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ONLI NEWEEKLYSERI ALSTORY


Table  of  Contents   Chapter  1:  The  Story  Begins  .....................................  2   Chapter  2:  The  Best  Way  to  Serve  ..........................  7   Chapter  3:  All  Plans  on  Hold  .................................  12   Chapter  4:  A  Hard  Decision  ...................................  16      

 


[Note:   If   you   are   reading   this   in   your   classroom,   you   may   decide   to   vote   as   a   class   and  have  your  catechist  or  teacher  submit  your  vote  each  week.  If  you  read  the  story   at  home,  you  can  submit  your  own  vote  from  a  home  computer.  You  can  only  vote   once  from  the  same  computer.]    

Chapter  1:  The  Story  Begins   “This  has  been  a  great  Christmas   vacation!”  exclaimed  Jake.  “Our   hockey  team  won  our  tournament,   Keiko  was  on  TV,  and  Manuel  had   a  great  trip  to  Mexico.”     “And,”  added  Keiko,  “I  learned  to   ride  my  new  bike!  I  know   everybody  else  learned  when  they   were  five  or  something,  but  I  never   had  a  bicycle  before,  so  this  was   the  highlight  of  my  vacation.”   Character  1:  Jake     “I  should  think  that  winning  a   national  music  competition  and   being  on  American  Morning  on   the  same  day  that  Justin  Bieber   was  a  guest  would  be  the   highlight  of  anyone’s  vacation,   Keiko,”  laughed  Ellie.     “Yes,  that  was  very  nice  also,  “   said  Keiko,  shyly.         Character  2:  Keiko      

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“Yeah,  that  was  great,  Keiko,”  said  Jake,  “even  if  the   violin  is  not  my  favorite  instrument—to  say  the   least!  But  let’s  get  down  to  business  here.  Back  in   September,  we  started  this  club.  We’ve  been   meeting  twice  a  week,  once  during  the  week,  and   once  on  the  weekend,  and  we’ve  finished  a  big   project.”       “Yes,  collecting  five   truckloads  of  toys  for   homeless  children  for   Christmas  was  an   accomplishment  to  be   sure.  The  goals  of  our  club   are  adventure,   exploration,  and   discipleship.  By  the  time   we  finished  the  project,  we   had  done  all  three!”  said   Manuel.          

Character  3:  Manuel

   

 

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“I’d  like  to  bring  up  an  old  agenda  item,”  began   Ellie.  “Back  in  September  when  we  started  the  club,   I  asked  if  kids  outside  our  neighborhood  could   belong  if  we  voted  them  in.  You  know,  like  kids   from  the  apartment  buildings  a  few  blocks  over.     A  lot  of  them  are  friends  with   Keiko  and  me.”       “I  still  don’t  think  so,”  said   Jake,  who  had  been  voted  the   group  leader.  “This  is  a   neighborhood  club.  We  all   have  other  friends,  but  the   four  of  us  are  best  friends.   We’ve  known  each  other  since   we  were  in  preschool.  Our   moms  and  dads  all  know  each   other.  You  know,  it’s   different.”     “Well,  could  we  invite  them  to   be  part  of  our  projects   Character  4:  Ellie   sometimes—now  and  then?”   asked  Manuel.       “Yes,  I  think  that  would  be  nice,”  said  Keiko.       “I  do  too,”  added  Ellie.  “My  friend  Carly  has  lots  of   talents—she  could  help  us  out  with  lots  of  things.”    

   

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“I’ve  thought  that  over  since  then,”  said  Jake.  “I  still   think  it  should  be  our  own  club,  but  we  could  invite   others  for  special  projects.”     After  some  discussion,  all  agree.       “There’s  one  more  thing,”  said  Jake.  This  time  his   voice  was  not  as  confident.    “It’s  about  my  little   brother,  Benjie.”     “What  about  him?“  asked   Manuel,  sounding  concerned.   “He’s  not  sick,  is  he?”     “Benjie?  No,  he’s  not  sick.  My   mom  says  he  is  the  healthiest   one  in  the  family,  with  more   energy  than  the  rest  of  us   combined!”  said  Jake.  “No,  the   problem  is  this.  He  needs  to   come  to  our  meetings  on  the   weekdays.      

