Not Going To Get Walkathon’d All Over This Year

, , , , , | Learning | December 20, 2019

(I attend an expensive private high school on a scholarship. My family could absolutely not afford the tuition without the scholarship, meaning I’m on a much lower socioeconomic level than my classmates. Every fall, the school holds a walkathon where students are supposed to get people from the community to pledge money to the school based on how many miles the student walks. No one in the community ever wants to donate to the rich, private school when the local public school is critically underfunded, so everyone just gets their parents to write a check. If a student fails to meet the $100 donation threshold, they’re not allowed to participate in the walkathon. However, they’re still required to come to school that day. So, instead of taking a hike through the woods with their classmates and then spending the rest of the day having fun in the park, they have to spend the whole day sitting quietly in a classroom alone. It’s basically day-long detention for being poor. Every year so far, my family has scraped together enough money for me to attend walkathon, but in my senior year — twelfth grade — money is too tight. I’ve resigned myself to a day of boredom. A few days before the walkathon, I’m turning in some paperwork to one of the school’s secretaries. She’s worked with me before concerning my scholarship, and she knows that I otherwise couldn’t afford to attend the school.)

Secretary: *adding the paperwork to my file* “Well, looks like that’s in order. Oh, wait! I don’t see your walkathon form in here.”

Me: “Oh. I’m not going this year.”

Secretary: *looks at me and then shuffles through some more papers* “I also see you haven’t used all your college visit days.”

(Every senior gets a certain number of excused absences to visit colleges, so long as they arrange it with the office first and bring proof of the visit afterward. I’ve already been accepted to my first-choice college.)

Me: “I already got into [College]. I didn’t need them all.”

Secretary: “It’s always good to know all your options. Why don’t you take another college tour? It can be on any school day. Any day at all that you’re required to be in school.”

Me: “Ooooh, I see. Can I have a copy of the college visit form? Actually, can I have two?”

(After leaving the office with the forms, I immediately went to find my friend, who also wasn’t looking forward to the walkathon since the hiking trail wasn’t suitable for her disability. Every year, she had to attend the walkathon anyway and just sit at a picnic table with a teacher all day. She also hadn’t used all her college visit days, so we both signed up for a tour of a local college on the day of the walkathon. That day, we slept in, went on the college tour just long enough to get proof that we went, and goofed off the rest of the day. We brought the secretary a fancy cupcake from a little bakery near the college as thanks.)

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