Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It was the last day before Christmas Vacation at Saints Bernadette and Therese High School in Lakeville, Nebraska. Senior Cecelia Starr, 17 years old, captain of the cheerleading and girls basketball teams and a straight-A student, was walking towards the Principals office to do the afternoon announcements. She was popular, pretty, and class President. She was planning to study elementary education at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, the next fall. Her boyfriend, 18-year-old senior Jacob Richie, captain of the football, basketball, and baseball teams, was waiting for the bell to ring in Government class. Sure, he was going to Stanford University next fall to study law, but he was done with the test, and he wanted the bell to ring. Now. Everyone considered Cece and Jake the perfect couple. They had been voted Homecoming King and Queen, and everyone expected them to be Prom King and Queen as well. 16-year-old Liliana Jenkins, a junior and Cecelia's best friend, was twirling her hair in Math class. She thought she probably didn't do that well on the test, but as she figured she was doomed to community college anyway. Plus, she had more important things to worry about. Like making sure she wore her hair differently each day of the week and all her jewelry matched her navy, tan, and white uniform. Benjamin Cullins was just finishing his test in Theology class. Theology was his favorite class and he was getting all A's in school so far. He was planning on attending seminary after graduating from high school in two years. He had wanted to be a priest for as long as he could remember.
"Hi, this is Cecelia Starr with the afternoon announcements," Cecelia's voice came over the PA system, "We only have one, make that two announcements today. First of all, don't forget the special Life Night tonight over at church, we will be wrapping presents for our Christmas families, going to Adoration, and eating pizza. Hope everyone can come! And also, have a fun and safe Christmas vacation!" Brrrring! The day was over. School was out for the next two weeks. Cecelia, Jacob, Liliana, and Benjamin all met in front of school. They were planning on going to Lili's to hang out before Lifeteen that night. "How'd your Math test go, Lili?" Jacob asked her. "Good, well I think. Probably not. You know, it's whatever. Like, I had so much fun shopping last week for our Christmas families. Did you see all those deals I got? We got those families like twice what we would have been able to afford!" "Yeah, you can really be a little ditzy sometimes, Lili, but you did get some awesome deals! Why can't you apply those shopping-math skills to school math?" Cecelia asked her. "Because school is school," Liliana said, "and shopping is shopping!" Her friends all rolled their eyes. They were sure Liliana just didn't know her full potential! After they arrived at Liliana's house, they changed their clothes (they had packed a change of clothes in their backpacks), and Liliana's mom asked if anyone wanted some fresh-baked Christmas cookies. Of course, they said yes.
Over cookies and hot chocolate they discussed last weeks Lifeteen shopping expedition some more. "I am just so happy we were able to do 10 families this year!" Benjamin said. "I know," Jacob said, "Last year we only did 6, and this year 10? It's amazing how many donations came in!" "Hey Lili," Cecelia asked her, "what did you have to bring for wrapping tonight?" "I think I am bringing a roll of paper," Liliana replied, "What about all of you?" "Tape!" said Jacob. "Scissors!" said Cecelia. "Sharpies!" said Benjamin. "Cool..." Liliana sighed, "So, Cece and Jake! Looks good for the basketball season, eh?" "We've only had 3 games, Lili, but the team is doing well! We even beat Lakeville High last week, and they are our biggest rival! And Cece, did I tell you how awesome you did in your game against St. Thomas? You guys, I mean, girls, heh heh, um yeah, really rocked! But you did especially great." "Thanks, Jake. Really, we only beat them by 9 points. You did great in your game, though! You shot 4 three-pointers!" "Oh, come on," Jake replied. "Quit being so modest about it, Jacob," Benjamin told him, "You really are a good basketball player. Why do you think you have a basketball scholarship to Stanford?" "Basketball AND academic," Cecelia reminded all of them. Jacob blushed. "Oh wow it's already 5:00!" Benjamin exclaimed, "We had better head to church."

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