Power and influence can change someone for the worse, so don’t change who you are when you acquire power and influence.
Julie Claire, a 14 year old middle-school student from Sacramento Middle School, had decided to run for class president. She thought it would be something fun to do with her friends and to see if any of them could win. Julie was a very caring and kind girl, sharing her food at lunch if her friends didn’t pack, picking her friends up if they didn’t have a ride – the list goes on. She was very sweet and enjoyed not only hanging out with her friends, but her family as well.
Julie’s family consisted of her father, Brayden Claire, and her mother, Brenda Claire. She also had a brother, Jake Claire. Her father was an engineer, and her mother was an accountant. Julie had a really strong bond with her mother and father, and she would talk to them when they got home, asking how they were and how their day was. Jake went to the same middle school as Julie, and they were both in the same boat when it came to both being in the somewhat “popular” friend groups. They also both kind of looked alike; you could tell they were siblings. They both had black hair, brown eyes, and their eyebrows sort of looked alike, too. They didn’t interact much in school, but they had a stable relationship at home, as they rarely fought and were actually very nice to each other.
Julie’s alarm went off the day that the results were going to be announced for class president. She bounded out of her bed and to get ready for school, to be there for the results. Julie’s middle school class president election was different from other schools. The class president in her grade received special privileges for the first week they were elected class president like not having to do your homework, getting a free snack at the stand, and more. This was why so many people always ran for class president, because everybody always wanted free snacks and homework passes. She was very nervous going into the election, as she wanted to win, but she hoped if she didn’t win, her friends would.
Julie walked downstairs, and waited at the front of her house for her mom to get ready to drive her to school. As she was waiting outside, her brother, Jake walked outside with her, and sat down on the front porch steps.
“You think you’re going to win today?” Jake asked, as he pulled out his phone to check his Snapchat.
“I mean, I do think I have a chance. I don’t know if I’ll win, but if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. I really hope I do, though; not having to do the homework for English would be awesome,” Julie stated.
“Oh obviously, but we can’t do much about it unless we win. I don’t think my chances are that good, the people in my group all decided to vote for two people, which I don’t think was the best idea,” Jake said, and followed with, “I obviously voted for myself, and told my close friends in that group to vote for me, but I don’t know if they did.”
“They probably did, and that’s good! My friends decided to vote for the person we wanted. Some people campaigned other people for their votes. I don’t know how many people read my campaign stuff and actually wanted to vote for me though, as more people than I thought ran.”
There are always two rounds to the class president election process. Stage one was open to whomever wanted to run. The principal would then select 20 applicants out of all the kids who applied, and then the vote would then happen and the person with the most votes would be elected class president. This year, there were 80 applicants in total, meaning more than 70% of her grade had applied.
The door opened up, and her mom said, “Alright, who’s ready to get to school and see one of my kids get class president?” She held up the car keys and shut the door behind her.
Julie and Jake hopped in the car. Julie was wondering what it would be like to be class president while staring out the window into the trees. Jake was texting his friends on his phone, wondering how they were doing. Julie got a text from the group chat, “Luck,” and decided to open it. She saw texts from her friends asking about the election, and who was nervous. She replied back with, “I’m nervous. I’m almost at school. I’ll see you guys in a bit.” She set down her phone and waited to pull up to school.
After her mother pulled up to the curb outside school, Julie and Jake bolted from the car to get into school. The results were always announced at the beginning of the day, so the president gets that whole week for the class president perks. Her two closest friends were waiting at the front door for her to walk in, as they were excited to see their friend.
“Hey Julie, how are you!” exclaimed Casey. Casey was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl from their school. She was not the smartest person in the grade, but she was one of the most entertaining and nicer people to be around. She always treated people with respect, even if they didn’t treat her with respect. She also was probably Julie’s closest friend when it came to entertainment and generosity, as she could tell a story and keep you entertained at a campfire for hours.
“Yeah, how are you?” Victoria asked after Casey. Victoria, a black-haired and blue-eyed girl, was more on the serious side, as she always strived to be at the top of the grade. She wanted to have good grades so that she could have a good career. Victoria could never hangout with Casey and Julie, as she was usually studying for school. Victoria never received a grade below a 98. Even though she was busy, she also helped Casey and Julie in school when they needed it.
“I’m alright, thank you! I’m just very nervous about today. I hope one of us got it!” Julie exclaimed. The three had qualified for the final round, and they all agreed to vote for themselves. This way, it was fair if one of them was elected.
“Do you know when they are going to do the assembly?” Victoria asked.
“I think they might do it soon. I mean, didn’t they say it was always in the morning?” Casey said.
“It should be starting soon, probably around 9 A.M, unless something else is going on,” Julie said.
“Well, it’s basically 8:59 A.M, so they should be…” Casey said before a voice interrupted her on the loud speaker.
“Attention, all eighth grade students, report to the gymnasium to hear the election results. I repeat, all eighth grade students, report to the gymnasium to hear the election results.”
