‘What did you say?’ her mum asked, thinking she was talking to her. ‘Nothing, mom’. Actually there was something, and that was the fact was she was tired of changing her school every year. She was supposed to be in Senior Secondary School 1 now and was changing her school again, for the fourth time since she became a secondary school student. She was getting fed up of everything and sometimes asked herself if her parents couldn’t make up their minds for once. Her family was moving to Lagos and thus, the schools herself and her sisters were attending had to be changed. Tamara knew she was going to miss her friends, friends whom she had just met and had just started getting to know during the past one year she was in junior secondary school 3 (jss3). She thought of her days as a jss3 student, her best friend Jenny, her classmates and all she was going to miss. She remembered when she got into class one day and saw the whole class students attention turned towards the chalk board. She became more curious when some of her classmates who had seen her enter the class started to clap and her best friend, Jenny, winked at her. She sure had to see for herself what was amusing everybody, and that was when her gaze turned towards the board and she saw what was making everybody behave in such manner.
Craziest- Tola Daniels
Tallest- Josh Macaulay
Brain of the class-Tommy Smith
Cutest- Tamara Cole
That was where she stopped; she blushed then and shyly walked towards her seat. Throughout that day, she was still so flattered. She had always been a friend to every boy right from her primary school days till her junior school days, but to be called the cutest girl in her class was something she never imagined. True, she was a very beautiful girl with coily hair and straight legs, and an object of envy by the girls, but she never paid attention to herself or looks like a lot of her classmates did. She was 13years and didn’t know how to handle compliments. It definitely got into her head, and thus, the result of the test she had the following week was poor. Her home Economics teacher sent for her to come over to her office. Tracey had never been summoned to a teacher’s office before, and as a result suddenly got scared and wondered what could be the problem. The minute she stepped into her teacher’s office, the frown on her face caused Tracey’s fears to increase. ‘Good afternoon ma’am’ ‘Good afternoon, you are Tamara right?’, the teacher replied
‘Yes ma’am, you sent f……’ Before Tracey could complete her statement, the teacher’s comments sliced through her heart. ‘You should be called beauty without brains’. The expression on Tracey’s face didn’t stop the woman from lashing her with words.
‘I don’t know you, and I’ve never met you, are you a new student?’ Tamara couldn’t open her mouth; she was too shocked and too insulted to do so. She knew that if she dared to do that, her voice could show some emotion. So she just nodded her head. ‘What is this?’ the teacher asked, pointing at the test script on the desk in front of her. You failed a simple home economics test. Only you….of the whole class. You don’t even look like it. How did you cope in the first term and how would you face your Junior waec if you cannot pass a simple home economics test?’ She paused and stared hard at the tear-stained face of the pretty young girl in front of her as if expecting her to answer the question. Then she continued ‘You had better sit up, and don’t think beauty will get you anywhere. The world is looking for intelligent people and not fine face’. She hissed and flung the test script at Tamara who picked it up with tears and ran out of the office. She went into the ladies and cried herself out. She hated that teacher, why did she have to behave like an illiterate, why did she have to humiliate her in such manner. But then, she paused to think, ‘why did I also have this horrible’ score in such a simple test. Oh God, the whole world will know. I hate myself for being carried away’ That incident made her sit up and come to her senses. She started studying very hard for her mock exams, she especially focused on home economics because she wanted the same teacher to notice it was the same ‘beauty without brains’ that had the highest score in the whole class. She was usually an average student, however, this time around, she didn’t just want to pass, and she wanted to be the best just to prove the teacher wrong. True to her determination, when the results of the Junior Waec mock came out, she was the highest in class. That morning, when she got to class, she got the pleasant shock of her life when her home economics teacher got into the class and asked to see her, she stood up, and all the teacher said was ‘Wow, you surprised me’. She continued, but this time around to the entire class ‘Your results have been pasted, so you can go and check it’. Then she turned to Tamara who was already seated, smiled at her and walked out. That day was the day Tracey learned a big lesson. She learned that whatever she set her mind to do was possible, she could excel in it, and that became her motto. She later learned from the class that she scored 98 percent. She broke the record. She was brought back to the present by the sound of her mum’s voice and the look of her new school principal. She was now a pupil of one of the private schools in Lagos and in SS1. She was instructed by the principal to begin to attend classes the following week and to have her hair well plaited, put on black socks and black shoes. She was then given her uniform after she had checked for fitting. Her mum thanked the principal and turned to leave with Tamara and Tricia, her sister who was to start as a JSS2 student in the same private school. The week passed and weekend came. Her mum came home that evening with a new pair of shoes for Tracey and Tricia; she also got 3 pairs of black socks each for them. They thanked her and ran into their rooms to try them on. Tamara wanted to see how she would look like, so she put on her new school uniform, her shoes and socks and ran to her parents’ room to see what she looked like in the mirror. She loved what she saw. The pair of eyes that looked back at her was lovely; she had never thoroughly admired herself in front of a mirror before. She had heavy and dark eye lashes, a round face and thick black coily hair. Her pointed nose seemed to be made perfectly for her face. The uniform was a white long sleeve shirt tucked inside her blue-black striped pleated skirt which was just below her knees. The dress matched her black pair of socks and shoes. She definitely will prefer this school to her former school, she thought to herself and started humming. She had her mum to thank for. Lisa, her mum walked in at that moment and saw her daughter’s smiling face. ‘Thank you mummy, I love the uniform’ she said and gave her a wide hug. ‘Am glad you like it. All I want from you is to make us proud in your academics’.
