The Last Week
Monday 25th May
“Good morning, everyone,” Kate Hardisty said as she came into the teacher’s lounge, “I see everyone is here bright and early.”
“Well, the message from Wilhelmina was fairly clear on Saturday,” Ingrid Mueller said, “We should all be here by eight to discuss approaches to whatever may happen today.”
“Yeah – the text woke me up Saturday morning,” Annie Kelly said as she looked out of the window. “Funny – why is there a coach parked outside?”
“No idea,” Kate said as she looked out of the window as well, while Wilhelmina Tennant came into the lounge.
“Well, this is unexpected,” she said with a smile. “While I am glad to see you all here so early, what is so important it could not wait until later today, given our thinking on…”
She stopped and looked at the faculty as they all looked back at her. “You did ask to see me this morning at eight, did you not?”
“No – you asked us to be in at eight so that you could tell us something,” Kate said quietly, “what’s going on?”
“Ah good – you’re all here.”
Miss Tennant turned to see Jane Molloy and Brooke Hutton standing behind her.
“Jane, Your Honor,” Miss Tennant said quietly, “what can I do for you?”
“Well, it’s more what we are doing for you,” Jane said with a smile. “I take it you’ve seen the coach outside.”
“Yes,” Kate Hardisty said, and then she stopped. “What’s going on?”
“Operation: Takeover,” Brooke said, “we need all of you to follow us now please – and don’t worry, you’re going to have a really fun day.”
“Operation – Takeover?”
“That’s right Miss Tennant,” Jo said as she appeared with Kathy des Moines and Suzie Carter. “So, all faculty members, please follow Miss Molloy and Mrs. Hutton to the coach please.”
“It would appear the festivities have begun,” Miss Tennant said with a smile, “just assure me – no ropes this time?”
“Not unless you wish to climb with them,” Jo said with a smile. She accompanied the faculty as they walked out to the waiting coach, before she stood at the front.
“The Seniors would like to thank you for your co-operation today,” she said in a calm voice. “As a combined thank you and fund raising initiative, you will all spend today in the Hamptons, at an four star spa and hotel, courtesy of a generous benefactor. In return, all classes today will be taken by a guest faculty.”
“And they are?”
“Miss des Moines, the list?”
Kathy smiled as she took a manila envelope out of a bag, and handed it to Jo, who in turn handed it to Miss Tennant. “Enjoy the day,” she said as she jumped off, and the coach left.
“Right – replacement faculty meeting in five minutes,” Jo said as the five of them walked back into the school, while on the coach Miss Tennant very nervously opened the envelope.
“Well,” Kate Hardisty said, “how bad is it going to be?”
“I… I don’t believe it,” the principal said as she handed copies of the sheet round the bus.
“Oh my,” Ingrid said, “that could be most interesting for the German class today.”
“Never mind that, have you seen who they have taking music?”
“And Math,” Annie said. “I’ll give them credit for imagination on that one.”
“And as for us?”
“Let’s enjoy the day away,” Kate said as she sat back, “I think the girls are going to have a day to remember…”
“Another Monday, another math lesson first thing,” Jeannie said as she joined Ama and Doc at the entrance to the school.
“True, but look on the bright side – it’s the last week. After this, no more school for three months!”
“I knew there was an upside to this,” Jeannie said as they entered the school. “It also means our end of year reports come out this week – another joy to look forward to.”
“Don’t be a downer,” Becca said as she and Nikki sat with them, the buzz in the room growing until the doors that led to the teacher’s lounge opened – but instead of the faculty, it was Jo who came to the front.
“If I can have your attention for a moment,” she said as the usual chatter died down. “Thank you. As you know, there is a tradition here at St Angela’s for the last full week of the semester to include a fund raising event, usually a charity stunt. I’m sure some of you remember last year’s charity kidnapping – I know I do.”
Some of the Juniors laughed and nodded.
“However, this year we are going to do something different,” Jo said. “You may have noticed the distinct lack of teachers at the moment. This is because – well, we’ve given them the day off, and brought in some substitute teachers instead to take your classes today. Please, welcome your guest faculty for today.”
Kathy and Suzie opened the large double doors, the girls screaming as Elly Mental walked in and sat at the piano, playing some music as Brooke Hutton and Jane Molloy led the parade out.
“Oh my goodness,” Jeannie said as Danielle Sheypuk wheeled herself out with the rest of the guest teachers, and took her place by the piano.
