In the spring of 2014, my dad decided that he had had enough of his current job, and that he wanted to get another one. A job at Our Daily Bread in Grand Rapids, MI conveniently found it’s way to my dad’s computer. A few months later we were starting the long process of packing everything and leaving my childhood home in Dover, Ohio, traveling six hours to our new apartment in Grandville, MI. A month before school started.
The first day of my new school was September 3rd, 2014. I woke up at about six o’clock, showered, and began to assemble my school essentials. Because I was the oldest by two years, I had to get on the bus an hour earlier than my two brothers, Jayden and Niall. Three minutes before I was ready to leave the house, I was showered with hugs and kisses, along with many “I love you’s”. Accompanied by my loving father, we walked out of our small apartment, through the second level door, down the stairs, outside. The bus was said to pick me up at the sign outside the entrance to the parking lot to our apartment. My dad and I walked out to the sign and stood there. Another door to another apartment complex opened and shut. Upon instinct, I turned around to see someone walking out as well. At first glance, I assumed he was a senior. He was on the larger side, as well. Because it was so dark (and it didn’t help he was wearing a black suit), I couldn’t make out his face until he came closer.
My dad greeted him first.
“Hey,” The man responded. I could see his face clearer now. He was a black man, and this time I thought he was a junior. I don’t know why but he just looked like it. “Are you guys new or somethin’?”
“Yeah we just moved in a month ago. We’re new to the area as well,” said my dad. “How about you? Have you lived in Ramblewood long?” Ramblewood was the name of our apartment.
“Yeah, about four years now. I started living here in the beginning of my eighth grade year-” I knew it. He is a junior! “But I’ve lived in Grandville my whole life. You said you’re new to the area, where’d you come from?”
“Oh, where about in Ohio?”
“About two hours south of Cleveland. In a little town called Dover.” Dad! Stop giving him all of our information. “Cool.”
“I’m Paul by-the-way,”
“This is my daughter, Hollyann.” During the duration of the conversation I was hidden almost entirely by my dad, I could see the shock and instant confusion when I revealed my face. He had no clue I was black as well. I laughed silently to myself.
“Hey.” I said.
“What’s good, girl?” He reopened. Did he just flirt with me?! I hesitated just long enough for the sound of the school bus to catch my dad’s ear and cause him to speak.
“I assume that’s it,” He said. We all stood silently until the bus came a little closer. “Well, sweetheart, I hope you have a great day. I love you.” I hugged him and instantly became embarrassed.
As David and I walked up to the now stopped bus, he stepped back as we got closer muttering “ladies first.”
I got on the bus and walked straight to the back. I sat down and went right to my backpack to pull out my ipod and headphones. The bus ride was relatively short. We pulled into the parking lot of the Middle school and the bus stopped to drop us off.
“Good luck!” David said as I got up to leave, flashing a smile.
“Thanks,” I muttered, smiling back.
I followed one of the boys who was on my bus into the school, assuming he knows where he is going.
On first glance inside, the school is huge. Because I have gotten there so early, it is also quiet. We stand by the doors to the Cafeteria and Gymnasium. There are about three people in the Cafeteria. I stand against the wall across from the Cafeteria door, watching the clock. At 7:20, I watched as other buses arrive, dropping off kids. I realized that 50% of girls are in skirts or dresses, and I’m in jeans and a nice shirt. Most guys are in the normal khaki shorts and collared short sleeve t-shirt. I looked at the clock once more as kids begin to find their clique. At 7:29, I watched the second hand tick as it nears 7:30.
The bell rung about thirty seconds after 7:30, all the kids start heading to their classes. I suddenly remembered that I have a student ambassador to meet, so I stood by the front door, awkwardly, waiting. One minute passed, then five and soon it is 7:40. In my mind I screamed “Screw it!” And I made my way to Mr. Mazurek’s American History class.
I walked down a hallway looking at all the names of teachers hanging from the ceiling, but no Mazurek. I reached the end of the hallway and turned the only way I can, left. This hallways had twice as many people as the last. I resumed to my previous tactic of looking at the name tags and three doors down from the end of the hallway, Mr. Mazurek, is written on a white piece of paper hanging from the ceiling.
I entered the classroom, and looked around. Posters of U.S presidents, and illustrations of historical events litter the wall. I direct my attention to my new teacher. He is seated at his desk, leaning back as far as he could in his chair, talking on his phone. He gives me a smile and nods towards the projection screen, which reads:
Welcome to 8th Grade American History Keep your backpacks with you. We will give lockers when class has Begun. Sit wherever you like. I chose a seat towards the back hoping it would help me blend in. I sat in the back and pulled out my schedule, double checking that I was in the right spot.
The 7:45 warning bell rang, and students came in groups of two or three into the room and continued their conversations, not thinking a second about me. Some looked at me wondering who ‘the new girl’ was but others could care less, and found their seat. At 7:50 the bell rang and the hallway was quiet. Mr. Mazurek began his first day of school speech, just like every other teacher in the building.
“Good Morning, and welcome to 8th grade American History. I, of course, am Mr. Mazurek. Today we will most likely not get into any lesson. Just the rules and classroom expectations. First things first,-”
“I’m the realest.” muttered a few kids referencing a popular pop song.
“I must take attendance,” he says, either ignoring the accusations or he did not hear them. “Is anyone new to Grandville-” Oh no! I wanted to blend in. “...Did any of you move here in the last year?”
