Educational Resources - An Elementary Reader
The Bad Hair Day Contest
Angela stood in front of the bathroom mirror and scowled.
Today was the Bad Hair Day contest held twice a year at her school. There would be a winner picked in each class for the worst hairdo, as there always was.
She was in grade two, and had never won the Bad Hair Day contest yet. She picked up a strand of her hair and dropped it. It just wasn't fair.
She crossed her arms and glared at herself in the mirror.
Two contests in kindergarten, two in grade one, one last fall in grade two, and she had not won yet. Bethany, Lisa, Rachel, Susannah, and Stephanie had already won. She really, really wanted to win this time.
Angela's mother, Tiffany, called from downstairs, "It's time to go, come on. We don't want to be late for school!"
Angela stuck two more clips in her long, dark hair. One was an orange clip because her skirt was orange. One was a pink clip because her skirt was pink.
She also had fifteen other clips of all colors already in her hair.
"I'm coming, Mom," she yelled, "I just want to put in three more clips, then I'm done."
She heard her mother's quick footsteps on the steps. Oh no. She closed and locked the bathroom door quickly.
"Hey, come on, no fair," her mother complained, rattling the door handle. "Open up. I can help you so we get finished sooner. Let's not be late."
Angela thought for a minute, then opened the door. "Is this good enough, will I win, Mom?" she asked.
Her mother looked carefully at all the clips. "Well, I don't know. Let's see, hmmm... it might not be different enough. What about adding a big bow?"
She went into her bedroom and came back with white tissue paper with a rainbow of spots, all different sizes. She quickly made a huge bow, much bigger than Angela's head, from the tissue paper.
Then Tiffany began to undo all the clips Angela already had in her hair.
"Stop it," yelled Angela, batting her mother's hands away. "I want those there. Just put the bow over everything else."
She thought to herself that she could take the bow out if she wanted, once she got in the school building and her mother was out of sight.
Tiffany put the clips back in, and used six more to fix the bow firmly on Angela's head, then she grabbed her camera and quickly took a picture, while Angela fussed. "You'll like seeing the picture when you are all grown up. You can show your own kids someday, I hope."
Then her mother said "Just don't expect to win, probably someone else will." She didn't want to get Angela's hopes up and then have her very disappointed.
"No Mom," said Angela firmly, "this time I'm going to win."
"We'll see," said her mother quietly "wouldn't it be nice if you could think of some other girl winning, someone who really, really needs to? Maybe like, I don't know..."
Angela stopped to think. "Karly," she said slowly, "Karly needs to win because her baby brother has been so sick for so long. She's been so upset."
Then they were down the steps, out the door, down the street and at the school in a flash. Tiffany said goodbye to her, kissed her on the face, and turned to walk home. Angela opened the school door and went in slowly.
What if no one liked her bow and clips? What if they all laughed at her and were mean? Her face turned a little red, and she felt like she was almost going to cry.
She looked at the school office window quietly. Oh no, Miss Sherman, the secretary, was there, standing with her back to the window.
Then she stared. Miss Sherman had teeny colored bows all over her head, and each one had a teeny metal hand bobbing up from it. "Miss Sherman," Angela stuttered, "I r-r-r-r-eally l-l-l-like your hair. It's so, it's so, it's so cool."
Miss Sherman turned and gasped, a delighted smile spread all over her face."Why Angela, I just absolutely love your hair. That's the biggest, brightest bow I've ever seen. Your hair is much better than mine."
Two teachers standing in the office, one with green hair, one with purple spiked hair, turned around and whistled and clapped. "Neato," one said.
Angela smiled wider, and turning sideways, did a little pose with her hands on her waist just so, so they could see the back of the bow, too.
Then she walked quickly down the hall and lined up to go to the classroom to start the day. In the lineup, lots of the kids admired Angela's hair.
Even Karly, who hadn't won a Bad Hair Day contest yet either, and who had metallic pipe cleaners braided into her long black hair, said Angela had a better hairdo. "You'll win, just you wait and see," she said.
"No, I hope you win," said Angela happily, and she really meant it. Karly deserved to win.
When they all were at assembly in the gym, the winners were announced, starting with the highest divisions first, then the primary divisions. She couldn't bear to look up when they got to Grade Three. Then she fiddled with her shoelaces until they got to her Grade Two division.
They announced a tie in her division, and the first name was Karly. She was so happy for her, she yelled loudly with everyone else. She was so excited by Karly's win, that when she heard the words "The other Grade Two Division B winner in the tie is Angela Star," she needed three pokes in the ribs from Stephanie before she believed what she heard.
She and Karly had tied for first place!
When her mother came to get her after school, she could hardly wait to tell her, "Mom, guess what?" she shouted. "Karly and I both won the Bad Hair Day contest, we really, really won! And Karly's brother's coming home from the hospital tomorrow, and he's going to be okay!"
Her mother said, "Karly's brother is okay? How wonderful. And you and Karly both won? You did, you both really, really won?" and hugged her tightly. "I'm so glad about her brother, and I'm so glad you finally won. Karly must be very happy. Was it the bow, or the clips or both that made you win?"
"No, no, Mom, it wasn't that at all, we both tried really hard to have good stuff in our hair," said Angela, "but it happened because I wanted Karly to win, and she wanted me to win."
And her mother just patted Angela's bow, gave her a big kiss, and said quietly, "Well, well, well."
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