(This is student work submitted as part of the Youth Voices collaborative project.)
by Issy H., Woodstock Elementary School
You know when you have a bad day at school and then you’re not feeling good about yourself? Then you go to your after school activity and your day continues in the same way? Well, today I had my first one. If this happens to you, remember to always stand up for yourself.
“Nice shot Anna!” Anna and I were the first ones to get to the pool early, so we decided to play water basketball. I love to play in the splash park, but today I honestly wasn’t feeling good.
Anna is a big and strong swimmer on the A relay for nine-ten UVAC. Anna and I weren’t the best of friends because I would talk to her and she would ignore. She is new on the swim team and moved here from South Dakota. After a while I noticed that Anna stopped playing. She did one last shot, got the ball, and put it under her arm.
“Issy, I need to talk to you.” At first I was confused by the way she said that because it sounded like she had been waiting to tell me for a long time. “I know how you want to be on the ‘A relay’ and I wanted to let you know it will not happen… We’re all faster than you…” There it was. Her blue eyes looked like they could turn into lazers any second and burn holes right through me.
I froze. Everything stopped. The digital red clock counting 1,2,3.., the water splashing on the slides stopped gushing, the kids playing tag had stopped playing tag, everything stopped.
Thinking, I stood there going over what to do, what to say. I thought about it another quick time not understanding what she said. I felt like a snail. A small and frail little snail, who could go back into it’s shell whenever it wanted to. But I’m not a snail and I didn’t have a shell. Anna had made her point, they are faster than me. I could’ve cried. All the weight being put on my shoulders was too heavy for me to lift. I couldn’t take it, but I knew I had to hold back my tears for another moment.
I opened my mouth, but the words didn’t want to come out. All I could make out was a quick little, “Thanks,” and while I could, I dove under the water before she could say anything else. I swam and swam and swam as far away from Anna. All the mean words spun around in my head like a little tornado. Can’t, won’t happen, faster, A relay.
I floated in the lazy river until swim team started. I figured that was a good place to relax and be lazy. Swim Team went by quick. Of course, Anna didn’t talk to me and I didn’t talk to her.
When I got in the car my mom asked, “How was swimteam?” Then and there, right at the stop sign waiting to turn the corner, I burst into tears. In a jumble of tears and cries, I blurted out what had happened. After I got back into control, still crying, my mom asked me questions, lots of questions. She called Coach Signe, explaining what the situation was.
The next day at swim team I ran right through the pool deck doors. Signe stood there with her arms out and tears in her eyes. She gave me a big hug. It felt nice to see Signe again after what Anna did. Signe led me into her office to have a talk. Anna got to say her side of the story to Signe. I have my ways and think that Anna changed something being who she was. But Anna got the lecture instead of a hug.
After some time, Anna moved back to South Dakota, I was on the a relay and had beat her time for the 50 Freestyle. Little did she know what I was capable of.
I wish I could go back to that moment in the splash park and do it over again. I would have known what to do. This is part of life. Life is like a car. Sometimes we get a flat tire, run out of gas, or maybe we just can’t operate with slow buttons. Life isn’t perfect and that is just the way it is.
You know when you wake up thinking it is going to be a great day but not really knowing what is coming forward faster than ever? I was bullied. I woke up thinking good things and the opposite in the night. I didn’t tell you this story to make you feel bad for me or that bullies are mean. Even though bullies are mean, I told you this story so that if someone bullies you, you’d know what to do. Go right to a trusted adult and feel free to let your feelings out, it’s good to laugh or cry.
After a while I forgot about this until people brought it up. I laughed about it. What I think I’m trying to say is always be yourself because it doesn’t matter what people think of you, it matters of who you really are.
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