Lead by Example: A Student’s Story

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fictional story by Kenai Dindia
2014 Rocketship Alumnus

Hello, my name is Marcus, I go to school at a place called E.A.A.P. (Education At A Price). I do have a very important story  about how I changed everything at that school. I think it’s worth reading.

It’s a great school, except it used to have one issue. This kid named James bullied a lot, turned other kids into bullies, called younger kids names, picked on them, and disrespected his teachers.

The first day of school means everything. Your reputation, your friends, and even if you’re going to be a cool kid in the future. I really wanted to be a cool kid and to be respected.

But on the first day of school, I got framed on my teacher’s bad side.  James took a bottle of glue, put it down a kid’s shirt, in front of the class, and then put the glue on my desk.  I felt as if a bullet went through my heart.

When the teacher came back in from getting our homework, she saw the glue on my desk and put me in detention for a half hour. I still haven’t forgotten that day.

As the school days went on, this happened to a ton of kids.  I tried and tried to get them to show respect, but they didn’t listen. They only started to pick on me. James talked kids into  shoplifting so they got suspended. He always sweet talked the teachers into letting him go. One day, I got in trouble for tripping someone on the other side of the playground. Then the assistant principal took me aside and reminded me about the E.A.A.P.  core values: respect, responsibility, empathy, and persistence. I realized that these four core values were the secret to stop bullying.

I showed the teachers that I really was a good student no matter what happened. I ignored James and his “sidekicks”  rudeness and backed up the defenseless. I showed my four core values everywhere I went. After a while, kids stopped picking on me.

I told the teachers my idea of using the core values to stop the bullying and they told me it was a great idea. From that point on, I whispered the four core values and how to use them to any scholar I saw getting bullied and, over a period of my whole time at that elementary school, bullying gradually stopped. I helped these kids who were getting bullied to not freak out by what the bullies did to them.  Their names were Peter, Jacob, Pedro, and Carlos. They helped me spread the word of the four core values.

I showed respect to James by not treating him rudely even though he treated other people rudely. James realized how messed up he was being and eventually changed his behavior towards others.

Responsibility was my main support. I did the right thing by sticking up for others even when times were hard. I held James accountable when he was mean to other children. I showed responsibility to James by taking the risk and helping him do what was right no matter how hard it is. He soon realized it felt better to be nice than to be mean.

Empathy helped me solve my problem creating my motivation. Empathy helped me understand what people wanted. I used that to make things better. Because I knew what it was like to be picked on and called names, I had the motivation to stand up for others. I showed empathy by helping others and not just myself. The teachers showed empathy on me by understanding my problem and helping me with it. Empathy was the strongest help I got. I realized that James was getting picked on by his older brother. I showed empathy to James by listening to him and not hating him.

Persistence is what kept me going. Persistence taught me that if I try my best I will achieve what I want. Without it I would’ve quit halfway through. I showed persistence by doing my best when it was really improbable to succeed. In the most difficult times, a group of people, including me, had to show persistence together.  James didn’t stop overnight, but I was persistent by trying harder each time I saw him.

Now I’m in middle school with James, and doing  great. I’m still using my core values, and on my way to college. To whoever is reading this note, remember by doing your best you will always be successful, no matter what.

Editor’s Note: I first met Kenai at Mateo Sheedy’s fifth grade science camp last fall. Impressed by his enthusiasm, I asked if he’d be interested in writing for BEYOND. He wrote this story in response to the following prompt: Tell a fictional story about a student using core values to make the right choice in a difficult situation. Kenai just finished fifth grade and is excited to grow into middle school next year. 

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