The 'abbo kid'

Essay by MaythewriterHigh School, 10th gradeB+, May 2009

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Caroline Delmae sat in the back row in her English class. She was always the first to be there, and the last to leave. The ‘abbo kid’. That’s what they called her. She hated being black. Or at least, she hated that she was hated for it. Up in front of her sat Tony Whitbaler, the spit baller. He could go to hell for all she cared. Every class, he managed to get her into some kind of trouble, and every class she would leave with what little dignity she had left, to go and sit in the toilet until the lump in her throat (or in her hair, whatever it was he decided to throw at her on that particular occasion) disappeared. Not this time. Today would be different. Today Miss Hawke had picked her for her speech on multiculturalism. Today, she would change everything.

She waited through the usual routine of roll call, followed by a lesson outline from her teacher.

Then she was called up to give her speech. Shaking, she rose and walked to the front of the classroom. She began.

My fellow classmates. Here I stand before you, a descendant of aboriginal origin. In a class of 30 white students, the member chosen to present their speech was I. Perhaps, it was because I have a great understanding of the hardships of what it is to be different in a conformist society. Perhaps it was just pure luck. But I am here to tell you, today, that although you and I have our physical differences, we are still all unique individuals, with the power to create change. The power to stand up and stand out. However, it is my dismay to inform you that not all people are given that power. Because of their differences, some are stripped of it all together. Whether it is because they are the black kid in the class who gets picked on, or the foreign kid who can’t understand English too well and is discriminated against because of it. But, my friends, there is good news. We have the opportunity to rise against it. We can call ourselves one people. We can refuse conformism, and by extension, the mistreatment of those who are different. We can stand up. We can fight against it, or we can choose to fall in unison. I’ve made my choice. I urge you to make yours, before it is too late and our generation fades away without having done anything. Thankyou.

Silence. She walked back to her seat. And although Tony still snickered, and her classmates wouldn’t look at her, she realised how much she had loved delivering that speech. And that Day was the Day Caroline Delmae regained her sense of pride in her heritage.