“Learning to Love Samantha,” Friend, Nov. 2001, 42
Samantha,* a girl in my first-grade class, was kind of mean. She would step on people’s heels, yell at them, and even hit them. Nobody liked her. Nobody played with her. Sometimes other kids told lies to get her into trouble. I didn’t like her at first, either, but I always defended her when I knew someone had lied to get her in trouble.
In second grade, her desk was next to mine. She kept on being mean, so she was moved away from the other kids. I felt sorry for her and offered to help Samantha with her schoolwork. The teacher let me.
Then Samantha’s baby brother died. That’s when I learned that she has a hard life. She had lived in another state, and her father had drinking problems. When she moved, one of her cats died and another ran away. Then her two dogs died. One day in class, she started crying because she missed her baby brother. I went over to her, and I got to help her that day.
At Christmastime, I drew her name for our gift exchange. Mom and I prayed about what to give her. We gave her a small nativity set, and she really liked it. She became nicer to everyone, and soon everyone wanted to sit by her.
For Valentine Day, we gave each other the same card. We didn’t plan it that way.
She moved away at the end of second grade. That was the last time I saw her. I miss her. Sometimes I even cry a little bit. My teacher thanked me for helping Samantha and said that I had changed her life. I feel good that I chose the right.