"Drake Ollip with 186 votes. Penny Tritz with...193 votes.
Which means that your new class president is Miss Penny Tritz. Congratulations,
Penny! Please report to the front office to claim your new position as class president.
Thank you," and the speaker cut out.
Penny could not believe it! She was the new
class president for the year of 2005. All of her hard work for the past two
months had really paid off. All those late nights of making posters and editing
speeches. All those trips to the print shop to make 'Vote For Penny As Class
President Of 2005' badges. All those bake sales she conducted to promote herself.
She really earned it.
Penny was a very pretty yellow Gelert with soft,
kind, brown eyes. She had always been very successful and a bit of an overachiever.
She lived a comfortable life in the suburbs of Neopia with her mother, father,
and little brother, David. Davey was a troublesome little tyke.
Everyone sitting around her in her math class
started clapping and whooping and patting her on the back.
"Nice work, Pen!"
Penny didn't want to get bigheaded, but she
did enjoy being in the limelight and getting all the attention. It felt good.
But the part of it that made her feel so great was that she was proud to win
not because she was the prettiest, or that she had the biggest house, or that
she was the most popular. She had won because she was going to make some big
changes that the school really needed. As everyone returned to his or her seat
and the class resumed order, Penny's mind began flooding back with all the promises
she had made during her campaigning time and she realized that she had a lot
LATER THAT EVENING....
As Penny sat at the coffee table in the center
of their cramped kitchen, she started a list of the things she had promised
her classmates. Built-in shelves for the lockers, hooks for the backpacks, book
covers to be supplied, better cafeteria food, and new benches for the lunch
tables (the ones they had now were made of old wood and were rotting) were just
a few of the things she had vowed to make a change in.
Penny decided to start with the cafeteria food.
But what now? What do you do when you want to make changes? Penny usually packed
her lunch, so she didn't really know about the food that the cafeteria provided.
Well, I guess I should start with knowing
exactly what's wrong with the food before I do anything else, Penny thought.
She knew what she had to do.
THE NEXT MONDAY...
Penny watched the blob of mashed potato being
plopped onto her styrofoam tray. It stayed in the same shape as the scooper.
As she piled a helping of gray/green peas onto her tray, Penny thought, What
did I get myself into?
She figured that if she was going to go to the
board of administrations, she should have some experience with the cafeteria
food and why it was so bad.
For the next week, Penny sampled all the foods
in the cafeteria from gritty meatloaf to lumpy soup. On Friday, she was more
than relieved for the week to be over. Not only did she try the food, Penny
did research too. She found out that the company that supplied the cafeteria
was a company called NeoNutrition. She looked into the NeoNutrition brochures
and even visited the factory that made all the food frozen to go. She spoke
to the NeoNutrition representatives and went over all the labels of the food
that the cafeteria used in their daily lunches. At the end of the week, Penny
was exhausted. She had the weekend to rest and write up a report for the board
of administrations for her presentation on Monday.
THE NEXT MONDAY...
"If you look at the labels on the frozen food
packages, you will find all sorts of chemicals and substances that are known
to be harmful to Neopets, and you are feeding your students this food. I did
some research as well and you will find that most of NeoNutrition's food is
manufactured in buildings by machines and not even real Neopets. They are made
by all sorts of unknowns that aren't even fully comprehended by the manufacturers
themselves!" Penny was working herself into a fuss.
"So as I finish up my presentation, I would
like you to think about this-" Penny made a gesture to something outside the
window. Two boy Chombies walked in with Styrofoam trays piled high with all
sorts of nasty food from the cafeteria and placed them in front of the staff
"If you wouldn't eat this, why should you expect
your students to?"
The staff and dean looked at the food disgustedly.
After a moment of awkward silence, they all looked up at her and one old man
"Very nicely done, lassie.
The principle began, "Very persuasive. We will
consider your presentation very thoughtfully and get back to you soon. Thanks
so much. You can return to class now. It's...11:45, so you should be in fourth
"Thank you," said Penny, and she bowed herself
out into the hallway. She thought she had done pretty well. She was confident.
It wasn't even an hour later that Penny was
approached at her lunch table to be informed that the staff had been very impressed
with her performance and decided to switch companies starting the next Wednesday.
"Yeah, Missy was sent home today for throwing
up in art class and Lily was sent home as well for having horrible stomach aches.
I think maybe a bug is going around," said Penny's friend Kelly, a Poogle, as
they walked down the hall. It was the last period of the day. The cafeteria
food wasn't delicious, but it was bearable and much better than before.
