was a nice man, but not if you stepping to the malicious territory also known as his bad side.
“Step in, Ms. Diaz,” he invited me into his office, which was perfectly organized. Figures, he’s an absolute neat freak. “To what do I owe the pleasure of seeing you on this fine Tuesday afternoon?” He was pretending to be ignorant, but I had a feeling that he had already been informed about my insubordinance.
“Well, Mrs. Cornwell was using me as an example of a child who would fail high school because I had dozed off a little in class and so, I retaliated a little bit,” I was trying to make it sound as if I was innocent, but I’m not a very good actress, and so it didn’t go very well.
“That’s a very nice story, Charisma, but you aren’t living up to your name very well. You see, your story is true, but told in a manner that implies that you are not at fault. Therefore making it a lie. Here at G. James Gholson High School, we have zero tolerance for T.I.L.T, or theft, insubordinance, lies, and trespassing. You have violated the ‘L’ in T.I.L.T, therefore making you in deeper trouble than you already were in. Long story short- you are to serve one week at Woods-Wilkins Disciplinary School. I hope this serves as a reminder to follow T.I.L.T.” He spoke as if this was a casual conversation, but we both knew that it was far more than that.

Now, I would be inclined to illustrate to my experience at Woods-Wilkins Disciplinary School, but it isn’t completely appropriate, and I don’t feel comfortable sharing that particular experience with the general public. So, let’s just say that there were some very interesting things that went on at that school, and they should all stay there. My hope for you is that you should never try to take advantage of a substitute, because it can land you in a whirlwind of trouble. And, if you ever run into anyone named Mrs. Cornwell, just remember to either stay awake, or evacuate the premises immediately.





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