And Then the Class Votes.
“Student government elections are coming up soon,” Shane told me.
“That’s exciting,” I said. “Do you want to be in student government?”
“I think I would like to try,” he said.
“What do you have to do?”
“You just say that you want to be in it. Then you can give a speech,” Shane said, “but you don’t have to. And then the class votes on who they want to be in it.”
Oh no, I thought. First he wasn’t accepted into the GT program. Then, every single one of his friends was chosen to be a patrol – but Shane wasn’t.
And now there was going to be an election.
The teachers and administrators had overlooked him for two programs which would have suited him beautifully. He is smart and mature and responsible – but he had watched while everyone in his small group of friends was recognized for those same qualities, while he wasn’t.
And now my dear, quiet, beautiful boy was going to have his peers vote for their favorite candidate in a class election.
Shane said he wanted to write a speech, so he sat down to start.
“Pick five things that you’d like to do for the school,” I said. “Then pick five characteristics about yourself that make you the right person to do those things.”
After about ten minutes, he said, “I have four!”
“Four is perfect,” I told him. And we went over what he had. Full of misspellings, his list was loaded with great ideas. To go with them, he considered himself “smart, careing, genarous” and “an animal lover.”
Then I suggested that he have an opening line that would catch the students’ attention, but not be too silly so that they wouldn’t take him seriously as a candidate.
“I have one,” he said. “This is Shane Hawkins, reporting LIVE from the front of Mr. B’s classroom!”
Simple, and serious enough, it sounded perfect – so he rolled with it. He put together a brief but phenomenal speech in less than an hour – and knocked the ball out of the park with his close, which included him raising his fist in the air, declaring: “… because I am part of the school community!”
It was all his, beginning to end. He put it on note cards, practiced it two or three times, then tucked it away in his backpack for two days later, when Shane would be giving his speech.
But speeches – and the election – happened the very next day. And thirteen students in Shane’s homeroom ran for student government.
Only two students could be chosen for the coveted student government position, and two “runners-up” were chosen as alternates.
When Shane told me all of this after school, I wanted to vomit. First, the election was a day earlier than expected. And half the class was running for only two positions. I could feel the sting of rejection – again – already.
But instead, Shane said, “I have good news! I was picked as one of the two main people. So I’m in student government now.”
I nearly leapt through the roof. They voted him in! My baby got into student government!
“Congratulations!” I shrieked. “That’s awesome!”
“Yeah,” Shane said calmly. “But I’m going to have to work really hard to make sure I keep all of my promises for the school.”
“Yes you are,” I laughed. “And you will do a wonderful job.”