As they strolled through the school, a yellow
Acara by the name of Melissa came up to the girls and said, "Poor Marshall.
He was sent home today for throwing up two times and bad bathroom visits-" she
made a grim face. "Something weird is going on."
Over the next three days, more than half the
school was bedridden for various 'viruses,' as the principle explained, and
more were going home every day. Something fishy was going on. The school announced
that they planned to take direct action and figure out what was plaguing the
whole student body, as well as many teachers. But nothing changed. They checked
all the soap and made sure water-treatments were being performed. They checked
all medication that was given to any students and restocked the vending machines
with new, fresh snacks. All this was done in a matter of a couple of days and
on Friday, they were to have the food in the cafeteria go through screenings
and such to make sure it was healthy and nutritious. It seemed reasonable as
most of the students ate it almost every day. Soon Friday came, much to the
relief of everyone, as well as the cafeteria check-up.
"Oh goodness," said Mrs. Tritz, Penny's mother,
under her breath.
"What's up, Mom?"
"It's a letter from the principle…" her voice
"Did Davey fill the staff water bottles with
soap bubbles again?" asked Penny absent-mindedly.
"No, no…Apparently, they did some tests on the
cafeteria food and found some pretty fishy stuff in there. You know that 'virus'
everyone's been suffering under?" Penny was interested now.
"That was no virus. That was food poisoning."
Penny's heart dropped into her feet. This was
horrible and it was all her fault!
Penny ran into her room as her cheeks became
tearstained and her eyes swollen. She sat on her bed and sobbed. From the kitchen,
she could hear a knock on the door and as her mother opened the creaky thing,
"YOUR DAUGHTER...MY DARLING BABY GIRL...THIS
IS GOING TO COST..."
Mrs. Tritz slammed the door in the face of a
very upset and outraged mother Moehog.
Penny burst into a fit of tears. This was a
disaster! Penny's mom was a pretty Gelert with soft, comforting gray eyes. She
maneuvered her way around piled boxes and debris sitting around the house and
reached her daughter's room where she came in and sat on the cushy bed. She
placed her soft paw on her daughter's. The pads on Mrs. Tritz's paws were worn
down with love and hard work and were always inspirational to her daughter.
They were like history books themselves, full of wisdom and grace.
Penny was emotionally drained and fell asleep
quickly; only to wake up the next morning to find that what she hoped had been
a nightmare was her own reality. I failed to mention that school had been canceled
for the next Monday and Tuesday. The school needed time to find a new company
for the cafeteria and wanted to give the students time to recover from the trauma.
Penny was called in to school for a meeting with the principle.
"I know that you are a very responsible girl,
Penny. And that is always a good quality in a person, but you must understand
that this had nothing to do with you," explained principle Dosher. But this
didn't make Penny feel any better. She still felt that this was all her fault.
She told the principle she was prepared to make a statement and a personal apology
to the entire school. The principle told her it was not necessary and it would
not be allowed.
She dreaded returning to school on Wednesday,
but she had to face this.
Penny showed up at school early to take a seat
in her class before anyone could give her any grief in the halls. Most of the
students had recovered quickly and were back at school on Wednesday.
Penny watched the clock on the wall during the
entire first period class and exactly two minutes before announcements were
to be made over the loudspeaker, Penny promptly raised her hand and requested
to go to the restroom. Her teacher gave her a cynical look, but reluctantly
let her go. As Penny walked down the hall, she purposefully walked right past
the ladies' restroom and straight into the audio room where all announcements
3 MINUTES LATER...
"And that's the news for March 25, 2005. But
before we sign off, we have a special announcement from our very own, Penny
Tritz." Penny cleared her voice.
"Hi, I'm Penny Tritz, your class president.
As all of you are aware of, there has been a little glitch in the cafeteria
system," her voice was glum and you tell the disappointment in herself was definitely
"This is really all my fault. You see, it was
me who made a presentation to our school heads about why we needed a change
in the food here. I will take full responsibility for my actions and I am so
sorry for any trouble that I have caused any of you. Please...don't hate me,"
and Penny switched the microphone off. As she left the audio room, the bell
rang and a swarm of students poured out from all the classrooms.
All of a sudden, everyone surrounded Penny.
"Penny, we forgive you!"
"It was an accident!"
"We could never be mad at you!"
She was so surprised at the reactions from her
classmates. She was expecting them all to hate her, but in fact, they completely
understood. As the excitement died down, Penny grinned and as she walked to
her next class, everyone else grinned back at her.