“All right girls,” Abby said as she stood up, “in return for this, you need to give generously in the classroom today. Our teachers will take up a collection as well, and we will be sending a message to alumni – well, those who are not here – and parents soon. Show your appreciation for our teachers today, and give them a huge cheer!”
The room cheered and clapped as Jo said “Miss Elly, would you lead us in the school song before we go to classes please?”
“My pleasure,” she said as she stood up and said, “let’s rap this girls!”
“All right, I don’t think I’ll ever look at the school song in the same way again,” Doc said as they walked into the math room for first lesson, “so I wonder who we’ve got today.”
As they sat down, the girls were surprised to see Clare Morse come in.
“All right everyone,” Clare said, “settle down. As many of you know, Becca here is my daughter, but what many of you probably do not know is I actually have a Masters in Social Science – and my major in that was survey analysis. So I’m here to have a discussion with you about how numbers can be made to mean anything, depending on how you display them.
“Stupid question, I know, but do any of you look at the business pages of your parent’s papers, especially when a corporate takeover is underway?”
One or two of the girls nodded, as Clare said “here’s a true story from the eighties, concerning a company called Distillers…”
In the science room, the Sophomore science class were looking at the tall, gangly limbed, red haired woman in the white coat.
“Alright girls, today I think we as a guest staff are here maybe less then to actually teach you something new, but more something about the real world applications of what you learn at St Angela’s.”
There was a buzz round the laboratory/classroom.
“For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Patricia van Roon, my sister Elizabeth was lucky enough to be an Angel…I wasn’t. Blame her – and ask Jane Molloy why if you get the chance later.”
Pussy waited for the giggles to die away.
“For my sins I hold degrees in physics from Yale, and a doctorate in Experimental Physics from Heidelberg University in Germany. My specialty is in the movement of particles through a vacuum and their inter-relations with other substances in that state.” Pussy smiled, “And I know that sounds as boring as hell?”
“A bit Miss.”
“Well let me start with asking a question - how many of you want to major in science subjects at university, and I include Math and Medicine in that?”
About a quarter of the hands went up.
“Now the rest of you do all know that most universities do require you to take some science and math as undergraduates?”
“Yes.” A couple of voices groaned.
“Why do you think they ask that?”
“Because they want us to be well grounded all rounder’s,” a hand shot up.
“That is true, but they also know that a rudimentary knowledge of science is in fact necessary in every career…. How many of you want to be lawyers?”
A handful of hands shot up.
“Don’t you need to have at least have a basic idea what expert witnesses are testifying to so you can ask the right questions?”
“I guess.” One girl shook her head.
“I know at least one of you is an aspiring political scientist…don’t you know analyzing and understanding opinion polls for example require some knowledge of scientific methodology?”
“Yes,” a head nodded.
“I guess the point I’m making.” Pussy looked at each girl’s eyes slowly, “science is not just for geeks like me, I can promise that at various times of your life you’ll all be using what you learned in this class.”
The junior class was in the music room.
"Five years ago, I was you, sitting in Music Class and listening." Elly Mental smiled.
"You all know I do rap, and for a rich white kid
from the Upper East Side, I guess I do it pretty well...What was it Rolling
Stone said about me tapping into the mean dark alleyways of Manhattan?"
Most girls laughed.
"Well at the expense of my street cred let me put
my hands up and tell you I adore Bach, have a huge love of Cole Porter’s songs,
listen to the Beatles all the time, and get down to Hammer."
"What I'm telling you girls is that music is not
just what moves you today, it's what has moved us as human beings since the
first woman tapped two bones against each other and made a noise."
Elly watched while heads nodded.
"Never EVER close your ears to any kind of music
and reject it just because it is un-cool. Most of you know Judy McNally, last
year’s head girl, you remember the girl with the big mouth and the big heart.
Well she's pretty cool isn't she?"
"Yes!" girls cheered.
"Well did you know Jude's favourite music is
Early English church music?"
"No." Heads shook.
"Well it is, and how did she learn about such music? Right here in this very room. So let’s talk, honestly, about your favourite music."
One girl put her hand up and said, “I like The Carpenters. Is that wrong?”
“Of course not,” Elly said. “One, Richard Carpenter was a fantastic music arranger. Two, Karen was one of the greatest pop drummers and voices of all time. And three, her story is a warning to all of us. Now, who’s next?”
