#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 22

Close to the end of the day of competition, our technology bowl team is called up to compete in live questioning. This is a single elimination round.

Each of us answers one question and beats the other team: 4-0.

We head out into the hallway. Before today, we really didn’t know one another. We all prepared for the questions by ourselves. The other three students are eighth graders. There are, “Good job, Jacks” all around. I congratulate them too.

We wait for the next two teams to finish to see who we will be going up against in the final. But that means we at least end up in 2nd place!

It’s getting close to the end of the competition and we don’t know who we will be facing. Some of my team goes to collect their other events. I need to get my dragster, but don’t want to miss the announcement for the final.

Luckily, at that moment, my mom comes out of the auditorium. She’s been volunteering as a parent-judge at TSA since Jacob started competing two years ago.

“How’s your day been going?”

“Good. We are waiting for Technology Bowl final.”

“You made it to the final round? That’s incredible!”

“But I need to get my dragster and be here for the final.”

“I’ll get your dragster. It’s okay. Where is it?”

After I tell her, she goes off toward the gym, where the dragsters were raced.

My teammates come back in a group and we finally are called in.

This other team is tough.

They answer and are in the lead. We answer and tie.

They miss one and then we miss one. Still tied.

This goes on for a few more questions.

Finally, they miss one and I know the answer to the next question.

I buzz in and give my answer. Correct! We are up by one.

The last question is announced: we both miss it, but we are up by one.

We win!

This is the best day ever!

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 21

Today’s the big day: competition day!

I’m feeling nervous.

Jacob and I travel on different busses – there is a whole high school and a whole middle school bus.

It calms me down a bit when I’m with my seventh-grade friends who have never done this before, like me.

Something keeps rattling around in my head. Something my mom said before she left from dropping us off.

“Just have fun. Don’t worry about how you place or how your events turn out. You worked hard and saw this through to competition. This part is the fun part. Just enjoy your day.”

I am wondering why she said all that stuff about having fun. Is it because she wanted me to be relaxed and do well? Or because she doesn’t think I’ll do well?

We arrive and start running around immediately: dropping off events, checking into events, heading to the auditorium for opening ceremonies.

I have to admit, this is a bigger deal than I realized.

Everyone is dressed up. Even I am sporting a shirt with buttons and a tie. Do not get me started on these dress shoes. I usually wear them for one or two hours at a concert. I hope my feet will last the whole day with them on.

I don’t get to see how my dragster does until the end, so that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about.

We also have to drop off our website design and won’t hear how we do until the end.

I sit for two written tests: electrical applications and technology bowl.

After, when I talk to my teammates, they thought they did well. I think I did well too. It was good to have studied with Jacob for both of these.

I haven’t seen him all morning. I wonder how he’s doing?

Next is lunch. I look for Jacob there and see he’s sitting with his friends. I sit with my friends and everyone talks about how they are doing.

Just after lunch, my same teammate as for website design, Aaron, and I go to the live testing of electrical applications. I have no idea what the schematic wants us to do. We do our best, but don’t finish it – the light does not light up at the end. Oh, well.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 20

Testing the invisibility waters.

Seems like things are better.

Then, for the holidays, my brother and sister get cards from my uncle, who we haven’t seen in as long as I can remember.

Days, then weeks go by and my card never arrives.

Eventually, my dad calls his brother.

“We just wanted to let you know that Jack’s card never arrived, in case you needed to cancel the check.”

“Jack? Oh, yeah. I didn’t send one to him. I forgot. Whoops!”

The test earned an A+.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 19

Okay. I have something to confess.

I can sometimes be an instigator in our family.

I have to be! If not, I don’t get what I want.

For example, last night.

My mom and dad had to go out with my sister.

They put my brother in charge. Boy, was he really living up to his role.

I left the light on.

What was I doing on my phone?

Blah, blah, blah.

I’m only two years younger than him.

So, I just put in my earbuds and listened to my oldies.

