I graduated high school over forty (40) years ago, and it was a different world back then. There were no computers, no laptops, and no internet. When writing research papers, we had to sift through the card catalog in the library and find the necessary books on our subject matter, and read them. There was no such thing as plagiarism or faking it. Also, we had to type our papers with a typewriter, and we used lift-off correction tape to correct errors.
My high school grading scale, I thought, was demanding. 100 – 95 was an A. 94 – 88 was a B. 87 – 81 was a C. 80 – 75 was a D. And below 75 was an F. Whenever I received an “A,” it was well earned.
Recently, my cousin informed me that her daughter was being inducted into the National Honor Society. For some unknown reason, it triggered a memory from many, many years ago. You see, when I was in high school, I was not inducted into the National Honor Society. This particular pain in my life inspired me to write the short vignette, “Looked-Over,” which I will be sharing with you.
To the high school graduate who may feel looked-over or over-looked, my advice to you is to always believe in yourself, no matter what. And more importantly, believe in God. Whatever gifts or talents God has blessed you with, your precious jewels will someday shine. So, keep polishing your jewels. In other words, keep striving to get better and better at what you do best, and your gift will take wings and soar in the sunlight.
Sometimes, I can still feel that sharpness in my chest of many years ago. It was a pain that made me realized that life is not always fair. So, I thought.
When I was in high school, I was voted most studious in my senior high school class. I was one of three seniors who was nominated for most likely to succeed. At graduation, I received an award for outstanding school attendance (missing only four school days out of four years), and I received the award for the most outstanding foreign language student (completing four years of French and one year of Spanish). I was an honor graduate, originally ranking #8 and then slipping to #11 among all seniors, with a grade point average of 3.52. I was in the French Club and Library Club and lettered in both. I was listed in Who’s Who during my junior and senior year, and I was selected as A Distinguished American High School Student. Guess what? I was the only senior in the top 15 who wasn’t inducted into the National Honor Society. My guidance counselor told me that the reason for why I wasn’t inducted was because I didn’t play a sport. Can you believe that playing a sport was a criterion for being inducted into a club that supposedly was rooted in academics? Several students in both the senior and junior class expressed outrage because I was looked-over.
I was hurt by this deliberate omission, because I studied hard and worked hard in high school. Nevertheless, I continued to pursue life and my dreams. Well, life I am still pursuing, and some stuff that I thought was dreams has fallen by the wayside. With age, one grows in wisdom, and one learns to divorce oneself from the un-necessaries that don’t add an inch to the yardstick of one’s life.
I have learned that success is not measured by how many clubs you belong to, or by how much money you make, or by what type of job you have, or by which neighborhood you live in, or by what type car you drive, or by finite power (that’s here today, and gone tomorrow), or by fame and fortune. Rather, success is measured by the quality in which we treat people, by the time we set aside to emotionally and spiritually invest into people, and by how much we can love people. Thus, ultimate success is building strong bridges of friendships and relationships with people as we live this journey called life. If you want to leave the best of yourself while on this earth, leave footprints of love and kindness in people’s hearts, and you will always be remembered, because somebody is going to share your story and your love.
Not being inducted into my high school’s National Honor Society was not the end of the world. Being looked-over was a true blessing. Because when people look-over you, especially when you are well deserving of recognition, the universe has her way of balancing rights and wrongs. And she balances life—like a checkbook.
It may take days, months, or even years before wrongs are righted. But somewhere on your journey of life, you will experience a God-moment, and you will become spiritually aware that God has given you something very special and unique that cannot be looked-over or over-looked.
God has blessed me with the gift of inspiration that gives people hope, and I don’t miss being looked-over by my high school’s National Honor Society committee one bit. But I do miss some of the friendships and relationships that I built along the way. I only wish I took better care of them.
I am experiencing joy and passion as I write this short story, because I have come a long, long way since my high school days. I thank God for the looked-over times in my life. I have become a richer person because of them—in faith, in hope, and in love. What a joy it is when the candle of your life can be a light to others.