The
Underachievers
CHAPTER
23
Zoey finding her way
We passed out programs and greeted everyone that came to the art fair. It was fun but my face hurt from smiling so much. Finally after almost half an hour we were able to set the extra programs on a table for late arrivals and walk around. Savannah had me hold a piece of dark material up in front of her painting. She brought her parents over. When they were ready I moved the material so they could see.
“Savannah, this is lovely. Look at the beautiful waterlilies, they were Kelsey’s favorite,” said her Mom.
“It is perfect,” said Savannah’s father as he gave her a hug.
“Is that supposed to be Kelsey grown up?” Asked her mother.
“Mom, that’s you,” Savannah said.
“It looks just like you honey, “said Savannah’s father to her mother.
“It does, the flowers just made me think it was Kelsey,” said her Mom.
“I remember you told Kelsey once that you loved waterlilies when you were young too. So I thought painting them around you would remind you of Kelsey as well as when you loved waterlilies too,” Savannah explained.
“You did such an amazing job on your Mom’s features, I knew it was her right away,” said Savannah’s Dad.
“You know I was struggling a bit, it just didn’t look right around the eyes and nose. Then Kelsey helped me fix it in a dream,” said Savannah.
“Really?” Asked Savannah’s mother. Her daughter nodded. It looked like her Mom was a little teary so I decided to leave them alone to have a moment together.
I was checking out the stained glass a ninth grader brought in when my brother ran over and grabbed my arm.
“Zoey, I saw your painting as soon as we came in. I knew it was yours,” said Owen.
“That’s because you saw it at home silly,” I said. “Hi Mom.”
“You’re painting looks very nice,” my mother said.
“Thank you,” I said.
“There are so many art pieces here, I don’t see why you need art classes in school. Students are obviously spending a lot of time at home doing art,” my mom said.
“Mom, didn’t you read the copy of my letter I gave to you? The one I wrote for the school board?”
“I skimmed it. School should be all about education not having fun. Fun doesn’t get you into a good college,” said my Mom.
“Actually it does help. All kinds of extracurricular activities are important to have on college applications. You can even get scholarships through sports, music and arts. Art in education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, reading and math skills. It helps out students that are visual learners. Students are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, and they develop a sense of innovation which will help in future jobs. There is so much proof out there that the arts are very important. You have to look into it Mom,” I said. She is so stubborn and stuck in her ways it is frustrating.
“You are quite fired up. I will look into it. You can’t believe everything you read on the computer though Zoey.”
I took a deep breathe. I didn’t want to argue with her here. I saw my Dad enter the gym. I told my mother and brother I had to go talk to someone and they should look around. I walked quickly over to my Dad. I was relieved he wasn’t with his girlfriend.
“Hi Pumpkin,” my Dad said as he hugged me.
“Hi Dad. Are you ready to see my painting?”
“I can’t wait to see it,” Dad said.
I led him over to my painting. He really seemed to like it. In fact he said he had better save up for all the art supplies I will need when I head to college. I was so excited he was fine with me going to an art college. I told him he needs to help me convince Mom to let me study art. We both know that is not going to be easy but we have a few years to convince her.
Owen ran over and hugged my Dad. Reluctantly my mother walked over and said hello to my Dad. Then Owen pulled me away to show me something.
“Zoey, Braeden’s painting was cool, but look at this! I want this playset,” said Owen.
“That’s a diorama and my friend Sawyer made that.”
“No way!” Said Owen impressed.
“Way,” I said.
“Do you think he’d give it to me or make me one?”
“I don’t know about that Owen. I’m sure it took him a long time to paint all this.”
“Will you ask him for me?”
“Maybe,” I said.
“Look at this one too Zoey,” Owen said as he led me over to another one. “Isn’t this awesome?”
I laughed. “My friend Ben painted that one.”
“Wow! You’re friends make cool stuff. I wish I had this superhero poster in my room,” Owen said.
I looked over at my parents. They were actually talking. It looked like an awkward conversation but they were talking and neither of them appeared to be ready to storm off. That was a relief.
“This one is weird,” said Owen.
“Owen, quiet,” I said quietly. “It’s an abstract painting and someone worked hard on that. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
“But it looks like one of my old finger paintings…” Said Owen. I covered his mouth to stop him.
“Only nice comments until we get home, okay?” I said.
Owen nodded.
“Good, now come look at my friend Tyler’s sketch.”
