Gimme An “L!” Gimme An “E!” . . .

Friday afternoon my school is having a LEAP test pep rally. Yes, just like the things you remember having for football games, only for a standardized test. Quoting Dave Barry, “I am not making this up.”

Even more ridiculous? The whole week is LEAP “spirit week.” Tomorrow for instance we’re all supposed to wear orange shirts, as in “Orange you going to do well on the LEAP test?”

It gets worse. During the pep rally I am supposed to give the kids a quick motivational speech. Naturally disinclined towards, and disdainful of, such worthless fluff, I have had to give the speech quite a lot of thought. In addition to being contrary to my nature, it must also ensure I am never again asked to participate in lunacy of this magnitude, yet also not appear deliberately insubordinate. Because my audience will have the attention span of, well, middle schoolers, it has to be short. And it would be nice if it gave them something to think about.

So here it is, the full text of my LEAP motivational speech:

Ladies and gentleman, when Ms. Principal asked me to do this, I was unsure of what to say. I mean, by this time of year, nothing I say can possibly make any difference whatsoever to your performance on these tests. You do not win football games, or any sporting event, by getting hyped up about it the day of the game. You win it by working hard in practice. In the same way, those of you who have worked hard all year are about to be rewarded, those of you who haven’t, well, for you things won’t be pleasant. Nothing I say now can change that. You are all going to get what you have earned.

Still, I think I have some advice for you.

First, for those who have worked hard, who do listen in class, who put their best effort into their assignments, who study for tests, who have succeeded in their classes so far. You folks can go home and relax this weekend. Get a good night’s sleep Sunday, and be ready to succeed on Monday morning.

Second, for those who have not done those things, who have spent more time in detention than in class, who would rather sleep or talk than listen and learn. All I can say about next week is that you had better spend this weekend praying to whatever God it is you believe in, because you are going to need all the help you can get.

And when you do take these tests and find yourself going ten, fifteen, twenty questions in a row with no idea what the answers are, remember how you have acted all year, because you are getting exactly what you earned. Then after the tests are done, remember how you felt while you were failing them and let that motivate you to work hard at your education in the future.

Then next year when I give this talk, I’ll be telling you to go home and relax this weekend, too.

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