By Fiona Overcamp, 6th grade

“Wakey, wakey,” Mom says.

I groan. My summer break is officially over and it’s time for another year, a very painful year of school. It is to be my first of four years at Ridgewood High.

“Coming,” I mumble. I rub my eyes, making the world go fuzzy. I sit up and put on my contacts. They sting my eyes. I barely wore them during the summer. My feet touch the hardwood floor and I slowly walk down stairs, the wood creaking under my feet.

I creep past my brother, still too young to attend school, waiting to go to daycare.

I walk to the kitchen and find my place at the table and sit on the antique chair.

I slowly stir my cold oatmeal, wishing I was still in elementary school.

I look up and see the clock. I groan, I wish it was earlier. I mean, I wish for a lot of things, like world peace and such, but I know such goals are unrealistic.

I stand up and push in my chair without eating anything.

I climb up the stairs to the landing, covered with carpet, once beautiful and full of patterns, now dirty and faded to mom’s dismay.

I go to my room and change into a bright rainbow sweater and a pair of mom jeans, now ready for the day. I put on a pair of old sneakers for the fun of it and then I look over and see it: that rainbow pin from Pride last summer. It was the first time I really felt like myself. When I came out as a lesbian in eighth grade I felt like an outcast but that’s when I truly felt free to be me, with no one to judge.

I hope high school will be different and accepting.

I run down stairs. I really don’t want to be any more late than I already am.

When I get downstairs, the school bus was pulling in so I run out to the yard without saying goodbye.

When I get in, I sit next to a girl who was in my class last year and we talk about what we did in the summer which was fun, but also really boring and after a while we just stop talking.

“Good morning class of 2023!” she shouts, almost screaming.

When the bus stops we all file in a sort of line off and disperse. I see a line of students forming to get into school so I decide to join in. Turns out the line is to get schedules so I’m glad I joined the line and get my schedule. My homeroom is room 121 so I turn right and walk and find room 121. Room 121 is a tiny worn down room with simple desks and a smart board, so nothing I haven’t seen before. That’s good.

As I try to find a desk, I hear a voice say, “Gross, do you support the gay agenda?” I instantly turn around, trying to see where the homophobia was coming from.

I see a scrawny boy with abnormally long arms and a MAGA hat.

Not again. It was Luke Bennett, the area homophobe’s son, who was a pure nightmare in middle school. I had prayed he wasn’t in any of my classes, but what can you do.

“I just want to say Jesus hates you and people like you will burn in hell under God’s wrath,” he says, with an eerie smile on his face.

“Good morning to you too, Luke,” I say as I turn to find a seat.

After what feels like forever, the classroom door creaks open and a stout woman with grey hair creeps in, “Hello class, my name is Mrs. Gjoed and I am your homeroom teacher. Now today we are going to an assembly, but under normal circumstances you would be with me for twelve minutes before going to class,” she adds.

We shuffle along to the auditorium along with other freshman homerooms.

The assembly is the normal first day stuff, but the real show stopper is when the principal starts talking about bullying and how they have a no homophobia policy at the school. Luke stands up and shouts from the back of the auditorium, “ YOU CAN’T BLAME ME FOR HATING THE GAYS AND T******S, IT’S JUST WRONG!” Needless to say, Luke Bennet was never seen again at Ridgewood High again.

“The Rainbow Pin” was published in Like a Balloon that Wants to Pop, a collection of short stories, memoirs, poems, and graphic novels written by 6th graders at MS 88 in Park Slope, Brooklyn inspired by the pressing social justice issues of our day. Help support the unique voices of our young authors by sharing their stories and ! To receive notices about opportunities for your child, for our youth writing opportunities newsletter.