an unexpected treasure

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A great experience of one of the best high school years anyone could ask for.

Submitted: December 31, 2018

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Submitted: December 12, 2018

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My freshmen year was full of excitement, especially the most unexpected treasure I found. It was all of those seniors that year, who were all the original friends I made when moving to Midland, Michigan. It all started on July 13, 2010, when I first met coach Hollenbeck and was introduced to Camille Bishop, who had ran all three previous years on the team. “Hello, I’m Camille! And who are you?”

“Jonathan.”

She looked pretty and had a Hispanic look to her. The eyes were yellow and facial expressions all happy and calm. “What type of run would you like to do? Three-mile, five, or seven?”

“Three.”

I wanted to start steady and had a habit of never, ever stopping during a run. “Okay. Enjoy your run!”

“Thank you, and you, too!”

 

Right when I began running, I noticed there were a bunch of others with me. “Hey, bro!,” introduced a Mexican looking runner.

“You a freshmen?”

“Yes.”

“Good! Another new friend in my life!”

All of us ran in the beautiful summer scenery of City Forest. The dirt trails were surrounded by thousands of trees and solid green leaves. In the shining sun and reasonably warm temperature, all of us felt a tad exhausted after running for a little bit. Completely normal for anyone doing running, notably when for exercise. “What has everyone done over the summer so far?,” shouted another senior.

He looked white and almost bald, in a handsome way. “I’ve just spent time with my family and little bro!”

“Good! And you, freshmen?”

He paused for a second when noticing a new face. “Wait, what’s your name?”

“Jonathan, and I just moved here a month ago.”
“Really?”

I nodded tiredly and he continued, “From where?”

“Farminington Hills, Michigan.”
“Is that Detroit area?”

“Almost.”

I missed my friends down there greatly, secretly brought tears to eyes still. Hoped these new ones would make my hidden sadness go away. The other eight runners and I beside me continued to run for thirty minutes at jogging paste.

 

Then as soon as everyone came back from working out, we all gathered in one huge circle for stretching. Both Hollenbeck and his wife lead the cooldowns as about 60 others participated. One stretch included hanging the upper half of body down while having both legs stand up straight. Truly felt refreshing after running without stopping! Just about everyone did them splendidly and right before I left, Camille walked up. “How was your run, Jonathan?”

“Good! Thank you, and how was yours?”
“Also good! Hope to see you Thursday and am looking forward to cross camp! You will have a lot of fun!”

“Very nice. Good-bye!”
 

First full week of August was when it began, and on the introductory day, I got in a group to head to one of the nearby stores. The freshmen and sophomore group was full and had to be with the senior trio. One of them was the Mexican friend, Anthony Ells, and two girls, one who looked like my adorable mom. As we sat in the seats of assistant coach Dodick’s car, “Hello, what’s your name?,” asked the one who interestingly looked like my older sister.

“His name is Jonathan. I ran with him a couple times and is so polite!”
“That’s nice, and why are you doing cross country?”
“Exercise.”

“That’s good!”

Her expressions all looked hyper and zero percent dull. “I’m Megen Rapp, and this other friend of mine is Hannah Whittaker.”

“Very nice.”

“Glad you’re doing cross country with us,” sweetly commented Hannah.

“Have you done cross country before?”
“Yes.”

“When, in middle school?”
“Yes.”

“Oh, so you have some experience with it then?”
“I do.”
“That’s great! I wish I did running before this year.”

Her cuddly looking fat face was lovely just the same. We went into the 7-Eleven and picked up some important supplies, including toothpaste, tissues, and some candy! “Got what you need, everyone?,” thoughtfully asked Mrs. Dodick.

Indeed we did, including some brand new greats in my life. More excitement was to come!

 

Soon, Megen introduced me to Ben Reed and his twin, Anna. What a treat, another friend who has a twin like me! He looked very charming and muscular, definitely a good fit for sports. The sister, though, looked normal and nice while having shiny black hair and good looking running body. Every night, the team would go out to dinner somewhere and one evening was the mall of Traverse City, MI. One multi food chain was in it and our hungry stomachs helped us decide which to choose. Subway was mine, same for Anthony and another named Justin Leslie. Megen, Hannah, and several others picked sbarro where yummy salads were served. I listened happily to their conversations. “I can’t believe Dr. Frazee just retired,” proclaimed Megen.

