By Rachel Grossman | Special to the Palisadian-Post
“Good morning, class,” Mr. Dawson recited in a terribly dull manner.
“Good morning, Mr. Dawson,” yawned the students. It was the morning of the first day of school. The students were not used to having to wake up so early. Their teacher was not accustomed to the new schedule either.
After 46 years of teaching, Robert Dawson was weary and ready to retire. He had places he would much rather be.
Mr. Dawson had made no effort to change the lesson plan. The warm-up was written in slightly worn-out marker on the agenda board, It was the same first day of school warm-up he has used for 46 years: Write how your summer was in a 5-10 sentence paragraph.
The children all scribbled away, making sure to include every detail from their summer.
After the children had all finished writing and the teacher had collected all of the papers, he wrote something on the board in purple marker: “Willy Wonka.”
Most of the students paid no attention to this new information on the board, but it caught the eye of Charlotte.
Charlotte’s jaw dropped when she saw those two words. That was the name of her favorite musical! She raised her hand.
“Mr. Dawson, will we be performing that musical?”
“Yes.” Charlotte squealed with delight. She tapped her foot impatiently on the floor until Mr. Dawson finished explaining how the musical world work and when audition times were. Charlotte tapped her foot impatiently until class ended.
On the walk home Charlotte hummed all her favorite songs for the play. She couldn’t wait to audition tomorrow.
The next day Charlotte woke up bright and early. She put on her uniform and made her hair and face look presentable. She had breakfast, brushed her teeth and put her shoes on. Then she waited outside for the bus. On the bus ride she sat next to her friends Tess and Elle.
Tess was going to try out to be Veruca Salt, and Elle was auditioning for the role of an oopa loompa. They discussed the play the entire ride to school. She was pumped and ready for her audition.
Charlotte walked into the auditorium. All of the children sat in rows of seats anxiously awaiting the moment they would stand up in front of their grade and sing. Unlike the other students, Charlotte was not nervous, she was excited.
All of the boys auditioned for the role of Willy Wonka but Charlotte was the only girl auditioning for that part. Finally it came Charlotte’s time to shine.
“My name is Charlotte Smith. Today I will be singing ‘A Whole New World’ from ‘Aladdin’ I am auditioning for the role of Willy Wonka.”
The girls in the crowd gasped. Some even giggled. The boys chuckled and sneered.
She ignored the crowd and sang—with gusto and passion. Every note was on pitch. She was out of breath after the final note. She took a deep breath, walked back to her seat and sat down next to Sara. Sara complimented her performance and so did her other friends. She appreciated their kind words but in the end the only words that mattered were those that came from Mr. Dawson.
The results were to come next Monday. The morning the results were to be posted Charlotte leapt out bed and ran down the stairs. She was in such a rush she almost forgot to bring her lunchbox onto the bus. In the back of the bus Charlotte, Tess and Elle began to talk about their tedious homework assignments when a boy walked up to them.
“Hey Charlotte, my name’s Billy, I’m trying out for the role of Willy Wonka.”
“Cool. Good luck.”
“I’m not the one who needs luck, you are! I’m going to get that part. When I do, I am going to prove boys are better at acting than girls! We’re better at everything.”
The other boys on the bus jeered and agreed with Billy. Charlotte tried to keep her cool.
“I disagree. Anything you can do I can do, too. Not only that but I may be able to do it even better. You’ll see.”
Charlotte and her friends got off the bus and scurried to Mr. Dawson’s class where the results were to be listed on a piece of paper pinned to the corkboard on the wall.
Charlotte’s friends all ran up to the paper. Charlotte cried: “Look, Tess, you got Veruca Salt!” Tess did a little victory dance.
Charlotte desperately searched the page for her name, but it was not there. Charlotte sighed and gave up searching for the part she was looking for.
Elle yelled: “She did it! She did it!” Charlotte turned around in shock and on a separate sheet of paper saw her name next to the part of Willy Wonka!
She laughed with relief and hugged her friends. Billy stood just a foot away, spluttering angrily. She couldn’t stop herself from saying it.
“I told you so.”
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