“Here’s the thing, girls,” Jane Molloy said as the English class sat round her, “90% of the work of a journalist is really boring work – gathering evidence, checking facts, doing interviews, all in the hope that you will find that one special thing to make the headline, and maybe get the front page. Very few of us get that – I’ve just been one of the lucky ones.”
“So how do you get to find so many things out, Miss Molloy?”
“Like I say, hard graft – much of which is cultivating contacts and gaining their trust. For example, supposing you heard, purely hypothetically, that there was a plan to knock down St Angela’s and build a Taco Bell on the site. Whom would you talk to?”
She looked round the room as the girls thought that over.
“Board of Education?”
“Board of Governors?”
“Any other ideas,” Jane said as she looked round. A Junior raised her hand and said “What about the manager of the local Taco Bell?”
“Good suggestion – he probably knows more than all the above, including if he is likely to be moving or his sales are too much for him to cope with. Lesson 2, after the grudge work – think outside the box…”
Inn on the Green
“You know, now the cat is out of the bag, only someone like Jo would have put together something like this,” Carina said as she fed Judith a carrot stick.
"I think it was a pretty cool idea of the girls
to assemble a team of guests to go in and talk to the kids for one day, it adds
a real life experience to the theoretical." Kelly Rochermann looked up
from her salad.
"Well I know Annie will be boiling mad that
neither Jan or Jeanne let her in on the secret." Caroline sipped her
Chateau de Ros. “She was sure something
was going on, but they said absolutely zilch.”
"Well they can both talk with knowledge about
both law and policing as experts..."
"As can Sigi and Judge Hutton" Juliette
"Can you imagine having a Pulitzer Prize winner
like Jane come in and talk to the aspiring journalists?" asked Nessa.
"And all you as alumnae and Parents have to do is
pay extra for this unscheduled day of teaching expertise?" Carina smiled.
"Well your sister is holding a class in social
German, teaching words that will be used at parties, etc." Juliette nodded
at her daughter.
"Which will be of far more use then most of the
German I learned." Rachel McNally.
"Well I'm not alumnae, nor quite yet a parent." Gale smiled as she looked at her tummy, "but I've made a donation."
“Good for you – if it’s a girl, your turn will come,” Paulie said as she cut into her salmon. “We made a donation as well – after all, we have a ringer in there.”
“Yeah – how did Pussy end up going in and not Liz,” Kelly asked.
“Liz had a business meeting today, so couldn’t make it,” Paulie said. “There’s also the small matter of her oldest son’s commencement this week.”
“Oh yeah – have Ally and Nell got their dresses sorted out for that,” Cari asked.
“They’re going shopping this afternoon – although, come on, both of them having to wear white?”
“I know, I know,” Cari said, “but it’s the tradition, isn’t it? I know Jo’s got hers sorted.”
“I can’t believe it, you know,” Juliette said, “another year gone already. Where does the time go?”
“No idea – but if you find out, let me know,” Caroline said. “So what plans for the summer?”
“Not sure yet – beyond our trip to London,” Juliette said. “When do you head to Munich, Cari?”
“Monday – Annie, baby and I fly out Monday night, then meet up with you in London. A week in Munich, then a few days in Vienna before coming over with Ingrid.”
“Ama’s coming over with me, and then we’re going to stay with my grandfather for a few days,” Caroline said. “We’re going to Shirley’s house warming, then it’s the mass exodus to LA for Maddie’s wedding.”
“After which, we decamp to the holiday homes for baby’s first birthday, isn’t that right little one,” Cari said as she trickled Judith’s chin.
“You know with Jo graduating we need find a new venue for the Friday Afternoon Coffee Club to meet?” Elaine Colman looked over at Sandy and Heather as she said this.
“Why not keep meeting at my place?” Sandy asked. “It’s central it’s convenient, and there is no way Heather and I want to lose touch with the gang.”
“Well if you are sure?” Jan asked.
“I am, and besides, both little Sandy and Katy will both also be Angels within a couple of years.”
“I know,” Nessa, sighed, “how time does fly.”
“Have you decided where you are sending George,” asked Paulie.
“Probably St Augustine’s, it was his father’s old school.”
“That makes sense then.” Rachel nodded.
“So where are you going this afternoon Carina?”
“Over to the church to listen to Jude rehearse, then when they get out some of the 2015 girls said they want to come over and pick our brains about how to pick a class correspondent for the alumnae magazine etc.”
