Freshman year, I got this! I was an honor roll student, with perfect attendance and ready to breeze through high school. I have already made it further than my parents, but I was going to exceed their path. (Not really high expectations, but baby steps)
I HATED high School. So many different teachers, classes, and people. It felt like the corporate world. We were all just another last name, nothing personal about it. Very quickly I derailed from what was my “breeze” through plan. There was no way I was making it through the year never mind all four.
I tried for a little while and was not interested enough to keep my motivation. I very quickly began skipping classes, which led to skipping out within the first hour with a group of friends. A couple of other close friends and I started to just walk into the school to the payphones outside the office and call each other out.
I obviously didn’t think the long-term consequences out in this situation, but I was avoiding my mom being notified and more importunately my stepfather Dale. Until I was not avoiding it. My stepfather received a phone call at work, from the principal. When I got home, he was there waiting for me. This was unusual because I was always home before everyone.
He started the conversation with the golden questions that he already knew the answers to. “How was school?” Great, I replied. “What did you learn?” the normal stuff, nothing interesting I replied. “Any homework?” Nope, did it in study hall I said as I try to make it to my bedroom. He demanded that I go back to the table.
Your day at school was not great! You don’t know what you learned today because you never made it to a class! You don’t know what you have learned this YEAR because you have MISSED more time then you have been THERE! Every statement was getting louder and I was sinking deeper in my chair with my brain scrambling to figure out what my response was going to be.
I quickly began to tell him how horrible school was, I hated it, I hated the teachers, I didn’t understand half the stuff and they did not care to help. And don’t get me started on the drunk English teacher. Then came the ultimate unarguable statement without a thought. You would not understand what I am talking about, you never went to high school! SHIT, did I just say that out loud? TO HIM! I’m done for it is all I could think.
My stepfather’s response was weird and scary. I was not sure what to think or what the next move was going to be. He simply said “You are right, I don’t understand. I’m just some dumb drop out with no diploma. You can go now.” I was confused as to what just happened. I felt empowered because I was Right, but then I felt terrible because I probably made him feel bad. Nothing else was mentioned that night.
I woke up the next morning with a plan to go to school. Since I got caught I figured I had to try to stick it out for a little while anyway. So, I was getting ready to leave and Dale told me he would drive me to school. Of course, he would, he wanted to make sure that I walked in that building. We pulled up to the school and I grabbed my stuff ready to jump out of the car and he proceeded to pull into the parking lot.
I panic when the car goes into park and ask what he is doing. He explained to me that again I was right last night. He had no understanding of what it was like to go to high school. I start to say I am sorry, and he cuts me off to tell me that he really wanted to understand what I was going through, and he already discussed it with the principal. He would be going to ALL of my classes with me for the next WEEK!!!!!!
At that moment I hated him, I hated my life and thought this would kill me. Today I look back at this moment and am so thankful for the time and effort that he put into my life and my education. This was always a priority to him. After the first day, he realized that High School did suck. I did go to a different school and did graduate. Dale did a lot of things in life wrong, but he did some great things along the way and I will forever be thankful for the good in him.