Timidly, I raise my hand, as he scans the room. We make eye contact and he smiles. So much for blending in.
“Well, what is your name?”
“Hollyann,” I choke out.
“Hollyann.” I say, louder, over pronunciating every syllable.
“Hollyann? Well Holly,-” I winced at the instant nickname “I’m glad you are here with us.” He walked over and shakes my hand. Someone in the classroom started to clap. I don’t know who but I hated them already. My face turns red.
He started attendance, calling out names, butchering some of them as a usual teacher does. He reads my full name this time, and I gave a simple ‘here’ in response. The following half an hour goes as he says going over rules and homework expectations, until the bell rings. Students shuffled out of the class room heading to their next classrooms. I grabed my binder and schedule and headed to my next class, choir. After that Science.
The next hour is the most embarrassing moment of my life.
During Science, my teacher, Mrs. Vacha says she has lunch the next hour, and I take that as I have lunch. So after class I grab my lunch and go. Thinking I’m going to C-lunch. I find a table in the annoyingly loud lunch room. These next few minutes are a blur( mostly because I don’t want to remember them). I ended up not feeling hungry so I sat at a table mostly alone.
My name sounded loud over the overhead.
“Hollyann Muckley, Please report to Mr. Marvel’s room.” I panicked. What? I slowly grabbed my things, feeling like everyone's eye’s were on me, even though they were too busy gossiping about who’s dating who and what they did at their imaginary “country clubs” over the summer(my words not theirs).
I grabbed my stuff in my locker and walked timidly into his classroom. All eyes were on my as the teacher, Mr. Marvel, stopped explaining how to sign up for his moodle page.
“Find a seat, and pull out your chromebook.” He stated. I did not own a Chromebook yet, but I wasn’t about to argue about it. I took the only empty seat. Eyes watched me as I pulled out my notebook and started writing down the moodle and online textbook codes. I knew my face was red and I zoned out the rest of the class feeling that I was into middle of a group of my new peers, being watched, judged, and torn apart bit by bit, emotionally. I know that the kids could care less about my embarrassing moment but I could care less. I hated myself. I was ready to run out of the room crying my eyes out, but I didn’t. I knew that would make the situation much worse. I went through my head what I wanted to do this year. I wanted good grades and a friend. Just one, that’s all I ask for.
I was awoke from my daze when the bell rang. Now it’s lunch. I walked out of the classroom and grabbed my lunch. I looked around in the lunchroom for a place to sit. Every table was filled. I walked around looking for an empty place but there wasn’t one. I was about to give up when someone spoke up.
“Hey. Do you want to sit with me?” She said. She was on the shorter side. Short blonde hair. Dressed in shorts, knock-off vans, and a nicer short sleeve t-shirt. Her smile is what had me. It was warm and welcoming, kind.
“Sure.” I said and sat besides her, at the table with us were a couple more girls. A girl with almost white blonde hair and blue eyes. A girl with freckles and her hair pulled into a ponytail with an athletic headband and soccer t-shirt. And a girl with long brown hair, down.
“I’m Gabbie,” the short one piped. “This is Hannah,” She pointed to the long brown haired girl, who smiled. “Emily.” The white blonde smiled. “And Bri.” The athletic girl smiled. “What’s your name?”
“Nice.” They continued with their conversation like they were best friends for years. I listened in, still grateful for their kindness in letting me sit here, hoping they wouldn't regret it. The lunch bell rang and everyone moved to their next classes.
Everyone at my table said their goodbyes and walked to their next classes. I did the same. Next I had language arts. For some reason I was feeling a lot more confidence when I walked into Mr. Mulder’s classroom. He had direction on the board already. The seating chart was already made. I found my name taking a seat in one of the pods of four desks near to the teachers.
Class began like normal, attendance, followed by a lot of work on the chromebook which I did not own yet. I sat there taking notes on what websites to go to a couple of google forms to fill out as well.
I went to health class next. It was easy to find and flew by quickly with the same first day of school ruiten.
When the day ended, I grabbed my things and headed outside and waited for the bus. Outside, groups of people talked and waited for their rides. I pulled out my ipod, and started my music. I sat on a bench and just listened to my music, distracting myself from all the people.
Out of the blue, Gabbie and Brianna came up to me.
“Hey.” Gabbie said speaking up first.
“Hey.” I said back as I pulled out the headphones from my ears.
“What’s up?” Brianna said.
“Listening to music.” I responded
“Cool.” She responded with, increasing the awkwardness.
“So do you play any sports?” Gabbie asked engaging in conversation.
“I did, at my old school, but I don’t know if I will this year.” I responded. We continued small talk until my bus arrived. They asked about my old school in Ohio. Why and when I moved. I found out that they along with many others in the school had moved from a charter school, and both of them along with Gabbie’s twin sister Hannah play soccer together.
This day has forever changed my life, because of this school I have joined The Robodawgs, giving me a strong foundation for a job in the future, but most importantly I have made a new best friend, Gabbie Danne. Her bright personality and never ending happiness have made eighth and ninth grade gone smoother. Without here I would be just another wallflower in a big school. She has made my life exciting and has paved the way for other friendships that have formed over the past year and a half. Despite the embarrassing moments, I would never go back and change this day, even if my life depended on it, It has shaped me as a human being. I have one person to thank. The beautiful and bring person I know today as my bestfriend and my second half.