“Have they picked out their class gift to the school yet?” asked Kelly.
“That new edition of the collected diaries of Samuel Pepys, all eleven volumes, leather bound, plus the commentaries.”
“That’s a nice gift.” Juliette smiled, “useful and beautiful.”
“I think they thought so.”
“Right – I have an editorial meeting,” Juliette said, “so I need to get going. I’ll see you all later in the week.”
“See you later,” Nessa said before she looked at her watch. “Oh lord – Paulie we need to get going as well.”
“So we do – see you all later,” Paulie said as the two older ladies left.
“Is there a difference between Justice and Law?” Brooke Hutton asked a joint Ethics/Social Studies seminar she was conducting with Jan and Jeanne.
“I think so,” one girl put her hands up, “Aren’t laws the creation of society, while justice is a universal concept?”
“That’s a very good answer,” Brook smiled. “Let me then ask can laws be just?”
“They should be?” a short dumpy blonde girl said hesitantly.
“Again a very good answer.” Brooke stood up and walked a few paces. “Now let me ask my two friends from law enforcement for their opinions…Ladies are laws just?”
“Well Judge if I may can I start by asking the girls a question?” Jeanne stood up. “If I arrest a man for killing his wife with poison is that justice?”
“Yes.” Most voices answered, as heads nodded.
“But what if that woman is terminally ill, is suffering immensely, and has begged and begged her husband to end her misery and suffering?”
The classroom was quiet.
“You aren’t so sure now?” Jeanne asked.
“Ideas of law and Justice,” Janice spoke, “are all relevant to the circumstances in which a situation occurs. In my world, and that of the Judge, and of Inspector Marais, we are constantly confronted with problems of this kind, today we want to hear your thoughts, and from our different perspectives we will try and guide and stimulate this discussion.”
“In theory these two ladies have the easier job,: the judge continued, strictly their job is just to enforce the law, right or wrong…How many of you agree or disagree with that concept?”
“Wow this is going to be a thrilling class.” One girl whispered to another.
“And so, as you see, conversational German for a party is not that difficult. We usually forget all the tenses and verbal stuff, and just relax the same way you do.”
As the bell rang, Ingrid looked up and said “And that’s time. Be aware your normal timetable resumes tomorrow, but I hope you’ve all had fun.”
“We have thank you,” Letty said as the Junior class filed out, dropping their donations into the bucket Abby was holding.
“Indeed – we’ve raised over thirty thousand again. I wonder how the teachers are getting on?”
Somewhere in the Hamptons
“I wonder how the girls got on today,” Kate Hardisty said as she relaxed in the pool, a cocktail by her side.
“For once, I think we don’t need to worry,” Wilhelmina Tennant said, a glass of Chardonnay in her hand as she lay on the sun lounger. “Dinner is at six, and then a luxury coach ride back.”
Annie looked at her phone and smiled. “They got over thirty thousand, according to the office – and an offer to match it from Doctor van Roon.”
“Then a most successful day – good health, everyone!”
“It’s nice to see that the school is still cultivating such lively minds.” Brooke Hutton spoke as she sipped her cappuccino.
“It is,” Claire Morse, answered, “They have informed opinions, and they aren’t afraid to make a case for their argument.”
“But isn’t that the point for good private schools?” asked Janice, “That they do have the academic freedom and intellectual rigor to help bring out the confidence in their students? Speaking as a girl who went to a public high school I can say virtually none of my teachers had the time, and in a lot of cases the inclination, to devote to each student to help them develop like that.”
“It must be admitted, and we get just the same thing in Europe,” Ingrid reflected, “private schooling, and or very small classes and enthusiastic teachers help give their students a touch of confidence that does put them ahead of other kids.”
“I just wish all schools were as good as St Angela’s,” Pussy relaxed in her chair.
“I agree,” Jeanne nodded.
“So three more years, and Katie will come through those doors as well.”
“All and the grants willing,” Jan said with a smile. “And it may be the second best thing to ever happen to her.”
“Having me as a mother, of course.”
“And what time do you call this to be coming in,” Ama said as Annie came up the stairs.
“Late – but I had an excuse. Somebody decided to send the entire faculty away for the day, didn’t they?”
“So we heard,” Ama said with a smile as Caroline looked in from the kitchen.
“Well now, hard work today?”
“Very hard work – you’d be amazed how hard the tan can be to start in May,” Annie said with a smile. “But we will thank Jo and the others tomorrow – right now, I want to know who you had today?”
