|A Second Chance||7/22/2008 12:40:00 AM|
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It was almost 11 years ago when this high school freshmen did the unthinkable by literally kicking the shin of one irritating classmate. Naturally, she was shocked, and so were the 50 or so other classmates who saw it all happen while they were lining up for the next class. The consequences of that one act of passion redounded to many things, including possible expulsion.
Her homeroom adviser asked to speak to her. She was naturally nonchalant as they spoke about what happened, maybe she was still seething in anger at what the classmate had commented on in the first place which led to the incident. In the end, the adviser decided to issue no sanctions at all, not even a censure as the mildest warning.
Past forward to a few months later, when this high school student found herself sitting in the school auditorium and about to line up onstage to receive an award as an honor student. Suddenly, she found her homeroom adviser sitting behind her. She whispered, "You know, I fought for you to be here. They wanted to ban you from the honor roll this year for that incident, but I begged them to give you a second chance." The student didn't know what to say, but just nodded in agreement.
For the next three years, this student found herself in the high school auditorium, lining up on stage to be in the honor roll. Eventually, she graduated 3rd in a batch of 200-something.
On getting her credentials for college, she found no mention of that long-ago incident in her freshman year, even in recommendation letters for good conduct. Somehow, her homeroom adviser then had managed to convince everyone else to give her that clean slate, a real second chance.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from her college course in biology, finished medical school and is currently doing her residency training in radiology.
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Mrs. P isn't my favorite high school teacher. In fact, I think she is a little over the top at times... Over-acting is the word we often use to describe her. But on returning to my high school for our 10th year reunion last year, I wanted to see her, to formally thank her for that second chance a long time ago. I wanted to show her how things turned out afterwards for this once-upon-a-time short tempered teenager. Unfortunately, she was not around at that time. I guess this blog entry will serve as my tribute to her and a reminder to give erring individuals a second chance.