Beckett Jamieson sat quietly the school's office. A few weeks shy of his 13th birthday, he found he was starting to dislike school. It's not that he wanted to dislike it. He enjoyed spending time with his friends; he had enjoyed school up until part way through the 5th grade. Sadly, as that year went on, Beckett had found he was enjoying himself less. Now, he was waiting for Mr Hashmi to come in. He had stood in the same place at the end of the last school year when the principal had told him that the school would let him pass the courses that he had failed. It was made clear that he would have to work harder and pass the next year. They would not help him again.
The seventh grade was already off to a horrible start. After just one month, Beckett had a big assignment. In social studies class, they had to write a one page biography on a historical figure. Beckett had not yet chosen who he would write about. He really hadn't thought about it. He wasn't inclined to either. Social studies had been one of the classes they let him pass even though he had failed. When the day's class ended, Ms Johnstone, the social studies teacher, told Beckett he needed to see the principal. Nuts, Beckett had thought to himself. This was going to take away from his video game time.
"Principal Hashmi will be with you in a few moments." The secretary said, hanging up the phone.
Beckett thought it all over. It had only been two weeks. He wasn't sure what exactly he had done to get summoned to the office. There had been no fights, no arguments with the teacher, and no incidents with a cell-phone or video-game console. Beckett could only think of the stern look he had received from Ms Johnstone for not doing any of his homework assignments.
"Oh." Beckett said out loud.
"Mr. Jamieson. Good to see you. Come into my office." Mr Hashmi said as he sped through the room.
"Coming." Beckett muttered, as he hustled across the room after him.
The door to the principal's private office closed behind Beckett as he entered.
"Have a seat." Mr Hasmi said, taking his own seat behind the desk. "Do you know why you're here?"
"Is it about my homework?" Beckett replied.
"That's part of it. But it's not as simple as that. We're not worried about the actual homework. But the fact that you aren't doing your homework tells us something important."
Beckett looked at the principal for a few seconds.
"It tells us," Mr Hasmi began, "that you're not starting the year the way we wanted you to."
Beckett looked down at the principal's desk.
"We talked last year about how you would have to work harder this year. We let you pass those classes so you wouldn't have to stay behind."
"I know." Beckett replied.
Mr Hashmi watched Beckett for a few seconds before continuing. "I feel like I'm repeating myself. We know that you are smart; we know that you have it in you to do well. A few of your teachers have told me about how enthusiastic and animated you become when they overhear you talking about movies, comic books, and games. They wish you had the same kind of zeal for your school work."
Beckett shuffled his feet under the chair.
"Madame Durand says you're one of the more talkative students in French class. That's impressive, Beckett. Most of your classmates hate talking in French class."
Beckett nodded his head. He appreciated the compliment, but it didn't make him happy.
"Why do you like French class so much?"
"I don't." Beckett responded. "It's just because my father taught me Latin until I was in the 5th grade. You know that. It makes French easy."
"It's still impressive, Beckett. Just because you have an advantage, it doesn't make it any less impressive."
"I guess." Beckett was starting to wonder when this would be over.
"You social studies assignment: who have you chosen for your biography?"
"I haven't thought about it yet."
"Then I'll choose for you. You speak Latin. You father is something of an expert on ancient history. You'll do Julius Caesar. Do you know anything about him?"
"Only from the movies" Beckett replied. "He was a Roman leader, or something. He got killed."
"That's a start, Beckett." The principal said. "You've got the weekend to begin."
"Can I go?" Beckett asked.
"Yes. Go. Get started tonight! Oh and we sent a letter to your house about your start to the year. it should have arrived today."