“Well,” Ama said, “Becca’s mom took our math class, and we discussed how adverts can show the same numbers in completely different ways. Music was a discussion of how alike Bach and Springstein are, and the PE class became a tug of war between Jeannie and three other girls. We also had Doctor Sheypuk discussing the film Jeannie and the girls made, and how we can make use of those lessons.”
“So a fun time was had by all?”
“Indeed – but we are still not looking forward to the day after tomorrow.”
“Ah yes – report day…”
Tuesday 26th May
“Well did you enjoy having guest teachers for the day yesterday girls?” Miss Tennant asked. “I heard some of the classes were rather lively, and that you asked an awful lot of questions.”
“We did,” a few young voices replied.
“Good, and I hope you all learned some things of interest from such a distinguished group.” Miss Tennant smiled. “Now a few outstanding matters. You have till Friday to return all books to the library. You all need…”
“I hate this time of year Kate Hardisty whispered to Ingrid Mueller, “It’s such a defining end.’
“But just remember it all starts up again in the fall.”
“And just remember how much you’ll be looking forward to the end of next year in say January.”
“That’s true also.” Mrs. Hardisty suppressed a giggle.
“And finally, the yearbooks are available for Seniors to collect in their room from lunchtime today. As is usual, this marks the end of the formal year for you, but we encourage you to talk with the faculty and other students as you desire – you still need to attend until the end of classes Thursday.
“So – to your classes, and congratulations to all for yesterday.”
“Well, four more days to go,” Nikki said as they headed for the English class.
“Indeed – is everyone up for the Y on Saturday – last time before the summer for all of us?”
“I am,” Jeannie said as she looked at Doc. “Hey – what have you got there?”
“It was waiting when I got home,” Anna said. “An invitation to go to Chet’s School Formal on Friday night.”
“What – in Chicago?”
“Yeah – I’ve got permission to miss the sports day on Friday. Chet’s parents have paid for the ticket there and back, so I fly out Friday and come back Sunday.”
“You lucky little lady,” Nikki said, “but you’ll miss the Y.”
“Hey – I’m not going anywhere for the rest of the summer as far as I know. What about you guys?”
“Mom and I are going to England for a couple of weeks, but after that we will be back,” Ama said, “I think we may be visiting Carina and the others for Judith’s birthday.”
“And don’t forget Kylie is back from Hong Kong, and staying with her cousin Susan. We can get together with her as well!”
“Planning your holidays already girls?”
“Sorry Miss Kelly,” Doc said, “we’ll get a move on.”
“We’ll see you next week,” Sigi said as she and Ingrid kissed Carina and Judith.
“We’re all looking forward to it already,” Cari said as she hugged Willy, and then turned to Natalya.
“You will watch her,” she whispered as they kissed each other on the cheek.
Carina nodded as Klaus came over. “Right – we had best head through. Until Tuesday, my child.”
“See you then Dad, Granddad,” Carina said as Judith raised her little arm, the two of them watching as they headed to the security gate.
FBI Field Office
“Adam – sorry, I meant to give you this back last week, but with all the excitement…”
Tom placed the file on Adam’s desk as Jan said, “you never told us why you wanted to see it.”
“Oh – there was a similar case in Tulsa before we came here, but some of the details were different.”
“Who committed that murder?”
“A young man – mentally ill, claimed to be a descendant of some Bavarian princess. He’s in a secure psychiatric unit now.”
St Angela’s – the Seniors Room.
“Did you get everyone’s?” Jo asked.
“We did,” Ally giggled, “A bra from each girl in 2015, each one autographed.”
“Alright we break in tonight and decorate the hall with them so everyone sees them as they go into assembly.”
“The Tennant will kill us.”
“She might, but she can hardly stop us graduating now.”
"As an added touch we are going to auction each
bra on e-bay with the notice that all funds raised will go to the Kirkham
fund." Kathy smiled.
"Jane Molloy is publicizing all this in her column tomorrow," Jo added, “and we are hoping we can at least raise a couple of thousand more dollars. So meet outside, ten o’clock.”
Kathy, Suzie and Ally watched as Jo looked at the gate that led to the service yard of the school.
“So what are you going to do, Jo – pick the lock?”
“What makes you think I’d know how to do that? Nah, I’ve got a better idea.” Opening her knapsack, she took out a set of keys and unlocked the door.
“Where did you get them from?”