“Wow! That’s cool!” Owen said. “Don’t lions have hair around their face?”
“That’s a leopard,” said Tyler.
“Oh!” Said Owen.
“Owen this is my friend Tyler. He sketched this,” I said.
“This is so cool, can I have it?” Asked Owen.
“Owen! I’m sure he worked hard on this and wants to keep it,” I said.
“I’m afraid your sisters right. I do want to keep it. I can make a copy of it for you though,” said Tyler.
“Thanks!” Said Owen.
Ben came over to join us and Owen went back over to our parents.
“Hey do you know why I failed math?” Ben asked.
“No,” said Tyler.
“Because I refuse to believe that pie are squared!” Said Ben.
“Oh dude,” said Tyler. He laughed a bit even though he tried not too.
“Good one. Are you really failing math?” I asked.
“Yeah, I didn’t work hard enough to pull my grade up. So I’ll be in summer school.” Said Ben.
“I’ll see you there,” I said. “I have to retake English. I had a lot of problems with my teacher. On the positive side they offer an art class I get to take too.”
“I’m glad I will know someone there,” said Ben.
Principal Callahan asked for everyone’s attention. She asked the six of us to come up on the platform with her. She told everyone how proud she is of us. Even though we all had our struggles we not only turned things around we created the wonderful mural in the entryway, made tonight happen, and are responsible for art classes being added to the curriculum next fall. She went on to thank the three teachers that helped judge and the PTA. Then she asked Mrs. Dunley to join us.
“Everyone, I would like to introduce you to our new art teacher, Mrs. Dunley!” Announced Principal Callahan.
We were all so excited. Savannah gave her a big hug. I’m so happy we will have an art teacher that is truly passionate about art and not just any old teacher looking for any teaching position.
I got lots of nice compliments from students and adults. Not just for my art piece but for bringing art into the school. So did the other five. I loved the fact that my mother was right next to me when someone’s mother thanked me for helping bring art to the school and how important the arts are for students of all ages. She told my Mom she raised a wonderful young lady and that she should be proud. I like that woman.
Eleanor’s scrunched colored tissue paper piece of a tree with the sunset behind it turned out really well. My best friend Aria painted a black cat with emerald green eyes. She did a really good job. Mine is better but I will kindly keep that to myself.
The judges started putting ribbons on the art pieces after they made their decisions. For the eighth grade entries Savannah got a first place ribbon for her painting. I am so happy for her. I think Braeden got second place. For seventh grade entries I got an honorable mention ribbon on mine which was very cool. Sawyer got most creative, Tyler got first place, and Ben got a third place ribbon for our grade. It was a fun night. I can’t wait until next year’s art fair.
We were allowed to take our entries home with us if we wanted too. I took mine. I think I will hang it in my room. I said goodbye to my Dad and then joined my Mom and brother.
When we got home I was about to head toward my room.
“Where are you going?” My Mom asked.
“I’m putting my painting in my room,” I said.
“Oh. I was hoping we could hang it in the living room so we can all enjoy it,” said my Mom.
“Really?”
“Yes. I think it will look perfect in there,” my Mom said.
“Yeah, that would be great.”
My Mom smiled. “It’s late, maybe you can put it on the mantle and I will get the proper hooks to hang it tomorrow.”
“Good idea,” I said.
I couldn’t believe my mother wanted to hang my painting in our living room. That is so cool. As soon as I set my painting on the mantle I heard the clicking sound of Dippers nails on the hardwood floor heading toward the living room.
“Dipper! You little fuzz ball,” I greeted him. He danced all around me and jumped up on my lap when I sat on the floor. He licked my face. “Good boy! Do you like my painting? I got an honorable mention.”
Dipper barked. I think he approved. Then he rolled over so I could rub his belly. “Yes you like that don’t you! Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy? You are.”
Owen walked in. “Mom wants you to let Dipper out back to do his business.”
“Okay,” I said. I got up to take Dipper out back. Owen turned on the TV. “It’s too late to watch TV.”
“I’m just watching a little,” he said.
I went outside with Dipper. He ran around the backyard looking for the perfect spot. There were some stars out tonight. I made a wish on the first star I saw. I can’t reveal my wish, but let’s just say I am hoping that my Mom wanting to hang my painting in the living room is a good sign for my future.
I can’t believe the school year is almost over. What a crazy year. I went from hating school and teachers to wanting to do better! I’m weirdly kind of excited for next year now that art has been added to my schedule.
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