A few days ago, Pristine brought home a paper saying we are invited to the school’s awards ceremony. I asked her what is her award and she said she wasn’t told what. I signed the paper, asked the teacher but she did not disclose anything to me either. She said, it’s a surprise but firmly told me Pristine’s parents should be there (or at least one of us).
Thursday came. I took a few hours off work to be there. It was the husband’s day off so he was there too. We were seated on the front seat because we were early. We did not know what to expect.
The program started with prayers, the national anthem, opening remarks from the principal. I could not find our daughter in the auditorium.
The names of the awardees for the core subjects (English, Math, Science, Arabic and Islamic Studies) started rolling in. I was expecting Pristine’s name to be called in English, because it must be her best subject. She was not called.
Students best in Math…she was not there.
Best in Science…Pristine was a no show.
Arabic – I was hopeful. She is diligent with the subject and have received many star marks from their teacher. No Pristine on the stage.
I was nervous and I wanted to cry. The last time I felt like this was when she delivered a speech in her kindergarten graduation ceremony two years ago. Did she bring the paper by mistake and was her teacher trying to pull a prank on us!?
Additional awards came like 100% attendance – of course she won’t be there as she’s had her fair of absence from class due to health reasons. Best in sports – no chance.
I was profusely sweating (doesn’t help that I’m pregnant and it’s summer here and the auditorium had poor airconditioning or just must be my pregnancy hormones?). I feel the eyes of the other parents (parents we personally know!) piercing behind me like saying “what are you doing here? Your daughter wasn’t even part of the honor roll!”
Just when I thought all the awards were given away, the principal spoke:
Lastly, for the first time in this school’s (short) history, we will be awarding medals for overall achievers in each year level. These are the children who excel in ALL subjects, their level of achievement exceeding 2 or more than their fellow classmates.”
And there, I saw in the corner of the room, our daughter standing proudly ready to take the stage. For Year 2, her name was called. She came up, walked proudly, received her shiny award and waved at me. I managed to wave back, fighting back tears, swallowing that huge lump in my throat. Our girl wasn’t only best in one subject which I was a bit frustrated with – she was the best in everything.
The overall achiever. The best student in whole of Year 2.
The program came to an end and I told her teacher, “I almost fainted! I thought it was by mistake that we were invited and Pristine won’t have anything!” She kindly smiled at me told me to relax and asked why I thought of that.
If you thought your daughter didn’t have any award, you don’t know your daughter at all!
Here we are after the ceremony: Pristine and me at her favorite Japanese restaurant. We asked her what she wanted as a reward for a job well done, she answered, “Nothing, really. Let’s just go eat some good food!”.