Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 9:51:31 PM
“I graded your tests over the weekend,” my pre-Algebra teacher revealed as she began to pass out our exams. “Most of you are doing very well, but others need to review some basic concepts.” She emphasized the word “others” as she slammed my test down on the desk, face up. Forty-five percent…not bad, I shrugged, considering I had guessed on more than half of the answers. It was December of my eighth grade year, and I was used to not being the smartest kid in class; it was never my goal in life to be a nerd. However, what I was not used to was the phone call my dad got that night from the guidance counselor.
“Nicole, you’re failing four out of eight classes. And we know nothing about it!” My parents stared down at me as I sat on my bed, trying to read a book.
“I have an A in English, Gym, and Art.” I reminded them, glancing up from my Kindle.
“No, no, you don’t understand. Your guidance counselor doesn’t think you’re ready for high school.” Now, there was no way that I was going to stay behind in middle school while all of my friends moved up. I fought with my parents and school for days, but it didn’t change anything. I would have to get straight A’s for the next two marking quarters to graduate, and everyone knew that was never going to happen.
It was soon after this when I started reading “Wreath,” a book about a teenage girl who lost her mother and was going doing everything she could to avoid going into foster care and still get a scholarship into college. She led a miserable life for a few months, living in a junkyard and working four hours a day in addition to school. However, she also had to learn to ask for and accept help when she was in desperate need of it. Because of her hard work, Wreath managed to take control over her situation and to stay out of foster care. “Wreath” taught me to never let others decide what my outcome was going to be, but also to never be afraid to ask for help.
That year, I studied for at least two hours every day after school. Even if we had no homework I would read the textbook and go over the topics the rest of my class had mastered ages ago. I pretended to be Wreath, working and learning until I felt like I couldn’t learn any more. I also signed up for a tutor session at school on Saturdays, knowing that Wreath would have wanted me to get some help. Wreath inspired me to believe in myself and do all that I did, she is the reason I got straight A’s that semester and could go into high school with my friends. To be honest, I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t read “Wreath.”