You could hear all of the footsteps as every single kid in that grade run from the halls and lobby to the gym. You could hear people run up the bleachers to try to get on the top row of the seats. Julie, Casey, and Victoria all took their time and had to sit on the bottom row, though they were not complaining about that.
Everybody sat there, silently, waiting for it to begin. They took some time to set everything up. It was obviously early in the morning, and none of the staff was available, as they were preparing for the schoolday.
Finally, the curtains opened, and the principal stood on the stage. He turned on the microphone, and said, “Attention all Sacramento Middle School students, and good morning on this Monday. We would like to thank you all for showing up, and most of you for actually applying to be class president. We appreciate how you guys decided to apply, with over 80 applicants, which I believe is the most we’ve ever had. Everybody voted for a class president, and the vote was very close! The Top 3 vote getters were, Jake Claire, Kit Bare, and Julie Claire, and the class president of the eighth grade, 2021 school year is… Julie!”
The grade started to applause while Julie sat there in shock. She was very excited and also realized she got the most votes among the entire school. Part of that felt good to her; it gave her a sense of confidence that she was actually more liked than she thought.
“Would Julie please join me up here?” the principal asked.
Julie froze, still shocked she even got the most votes. Especially over Kit, who was basically like a socialite of the school and was friends with almost everybody. She got the most votes out of everybody? She still couldn’t believe it.
“What are you waiting for, go walk up there!” Casey said. She was so happy for Julie, her smile wide.
“Yeah, go up there,” Victoria said.
Julie went to the stage, with all of her classmates staring at her. She stood right next to the principal. The principal then asked, “Well, what do you have to say to your classmates?”
Julie responded: “Thank you all so much for this opportunity as I appreciate it, everybody, whether you voted for me or not, I appreciate it. I promise to try to make changes to benefit our grade, or make our school a safer and better place to learn in. I will try my hardest for you guys. I love you all and thank you for this opportunity.”
The class applauded, as the principal told Julie to sit back down in the audience with all of her classmates. They were then dismissed, and Julie walked out of the gymnasium with Casey and Victoria. Casey and Victoria were wild with excitement for their friend.
However, their wishes and their excitement for their friend would quickly turn into regret.
That same Monday, Julie started acting strangely. Before the election, Julie, Victoria, and Casey would usually always help each other with homework. They sat in the same row for most classes they were in together, so they could help each other with the homework. Casey was never that much help, but she always tried. Victoria would put the most input in. Julie would, too, when she could. In their first period, History class, they had some homework to do for the night. Julie, being class president, was obviously exempt from doing the homework.
“Hey so, Julie do you know this one?” Casey asked as she turned her paper towards Julie’s desk.
“I mean, I don’t really want to try it, I’m basically off of doing homework,” which didn’t sound like Julie. She would always help Casey with her other classes, as she wasn’t the smartest person in the world. Casey was a little upset by this.
“But, you always help me, and I don’t really understand this right now,” Casey said, looking into Julie’s eyes.
“Sorry, I don’t have to do the homework, so why bother with it? Besides, you can just ask Victoria,” Julie said, rolling her eyes.
Casey turned to Victoria with more of a confused expression than before. She didn’t recognize this Julie. She thought Julie was joking at first, until she didn’t say she was joking. They kind of paused.
“Well, can you help me?” Casey asked Victoria.
“Yes,” Victoria said, and proceeded to help Casey. The bell rang shortly after. Julie was acting different in each class! Maybe she’s just annoyed or she’s under pressure, they thought to themselves. During lunch, they really noticed the change in Julie’s attitude.
As said before, one of the important perks of being class president, along with homework passes, is free snacks for a week, but only a limit to three per day. This was perfect, Casey and Victoria thought, as they could each get one snack per day. They thought that maybe Julie just didn’t want to do her homework, but she wasn’t going to change anything else about her.
While they were eating lunch and talking, Julie announced: “Alright I’m going to get a snack.”
Casey and Victoria said, “Okay,” Julie walked over to the snack line. Casey and Victoria were kind of confused. Why didn’t Julie ask what they wanted? They assumed Julie would share with everybody, as that’s what the other two would have done in this situation. Julie came back with a cookie, a bag of salt and vinegar chips, and a bag of skittles. They assumed that she was going to ask if they wanted any, but she just stuffed them in her lunch box. Then, Julie pulled out the bag of chips and decided to eat them.
“Hey, I’m sorry to ask or be selfish, but can I have the skittles?” Casey asked. She knew that Julie knew that those were her favorite candy, so she assumed she got them for her.
“I mean, I don’t want to sound selfish or anything, but I kind of bought them for myself. I can buy you something tomorrow or later in the week though, just I bought this for myself to eat,” Julie said.
“All right then,” Casey said.
“Why, do you have some type of issue with that? I mean, I feel like you would do the same thing if you got the perks that I have, but I don’t think you’ll experience free snacks as I don’t think the high school does this,” Julie said, and that really rubbed Casey the wrong way.
“Let’s just have a good day, okay?” Victoria said, and the others agreed.