 

I’m  supposed  to  watch  him   after  school  this  semester.    He   doesn’t  want  to  go  to  after  school  care  anymore,   and  Mom  said  if  I  would  watch  him,  he  could  come   home  after  school.  I’m  not  supposed  to  let  him  out   of  my  sight.”         Character  5:  Benjie

   

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“Oh  great!”  said  Ellie,  without  enthusiasm.  “A   super-­‐active  little  kid  who’s  not  even  in  double   digits  yet!  This  will  really  hold  us  back.    What  if  we   wanted  to  go  out  of  our  neighborhood  on  one  of   our  projects  or  adventures?  We’re  all  allowed  to  go   farther  from  home—like  down  to  Murphy  Park—as   long  as  we  stick  together  and  take  our  cell  phones.   But  I’ll  bet  Benjie  can’t  do  that  yet-­‐-­‐even  with  you.”     “No,  you’re  right.  He  can’t.  Even  with  me,”  said  Jake,   dejectedly.  “She  says  there  are  too  many  people   there  and  I  could  lose  him.”     “Why  doesn’t  he  just  stay  at  day  care,”  said  Manuel,   hopefully.    “Lots  of  kids  his  age  still  go.  Won’t  his   friends  still  be  there?”       “I  think  it  has  something  to  do  with  money,”   responded  Jake.  “My  parents  are  trying  to  save   more  so  we  can  take  a  trip  next  summer.”       “Why  don’t  we  have  a  secret  vote  and  let  the   majority  rule,”  suggested  Keiko.  “That’s  the  only   way  to  come  to  a  decision.”       The  group  agreed,  and  Manuel  ran  into  his  house  to   get  some  paper  and  pencils.   __________   TIME  TO  VOTE          

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[Note:   If   you   are   reading   this   in   your   classroom,   you   may   decide   to   vote   as   a   class   and  have  your  catechist  or  teacher  submit  your  vote  each  week.  If  you  read  the  story   at  home,  you  can  submit  your  own  vote  from  a  home  computer.  You  can  only  vote   once  from  the  same  computer.]    

Chapter  2:  The  Best  Way  to  Serve   The  Highland  Ridge  Explorers  were  seated  in  the   TV  room  at  Keiko’s  house.  It  was  raining  hard   outside,  and  they  were  having  their  Wednesday   meeting  there.     Keiko’s  mother  came  into  the  room  with  some   crackers  and  cheese  sticks.  “Would  anyone  like   some  lemonade  to  go  with  these?”  she  asked.       “Yes!”  everyone  answered  together.  Can  we  help   you  carry  it,  Mrs.  Yamamoto,”  asked  Ellie.  “Oh,   that’s  o.k.,”  Keiko’s  mother  responded.  “Benjie,  why   don’t  you  come  out  to  the  kitchen  and  help  me.  I   have  cartons,  so  I’m  sure  you  can  handle  it.”  “Okay,”   said  Benjie,  jumping  up.  The  group  had  only  been   in  the  room  for  five  minutes  and  he  was  already   fidgety.       When  the  juice  was  passed  out  and  everyone  had   had  some  of  the  snacks,  Jake  called  the  meeting  to   order.  “The  first  thing  I’d  like  to  do  is  thank   everyone  for  not  kicking  me  out  of  the  club,  and  for   letting  Benjie  come.  I  told  him  he  had  better   behave!”          

