Forgetting the Pledge: A Memoir

‘Twas the first day of classes, when all through the school, the seniors were stirring and trying to look cool. Their top buttons were buttoned, and their ties tied with care, in hopes that they’d evade the dean’s annoyed glare. The students had gotten all snug in their desks, while “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit danced in their heads. And E.C. in their khakis, and I in my Calvin Klein, had just turned off the song at 8 AM time. I switched on the mic to start off the day, and in the P.A. booth I began to pray…

At least that’s how the fateful day began. I was PUMPED to start senior year; I was hopeful that this would be the best year I’d ever see at McQuaid. Not even one minute after school began, though, I committed the greatest sin an E.C. member could ever commit: I forgot to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, it’s no secret that Forrest . . . erm, particular past members of Executive Council have struggled with this issue, and knowing that should probably have made me feel a little better about my mishap, right? Wrong.

You see, during each and every one of our announcement rehearsals, a different person reminded us: “don’t forget the Pledge of Allegiance!” On that first day of school, Mr. Drahms even stopped into the P.A. booth to specifically make sure we remembered to say the Pledge. It was our ONE JOB for the day to simply recite the words we’ve heard every single morning for the past six years at McQuaid. Being my energetic and excitable self, I jumped at the challenge to open up the announcements on our first day of 12th grade. I looked the other E.C. members in the eyes and said, “don’t worry, I got this!”

Two minutes later, each and every hallway in McQuaid reeked of devastation.

The worst part about screwing up on the announcements? There’s legitimately nowhere to hide. There is a P.A. speaker in almost every single room of the school, which means that everyone in the building can hear you. Each morning, we in the classrooms are silent for 30 seconds out of respect for the prayer and pledge, so everybody is listening when you mess up. I walked down the hallway that day hearing repeated choruses of “YOU HAD ONE JOB!” and “NICE WORK, MOLINARI” coming from students whom I barely knew! Some of them joked that I pulled a Kaepernick, and some of them were genuinely offended by my oversight. I went home that afternoon, in need of a nap and some serious Netflix therapy to erase the memory of everything that happened. I couldn’t be mad at anybody except myself; I was the one who volunteered to say the Pledge, I was the one who botched the words, and I was the one who had to suck it up and take the L. The first day of senior year had officially become one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had at McQuaid. (And I’ve taken a Mr. Sadler exam. I know what a bad day at McQuaid is like . . .)

So I guess I’m writing this today to let all three of our Shield readers in on a secret: I know I messed up. But I also know that people make mistakes, and though I have an almost-perfect head of hair, I am far from a perfect human being. I ask humbly for your forgiveness, for your love & support, and for each of you to move on with your lives while E.C. works hard to make the rest of this year amazing. ¡Viva la Pledge!

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