It was the last day of my senior year. The only thing left to do, besides signing yearbooks, was attend the awards assembly. I hadn’t gone at the end of my sophomore and junior years. It was really about the seniors anyway. I was feeling down and wishing I didn’t have to go, but all my friends were going. I’d found out that morning that I wasn’t awarded a Sterling Scholarship for Weber State College. I’d wanted so much to become an English teacher, but there was just no way my folks could afford to pay for that education.
Perhaps if I’d been a bit more outgoing, proactive, pushy, whatever terms they used back then, when I was going through the interview process I might have made a better impression. It wasn’t my grades, they told me. I was an A student. But what else I was was very quiet. Though I had a lot of friends, you could usually find me sitting somewhere with a book. I wasn’t a party person. I didn’t date. I was shy — until I got to know you, which sometimes took awhile. It was obvious five minutes into that interview that I wasn’t the kind of successful material they were looking for. So my last day of school was ending on a sad note.
Packing the three-inch binder we’d put together in our two-hour shorthand / transcription class over the year, I crawled my way down the row of seats where my friends were sitting and settled in for a boring 90 minutes. I just wanted to get out of there and go home.
They had announced all the Stirling Scholars and I figured that was pretty much the end of it. Finally we could get out of there. I didn’t realize, however, there were other awards to be given out. So when my name was announced as Outstanding Business Student for 1969 I was flabbergasted. My friends were shoving at me to get me out of my seat and go get my trophy and I was so stunned I dropped that binder and my year’s worth of projects went everywhere. “Go!” they said, promising to gather everything all up.
That was one long walk up to that stage. I had not known about these school awards, nor that they came with full-ride scholarships, as well. What I did know was that I was good at the secretarial sciences (as they were called back in that day). My claim to fame was that I could take shorthand at 140 wpm. I accepted the award and my trophy and I didn’t look back. And the next two years turned out to be a real blessing for me. I ended up working in the office and bookstore while I attended school, so got to know most everyone at that little business college. It helped pry me out of my shell a lot, but more importantly, I also met Drollery there!
Later I would look back again and realize that my desire to be an English teacher never waned. Drollery and I both got good jobs through the college referral service, then we got married. And it never occurred to me that since I was working I could probably afford to go back to school to be a teacher if I really wanted to. (I wasn’t the shiniest lure in the tackle box!)
Years later I got the opportunity to teach kindergarten in a Christian school, and I loved it! So maybe they couldn’t conjugate verbs, but I still felt very VICTORIOUS, for I had the extreme joy of teaching them to read with a wonderful ABEKA phonics program that had them reading two grade levels beyond their public school counterparts. And seeing the world open up to them through books more than made up for what I HAD hoped to do with my life.
I guess it just goes to show you that sometimes those hopes and prayers are answered in ways you’d never expect. And sometimes success doesn’t quite look like what you thought it would.
piggy bank — www.collegescholarships.org