I got the English Department Award!!
Instead of submitting a normal “cover letter” that we needed to turn in to the English teachers (so they can rank the applicants), I decided to be a little creative.
Here it is.
E-mail Log: English Department, Niles West High School
Printout of e-mails received 2/22/05
Re: The English Award Recipient’s Tale
Awarded to an English student who
Has demonstrated what she’s learned to do,
This honor recognizes one’s success
In high school English, more so than the rest.
Her classes in this language prepped her for
A writing form she did not have before
She walked into this building and began
To realize that she’s an English fan.
The reading, writing, speaking all have been
Quite entertaining, not to her chagrin.
Each teacher’s taught her skills she can apply
To all components of her life—no lie!
I hope, between you all, you’ll find accord,
And you’ll consider her for this award.
Lia applied for the English Award today. Or yesterday, maybe, I don’t know. I got an e-mail from a friend: “Lia applied. Decision to be made soon. Faithfully yours.” That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.
What is this “English Award,” anyway? I don’t care about it. It seems like a meaningless honor given to an English nerd with too much time on her hands. Like Lia. I don’t really care about her. She spends too much time writing those silly papers for class. Every week, it’s a new essay. I mean, don’t get me wrong. She’s a great writer. But it just seems like she puts too much passion into something that’s just a high school class. I saw her report card, though. She’s quite the overachiever in this department. All Honors and AP classes? Who does she think she is?
Okay. I guess she sort of deserves the award. She is a pretty good kid, now that I think about it. I actually just re-read one of her papers—I had been happy the first time I read it, and now I’m happy again. I only wish that there be a large crowd of English teachers the day of the vote and they greet her with cries of appreciation.
Re: (no subject)
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is how Lia started writing, and what her lousy childhood was like, and how she was always occupied with English, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. I’m not going to give you Lia’s whole goddam biography or anything. That stuff bores me.
Especially that whole newspaper stuff. I don’t read those damn things. They’re all full of b.s., I tell ya. But Lia seems pretty into that journalism stuff. I don’t know how she got to be West Word editor in chief, though. I mean, she started off as a lowly staff writer and photographer sophomore year. All of a sudden, she becomes copy editor, news editor, and editor in chief? For Chrissake.
Let me tell you about this one night. It was still pretty early. I’m not sure what time it was, but it wasn’t too late. The one thing I hate to do is go to bed when I’m not even tired. So I opened my copy of West Word. What I thought I’d do, I thought I’d read it and see what all the hype was about.
You should see Lia. You never saw a kid so pretty and smart in your whole life. She’s a really talented writer. I mean she’s had mostly As ever since she started school. You’d like her. She writes so that anyone can understand her. Boy, that prose is clear. And I can tell that she went to a lot of trouble to interview those people for those damn articles. Like that one about the potential teacher strike. For Chrissake did she interview a lot of people. She had this way of writing that article that I couldn’t even tell what her opinion was—which was good, being a news article.
Boy, do I hear good things from her fellow staff writers. I hear she not only writes a lot of articles, but comes up with killer ideas. And she’s their layout guru, solving everyone’s problems, and she knows grammar like none other.
For Chrissake, she stays so late after school. Sometimes ‘til midnight or later—and all for that English stuff. I wouldn’t do it. I’d rather be out drinking, or having a good time.
But that Lia, you could tell she really likes what she does.
Re: That editin’ gal Lia
Hey ya’ll, it’s ol’ Huckleberry Finn ‘ere, an’ I ain’ the best student in no grammar. No siree, I don’ read o’ write that good. I din’ have time fo’ education when I’s a kid, no. I’s busy hidin’ from my pap, and helpin’ that fella Jim.
But I din’ worry much. Once, raftin’ up the river, I met that girl from Linc’wood. Lia. She had such a knack fo’ grammar and spelling. And fo’ commas, and periods, and those other dots on the pages. I’d asked her fo’ help ev’ry time I had to write somethin’ down.
I don’ know how she got to be so talented. Maybe it’s that newspap’r bus’ness. She seems to be a pretty good edit’r. I mean, I don’ see too many typos in those West Word papers. I bet she learn’d some stuff from her Engl’sh teachers, too.
I didn’ get to see Lia ver’ often. She’s always busy writin’ papers, writin’ articles, readin’ books. Editin’ other people’s stuff. I found one of her friends while I was raftin’—he said that people always ask Lia to edit their Engl’sh papers because they know that she’ll make ‘em sound better.
Even outside o’ school, Lia’s friends want her to edit their stuff. She had some friends runnin’ for political positions in their youth group, an’ she helped ‘em make sure that their speeches were good enough. An’ you know what? All the friends she helped won their elections.
But no matter. I still rely on Lia for helpin’ me edit my writin’. I don’ know what I’d do without her. Where is that girl now? I need her help writin’ this ‘ere e-mail.
Re: The Question
To award Lia the English Award,
Or not to award Lia the English Award:
That is the question.
I am not one for long speeches,
But I know Lia is.
Lia has taken the skills
That she learned in her English classes
And really applied them to what matters in life.
She’s written speeches that were
Delivered at synagogue and youth group functions
In front of hundreds of people.
She’s written articles outside of those for West Word
That have been distributed to thousands.
Even at home, she keeps an online journal
Of her thoughts and observations,
And a written journal of her summer travels
(I can only imagine that she’d have a lot to say
About her trips to Poland, Israel,
And a community service trip across America).
To grant Lia this honor would be,
In my humble opinion,
A consummation devoutly to be wished.