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“Oh  he’ll  be  fine,”  Ellie  said.  “I  think  when  we   thought  it  over  we  realized  that  losing  you  in  the   club  would  be  worse  than  having  Benjie  here.”       Benjie  was  just  turning  the  corner  from  the  kitchen,   and  retorted,  “I  heard  that.  I  don’t  know  why  it’s  so   hard  for  you.  It’s  harder  for  me!  None  of  my  friends   are  here  and  I  have  to  sit  through  this  boring   meeting.”     “I  warned  you,  Benjie.”  Jake  shot  him  a  look.  At  this,   Mrs.  Yamamoto  entered  the  room  smiling.  “Benjie,  I   wonder  if  you  would  mind  coming  to  the  kitchen   and  helping  me  with  something.  I’m  baking  a  cake   for  the  parish  bake  sale,  and  I  need  help  with  the   frosting.”     Benjie  flew  to  attention.   “Sure,  Mrs.  Yamamoto,”  he   exclaimed.  “Can  I  lick  the   bowl  when  you’re   finished?”  Keiko’s  Mom   laughed  her  little  tinkling   laugh.  “I  think  that  might   be  possible,  Benjie,  after   you  help  me  ice  the  cake.   Now  come  along.”        

   

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“Whew!”  said  Jake,  after  they  went  to  the  kitchen.   “Your  mom  is  really  a  lifesaver,  Keiko.  Now  let’s  get   to  work.  We  need  to  come  up  with  our  next  project   today.”       Ellie  raised  her  hand  to  speak.  “I  thought  of  three   possibilities,”  she  said.  “First,  ”  she  began,  “we   could  raise  money  to  buy  books  at  our   neighborhood  library.  Our  teacher  said  she  read  in   the  newspaper  that  they  don’t  have  money  for  any   new  books  this  year.”       “Second,”  she  continued,  but  Jake  interrupted  her.   “Whoa!  One  at  a  time,  Ellie.    Someone  else  might   have  an  idea.  How  about  you,  Manuel.  Have  you   thought  of  anything?”       Manuel  thought  for  a  minute.  “Well,  as  you  know,   my  mom  teaches  in  the  Special  Needs  class,  “  he   said.  “They’re  going  to  have  a  Talent  Fair.  They’re   doing  art  projects,  putting  on  a  concert,  and  also   doing  a  skit  of  some  kind,  I  think.  She  wants  to  get  a   crowd  to  come,  but  other  than  the  school   newsletter,  she  needs  help.  All  of  her  time  goes  to   helping  them  get  ready.  She  wants  a  really  big   turnout  for  the  nighttime  performance.”        “Okay“  said  Jake.  “That’s  a  good  idea  too.  Anyone   else?”          

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“Well,  I  had  some  other  ideas,”  said  Ellie.  “Unless   you  or  Keiko  want  to  suggest  something,”  she   added.       “How  about  it,  Keiko.  Any  ideas?”  asked  Jake.       “Well,“  she  began  shyly.    “We  could  put  on  a  Talent   and  Craft  Fair  with  our  sister  school.  Some  of  us  are   pen  pals  with  the  students  there  and  I  always  wish   we  could  see  them  face  to  face  and  get  to  know   them  better.”       “But  they  are  so  far  away—it’s  over  40  miles  from   here,”  said  Jake.  “It’s  on  the  other  side  of   downtown.  Where  would  the  Fair  be?”       “We  could  have  one  day  here  and  one  over  there,“   said  Manuel.  “It  could  be  fun.  We  would  get  to   know  more  about  them.  The  kids  there  come  from   a  lot  of  different  countries.”     “But  how  would  we  get  there?  There  would  need  to   be  rehearsals  and  joint  projects,  wouldn’t  there?   Otherwise  what  would  be  the  point?”  interrupted   Jake.       “And  remember,”  added  Ellie.  “It’s  only  your  sister   school,  not  ours.  Manuel  and  I  go  to  public  school.”      

