Our first moment
In the middle of my first day at the high school, I walked into a classroom that was set up in a completely different way than my previous classes—it looked backwards, upside down, turned around.
There were no desks—just a circle of chairs.
With a group of kids I had never seen before seated in the chairs, I immediately had second thoughts about joining a class I had never really heard about.
I almost walked out.
Regret coursed through my veins as I sat down in a secluded section of the circle; there were two, maybe three familiar faces. I was a terrified freshman sitting in a circle, surrounded by intimidating upperclassmen who seemed like they had their entire life figured out, wondering why I ever wrote down “Writing for Publication” on my course selection sheet.
But when an energetic bald man walked into the room and sat down in the chair next to me, the regret turned into a timid curiosity.
That was the moment—the moment where Ken George sat down next to me, the moment where I walked into his room to see a circle of chairs instead of rows of desks, the moment where I introduced myself to a room full of strangers who shared one single interest: writing.
That first day, my first day of high school, my first day in Room 139, my first day in the presence of Ken George himself, was where everything began.
I am so happy I stayed and that a bald man sat down next to me and made sure I was heard.
My first moments in room 139 will likely be forever ingrained in my memory.
Ken George’s iconic first day of school circle of chairs sat messily in a loop around the room. Four groups of people had sat around that circle already, but no group quite like this one. Twenty or so sophomores, juniors, seniors, and me: the only freshman. There was one familiar face in the crowd. A sophomore that I knew — only more than a little —from church, Susannah Bennett. At the time, I had no idea how important to me she, and the other TCT girls, would become. At the time, I remember being so scared— so utterly sure that I was very much in the wrong place.
There are a million other memories that now fill room 139 —and room 140. Some of my highest moments, some of my lowest moments, and so, so many moments in between. Each one of them infinitely special to me.
But that first moment will stay with me forever.
Have you ever been so nervous for a presentation that your anxiety settles over your memory like a dark, ominous fog?
That’s what my first moments in room 139 were like. I distantly know the things we did in the intro class, but those “memories” are flat and detached — as if someone told me about it, and I accepted their memories as my own.
Except those memories are in fact mine; I still remember how it felt sitting in Ken George’s classroom, how it felt when I learned the story types, how it felt when I free fell into writing. It was exciting as it was terrifying; I was a small fish in a big pond, a shy and alone underclassman trying to keep up with gorgeous and eloquent upperclassmen writers like Sarah Wordhouse.
But, I finally found something I was passionate about, something that was just rewarding enough to keep me going when I felt inadequate. I swear all I talked about that first semester of sophomore year was this type of story I was learning or that lead I was perfecting for the contest.
Let’s be honest: I still never stop talking about how incredible The Central Trend is, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.