by KATE HUNTER
So there’s an election happening in the United States. Two handsome, accomplished, articulate men are locked in battle to become the most powerful man on earth. They would be catapulting between the euphoric feeling that they might win, and the gut- wrenching fear they may lose.
I know EXACTLY how they feel.
In November 1983, I was in the running to be school captain, and I’ve rarely felt such pressure before or since. But thinking back, I was a bit of a dick about it.
School was an unnaturally big deal to me. The primary school I went to was attached to the high school, so I spent the best part of 12 years at the same place, with the same bunch of girls.
Some felt it was stifling – too many girls, too close for too long. But I thought it was great. I knew everything about the place, from the short cut to the science block (through the convent laundry) to where the Cheezels for the tuckshop were delivered. Only now, nearly thirty years later, am I brave enough to write that I might have nicked a packet when I arrived at school very early, which happened a lot.
I was one of those kids who was involved in everything, to the point I almost regarded myself as staff. The nuns got so sick of me ringing the bell outside the convent door, asking them to open the library so I could work on the newsletter, they ended up giving me a set of keys.
My friends started calling me on weekends, asking me to open the place up so they could retrieve a forgotten assignment that needed to be finished by Monday. That was okay, it wasn’t like I had that much else to do – certainly not my own assignments.
For someone so committed to school life I was a pretty average student. Good at English and history, woeful at maths and biology. I spent a fair amount of time in detention in years eight through ten, mainly for disrespecting the uniform (scruffy shoes) and talking during class, but somehow I turned things around by Year 11 to find myself nominated as a student leader.
Our school had a captain, two vice-captains and a sports captain, plus a posse of prefects. But being a prefect didn’t interest me. I wanted a badge with the word ‘captain’ on it. Vice would do.
I embarked on a grueling campaign of sucking up. There was no school rule I didn’t adhere to, and no extra curricular activity I wasn’t signed up for.
I organised a fun run and took photos for the yearbook. I adjudicated junior debating on Friday nights (again, not doing anything else) and I stepped in when the tuck shop was short of mums. My shoes were polished daily and my blazer was lint free at all times. I prayed no one would find our about the Cheezel theft.