   

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“These  are  very  good  points,”  said  Keiko.  “It   probably  isn’t  a  very  good  idea.”     Ellie  turned  to  her.  “We  didn’t  say  that,  Keiko.   We’re  just  saying  there  are  a  lot  of  things  we  would   have  to  figure  out.”       “Well,  “  said  Jake,  standing   up.  “The  way  I  see  it,  we  have   three  ideas  on  the  table,  all   good  ones.  Let’s  take  a  vote   and  see  which  one  we  like   the  best.  Can  we  just  do  a   show  of  hands  on  this  one,  or   do  we  need  a  secret  vote   again?”     “A  show  of  hands!”  they  all  answered  at  once.       “Okay,”  agreed  Jake.  “And  remember,  we  shouldn’t   just  vote  for  what  would  be  the  most  fun.  We   should  always  choose  what  will  do  the  most  good.   Is  everyone  ready  to  vote?”   __________   TIME  TO  VOTE      

   

 

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[Note:   If   you   are   reading   this   in   your   classroom,   you   may   decide   to   vote   as   a   class   and  have  your  catechist  or  teacher  submit  your  vote  each  week.  If  you  read  the  story   at  home,  you  can  submit  your  own  vote  from  a  home  computer.  You  can  only  vote   once  from  the  same  computer.]    

Chapter  3:  All  Plans  on  Hold   Jake  grinned  at  the  group.  “Well,  that  was  easy,”  he   said.  “We  have  a  unanimous  decision.  The  Highland   Ridge  Explorers  will  be  organizing  a  Talent  and   Craft  Fair  with  our  sister  school.  This  should  be   fun.”     “Just  remember,  though,”  said  Ellie,  always  the   practical  one.  “We  don’t  have  permission  yet.  In   fact,  your  teacher  doesn’t  even  know  about  it  yet.   What  if  she  doesn’t  like  the  idea?  She’s  the  one  who   will  have  to  ask  the  principal.”     Keiko  chimed  in.   “What  if  the   principal  at  the   other  school   doesn’t  like  the   idea,  or  they  have   too  much  else   going  on?”     Jake  looked  exasperated.  “It’s  funny  that  no  one   brought  up  any  of  these  objections  before  we   voted!”          

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Manuel  placed  a  hand  on  Jake’s  shoulder.  “Don’t   worry,  Jake.  If  this  idea  doesn’t  work  out,  we’ll  just   choose  another  one.”     “That’s  right,  “  said  Keiko.  I’m  sure  our  or  third   choices  would  be  fun  too.  Our  first  choice  just   seemed  like  something  we  could  really  have  fun   with.”       “OK,”  Jake  responded.  “Let’s  take  first  things  first.   Keiko  and  I  will  talk  to  Miss  Boynton  tomorrow  at   school.  That’s  the  first  step.”     Ellie  jumped  up.  “I’ve  got  to  get  home.  Let  me  know   what  happens.  Thanks  for  the  snacks,  Mrs.   Yamamoto,”  she  called  out,  and  bounded  out  the   door.    Soon  all  were  headed  for  home  and  an   evening  of  dinner  and  homework.     The  next  day  started  off  well.  Mrs.  Boynton  agreed   to  meet  with  the  Jake  and  Keiko  after  school.  But  all   their  plans  were  about  to  be  interrupted.       After  lunch,  she  came  into  their  classroom,  put   down  her  a  stack  of  papers,  folded  her  arms,  and   looked  sternly  at  the  class.  “Boys  and  girls,  we  have   a  serious  problem,”  she  said.  “Does  anyone  know   what  it  might  be?”    

   

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All  in  the  class  shook  their  heads.  Jake  stood  up.   “What  seems  to  be  the  problem?”     “The  problem  is  that  we  have  had  an  instance  of   cheating  on  the  spelling  test.  Would  anyone  care  to   do  the  right  thing  and  own  up  to  this?”     A  few  in  the  class  fidgeted,  but  no  one  spoke.   “Well,  then,”  said  Miss  Boynton,  “Here  is  what  we   will  have  to  do.  All  school-­‐sponsored  activities  will   be  suspended  until  the  guilty  party  comes  to  me   and  admits  his  or  her  error  of  judgment.  Does   everyone  understand?”     “But,  Mrs.  Boynton,”  said  one  of  the  boys.  “That’s   not  fair.  Only  one  person  cheated,  and  yet  we  are   all  going  to  be  punished?  Why?”     “Because,”  said  Mrs.  Boynton,    “we  agreed  at  the   start  of  the  year  when  we  made  our  class  rules  that   we  would  all  be  accountable  for  one  another.  When   one  member  of  our  group  falls  short,  the  whole   class  is  weakened.  And  may  I  remind  you,  if   someone  has  information  about  this,  you  do   neither  the  guilty  party  nor  your  classmates  any   good  by  remaining  silent.”       “But  Mrs.  Boynton,”  another  student  began,  “our   planning  committee  for  the  Valentine’s  Day  party   meets  today.”      

