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At the high school, my performance was the envy for everyone. Maintaining a top position in the class was not an easy achievement. I used to tell my classmates that the best justice one can do to himself in a competition is to possess some personal secrets. However, this was a common joke to everyone who knew me personally, as this statement was later preceded by detailed tips on how I managed to maintain my excellent performance. Deep down, I always yearned to perform even better. This urge was particularly fuelled by the scolding I got from my father every time I showed him my results. He did not commend me or seem to appreciate my performance each time I handed him my exam script. He just emphasized on the reason to achieve the top most grade. I used not to like it to the extent of denying him access to my results unless he pressed. Sometimes, he bought presents for my younger sister and ignored me irrespective of my outstanding performance. He claimed that I was wasting my potential by not utilizing it fully. That was the best I could do and everyone else seemed contented with it. I constantly received congratulatory messages from my fellow schoolmates and teachers. This encouraged me and helped me to overcome the disappointment I got from my father. Interestingly I realized that even the extra effort I was putting on my studies were geared towards impressing my father. This helped me to improve my marks and widen the gap with the other students.

The teachers encouraged us to form discussion groups to help those that could not perform well improve their grades. Those who were willing heeded to this call. This is when I noticed that one of my classmate’s was so serious with her class work and so determined to perform well. During one of the normal school encounters, I proposed her to join our discussion group but she relented. She bragged to me that her intention was to take over and make me swallow my ‘pride’. She was serious as evidenced by her recent improvement in her academic performance and reading pattern. However, this was not enough to dethrone me and thus she sought assistance from the youthful mathematics teacher to fix her terrible performance in that subject. The teacher could not give in to the idea without her parent’s consent. Her parents were overjoyed to hear this and immediately organized with the teacher for a private tuition program after normal school session. The school administration hailed him for his concern for the academic welfare of the students. They were determined to sacrifice everything within their capability to support their daughter’s efforts. The input of the teacher in Jen’s performance was evident as depicted by the drastic improvement in mathematics performance. There was no doubt that the student-teacher combination bore fruits. Other parents also requested the same favor but the teacher declined. He argued that that would overburden him as he had loads.

In no time, I also started to consult Jen wherever I encountered mathematical problems that I could not solve. However, I did not get satisfactory solutions most of the times. It did not take long for her to notice my discontentment and thus she developed a cold attitude towards me. My curiosity forced me to prove her sincerity in performance by scrutinizing her mathematics scripts. My doubts were confirmed when her real performance could not match what her results indicated. I restrained from discussing my realization with anyone else without advising her first. She accused me of being jealous of her performance. She even dared me to report the matter reasoning that everyone was aware of her intention of achieving the top position. I decided to remain silent over the issue. At the time, everyone was happy that at last competition was rife and, Jen showed the potential to perform even better. Our mathematics teacher was diagnosed with stroke and had to be temporarily replaced by a new teacher. He was thus not available to supervise and mark our mathematics exam. To the astonishment of everyone, Jen’s performance in mathematics declined abruptly. However, even before anybody could make out what was wrong, she was admitted as well after an abortion attempt went awry. Her lips spelt out mathematics teacher’s name when queried on the identity of the man responsible!

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