Laurel Robbins

Tue, 01/23/2007 - 4:12pm
By: The Citizen

Age 11
Peachtree City

Laurel Robbins

I am Laurel Robbins and I am 11 years old and in sixth grade going to Rising Starr Middle School. When I saw your ad in the paper, I immediately thought about the worst time of my life at school.

It started out as just one of those normal days going to school: wait outside for the bell, go through math class, science, English, recess, and then, worst of them all, social studies. I did not like that class at all. It was not the teacher, but what we had to study in that torturous classroom. All we learned about was the Earth and where everything was located. All the places got so confusing. Our teacher, Mrs. Surmann, asked us about how recess was and what we were going to do that weekend. She was sure being awfully nice and I thought something was wrong. She then told us that we would all be competing in an oral Geography Bee to see who would represent the class against other winners of the school. I froze. My worst nightmare was coming true: having to stand up in front of the class and have the teacher ask me questions on a subject that I found painfully boring. I exchanged glances with my friend, Mia, who was pretty good at social studies. I finished up the day with one of those weird, twisted feelings in my stomach.

As I walked to the bus with Mia and my other friend, Gabby, we discussed the Geography Bee. "I think I will do fine," Gabby said hopefully. She was always looking at the bright side of things. I wish I could do that as well as she could. Mia said, "I'll go over the map with my sister tonight and just pray that I do good tomorrow." She always liked to make problems into jokes, which is why she was my best friend. "I think I will do terrible, I can't tell Alaska from Antarctica. I'll go over the map, but I will be out the first round, probably," I said doubtfully. Soon, my fourth grade sister walked up and told me that my first grade brother could probably do better than me. Thanks for the vote of confidence, sis.

Luckily, we had a few days to prepare. My mom helped me out by going out and buying me a large world map. Each night she and my dad encouraged me to study some more. Each morning at breakfast, my mom, dad, sister, and brother all quizzed me. My sister asked me even more questions on the bus ride to school. I still felt like all this studying wasn't going to help. Plus, I didn't really want to win because then I'd have to represent the class and go in front of the whole school! Yikes! That was not a reward to me!

That next day I slowly walked on to the bus. Gabby asked me to quiz her on the way to school, which made it worse, with her talking about it all the time. But I noticed that all the questions I asked her, I knew the answers to also. Soon I put the answer sheet down and continued to quiz her. Then Cody came on the bus. He was the king of social studies. My hopes were lost. I knew that I could not beat Cody in the Bee. We arrived at school.

Mia did not ask to be quizzed which I was glad about. We saw kids all over the playground with papers, standing in groups, quizzing each other. Looking around at everyone practicing just made my stomach twist into knots. 

We went to our first class and had a normal day: math, science, English, recess, and then, the dreaded social studies. Everyone was excited but me.

One by one it was everyone's turn. I tried to get in the back of the line but we had to stand in alphabetical order by last name. Thank goodness my last name started with an "R." Poor Mia, her last name started with a "B." She managed to stay in, so did Cody and Gabby. It seemed like every other person got out. Finally, it was my turn. Mrs. Surmann asked me which state was smaller, Hawaii or Maine? Thank goodness, an easy question with multiple choice, I thought. I told her "Hawaii." She told me I was correct.  “Yes!” I said to myself. I answered three more rounds with all correct answers. One by one, Mia was out and almost everyone else. Mia shrugged it off and cheered for me when I got my questions right. Then everyone gasped when it was Gabby's turn and she got it wrong. It was only Cody and I left. I was really getting confident now. I could actually win and go to the next round. I would be the best in my class! 

Finally Cody got the answer wrong. They asked him not to sit down because I had to get his question right. I could not let my victory be lost, I had to get this question right. I had to think about it. Mrs. Surmann asked again, “What is the longest river in the world?” Oh no! I could not narrow it down to one state or country. I had a world of rivers to remember and had to pick one of them. I finally narrowed it down to two rivers: the Amazon and the Nile. "Could you repeat the question, please?" I asked. Mrs. Surmann said,"What is the longest river in the world?" I had my answer, I was sure of it. I said, "The Nile." Moment of truth, was I correct? Mrs. Surmann started to smile, "Correct!" Everyone cheered. I was the champion of my class! I would move up to the next level! I was so proud. Mia and the rest of my friends cheered me on!

I did go on to the next round and got in seventh place out of 12 kids. I was so proud that I did not even care that I did not come in first place. Now, in every social studies assignment I get, I try my best because now it is my favorite subject and has been ever since that miracle day happened.

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