A FRESH START
by Analia, 10, USA
The bell rang, setting the hallways into chaos. Left and right kids raced past me in an attempt to get to class while I awkwardly stood there, confused. I patiently and nervously waited as the hallways cleared up. Now, I was the only one. Chatter rose from inside the classrooms around me but I was too scared to move. This was my first time transferring schools, and I was in the middle of 6th grade. The middle of the school year is always the worst time to transfer but it’s when my parents wanted me to take the step. There was nothing wrong with my other school. Normal class, normal teachers, normal lunch. The only thing was that it was an hour away. Now I understand why my parents wanted me to transfer but they could’ve waited 5 months. Then, I would’ve moved to another school like normal for middle school. My parents think it’ll be a fun experiment. I don’t agree.
“Excuse me, I don’t believe we’ve met,” a voice sounded from behind me. I turned to face a thin, tan man with a snappy suit on and a Starbucks coffee in one hand.
“Sorry, sir. I’m Lola. Lola Sanchez. This is my first day here and I was a little confused about where my class was. Can you help me find room 554?”
The man smiled, “Ah, as principal, you know these hallways like the back of your hand. Mr Johnson’s your teacher for this year. Just take a right up at that hallway then it’s the first door to your left,” the man explained as he gestured with his hands.
“Principal? I’m so sorry for wasting your time. I’m sure you have a bunch of important work to do. Thanks for the directions. Bye!”
Whipping the wooden door open, the classroom of 554 danced around me. The paneled walls didn’t have a speck of dust on them and I felt like I was floating on the newly mopped tiled floor.
Kids snickered as I nervously placed myself in an empty seat. Mr Johnson, who was wearing a suit like the principal, had curly blond hair and piercing jade eyes.
Mr Johnson barked, “Have a seat! You’re late!”
Mr Johnson continued to criticize other kids as I seated myself. Then, finally, he began teaching us. My head was in another place, though. My other school. It didn’t have the best principal but it had special kids. My friends. The stress of starting over was nothing compared to the feeling of not having any friends at a new school. No one to support you, just yourself. Sometimes, that isn’t enough.
After school that day, I walked over to Central Park where I spotted a bench to drown myself in music as I waited for the bus to pull up. When it arrived, I took off the headphones and climbed on. Staring at my phone, texts sprung out multiple times from my friends. They all wanted to know how my first day at the new school was. I didn’t think they would understand. At one point, they tried doing a group call. I ignored that, too. I looked my problem right in the eye, but not the solution. I thought seeing them would remind me too much of the life I left behind. What I would give to go back there again. I’m stuck in this school, now.
The next week as I trudged up the stairs to Mr Johnson’s class, something caught my eye. In a corner of the hall, a girl with shoulder-length blond hair was crouching down, trying to hide. I walked over to the corner and studied her face. It was the same face as mine, last week when I arrived. The same face of misery, confusion, and defeat.
“Hiding won’t help.”
The girl lifted her head so I could see her swollen crimson eyes.
“How would you know?”
Calmly I answered, “ I know because I came here last week and I tried to hide. People here don’t let you. What’s your name?”
“Jamie Hunter. What’s your name?”
“Lola Sanchez. Nice to meet you, Jamie. Do you want to team up so you and I can defeat middle school?”
A smile crept onto Jamie’s face, “Why not?”
I grinned as well, “We’ll make it into a game. Level 1: Surviving your teachers – especially Mr Johnson.”