He hates when I “don’t listen” to him, literally.

Later on, I kept asking him if he had practiced his instrument.

Something about the weekends with him – he doesn’t like to do anything.

He was so mad and kept saying that I was not the boss of him.

See what I mean, instigate?

I have to be careful though. If we argue too much, we might get separated.

But I have to make sure that he knows he’s not in charge, not of me anyway.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 16

Choosing my events for TSA was a bit easy and a bit hard.

There were some events that were no-brainers, like dragster.

My dad and I used to work on pine run derby cars in cub scouts.

It’s not the exact same thing, but close.

Event 1 – done.

When I showed up to my first TSA meeting, two weeks after meetings started, because I was still at cross-country, I knew I needed to get some more events, quickly.

I found out there would be a run-off for dragster – it’s a very popular event.

But the teacher, Mr. Thomas, would be holding after-school dragster club on Wednesdays. It seemed like an easy way to get a good dragster built – working with the teacher.

As I was looking through the other middle school events (I seriously didn’t even know what some of them were), Aaron asked me if I wanted to do website design with him. Just like that, I had Event 2.

Three more to go.

I tried to listen to other kids who were talking to see if anyone mentioned needing a partner.

Then, I asked the other TSA teacher, Mrs. Zinn. She said that she was glad I asked. She had a Tech Bowl team that needed a fourth member. Event 3 – signed up!

I went home with just those three events. I really needed something I could do by myself. You get more points that way if you do well.

So… I asked my brother if he could help me study for Electrical Applications. This is the event he placed 2nd in, at nationals. He said he would help me with that and with tech bowl, since he came in 6th, at nationals, in that.

Wow! Now I have four events. It’s probably not enough to get me to states because they really recommend five or six, but I have some things that are completely my own, and two things that I can work on with my brother.

He really is good at teaching me things.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 15

I volunteer in the library in the mornings before school.

In the summer before sixth and seventh grades, I participated in the book clubs the library held.

This past summer I also did a maker-space camp that Ms. Reynolds was running with Mr. Gardner. I thought it would be a nice way to get to know a seventh-grade teacher.

I didn’t realize then, like I do now, that Ms. Reynolds is my favorite teacher in the whole school.

Maybe it’s because she isn’t exactly my teacher, but really a cool adult that doesn’t give me homework.

She really trusts us to work hard and take care of our responsibilities.

I’ve had fights with my mom about getting to school early when it’s my day to be a library aide.

Like today, both my brother and my sister are staying home sick from school.

Can you believe that my mom wanted me to take the bus?

It’s my library day!

She drove me in.

I go in on days that are not mine when I can.

Ms. Reynolds says she can always count on me.

Another thing that I’ve learned from being a library aide is all about 50s music.

It’s the best thing I’ve ever heard.

You know, “Johnny B. Goode” and “Great Balls of Fire”?

I listen to it now when I get home.

Sometimes I listen for hours.

So far, there’s no song that I love that my mom or dad haven’t heard before.

I don’t think they were alive in the 50s, but they seem to know the music.

I’m really glad Lindsey and I decided to sign up for library aides this year.

I’m definitely doing it next year.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 14

When my mom went to my parent-teacher conference, my science teacher, Mr. Gardner, told her that our science project was really great and that he expected it to finish in the top 3. He told her that he wasn’t the one to judge the projects – other teachers did, but that he was really impressed.

Lindsey, Kiera, and I were excited. Of course, I told them what my mom said. I promised not to tell anyone, but she probably didn’t mean my teammates. Besides, we won’t brag to anyone. That would be rude and maybe get us into trouble.

I just found out, though, that I will not be in school on the day of presentations.

I have to go to a regional Math Olympiad competition that day and have to leave school around the same time we are scheduled to present.

Figures.

I feel bad leaving all of the work to Lindsey and Kiera, but I have to support my math team too.

I wish I could be in two places at once!

