Here’s to Those Who Didn’t Make It

There are a lot of things that I can’t tolerate in life.

Cigarettes, bully, injustice, disrespect, disobedience towards God, and negativity in general.

The thing is, I never look at it as my job to do anything about it. It was in my daily policy to just shut up and do only as far as throwing dirty looks and that’s it. I already get enough trouble as it is with how I can’t seem to keep my opinion in a tiny box, so it was only natural that I try to let the things that irk me the most go.

Until two weeks ago.

My school is currently running tests to select great individuals to become the next student council, or OSIS, if you will. The first process was for the freshmen to collect their papers based on what was needed. Their grades, recommendation letters, certificates, everything that can show the authorities that they have what it takes.

There were sixty-four names that made the cut out of nearly ninety.

It was only natural for some people to not make it. That is simply how life goes,you fail and succeed, and then you move on. Except I realized those who didn’t make it were the kids that I wanted to be in the Student Council the most.

One man judgment was not enough to do anything, but it was never really only me. It was almost everyone from my year of Student Council. It took us days to repeat the same words, “Why the hell did they not make it?”, “How is the next student council going to be without them?”.

It wasn’t fair for those who did make the cut, it was as though we didn’t trust these kids enough to do well in the future, I admit that now. However, those were the honest words that came out of us during moments of desperation.

Until two days ago, we realized something had to be done. For whose sake, I’m not sure. We wanted the kids who didn’t make it for different reasons, and we plotted under emotional exhaustion to do something.

At the end of the day, it was all words, until I decided it could be more than just words if someone would do something.

That was perhaps the first time I did things that wasn’t my job or place but did it anyway. I met the vice principal the next day and asked to talk in private. I took out the papers that I’ve scribbled what I want to say in and started my small speech.

I understand that three of my leaders have come to you before along with the kids who didn’t make it, and tried to make an agreement with you and failed. The reason why I’m here today is no different than theirs.

OSIS, or the student council, is an organization, and most of all a place for brilliant students who can prioritize their own necessity to look for experiences that can teach them what teachers can’t offer in class.

To ensure the success of every organization, you need great individuals who have clean agendas to make due with all the lessons and organizational work, hence why you said there’s no excuse for those who have shady after-school agendas.

I understand why you said this. The previous student council didn’t really put up a very good example, perhaps us included. I understand that there are a lot of regret going on around the teachers, that when you take a look at us, you must wish you could have reformed us into an organization that will do more good than harm, and when you finally have the chance to do so, you chose the most brilliant students that you believe will do a better job than we did.

You chose individuals based on their academic brilliance and less on their social skill. I understand that perhaps you believe that these skills can be learned along the way, but when you are forming a herd of sheep, there’s got to be a lion to lead every pack, and we don’t see that from these kids. We being the current student council and the candidates themselves.

For students who are academically lacking, then I understand if you can’t tolerate them, but for students who are half decent but only intolerable because of their after-school agendas, then I’m asking you to give them a chance. There must be a way for these kids to prove themselves to you. At the end of the day, you don’t have to accept them, but at least please let them show you what they can do. You can test them however you see proper.

If something you fear happens, I believe the kids are fully prepared to have their position ripped off of them. Just because they made the wrong decision in their first year of high school, it doesn’t define who they will be for the rest of their high school career. Ma’am, I saw my brother. I saw how he was back in his tenth grade and who he eventually became when he walked away to Japan in that airport.

The student council are all willing to give them a chance, to take our day off and test them. All we need is for your approval, please give them a chance.

That’s what I said.

I should have known it wasn’t that simple.

The vice principal then told me all the things she believed I needed to hear about the time during the making of that decision. She was a very fair and just person. She, along with the principal and the other vice principal already thought very carefully about it. It wasn’t just about the after school agendas. It was about behavior, general supports, grades, and religious records. She asked me on whose behalf I was there, and I told every truth I had with me.

I tried, let me tell you that.

In every reason she told me no, I found a reason that it can be a yes. We threw all we had back and forth, with me constantly looking for a way and her shutting that door.

At the end, I asked her, “Is there really no way?”

I already knew the answer before she said it. It was just the two of us in her office, and her eyes were full of regret when she said a decisive, “No, and perhaps I will be proven wrong in the future about these kids’ potentials, but for now, I have to make a decision, and this is my decision.”

“I understand,” I told her, and I really did.

I don’t hate her for that.

She was a wise woman and I respect her dearly. She is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. Graceful, poised, smart, and looked upon. She apologized, though she didn’t have to, and I dismissed myself back to class.

I tried.

I did, and I’m sorry if it doesn’t change anything.

I really am.

Here’s to you.

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