Sitting in Mrs. Arnett’s second grade classroom, my next door neighbor Charles is behind me, pulling my hair. I turn around to yell at him. I am so sick of Charles bothering me – he loves to pull my hair and jab sharp pencils in my back. After threatening to tell on him, he finally let go of my hair. As I turned back to my desk, Mrs. Arnett called my name. “Daniela, it is your turn for show and tell; what do you have for us today?” I remember thinking, “Oh my god, it’s my turn, YES! I can’t wait to tell everybody just how special I really am!”
I rush up to the front of the classroom as fast as I can. I can’t help to think how jealous everyone will be, and how they will want their families to think they are as special as I am. I pause and think, “Wait... what if they do? What if I am not the only one in my class who…- no, I don’t care, today is my day to be ‘special’.” I reach the front of the class, so excited that I can’t wait one second longer to tell them. I blurt out, “My older brother Anthony thinks that I am so special, that I should be in the Special Olympics! He told me last night.”
I hear a few kids snicker and my face begins to flush. Mrs. Arnett asks me to take a seat; she says needs to explain something to us. “Children, you all know what the Olympics are, right? Well, the Special Olympics are like what you see on television, but they are for people who have special needs like learning and physical disabilities.” All I could hear was laughter. My eyes were pouring out tears. It felt like my life was over; all I wanted to do was run away, but my body was frozen. I was angry with my classmates for laughing at me, angry with my brother for making fun of me, and most of all angry with Mrs. Arnett for embarrassing me in front of all my classmates. I could not wait to climb into the big yellow bus and go home. As I rode, I sulked, thinking, “I guess I am not very special after all.”
When I went to school the next day my...
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