“I borrowed them from Cari – she may have forgotten to hand them back when she was planning last year’s charity kidnapping,” Jo said as the four girls walked in, and she locked the door behind her.
“IT looks different in the dark,” Kathy said as they walked over.
“By the way, did your cousin get back to Philly,” Suzie asked.
“Yeah – she rang me earlier. She and her dad have made up, and they’re going to Europe for a long summer break.”
“Good for them,” Jo thought to herself as she found the door to the kitchen store, and let them in, again locking the door behind them. Taking out a pen torch, she turned it on and shone it round, motioning to Kathy.
“Go through the kitchen, and make sure the place is empty,” she whispered, Kathy nodding as she crossed the open area and then looked into the refectory.
“All clear,” she whispered as the other girls came over, Jo shining the torch in front of them as they made their way to the assembly room.
Ally opened her bag to reveal a collection of bras of various colours and sizes, each one signed on one of the cups.
“These are going to be top sellers once the ‘fans’ find out,” Suzie said as she held up the ones provided by Maggie and Marnie.
“I think they’ll all do well,” Kathy said as she went to a store cupboard, and took out a small set of steps, setting them up at the back of the raised stage. Jo took a length of rope from her bag and passed one end to Kathy, watching as she tied it to the top of the pole in one corner.
As Jo played the rope out, Kathy moved the steps to the other side of the stage, and tied the rope so it hung in a gentle arc along the wall.
“Check,” Suzie said as she took a set out from her pocket. One by one, the bras were pegged up, all except four, which were carefully draped over the piano and the lectern at the front.
“Right – let’s go,” Jo said as Kathy put the steps away, and the group walked back to the refectory, through the kitchen and into the back yard.
“So what do you think she’ll do?”
“Invoke the name of McNally probably – come on, I want to get here early tomorrow.”
Wednesday 27th May
“Good morning Kate,” Wilhelmina said as she deputy came into the office, “how are you this morning.”
“Amused and delighted,” Kate said as she sat down, “I read Jane Molloy’s article in the Times this morning. It seems Monday was an eye opener for a lot of people.”
“Indeed – I’ve written a letter of thanks to all those who helped out.”
“One think bothered me though,” Kate said as she sat down. “Read the closing paragraph.” She handed the paper to Miss Tennant, who read out loud.
“The day managed to raise a total of thirty eight thousand dollars, a total matched by donations from two other sources. This is not the end of the story however – there is one more item of interest for those who wish to support the school.
“The Kirkham Scholarship, named after a student of the class of 2015 who died last year in an armed robbery, provides funds for a student interested in becoming a doctor, is a major focus of the other find raising activities at the school. Today, the class of 2015 offer one final chance to raise money for the fund on their behalf. Go to….”
She looked at Kate, who shook her head. “I looked – all it says is ‘come back at 8.45 am.’”
Wilhelmina looked at her watch. “Morning assembly? What have they done?”
The two women looked at each other, and then walked to the teachers lounge.
“Something wrong, Wilhelmina,” Ingrid Mueller said as she looked to the two women.
“No – everything seems all right.”
“Kate,” Annie said as she came in, “Jane Molloy’s here, and so is a film crew from ABC. Were you expecting them?”
“No,” Miss Tennant said as she went to meet them, the girls passing. She could hear giggling from the assembly room.
“Jane,” she said quietly, “what will I find in there?”
“Sorry, Wilhelmina, I’m sworn to secrecy for – three more minutes,”
“I suggest we go in and start,” Kate said, but as they walked in the gathered students clapped and cheered, Miss Tennant looking at the display behind the lectern.
“Well,” Kate said as she followed her in, and the faculty came into the room, “I think we can safely say the year is coming to an end now.”
She slowly nodded as she stood behind the lectern. “Good morning,” she said as she realized the camera was filming. “Perhaps, before we begin, I can invite one of the head girls to explain the – additional decorations.”
Jo walked up, smiling as she said, “First, my apologies to Miss Tennant, but the class of 2015 have each signed one of the garments you can see behind us. An auction site, details of which are in today’s Times, have now opened to bid for one of these garments, each one signed by the girl. The highest bidder at five o’clock Eastern tonight will be sent the garment. Good luck to you all.”
Leaving the platform, Jo sat with Kathy and Suzie, smiling sweetly.
“Well – to your classes girls,” Miss Tennant said.
