Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Australia or New Zealand (01/15/09)
By Christina Banks
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“Come to class, cousin Caitlyn,” Kevin encouraged.
It was Caitlyn’s first day in the new school. She and her mother had joined Kevin’s troop earlier that summer. It had been a wonderful summer of games and exploring their new home, but now the summer was over, and Caitlyn had to endure being the new girl in school. Her mother, Jill, had offered to take her to school that morning, but Caitlyn wasn’t a joey anymore. She chose instead to go with Kevin. Caitlyn wondered now if that had been such a good idea.
Kevin grabbed her by the paw and dragged her toward the others. A large group of Roos stood near the school, playfully boxing each other as they waited the school bell.
“Look,” one of the young bucks called, “It looks like King Kevin got himself a girl.”
“Morning,’ Kevin pushed Caitlyn forward. “Meet my mate.”
The roos stared at her.
Caitlyn gave a hesitant smile. “I’m Caitlyn. Kevin is my cousin.”
The mob began chattering all at once, each one trying to out talk the other in tales of great feats.
“Did you know that Kevin, single pawed, beat a whole team of Wallabies to win the Socaroo cup last year?”
“What’s a Wallaby?” Caitlyn asked.
The question caused loud hoots and snickers from the group.
“You explain it to her Kev.”
“Wallabies are Wannabes.” Kevin said.
“I don’t understand.” Her words were drowned out by the bell.
All of the students rushed into the school building ready for the first day of classes. Caitlyn found her room, said goodbye to Kevin and sat down in a seat by the window. A small roo sat next to her.
“Hi, I’m Wendy,” the roo said. “What’s your name?”
Wendy and Caitlyn were assigned as partners for much of the morning, and the two girls became good friends. The talked of their families and friends, and the games they liked to play. Wendy even invited Caitlyn over to her troop after school.
With a smile on her face, Caitlyn joined Kevin for lunch. The young buck was boasting to his friends.
“I commanded the court, conquering the competitors. Call me King Kevin the courageous.” Kevin saw her, “Cousin Caitlyn’s come from class.”
“Make room for Kevin’s cousin,” a bigger girl said, pushing the others out of the way.
“If its okay, I thought I would sit with some of my classmates.” Caitlyn pointed to Wendy across the way.
“Listen, Caitlyn.” The bigger roo put her paw on Caitlyn’s shoulder. “That is a Wallaby. Wallabies are like little kangaroos. They look a lot like us, but they don’t get too big. They just want to be Kangaroos, but then never will be. If I were you, I would stay away from the Wallabies. No real roo is a friend to them.”
Caitlyn sat down, silent and miserable throughout lunch. All of the Kangaroos talked about how horrible the Wallabies were. Caitlyn couldn’t understand what the problem was. She liked Wendy and the other Wallabies in her class. Kevin and his friends didn’t think the same way. When class started again, Caitlyn didn’t know what to do, or who to listen to. She finally decided to follow her own heart.
“Sorry, I didn’t come sit by you at lunch, Wendy.” Caitlyn began. “I think I would like to sit with you tomorrow.”
“But what will all of you roo friends think of that?”
“They won’t like it. But I think they are wrong. I think that Wallabies are just as good as Kangaroos. We might be different, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”
“You really mean it Caitlyn, you want to still be my friend.”
“Yes!” Caitlyn declared. Kevin wouldn’t like it, but that didn’t matter. Wallabies weren’t wannabes.
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