When I got back from the math trip, I couldn’t find Lindsey and Kiera to ask them how the presentation went.

We did okay in our competition. One of our teammates placed 2nd overall. That was nice. The rest of us didn’t place that high, but we had a good time.

It was held at a local college. They have the best food. I can’t wait to go to college!

Later that night, I texted with Lindsey to ask how everything went.

She said they won first place.

They got their picture on Twitter and everyone was really excited for them.

What?

It was my project with them. I did the work too!

Lindsey wrote, Of course, it’s your work too. You won first place w/ us.

Somehow, it doesn’t feel like that though.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 13

The cross-country season is ending. With each race, I improve on my time.

By the last race, I actually run a faster time than Jacob did in at the end of his 8th grade year.

My mom shared that piece of information with me.

I never finished ahead of him this year, but he is in 9th grade, after all.

At the end of the year party, where we got pizza, I got the “Most Improved” runner award. I guess it was for coming in a little faster each time we ran.

I got a bottle of Gatorade as my “trophy.” It was cool.

Then I had to run off to Technology Student Association (TSA) because it started a few weeks ago, but since I was running, I couldn’t go.

My parents told me that I didn’t have to participate in TSA because Jacob had gone to nationals (and placed) two times. They said I didn’t have to follow in his footsteps again.

The thing is, we do TSA stuff in my tech ed class and I really like it. I think I’m actually good at it.

Some of my new friends, like Aaron, and an old friend, Will, are doing it too, so it’s a popular middle school event that I don’t want to miss out on.

Besides, if I do well, I get to go to states and stay in a hotel with my friends. I’ve never done anything like that before.

I don’t think I will even sleep!

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 12

“Stop looking at me!”

“I’m not looking at you. I’m looking at the dog.”

“I can hear you when you eat!”

“Then leave.”

“Why do you always give me a hard time?”

“Why do you always think you are the boss?”

My sister is so frustrating!

Every morning, guaranteed, during breakfast, we will start picking at each other.

Then mom will tell us not to talk to each other.

Sometimes we have to eat breakfast at separate times.

That only makes the morning more hectic with everyone trying to get everything ready for school.

But I cannot let my sister think she is in charge any more than she already is being the only girl.

I hate it most when we have to go to one of her softball or basketball games.

I don’t want to go.

I don’t even watch the game.

I play video games, then get in trouble for playing video games and not watching my sister play.

I never asked to go.

I’m told, she always supports your events, like concerts and cross-country.

Really? I finish running cross-country in about 15 minutes. Her games go on for hours!

Maybe if I ask if I can stay home with Jacob, and play my instrument or learn math, I can get out of ruining my weekends with sports.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 11

Today was not a good day.

I was sort of goofing around in band when the director, Mr. Ryan, asked, in front of everyone, if I wanted him to call my mom about how I was acting?

I was so angry. Sure, I was goofing around, but so were Nick and Aaron. And that’s just in my section.

I could feel my face burn.

I wanted to quit right then and there.

Luckily, the bell rang and I didn’t have time to do something I would regret.

Maybe I would apologize later for how I was acting, but I also feel that he owes me an apology for embarrassing me.

I guess I couldn’t stop thinking about it because all of the girls at lunch asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t imagine reliving that humiliating scene by telling them.

Lindsey texted later that night and I told her a bit of what happened:

R u ok?

Not really.

Why?

Something happened in band.

Want 2 talk?

Not really. But thanks.

I’m here if u want to talk.

Thanks.

The next thing I know, Aaron sends me a text. The first one ever and I’ve known him for two years.

It’s a group text. He’s invited me into a group called “Honors Math.”

I start to figure out who the other boys in the group are by what they write. I think I know who Nick is, so I put his name into my phone under my contacts.

Someone actually writes, why did u invite Jack?

Then Aaron replies, bc he’s my friend.

I’m almost glad we got into trouble together. That’s the nicest things anyone’s written about me in all of middle school.