In the Richmond mansion, Heather and Sandy looked at each other, and then burst out laughing.
“I knew there was something else coming, but that…”
“Well, once an Angel, always an Angel I suppose,” Sandy said as she stood up.
“Jude? What are you…?”
Juliette looked at Carina as her daughter sat down and started laughing. “Oh you have got to be kidding me – I thought Monday was a touch of class, but that…
“Yeah, you call Bobbi, and I’ll see you tonight. One more thing to congratulate her for.”
“What’s happened,” Juliette said as she sat playing with Judith.
“Easier to show you,” Cari said as she opened a browser window, and turned it so her mother could see. Juliette looked at it, shaking her head as she said “Ten out of ten for impact, but if they’d tried this last week…”
The Teacher’s Lounge
"This was more the sort of stunt I'd expect from
others." Wilhelmina Tennant shook her head as she looked at the coverage, "and
in front of Television cameras as well..."
"Look on the bright side Wilhelmina, they'll raise a lot more money." Kate Hardisty laughed.
"We should have seen it coming," Miss
Mueller shook her head. "The first stunt was just too nice and well
"Yes we should have remembered that these are Angels we are dealing with." Annie shook her head, and our angels rarely are so."
“Still – look at the bids so far. I think this is going to raise a very healthy additional amount…”
The Seniors Room
“Can you believe Kelsey’s 44DD is currently attracting the highest bid?” Ally shook her head.
“Hey – if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” Kelsey said as she passed by.
“Yeah, I thought it might be for either Maggie, or Marnie.” Jo looked at the computer. “Being they are both star models.”
“Those were my thoughts.”
“Surprised there is so much interest in yours Ally…I thought half the men in the world already had one of your bras.”
“Oh har de har hah Smith.” Ally smiled. “And anyway, your entry is raising a fair amount as well.”
“Are you sure that’s not just Curt making sure nobody else is getting it,” Marnie said as she looked over Jo’s shoulder.
“If it is, more power to him,” Jo said as she bit into her sandwich.
“I grant you, it was a truly inspired idea, worthy of me,” Judy said as she raised her glass. “The class of 14 salutes the class of 15!”
“Aw shucks, ‘twas nothing,” Jo said as she sat with Kathy and Suzie, opposite Judy, Bobbi and Cari.
“Oh I don’t know – the look on Tennant’s face this morning… Has she forgiven you yet?”
“I think the eighty thousand we added to the Kirkham fund may have helped,” Suzie said with a smile. “So we only have one more day in uniform.”
“Did I see every single girls bra attracted bids?” Bobbi asked.
“They did, so no girls pride suffered, I’m just amazed that Kelsey’s bra fetched over eight thousand dollars.” Suzie shook her head.
“Who says size doesn’t count?” Judy giggled.
“Are you going to sports day on Friday then?” asked Cari.
“We’re going to present prizes, but not to take part,” Jo said. “3.30 tomorrow, we end our time – and then we have Saturday.”
“Ah yes, Saturday. Abby’s going to love that.”
“Oh yeah – she has to be there as well, doesn’t she? This could be interesting…”
Saturday 30th May
New York Botanical Garden
“They all look so virginal and pure in their white dresses.” Heather sighed as she and Sandy watched Jo and her classmates assemble on the other side of the marquee.
“They look exactly like we did.”
“I think we did the right thing bringing her here.”
“Yes, Megan was wasting her life away, and you strip away the crime and violence, ultimately Jo found with us her real family.”
“Will she be having butterflies?”
“I know I did. Yes school was over, but this was one rite of passage before we had really left St Angela’s.”
“It’s certainly more impressive and beautiful then my high school graduation was lover.”
“Hey you two,” Annie said as she walked over, “time for the curtain to be closed.”
Sandy watched as she pegged the curtain over, and took Heather’s arm. “Come on – let’s get a drink before the ceremony.”
“All right,” Ally said as she looked round the room, “explain to me again why white?”
“Something to do with going out pure and blameless – although in that, I don’t know Allyson Rochermann…”
“What’s wrong with this,” Ally said as she stood innocently, her strapless white dress going from the top of her chest to halfway down her thighs.
“Absolutely nothing,” Jo said with a laugh. “It meets the requirements and is still quintessentially Rochermann.”
Jo had chosen a white short-sleeved dress with a pleated skirt, and white heels, in a similar style to Kathy and Suzie. Looking round the marquee, she saw her classmates, nervously talking in small groups as they waited for the call.
