BJ W.’s Memoir

A Figure in the Shadow


As I stand outside on the cold December morning I thinking to myself (Do you think kids will make fun of me because I’m wearing a clip on tie). I stand there waiting, debating on whether I should go back inside and put on a real tie, but before I could make a decision a black Suburban pulls up and I think that’s my ride.

“Hey, B.J.” It was Mrs. Petrino.

“Hey,” I replied.

“Hey BJ,” Jake and Ty, say in synchronization from the back of the car.

“Hey” I reply once more. As we head down the street the butterflies in my stomach start to really kick in.

I hear Jake say aloud, “If we don’t get there soon were going to get a J.U.G.”

Confused and interested I say, “What’s a J.U.G.?”

“It’s like a detention but they call it a J.U.G., Justice Under God”, I look down at my watch and see the time even though I had no idea what time the first bell rang. Now knowing I might get a “J.U.G.” on my shadow day didn’t help with the butterflies. Before I know it we arrive, I get out of the car and take a deep breath of fresh air and stand still until Jake says, “you coming?”. I nod my head and make my way into the sun filled hallways. “We don’t have class for a few minutes so we can just chill in the cafeteria for a little”, said Jake.

Not sure what to say I react by saying, “Sounds good” trying to act cool and hide the anxiety I’m feeling. Together we walk downstairs to the cafeteria, as we walk in I see a wave of red and white, I freeze for a second to take it all in. Then I joined my friends at the cafeteria table. Everyone at the table was either playing on their iPad or doing homework, I sorta felt left out because I didn’t have an iPad to play on and I didn’t have any work to do. I just sat there observing and thinking (can I see myself going here).

After sitting for a few minutes Jake says “ We should probably go now, we have Biology and it is farther away in the building.”  I nodded my head in agreement, once we get to the Biology classroom I look around the small compact room, I see triangle shape desks pushed together to make groups of four.

The teacher notices Jake and I, he says, “Hey Shad”.  We both gave a weak wave as if to say, “hi” in return. Puzzled on why he used the term Shad, I ask Jake for answers. “Is Shad your nickname?  Or is there another student named Shad?”

Jake laughed and then explained, “No, my nickname isn’t Shad, they are just going to call you Shad because they won’t remember your name.” Now, knowing why he called me Shad, I sit down and observe again. I tried to understand what was going on in class but I hadn’t really learned anything they were talking about yet. I knew a few words they said, “Nucleus, Membrane, Mitochondria”. Besides these key biology words I was lost. After the bell rang I thanked the teacher and headed to our next class.

I asked Jake, “what do we have next?”

“Theology with Mr. Dennis”, he replied.

I have never taken or heard of Theology so I ask, “What’s Theology?”

“It’s sorta like when you learn more about your religion and other religious beliefs.”

“Oh! What are we doing today in class?”


I gave a little laugh and didn’t know if he was joking or being serious. We walk into the Theology room. I immediately knew I was going to like this teacher by the poster and banner he hung in his room. He had a Pittsburgh Steelers banner next to one of the most well known Star Wars posters.

“Please sit down and relax your mind for meditation,” Mr Dennis, instructed.

After Jake introduced me officially to Mr. Dennis we sat down at our desk to calm our mind. I was thinking there was no way we would do meditation in an academic class, but to my surprise we did! We meditated for most of the class, then we shared how it went. It was a little odd but surprisingly, I enjoyed it. Four periods passed, none were as fun as Theology. I learned a lot about Fairfield Preparatory School and the kids who attend.  As I left the red and white hallways it all felt really natural for me. I hopped into my Mother’s car and she asked me “How did it go?”

“Good” I said, instinctively. But as I thought more in my head about the day, it was better than good, it was great! I really felt comfortable from my first step into the building to my last step out. After a few minutes of silence in the car, I turned to my Mother and said, “Mom, I want to go to Fairfield Prep!”

I’m proud to say on Friday, January 13, 2017, I received my acceptance letter to Fairfield Preparatory School and I happy to say I will be attending “Prep” in the fall!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *