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School Daze: Nora

Joined: 1/10/2014
Posts: 10
Her name is Nora and I became best friends with her because I had nobody else at school. Maybe it was the flash of blonde hair that captivated a girl who had only seen black strands. Maybe it was because she had a cute and easy smile, the kind of cheeky grin that instantly made you feel important--or as important as a kindergartner could feel.

Memories of her come in flashbacks and echoes. Fleeting sounds of birthday party giggles, quick glimpses of running from her dog whose name has long escaped my memory, and the vague smells of freshly-made pizza covered with cheese squashed between our pudgy fingers.

She was always nice to me, in class and outside on the playground. And I liked her too, because she made cutting paper leprechauns fun on a bleak March school day and because she collected markers so that looking into her backpack was like finding a rainbow.

Sometime in third grade, that rainbow disappeared when we were put in separate classrooms, but the smiles lasted. In fourth grade, she found other people to play with, girls who I tried to like but never truly understood. They were not bad people--just strangers to my shy self. For that whole time, I had a loose ring of peers that I never really fit in with either.

And then I was free-falling through middle school. Where was she in the midst of new teachers, jammed lockers, and the sudden expectation to do something, to be someone? I rarely saw Nora--for three years we shared neither lunch shifts nor classes. And so many years later, as a sophomore in high school, I saw her again, only recognizing her by the blonde hair. We had no classes together yet again--it was a simple encounter in busy halls. I stopped and smiled but she did not.

As she walked by, I was most surprised not by how she did not see me, but more by the rush of memories that came flooding back. School and time twisted the meaning of a real friendship with her and we both fell victim. How quickly she had been replaced and how quickly had I been replaced.

My parents always told me that aside from doing well in my studies, the most important thing about school was to make new friends and memories. This was true, but I had stupidly forgotten to keep the old. School has always been an emblem of pressure and stress to most, but I will always associate it with creating and losing that friendship with my first best friend.

On Monday, our high school opens again. And this time, I know I will be looking for the familiar blur of blonde hair.
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your School Daze essay being chosen as 1 of the 10 essays in the running for 1st place for our August 2014 teen writing competition. Be proud of your accomplishment.

We are in the process of selecting our top three winners, and naming the 1st place winner from the narrowed field.

We will post all winning essay results by September 30th. You can check this page for the results after September 30th:

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 4:11:30 PM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your School Daze essay being selected as our 1st place Student Winner for the August writing contest.

To view all the results of our August contest, please check our winners page on or after September 30th:

We will be contacting you via your registration email for prize details.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014 8:51:52 PM
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Comment by ayeshalaraib

Joined: 9/25/2014
Posts: 2
Very well written.Although at some points it seems that something is missing but I congratulate you on conveying your point of view and thoughts very nicely...
Posted: Saturday, December 13, 2014 6:38:47 AM
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