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Sam's Jackpot
By Colleen Messina

1     In the eyes of his classmates, Sam Smith was a nerd, but in the eyes of the faculty, he was a stellar scholar and proof that Jefferson High was a citadel of superior education. Sam's intellectual image was enhanced by his wavy, overgrown hair, thick glasses, and sharp tongue. What no one realized, though, was that Sam was a budding entrepreneur and an excellent potential fundraiser for the senior class trip.
2     The senior class found out about the fundraiser during history class. Sam was in his usual front row seat, sitting alert and straight as if good posture could further polish his 4.0 average. Mr. Date told his class about getting orders for Christmas wreaths by going door to door, and then he handed out glossy brochures. Sam had great determination to make the most of this fundraiser because the senior who sold the most wreaths earned a free movie pass for a month!
3     After class, Sam stopped by the library to tell Miss Dewey, the school librarian, all about their fundraising project. The lonesome, steely-eyed book-organizer and the brilliant, solitary student huddled together over a notepad like two ancient alchemists hovering over a bubbling pot creating potions. Miss Dewey was a surprisingly shrewd spinster who did all the calculations for library fines as well as the renewal dates for books in her head. If anyone could figure out how to raise money, she could.
4     "Sam, let's make a list of people who have a marginal interest in education," said Miss Dewey, as she pulled out a fat phone book and began to write down names.
5     "We can send a query to each person, asking him or her to sponsor the trip," said Miss Dewey, and then she described the fundraising letter in poetic terms. Sam took notes like a dutiful scribe and tried to paraphrase everything. Miss Dewey boldly asked the letter recipients to match a percentage of whatever funds the class raised. She went to her computer to type the letters, and Sam rubbed his palms together with delight, knowing that any funds from this idea would help him win the movie pass.
6     As he went out of the library, Sam mentally went over what he should do when he went door to door selling wreaths. He must smile, look the potential customer in the eye, and thank the person exuberantly. He read the descriptions of gorgeous green wreaths ribboned with red silk bows and glittery pinecones. The wreaths looked so real that they practically stood out of the slick, glossy page. Sam closed his eyes, pretending to smell the brisk fragrance of pine...when he bumped into a fellow classmate at the door.
7     "Hey, watch where you are going, you bozo! You aren't really going to try to sell those things, are you?" growled an obnoxious voice. Troy Hilton was a shiftless kid who thought he was cool, but who actually irritated everyone by his depravity. He smirked when he saw Sam studying the wreath brochure and tried to get Sam to forsake the idea of selling wreaths. Troy's mocking tirade made Sam shake inside, and for a moment, Sam was nonplussed.
8     "I like to sell things," replied Sam. "You should try it!"
9     "No way," said Troy with rancor. "I don't care if we ever get to Washington, D.C.!"

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