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“And  you  promised  to  meet  with  Jake  and  me  after   school  today,”  added  Keiko.       “Both  of  these  things  will  have  to  wait,”  their   teacher  answered.  “We  have  a  much  bigger  issue   right  now.”     Everyone  groaned,  and  then  fell  silent.       After  school,  Keiko  found  Jake  leaning  against  the   tree  in  front  of  the  school.  “What  are  we  going  to   tell  the  others,  Jake?”     “I  don’t  know,”  Jake  sighed.  “The  worst  thing,   Keiko,  is  that  I  think  I  know  who  did  it.”     “You  what?”  exclaimed  Keiko.  “Jake,  you  have  to  tell   Mrs.  Boynton!”       “No  way,”  said  Jake.  “I’m  not  a  snitch.”     “But  Jake,”  reasoned  Keiko.  “If  you  turn  the  guilty   person  in,  only  one  person  gets  hurt.  But  if  you   keep  quiet,  everyone  suffers.  Think  about  it!”       Keiko  walked  off,  and  soon  Jake  headed  for  home   too,  deep  in  thought.   __________        

 

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[Note:   If   you   are   reading   this   in   your   classroom,   you   may   decide   to   vote   as   a   class   and  have  your  catechist  or  teacher  submit  your  vote  each  week.  If  you  read  the  story   at  home,  you  can  submit  your  own  vote  from  a  home  computer.  You  can  only  vote   once  from  the  same  computer.]    

Chapter  4:  A  Hard  Decision   Jake  walked  home  from  school  with  Benjie.  He   hardly  seemed  to  notice  his  younger  brother.  When   they  got  home,  he  tossed  his  backpack  in  the  hall.       “Do  your  homework,  Benjie,”  said  Jake,  without   much  enthusiasm.  “Then  you  can  watch  T.V.  in  the   kitchen.  Mom  will  be  home  at  5:30.”       “What  are  you  going  to  do?  “  asked  Benjie.  “Don’t   you  have  homework  too?”     “I  have  to  go  next  door  to  see  Jeremy  about   something.”     “You  aren’t  supposed  to  leave  me  alone,”  Benjie   reminded  him.       “Benjie,  It’s  just  for  a  minute,”  said  Jake  with   exasperation.  “You  can  take  care  of  yourself  for  a   little  while.”     Benjie  sighed  and  headed  off  to  the  kitchen.       Jake  knocked  on  Jeremy’s  door.  His  friend   answered  quickly.  “Hey,  Jake,  come  see  my  new      

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video  game.  I’  d  like  to  have  someone  to  play   against.”     Jake  shook  his  head.  “I’m  watching  Benjie,  but  I   need  to  talk  with  you  about  something.       “Sure,”  said  Jeremy.  He  shut  the  door  and  sat  down   on  the  front  steps.  “What  do  you  want?”     “Well,”  said  Jake,  uneasily.  “It’s  about  what   happened  at  school  today.”  He  stopped,  unsure  of   how  to  proceed.     “What  do  you  mean?”  said  Jeremy.     “You  know,  about  Mrs.  Boynton  and  the  spelling   test.  I  mean,  you  and  I  both  know  that  you  were  the   one  who  cheated.”       “No  way!”  exclaimed  Jeremy.  “I  don’t  know  what   you’re  talking  about.”     “Yes,  you  do.  I  looked  over  and  you  were  looking  at   your  hand  and  copying  a  word.  You  saw  me  looking   at  you  and  gave  me  a  warning  sign.”     “Listen,  my  friend,”  said  Jeremy.  “Look  at  my  hand.   Do  you  see  any  words  on  it?  If  you  accuse  me,  it  will   be  my  word  against  yours,  and  there’s  no  proof.  

