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  • This is just a random report of how the first day of my petition went. The Lunch Petition. The petition demanding good, healthy food for all middleschoolers at the Chenery. The petition that may seem nothing more then one kid's obsession, but may lead a revolution in the quality of lunch food (at least at my school) . Yes, that petition.

    I was sweating as I entered the buzzing cafeteria; afraid that the awkward clipboard that I clasped to my waist would draw unwanted attention. But no eyes that I could see picked me out from the rest of the crowd. Feeling confident, I wormed through the incredibly huge mass of kids that was supposed to be the lunch line, and decided to go on mini Strike. No cafeteria food for me today. It would be counterintuitive, don't you think? Me asking people to sign a petition demanding better lunch food while stuffing my face with it all the same? Yes, so I relied on a friend to feed me from their bulging lunchbox so I wouldn't starve.

    At first I went out to friendly-looking kids, explaining the situation, showing the petition itself, and having them scribble down their name if they agreed. However, a teacher soon sent me to a seat and I gnawed on my friend's chocolate blueberries and muffins until I could get back into business. But soon kids slowly trickled by my table, curious about my clipboard and the rumor seeping around the lunchroom. I did my routine of displaying the professional-looking petition and revealing the signature-tempting lined paper stapled onto the back. I filled a page with names this way, untill...the lower school principal, Ms.Johnson, came over to the forming clump of kids and kicked them out. Exact words: "What is going on here?"

    Now, I want to get some momentum in my lunch food petition, and I want to see it successful, but when I'm facing the person who actually has the true power to make it happen, I chicken out. I mean, Ms.Johnson is the principal. That's like king of the school. I don't know whether to bow or play dumb or stand up for my cause or what. In my heart, I want to look that principal in the eye and say, "Ms.Johnson, I believe that school lunches need to be improved, and I know the school struggles to feed all these kids, but I know there's a better way to do it, and I'm making a petition here and trying to get it on legs, and you've no right to stop me." That's what the kid hero in a movie would say, and afterwards everyone would clap and cheer. But that's Hollywood. This is here, and now.

    But stronger then my heart my mind is pulsing. I'm too overwhelmed with respect for this lady to get up and make a speech (even if I wasn't, I wouldn't haven nearly enough courage to make a speech in the middle of lunch). I don't want to get in trouble. I just want to disappear. But since I can't, I say, "I've made this here petition. It's about the lunch food. I want to make the lunch food better." Better then nothing, right? And, surprisingly, the principal sits there with an unreadable expression and says, "Well, good for you. I think this is a grand idea, but just try not to do it at lunch. I don't want to have a commotion around here."

    "Can I do it at recess?"I ask timidly. It's all I can think of.

    "Of course. And if you're really concerned about the lunch food, you can speak with Mr.Brown. He's the head of food services for Belmont schools." I gaped in such astonishment; it sounded as if she was suggesting, "You can speak with the president." I'd originally wanted some important adults to play part in my kiddie petition, but this was too much. In response, I said dumbly, " he Belmont?" I regretted it as soon as it rolled off my tongue. Of course Mr...Brownie or whatever was in Belmont! He's the "head of food services for Belmont schools"! Ms. Johnson shot me a quick smile and strode away to monitor some boys getting a bit too goofy. The lights went off and on, signaling lunch's end. As I was bustled down the hallway in the current of bodies, I managed to flag down a couple more kids' signatures before my day's work was over.

    (hey, maybe I will talk to Mr.Brown! Wherever he is...)
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