The rest of that school day wasn’t different from any other day, as there was only one class after lunch, and all of them had different classes. When the day was over, Casey and Victoria decided to go up to Julie’s locker and ask if she wanted to hangout later.
“Julie, do you want to hangout later? Around six?” Victoria asked, putting on her sunglasses. Even though it was cold, the sun was very bright.
“Sorry, I’ll be relaxing as the class president, though we can next week,” Julie said. She shut her locker, and walked down the hallway to the exit. Casey and Victoria thought this was the final straw, and felt like they had to do something about it.
Julie walked down the hallway, into the lobby, and then out the front door. Her brother in the car already with her mom, Her mom was waving at her with a gigantic smile. She was so happy to see Julie as Jake already told Julie’s mother the news of her being class president.
“Congratulations! I’m so proud of you, get inside the car!” her mom said.
“Thank you,” Julie said, as she got inside the car and sat down next to her brother. Her brother leaned in towards her ear.
He said in a whisper, “Julie, people are talking about you, and how you’ve been acting today. I feel like you have to stop acting how you are acting, as it’s affecting you.”
“True, but I will soon. I’m just trying to enjoy my week off,” Julie said, completely ignoring the advice her brother tried to give her.
Julie stormed up to her room to lay in her bed when they got home. Usually, she made dinner for her family, and she would start around when she got home. Not that day.
An hour passed, and Julie had not come downstairs. Her brother thought this was odd, and decided to check on her. He wanted to make sure that his sister was okay, so he walked into her room, and saw Julie laying down in her bed, taking a nap. He thought that he would just ignore this and not take it to heart, as she probably had a lot going through her head. Jake decided he would cook dinner for the night and got to work on cooking pasta.
He made the pasta, and called out, “Dinner is ready!” Julie came downstairs, while their parents walked into the kitchen to get some food. They sat down to eat, but Julie went right back to her room, not even sitting down and talking to her family. This was shocking to them, as she had never acted like that. Once again, they all thought it was due to stress because she is nervous about being class president.
They didn’t know that she was acting like she was the queen of the world now.
Julie was sitting upstairs, scrolling through her phone, when she saw “Three Musketeers.” Right below it, Victoria was typing. Julie ignored it, but then three minutes later, when she scrolled up on her phone, she realized that Victoria was still typing. After some time, she saw: “Victoria has sent a message.”
“Julie, I don’t know how to put this but within the nicest words I can. Over the school day, you have been acting entitled and like we don’t matter anymore. Casey asks for help, you ignore it. She asks for her favorite candy, you say no. She asks to hangout, you say that have other stuff to do, then you slam your locker. Like are you kidding? I didn’t know that people were like that, but apparently they are. I didn’t know what got into you, at first I thought it was stress. I realized, why would she be stressed, she doesn’t have to do homework? Then I realize, you are just entitled and acting like you are now the queen of the world. I don’t think you realize that you don’t have free snack or no homework for too long, and all of this is going to go away soon and you are going to have nothing. I don’t think you have realized that yet, and hopefully you do now. I’m sorry about this, but me and Casey have both decided that we can’t be friends with you anymore until you decide to fix your attitude. I don’t think how you are acting right now is you. You are acting like you are too over-powered, but you are not.”
Julie read all this, rolled her eyes, and responded with, “Okay.”
Victoria responded, “Okay, I’ll see you later,” and under that Julie saw that Victoria and Casey had left the group chat. Julie thought about what happened, and how she was acting. She thought they were just overreacting, as she didn’t believe she was acting “too entitled.”
The next day, Julie went to school. Julie had forgotten what happened the previous night, and didn’t think much of it. However, she shortly realized how much she messed up.
Nobody would talk to her. She went up to Casey and Victoria to say hi, and they gave her a dirty look before saying “Hey,” back. Then, Casey and Victoria shut their lockers and walked into their first class. Julie was also in that class, so she attempted to talk to them, but they ignored her.
“I mean, I have to do some school work, so unless you want to help me, unlike yesterday, then I advise you do your own thing,” Victoria said, and got back to work.
The day went by, and Julie thinks that nothing else would happen until she went to lunch, where nobody was sitting where she usually sits. She assumed that Victoria and Casey weren’t at lunch, but then ten minutes went by and nobody was sitting with her. She was just sitting alone, in the front of the lunch room, with people staring at her. She felt everybody staring at her, not just a few people, but she felt all eyes on her. She sat there quietly and ate her lunch, trying to put her head down.
Somebody came to Julie and said, “How does it feel to be the class president and be sitting alone at the table? Your friends are over here with us, enjoying themselves, we actually bought them snacks unlike you, too. So, how does it feel? You really decided to choose class president privileges for a week over lifetime friends?”
Julie could not get the words out. She shortly realized how badly she messed up, and wanted to make it up to them. She now realized she should not have acted like that, and that she should have been more humble. She shouldn’t have acted like a brat. She realized how she let all of the power get to her head, and now she didn’t even want to be the class president. She realized now that she was acting too entitled, and she felt like she was, after all, over-powered.