I am not a bad role model. It’s the last week of school and I am a senior. I recently finished my exams and I’m officially finished so I technically don’t have to come to campus. Then, why am I at school? As an yearbook editor, a few of my friends and I decided to come back to help the next year’s team get a head-start with layouts and such.
It was a hot day that sent beads of sweat dripping down my forehead the second I stepped outside. I put on my favorite pair of shorts that were modest, yet comfortable and thought no more. There were several other girls who had worn short spandex shorts to classes and never got dress coded. There’s no way I would get caught. After parking my car in the parking lot, I made my way to the yearbook classroom with my friends. The second we stepped inside, we saw that there were tiny kids running around that didn’t look like high schoolers at all. We realized that they were elementary students on their way to the middle/high school next year.
Immersed within our own conversations, we trekked down the hallways that would no longer be ours in a few days. Graduation was looming in the close distance and we wanted to treasure every moment. We walked past the office, suddenly caught in the swarm of passing period. Little elementary kids squealed and shouted and the high schools students stared curiously. Suddenly, I hear your voice calling me. I look back and my heart immediately picks up for I already know what’s going to happen.
You tell me my shorts are too short and that I was a bad role model to the elementary kids who all seemed to be wearing shorts of similar length as well. I say nothing and quickly turn back to my friends, embarrassed to be in my own body. Though it was only a few seconds out of your day, your words left me thinking for days to come.
Was I going to be able to graduate? Will she call my parents? Will I be able to walk across the stage to receive my diploma? The fear was replaced with anger moments later and I was furious. How dare you tell me that I am a bad role model? What part is of me is a bad role model? I was going to be the first person to attend university in my family, a top one at that. I helped my parents, who did not speak English fluently, with bills and constantly translated for them, sacrificing my school time. Additionally, I devoted myself to service and the arts, earning myself several leadership roles such as my yearbook editor role and treasurer of the National Honor Society. I wrote on the school newspaper, was an active member of the student council for four consecutive years, and had been in orchestra since the fifth grade. I helped write lessons that help build our school’s character and volunteered often at our local elementary school. What part of me screams bad role model? My legs?
When the seniors took their walk around the elementary school, I ran into the kindergarten class that I volunteered with every other day for an entire semester. The second they saw me, they screamed my name excitedly and bombarded me with hugs and comments about how cool my cap was and how pretty the chords around my neck were. None of them said anything about my legs in the skirt I was wearing. No, they didn’t care. They wanted to be like me one day with a cap on their head and a graduation gown on their shoulders. They were proud of me and I was proud to stand in front of them as their role model.
I hope that you will never tell another girl that she is a bad role model for the way she dresses.
Someone who is a great role model
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