   

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Besides,  my  dad  would  ground  me  practically   forever  if  I  cheated.”     “Then  you  did  cheat!”  said  Jake.     “I  never  said  that!  Let’s  just  stop  talking  about  this.   End  of  conversation!”  And  with  that,  Jeremy  went   back  in  the  house  and  slammed  the  door.     Jake  went  back  to  his  own  house.  He  went  into  the   kitchen  and  sat  down  at  the  table.  He  could  hear   the  T.V.  in  the  family  room.     Soon  he  heard  his  mother’s  car  in  the  driveway.  She   opened  the  back  door  and  came  in,  carrying  a  bag   of  groceries.  “There’s  one  more  bag,  Jake.  Could  you   get  it  for  me?”       When  Jake  returned  with  the  second  bag,  his   mother  was  holding  a  half-­‐finished  math  paper  in   her  hand.  “What’s  this,  Jake?”  she  said.  “Why  is   Benjie  watching  T.V.?  He  hasn’t  finished  this  yet.   Benjie!”  she  called  out  to  her  son.       Benjie  shuffled  into  the  kitchen.“Benjie,  turn  off  the   T.V.  and  sit  down  and  finish  this  homework  now.   You  know  the  rule.”     Benjie  did  as  he  was  told,  but  went  out  muttering.   “It’s  not  my  fault.  Jake  left  me  alone.”      

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“You  what?”  said  his  mother,  turning  to  Jake.   “Where  have  you  been?”      “I  just  went  next  door  to  see  Jeremy  for  a  minute.  I   was  back  in  five  minutes.”     “Jake,  you  know  the  rules,”  she  said.  “I  have  to  be   able  to  trust  you,  Jake.”       “Sorry,”  said  Jake,  absent-­‐mindedly.  “Mom,  can  I   talk  to  you  about  something.”     His  mother  stopped  and  looked  at  him  with   concern.  “Sure,  Jake.  Let’s  sit  down  here.  She   noticed  that  Benjie  was  back,  heading  for  the   cookie  jar.  “Benjie,  take  this  paper  upstairs  and   don’t  come  down  until  you  are  finished.”       “But,  Mom,”  began  Benjie.     “Go  now!”     As  Benjie  left,  she  sat  down  at  the  table  and  turned   to  Jake.  “O.K.,  Jake,”  she  said  in  a  softer  voice.   “What’s  bothering  you?”     Jake  explained  the  situation  with  Jeremy  and  the   spelling  test.  “I  just  don’t  know  what  to  do.  I  tried   to  talk  to  him,  but  he  denies  it.  He  said  it  would  be      

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my  word  against  his.  If  we  don’t  get  this   straightened  out,  we  have  to  call  off  all  our   activities,  including  our  talent  and  craft  fair.  But  I   don’t  want  to  tell  on  a  friend.”       “Loyalty  is  indeed  one  of  the  signs  of  a  true  disciple.   I  admire  that  in  you.  But  what  will  happen  if  you   are  silent?”     “Everyone  will  suffer,”  said  Jake.  “But  I’ll  feel  like  a   real  jerk  if  I  tell.  I  wish  I  hadn’t  seen  what  I  saw!”     “But  you  did,  Jake.  And  what  will  happen  if  Jeremy   gets  away  with  cheating?  You  really  do  have  a  big   decision  to  make.  Pray  about  it  tonight.  Then  let’s   talk  in  the  morning  and  you  can  tell  me  what  you   intend  to  do.”   __________    

   

TIME  TO  VOTE  

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HRE: Continuous Chapters