“He was a great principle,” commented Anthony.

“Maybe this new principle will be better if not as good,” added Hannah.

They were in for a surprise with me, one of most saintly people ever.

 

Almost a month later, academic schedule began and while being with almost 90 percent freshmen in rooms, there were still some seniors I participate alongside with. Tyler McLeod in biology—could take as an elective senior year—first hour; Katelyn Walters and Courtney Allen in drama fifth hour; and Samantha Cohoon and Johnathon Gohm in learning strategies in sixth hour. Tyler was rather hairy with his dark blond bear and always behaved like a gentleman. Drama duo were fun with one acting and even looking like Sabine Wren of “Star Wars: Rebels” and Walters being Pooh Bare (how cuddly!). Samantha said she was just taking that elective to feel up her sixth hour, though she still enjoyed being with good people. Johnathon loved getting support from special education teachers and others alike. Either way, it also neat to know at different periods, some teachers, such as Mrs. Dodick, also taught senior English with Anthony, Ben Reed, and many others.

 

Not everyone in school is a hard worker, and though everyone respected me, there were a few slackers in classes, of course. One being Jo M Ecker, a snooty and lazy algebra student. His fat appearance may have reminded you of Dennis Nedry of “Jurassic Park,” and spent his time knowing facts about space and not school. “Salsa King,” firmly said Mr. Jarema, “It’s about time you got your act together!”

I was the opposite of him and tried to stand out in a smart way. Some freshmen everywhere try to make a difference or stand out from the underclassmen and seniors. He planned on passing math without doing a lot of work: super senior incoming! Just so you know, a super senior was someone having to stay five or more years while wearing a cape and shouting, “Hey watch out! Super senior coming through!”

His sloth qualities would undoubtfully his downfall soon.

 

The atmosphere and seniors always supported my life and I got to spend more time with them during lunch. Usually, I would sit at the table with Kevin Erkkila, David Waters, Aaron Phipps, and Scott Bell. All of them were nerdy advanced students who had time for some fun chats. At one lunch, I brought in some artistic drawings of friends and myself as many characters in a lot of stories. Kevin was Victor the gargoyle in Disney’s Hunchback drawing; son of Dr. Frankenstein in a Universal Studios one; Wario from “Super Mario”; chief Brody from “Jaws”; and Darth Maul in “Star Wars”. “Love your drawings! For Wario, I’m not that fat!,” he said as he chuckled.

He was quite tall and skinny as a toothpick and let him keep a copy of the “Star Wars” drawing. No worries, I had some copies of each. Scott adored being Oz himself in another while Aaron felt tickled about being included in any of them (Maurice from “Beauty and the Beast”). David felt touched as he normally had a sterner and more serious look for his classes. Some of my casted choices, such as Quasimdo, were also great as my friends had smiles on their faces, even bigger thanks to a loyal bud!

 

From early September through Halloween, many runners and I endured hundreds to thousands of miles of quick leg movement. That year’s captains were Ben Reed, Lucas Madill, Megen Rapp, Anthony Ells, Ben Hutter, Camille Bishop, and Courtney Rouse. No matter what, they all looked after the team and beyond while all of them miraculously made it to varsity every time. Reed was so quick that very few ever managed to beat him in races: had a time of 15:44! I was actually faster than all of the girls, including the Herculean Courtney. Her time was 20:03 while mine was 20:01. Unfortunately, Ben himself was not pleased he never broke the all time 5k time of a senior—15:42. I gave him the most support even when he didn’t meet all of his goals. “You’re a great bud, Jonathan!”

He still made it the annual state meet and I wanted to go, but knew my academics came first.

 

When the finale/ awards banquet came, they handed out their own personal awards to every member. Mine was the nicest person award, and as Anthony presented it, “This award goes to Jonathan Young. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met and same goes for anyone who has met him.”

I walked up calmly and heard, “Here’s your award, buddy!”

My mind focused on world history, algebra, and other serious topics felt happier when receiving the honor in front of sixty other people. I was so close to him that I even did a little something for him later on. Megen looked especially goofily cheery when walking down in her high heels and standing by quiet, yet down to earth Ben Reed. “These captains sure were excellent, and thank them for giving my wife and I $200 gift cards to Target and Kohl’s!,” said coach Hollenbeck.

