Priya waited at the side of the classroom. She watched her opponent Chloe walk to the front and set out her speech.
“I think I would be an amazing class prefect,” started Chloe. “I am on the hockey team, I won the silver medal at the Maths Olympics and played Maria in the school’s production of West Side Story.”
Priya looked at her feet. She had wanted to be in West Side Story; the memory of her audition made her squirm. She’d got halfway through her song, forgotten the words and run out of the room fi ghting back the tears.
“Mrs Price said that I would make a perfect prefect,” Chloe continued. “She said that I would be a credit to the school. Unlike other people…” Chloe paused and shot a mocking glance at Priya. “Vote for me and I will make sure that everyone knows what a great prefect this class has elected. Thank you very much.”
Chloe smiled as the class applauded. As she sat down, she turned to her friend and whispered: “In. The. Bag.”
Mr Awoniyi looked at Priya. “Thank you, Chloe. OK, Priya, it’s your turn. Would you like to tell us why you’d be a good prefect?”
Priya moved to the front. She stared down at the scrap of paper she’d written her speech on.
“Er, right…” She paused and stared at her shoes. Someone – Chloe – sniggered. Priya took a deep breath and started again. “Look, I know I’ve not been the best person to be around. And I’m sorry. But being a prefect would be a chance to change things.”
As she spoke, Priya recalled some of the bad choices she’d made, the hours she’d spent outside Mrs Price’s offi ce and that time she was excluded for a day.
“If you elect me as your prefect, I’ll work hard to make sure your voice is heard. I’ll try to represent this class well when I do, er, my prefect stuff. And, um, yes. Er, thanks.” Priya scurried back to her seat as the class applauded.
Mr Awoniyi gave out some slips of paper and said: “OK, everyone gets one vote. Write your choice down, fold the paper in half and put it in the basket at the front.”
When everyone had voted and the votes counted, there was only one winner: Priya.
- Was the class right to vote for Priya? Why? Why not?
- Who do you identify with in the story? Why?
- Are there times in your life when you don’t feel worthy or deserving of something?
- Is it easy for people to see the real you, or do they just judge on outward appearances or reputation?
- Have you judged others? What caused you to judge them?
This story is based on Luke 18:9-14. Read the passage and compare that story with this one. Discuss what Jesus might have been saying through the story, encouraging the group to think about it in a new way.