Shira Fourner, front row on the left, with other members of Bruriah’s student government.
By Shira Fournier
What led me onto a stage in front of my school to give a campaign speech in ninth grade I will never know. I wanted to be elected to the G.O. (General Organization), my school’s term for student council. My fear of speaking in public should have stopped me. Having all eyes on me really should have stopped me. And making a fool of myself definitely should have stopped me. This fear has kept me from doing many things in front of people such as sharing a dvar Torah on Shabbat. Despite all these fears of mine I did it anyway.
When the director of student programming called my name, I felt my heart drop into my stomach, which was trying to escape anyway. I walked onto the stage, picked up the microphone and began, “I’m going to tell you guys a story…” From my point of view, the microphone should’ve dropped out of my hands since they were shaking so much; I should’ve collapsed on the stage since my legs couldn’t support me anymore; and I definitely should’ve puked. When I was up there I couldn’t hear myself, just the sound of laughter coming from the audience. The good kind of laughter that meant I was funny, not the bad kind that would send me into a wave of embarrassment.
After a long two minutes I was done and everyone was cheering and clapping. When I walked off the stage that’s when my legs gave out. My shaky legs could only hold me up for so long and I fell. When I stood up, my opponents gave me a big smile and told me how good I was. I conquered my fear of public speaking.
Later when everyone gathered to hear election results, my heart and stomach escaped one more time. I held hands with everyone and we wished each other good luck. When our principal said my name for the position of corresponding secretary, whatever that meant, I couldn’t believe it. All of my hard work and guts to get me on the stage had paid off. Just goes to show — no matter what you’re afraid of, if you try and believe in yourself, anything is possible.
By Barak Hagler
It was the second half of senior year, a delightful April afternoon. Generally, I brought lunch from home, but that day my mom very kindly gave me a few dollars so I could go out to eat at one of the local restaurants. At lunchtime, a couple friends and I walked the few blocks to Jerusalem Pizza. It was a warm, sunny day, perfect for walking. We made it to the pizza store and ordered our food. I chose a delectable cheese pretzel and a pie. After enjoying this delicious meal, we began the trek back to school. (Photo: The author enjoys his beloved Slurpee.)
Now, between the pizza store and my school, there is this fantastic store called 7-11 — a store I love frequenting for its trademarked Slurpee. Naturally, as we passed it on the way back to school, I wanted to stop in for a refreshing Coke-flavored Slurpee. The time was 1:10, and that’s when classes begin. But I was feeling the senioritis, said “what the hey” and went in anyway. I know, I know, coming a few minutes late to class isn’t the worst thing, but up until now I was a well-behaved student.
By the time we returned to school, it was 1:14. No big deal. I would just slip into class a drop late and no one would notice. Big surprise! When I reached the school building every single person was outside on the lawn. Odd, but no big deal. No big deal that is, until I took a panoramic view of the lawn and scoped out who was there.
I saw my friends, my teachers, and … uh oh, my principals. My heart dropped and suddenly it felt like no one was there except for them and me. As I would find out later, at 1:10 there was a fire drill and that is why everyone was outside. But all I saw was my principal and assistant principal — they watched me walk lackadaisically into school late with a Coke Slurpee in one hand and a bag of leftover pizza in the other. They let it go, but not before one of them took a good-natured jab at me. “So, you’re late because a girl came to meet you for lunch?”