 

For world history, each student had to design a picture and make it in the fashion of how artists as Michelangelo and Leonardo would have crafted them. I choose to a paper-pixelated portrait of Anthony Ells, really held a good inspiration and worth having in anyone’s life. It took several class periods as I felt exhausted, tired, but still upbeat to make a masterpiece for a grand guy. Anything for him, especially when involved in a class! The A+ project, along with everyone else’s, were displayed in the hall right next to the classroom.

 

Christmas time came, and I handed out so many Holiday themed chocolate bars. The priorities were seniors who would not be around the following year. Plenty were left for underclassmen; every bar was handed out either casually in hallways or sometimes even when out for  runs. “Thanks, Jonathan!,” said Ben with his orange coat and ski mask on.

“You’re welcome.”

Megen felt tickled, too, as she received hers from Ben’s dark purple mitten and briefly jumped high.

 

Second semester came and it was the time for hundreds to get ready for track and field. Runners still interested in distance workouts continued to workout in snowy weather. At the same time, though, I was dealing with my first true grief phase. Gloria Stuart, the loving actress, had passed away at 100. I needed support to help push my endurance further. Thank goodness for all of those seniors who would understand my love for her and Boris Karloff! My tearful mind had an idea to write poetry for both actors; tears galore went through my head. It was inspired by a love sonnet I wrote for “Romeo and Juliet” at that time. Two love sonnets were done, and them being done in William Shakespearian meant my writing techniques were limited.

 

Boris Karloff:

 

Back in the year of nineteen-thirty-one,

A nice man who was always unhappy

Had a great career that had just begun

As people said he was very snappy

 

When Boris Karloff became a name,

He acted with people with strong voices

As he started to grow more and more fame

And always chose to do the wise choices

 

One of his most treasured roles he played

Was the great monster he did for James Whale

Before he got an awesome acting grade,

Plus for his time was the best scary male

 

His days of acting were really worth it

And was frankly thankful he never quit!

 

Gloria Stuart:

 

During the old days at Universal,

A beautiful lady who had blond hair

Was always acting out a rehearsal

By showing everybody her great flair

 

One of the directors she worked for

Was the famous one who was named James Whale

While he wanted Stuart’s scream to soar

And thinking about hard work, or travail

 

While at the age of eighty-seven,

She got nominated for an award

Thirteen years before she went to Heaven

As Gloria’s popularity soared

 

After living for one-hundred great years

It is time to give her wonderful cheers! 

 

Everyone who read them loved my writing, including my English teachers—Mrs. Dodick included. Still, I had to work hard and do triumphant in track, especially with valuables by my side. The small tears in my mind were at pause every time a practice occurred. Some senior friends, including Courtney, Camille, and others in IB (International Baccalaureate) or AP (Advanced Placement) classes were stressed about upcoming finals. “I’m glad I’m not taking any exams this spring!,” said Megen.

“Same for me!,” commented Winnie the Whittaker.

She was in special education with me and not brilliantly smart enough to take any. Anthony was the same; Ben and Anna remained focused of going to states once again/ help one another beat rival Dow High.

 

Jo M Ecker may have still been slacking, yet one positive about him was he kept a “tight lease” on Scott Ginther. Ginther was undoubtfully the wild type and got to know a bit more about him thanks to Megan Ginther, three years older. “He can be aggressive, but he still is a kind guy to know.”

She spent some classes, mostly core-level, with Megen over the years and academically did better than Scott.

 

Dow High was the most of our worries currently either way. Most of those students were downright terrible people with snooty attitudes beyond words. Dow Corning and Chemical could truly corrupt people, except smart people, such as Mr. Rouse. Somehow, I knew there were an abysmal leader behind the school’s negativity, yet that was not a problem then. Ben, Megen, Courtney, and some underclassmen were bound and determined to strike their hardest!

 

Two running coaches were around, this time being two new faces for me, Stephen and Bill Leibfritz. Every practice, they kept nice jesters and Steve was more notably like that, being 29 and once a Chemic student himself. Bill, 54, never went there, though his three children did years ago. For the meets and in between, the muscular old mentor gave honest criticism and compliments. “Today’s practice will be about long strides! I saw a lot of you struggling by going out too fast. This will help you stop doing that so quickly. Still, keep your nice attitudes and stay concentrated. Good luck!”