Monday morning came and excited Tamara got dressed for school immediately after the family morning devotion, while her mum got her kid sisters, Trivia and Tracy ready for their new elementary school too. She was too excited to finish her breakfast, her mum had to pack it for her to take to school. Their dad, Sammy, sat in one corner of the sitting room, listening to the news over the radio. Lisa told the kids say goodbye to their dad as they all left the house. She was a virtuous woman and didn’t mind her husband dumping his responsibilities on her shoulder. She took her kids to the bus stop where they would take a bus to their schools. She knew she couldn’t keep taking them to school every day as she could be on duty any morning. She made a mental note to arrange for their transportation, especially for the elementary school girls.
Tamara and Tricia got to their bus stops first, and Lisa gave them lunch money after giving them a few instructions. They alighted and entered the school which was already busy. Tamara noticed she and her sister were early as some students were just getting to school just like them. Parents were also dropping off their kids before driving off. Tamara envied them as she saw them as lucky to have parents who rode cars and brought them to school in their cars. She prayed silently for her parents to also come and drop them off in nice rides very soon. The sound of the siren could be heard and Tamara guessed it must be time for the students to gather for assembly. She hurriedly took her sister to the area where JSS2 students gathered, while she went to that of SS1 students. After the assembly was over, Tamara and Tricia went straight to the principal’s office as instructed, to be taken to their classes. After Tricia was taken to hers and introduced to the class, the principal took Tamara to SS1 science class. There were 3 arms for each SSS classes: Science, commercial and arts classes. Tamara wanted to be a physiotherapist; she had picked science as a result. Immediately they entered the class, all eyes turned towards them. She especially noticed a pair of eyes whose owner was sitting on the first seat on the 2nd row. Blue eyes. The eyes were staring right through her and she thought she saw laughter in them, just before he turned to his sit mate by his left and whispered something into his ear which made both of them laugh softly and then turn their eyes to her. She felt like hiding behind the principal, but she knew that would be foolish. So she stared at the floor instead, while the principal announced her name and the reason she was there. She was a new student, and she was to be treated nicely, the principal had said. He then pointed at an empty seat on the 1st row, but 2nd column and asked Tamara to occupy it. It was now hers, he said. Tamara walked slowly to her new seat, her eyes never leaving the floor, and in the midst of stares and whispers sat down. She mentally tried to calculate the number of students in the class. There were four rows and four columns of chairs and tables. Two students occupied a chair, thus, they were 32 in number. The class was painted lemon green and white. There was a white board in the front and a wooden stand for markers and board wiper. The class was a spacious one with two ceiling fans which were working. It was definitely a conducive environment for learning, she thought to herself.
‘Hi’, her sit mate whispered, leaning closer to Tamara,
‘Call me Esther’. She continued in smiles, extending her right hand.
‘Hi, nice to meet you, Esther’, Tamara replied, returning the gesture. The entrance of a petite woman stopped any further conversation that may have been between the two girls. The woman, as Tamara got to know later, was the biology teacher for her class. Tamara brought out her new note after the necessary greeting between teacher and students had been done and listened attentively to the teacher, while also taking down notes where necessary. The rest of the day was a memorable one as Tamara got to know a few other teachers and some of her classmates. Especially the blue eyed one, yea, the blue eyed.
Nick had never seen such a beauty before in his lifetime. He had just settled in his seat for the beginning of another school day when the whole class suddenly became quiet. He knew it must be the presence of a teacher or….
‘Good morning students’ he heard the principal say. Nick had been right, it was the presence of an authority, but he saw the movement behind the man before the principal extended his hand behind him to signal to her to face the class. It was there and then he saw her. Round face, black hair, full lips, straight legs….his eyes travelled back up….her eyes…so beautiful. She was staring back at him; she looked like she had seen a ghost or something. His mouth twisted with a smile and he leaned over to whisper to his sit mate if he had been thinking what he has also been thinking. The new girl seemed to suddenly withdraw and looked shy. It wasn’t a new thing to him. That was the effect he had on most girls when they first set their eyes on him. He was 15 years old, but he knew he had an effect on the opposite sex. They always tried to get his attention since he clocked 11, tried to be generous to him, bought him stuffs. Of course, he enjoyed it, who wouldn’t like it? It was fun having to be the one be chased after and not otherwise; getting the girl he wanted so easily. He turned down those he didn’t like. Not that he liked them all. They were very boring, not challenging and disgusting at times. He smiled again to himself as the new girl strolled to her seat. He didn’t hear the school principal announce her name, but he knew he was going to know very soon when she joined the other girls that liked to hang around him. It would be fun when she finally came to him, he thought in smiles. The arrival of the biology teacher broke into his thoughts.