…. The Further Mathematics teacher had barely left the classroom when Rosaline Ifediba bolted the door before anyone had the chance to go out for break. She had consulted the class captain, Scholar Boyo, and had her express permission. Grabbing a chalk, she wrote out the three chosen names for the contest with Pamela’s at the lead and in block letters.
“I didn’t come with Osi’s phone and you’ve refused to get yourself a better phone” Alex complained to Pamela, as the bell for break rang for the third and last time, oblivious of Rose and the board. Pamela was about to repeat all the reasons why she didn’t need and wouldn’t get a better phone when she was attracted to the fact that shy Rose, was standing in front of the class, and her name was on the board.
“Expand your view and lengthen your gaze, my dear” Pamela advised, her tone rising with excitement. Missing the excitement in her voice, Alexia was beginning to get irritated. They had to log onto the School’s website for more information. With the contest barely a week away, here she was trying to look after her friend’s best interests and all she could say was ‘Expand your view and lengthen your gaze’. The vocabulary was uncalled for; precisely, she was lengthening her gaze by trying to look ahead and plan.
But none of this escaped – her face remained blank.
“Look! Alex.” Pamela repeated, in plain English “My name is on the board. What’s Rose up to this time, I wonder”
“Beg your pardon, honourable classmates,” Rose began to speak: she had all of their attention now and even Elos managed to take her eyes and her mind off her Further Maths textbook and listen “nerds and socialites, hotheads and not-so-hot-heads, for there are no dullards in this great class” at which the not-so-hot-heads laughed and the hotheads smiled knowingly.
“We’re spending five minutes, if you don’t mind, of our break time to acknowledge our own, Pamela Uthman, whom, in a week’s time, we may have to defer to as Head Girl.”
Alexia started clapping, all irritation gone, Olivia and Scholar joined in and the rest of the class, including Pamela, followed their lead.
Rose continued “We see her everyday and we may claim to know her, but do we really know her?” she asked, rhetorically “Well then, it’s not too late to start. If she’s going to be addressing the whole school soon whether as head girl or in the contest” Alexia made a mental note to remind Pamela to prepare for this future address “I suppose she had better start with addressing her class. Pamela, could you come forward?”
“Rose!” Pamela sighed inwardly. She came out and made to stand beside Rosaline but Rose ducked to the side; she was petite enough without emphasizing that fact, and in public for that matter, by standing beside a five feet six.
“I’m very moved by this show of solidarity” she could feel forty-four pairs of eyes on her; some curious, others serious, a few smiling, but all with good feeling towards her “and of affection. Without your knowing it and my knowing you well, some of you are the reasons why I have tried to do certain things, including in the first place, the decision to contest; you were my motivation so to speak. Rose is very correct; we need to get to know ourselves better. The nerd should not just cling to her books and the socialite to her parties and gossips. We may not be best friends with every one but we can be friends with most. Let us be more open, let us want to compare notes, let us organize mock quizzes and simple parties for birthdays, for example. Such occasions are common grounds where no one will feel uncomfortable. Let us do things together, that way the other classes can say, and they would not be wrong, that the girls in our class are happy and intelligent people, and that they love one another.”
“It’s nice to go on especially when one has a listening crowd but our break time is precious. So, I’ll stop here and I thank you.”
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