Earn our desk

Why should we earn our desk?

by Scott Nguyen.

Dear Teacher,

We should earn our desks because it would be embarrassing when others teachers or students walk in and see that we haven’t yet earned our desks.

The second reason is our legs get so cramp, and we really want to move but we can’t. If we do, we can get into trouble by shifting legs too many times.

The third reason is that it really hurts our butt sitting on the floor from 8am to 12 pm except a small break in between.

The forth reason is that it will get our pants dirty, and we have to get them washed so often, this will waste water for the city.

The fifth reason is it’s hard to write when we have no desk.

Those are the reasons we should earn our desks very fast.

By Scott Nguyen


It’s Monday; we come to school early this morning since you don’t want to be late here. There are a few kids who run in late. They are called to stand in line by themselves and explain why they are late. It looks so embarrassing because everyone staring at you. I would not want to be in their shoes.

I am getting used to this military atmosphere. I think it’s kind of neat to hear loud instructions early in the morning. It wakes you up for sure ( We have to wake up at 6a.m every morning, getting ready and be at school by 7a.m, and it is not over til 5 p.m. Then we have swimming lesson at 6 p.m). Usually we don’t get home til 7 p.m.

I think we have no life at all ever since starting to go here.

Standing in line in the school’s yard, Scott looks like a jumpy mouse because the cat is staring at him. Lately Scott has not been himself: he looks like a worried , old man.

Mom has been taking the three of us to church the last 4 Sunday to relieve stress and getting to know God better. She thinks this Church near our house or the English-speaking God will do something good to us, he will steer us away from bad behavior in this life. Scott is taking the message seriously by setting up an altar near bed with his childhood pictures and God’s picture sitting side by side.

He kneels and mumbles whenever he has a chance.

Finally, we all earn our seat after 2 weeks of hard training in summer school; except Scott and a few other kids who are “not yet deserving” per teacher’s recommendation. Poor Scott; he missed doing his homework last Friday (only did 1 out of 3 pages) and blamed that Mom asked him to go swimming when the teacher asked him for the reason. Then Ms.Steele called Mom to verify the story.

I saw Scott had tear in his eyes when standing up listening to the charge; he tried hard not to cry like other kids. They were crying hard while the teacher went through the sermon why you should do your homework properly.

“ No excuse, no short cut” is the motto printed on our uniform. Mom is right; this boot camp might be too much for the weakly; but she says it will build character and all of us need character badly.

Yesterday, Scott had a change of heart after listening to the science teacher‘s announcement: if they all try hard, every month she would have a pot luck, everyone could bring food to share . Besides goofing off, Scott’s second free time favorite is to eat so he thinks this isn’t a bad place after all

My New School

Today, we started at the new school: our first day at the Heartwood Academy . It was very emotional and nerve wrecking for Scott and I.

We came early, stood in line watching; everyone looked so serious. The principal was yelling :

”Everyone should be in a straight line. I mean everyone.”

She reminded me of Mom on the hot days, her voice raises as the temperature does. I looked around to see who is out there besides us? Scott looked green again like the time in Orlando Disneyland when he refused to go on the roller coaster. This is not the scary ride but the sound of the principal caused terror to these little kids including me. Wish you could hear her voice: it was strong, loud and full of power.

“Stand up straight, look straight in front of you.” She went on again.

After 5 minutes of silence, she said hello to the parents and us, then she shouted out each teacher’s name, then we were supposed to shout back: “Good morning, Ms…” whatever the teacher’s name.

From a distance, you can see us like small soldiers in uniform, waiting for the sergeant making the morning drill. Every morning will be like this, we have to get up early; getting here before 8 am; if you are on time; it means you are late. If you are late, teachers will take points against you. Too many points taking off, you won’t get to go on the yearly trip .

After 15 minutes in the yard, we were asked to proceed to a big class room. The teachers asked us to be seated but I saw no chairs. It means we were invited to sit on the floor. The teachers went on to explain how we need to earn our seat, our notebook, our pencils and papers, etc. Nothing is free in this life after all. Scott was surprised to find this out. At the end of the day, there was assignment for us to write why we should earn our seat.

Scott wasn’t happy going here. He wanted to go back to the old school. He said he missed his old friends greatly and not sure if he could function properly here without Ricky (Scott’s favorite boyfriend). Mom is happy sending us to this boot camp since she has a hard time with Kevin and Scott at home because they won’t listen.

Mom has asked us to write: ” My day at the new school.” Scott is too emotional to write; Kevin doesn’t care: he just talked it out to get it over with. And it was so boring to jot anything down from his report of the day.