Steve mostly supported his coaching and was more relatable to the students. “How many of you guys still watch ‘Spongebob’?,” he lightheartedly asked.

Well, everyone of every age loved that show! He asked questions like that anyway, really got even the most devoted athletes giggling. The seniors all understood and some, including Courtney, always felt tickled to think and especially talk about things like animated things. Knew exactly how she felt!

 

Almost got my mind off Gloria completely. How I missed her so much and dreamt of loving her so much! Their comments on my love sonnets meant they acknowledged my passion and tenderness for her. One day, before I went home, Ben asked, “You coming to our meet today?”

It was a varsity meet and I alas didn’t have fast enough speed. “Yes.”

I was that passionate about them and then called my dad about it. “You can go. Just remember to have one of them drop you off later.”

 

Flint Northwestern Academy was where the top students competed. Megen and Courtney did the half-mile, one-mile, and 400-meter sprint; underclassmen, such as Lex Hollenbeck and Travis Smith, did several boy races with possibly Ben, including one in particular. He had five minutes to prepare and needed a spike wrench for his running cleats. Tragically, he was in grief when his sister forgot to pack them. “Who has a pair of spike wrenches?!”

“I do.”

I always had Tigger’s in my track bag just in case. “Thanks a million, Jonathan!”

“You are welcome.”

 

When finishing first once again, his time for the 200-meter dash was 1:52.9—new record. Hallelujah! His dream of breaking any record was then and now a reality. Megen, the then new love interest of his, felt most happy, even when having coach Sugnet on the mind. Sugnet was the fierce, competitive mentor no matter how powerful or weak a girl did. Courtney, who always recalled most people had their kindness in all, knew she was just dealing with things with work, activities, and most of all her teenage children. That knowledge helped Megen and others feel better about her; she everyday respected kind people like myself no matter what, too.

 

June 3, 2011 marked the day of their graduation. Going there was a dream I had and Tigger knew how much they wanted me to go. While the ones I knew well did not get to be valedictorian, some still earned Cum La De or above, perhaps even an IB candidate ribbon or one for National Honors Society. Highest ranked of ones I knew was David Waters; Courtney was close. I didn’t want to miss one minute of their big night and time was crunched when making it to there. It was 6:50 and it began at 7:00. My house was just less than ten minutes away from Midland High. Tigger offered to drive and everything seemed under control. Some cars with Dow stickers on them were close by. Just two minutes away and Dow chargers, plus Scott Ginther somehow nearby, felt uncomfortable, no one outside the car could tell I was inside. Basically black mirrors for passenger seats were quite protective. Ginther had a habit of mocking almost everyone in his life and Dow chargers made him even more furious. “Back away, you chargers!”

He vigorously rode on his bike while a red light was still on and the chargers reversed a bit. I had an opportunity briefly to see who was driving it. One of them looked old and other all blond, but definitely hideous—if you know what I mean!

 

“I would like to congratulate the class of 2011 for everything they ever did for Midland High,” announced Principal Janet Greif.

She then let a bearded old man to the microphone. “Having you all for the first three years was absolutely a treasure. I, Dr. Michael Frazee, had the honor to guide you all for three or more years. My kind gestures and smart, helpful ways made an impact on you geniuses. Hope that all of you will make a difference in the world and congratulations!”

“I now graduate the class of 2011! Thank you all for your Chemic qualities!”

 

I took photos of my top favorites as soons as they left the auditorium. All of them were sent to Facebook a couple hours later. Hannah the Pooh, the least successful, but still humble, of that group had the biggest smile with her cute, chubby face. Other disabled graduates, such as Ryan Fant, also felt even cheerier to see a friend who didn’t have to come see him and his honor. The dozens of graduation parties I went to were all grand, most notably Courtney’s with loud, loving music. For Gloria Stuart, her spirit sored with gladness as one of her best fans embodied her kindness and made it through his grief. Though I was far from high school completion, the future seniors and other Chemics I would encounter would not possibly, yet clearly inspire me to do more brilliant things and make myself another Chemic graduate, just like those spectacular seniors!


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