“It’s time,” Annie whispered to Jo, watching her nod as the three head girls placed the daisy chain on their heads.
“Girls, line up in alphabetical order,” Annie then called out, as they heard Miss Tennant say on the other side of the curtain “Ladies and Gentlemen, please take your seats.”
Heather and Sandy walked out and sat in their seats, Kelly Rochermann and her husband sitting in front of them and Maggie’s mother and father behind. As the conversation carried on, the Junior class walked out and took their seats, Annabelle Petrie, Rachel Merriman and Letty Kinsman leading them out. Abby waved at Heather and Sandy as she took her seat.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Miss Tennant said, “please be upstanding for the class of 2015.”
The group stood up as Jo, Kathy and Suzie led the class out, taking their seats as their parents and family watched. When they were all in place, Miss Tennant said, “Welcome to the 2015 Commencement ceremony. As is tradition, we start with the school song.”
Sandy was surprised to find herself crying as the seniors started, the juniors joining in and ending the third verse before they all sat down, and Kathy came up to the lectern.
“Senior Angels,” she said quietly, “I stand here today, and I can’t help thinking back to August 2011, when most of us walked through the gates of St Angela’s. I remember being overawed, and a little scared, but that day a Senior told us something very important, something that we all remember to this day.
“She told us that we were all Angels, and that whatever happened, that would always be the case. Over those four years, that has been proven true time and time again, and now – here we are, ready to go into the next part of our lives, and ready to face it thanks to the people behind me, and thanks to all of you.”
There was a ripple of applause as Kathy paused. “So now we step out, knowing whatever comes, we can count on two things. We can count on what you have taught us, and we can count on the friendships we have built here. Miss Tennant, faculty, classmates, I just want to say on behalf of all of us – thank you.”
There was a round of applause as Jo and Suzie stood on the stage. “And now, can I ask Annabelle, Rachel and Letty to come up to the stage please.”
The three girls walked up and stood in front of Kathy, Suzie and Jo as they removed the daisy chains from their heads, placing them on theirs.
“Today we hand the role of Head Girls to you. Make us proud and lead wisely.”
“We will,” they said, as Jo embraced Letty and whispered “Good luck.”
“Thanks,” Letty whispered back as they walked off together.
“Please welcome, to hand out the scrolls this year, The Honourable Brooke Hutton.”
The audience applauded as Brooke came and joined Miss Tennant at the front.
“As you know, we usually call girls up alphabetically and hand them their scrolls. This year, however, we make one exception. Can I ask the parents of Jamie Kirkham to come to the stage first, and receive her scroll.”
As one, the Senior class stood in silence and watched as Jamie’s parents came up, Brooke shaking their hands before she handed them a framed certificate. Andrea van Ollen was crying quietly, before she started applauding, the rest of the girls joining in as the parents watched.
“Thank you,” Mrs. Kirkham whispered as they walked off.
“Now, we ask that silence be maintained as the girls come up. Rowena Blake, California at Berkeley.”
Rowena walked up in her long sleeved dress, and received her scroll from Brooke, shaking Miss Tennant’s hand before she came back down.
One by one the girls came up…
“Sheryl Burton, Florida.”
“Suzanne Carter, Cornell.”
“Margaret Fife, Boston College.”
The redhead walked up in a high collared dress, smiling as she took the scroll and then came down, her parents beaming at her as she did so.
“Getting nervous,” Ally whispered to Jo.
“What do you think,” Jo whispered back as the line continued.
“Katherine des Moines, MIT.”
“Andrea van Ollen, Oxford.
“Marnie Paget, Brown”
“Allyson Rochermann, Harvard.”
“See you in a minute,” Ally whispered as she walked up, Kelly smiling broadly as she took her scroll and came down.
“Joanne Smith, William Smith.”
Heather wiped away a tear and gripped Sandy’s hand tightly as she watched her sister walk up, and take the scroll, smiling broadly as she came back down.
As the last girl went back, Brooke stood at the podium and said “I understand Miss Tennant wishes to say a few words, so I will be brief. Congratulations, Angels, and good luck.”
As she went back down, Miss Tennant stood and looked out across the seats.
“When I look at the faces of these young ladies, I am reminded that 2015 has been one of the outstanding classes in the long history of this school.” Wilhelmina Tennant stood and looked round. “Each and every girl has in some way made a contribution, not just to the life of the school, but to the lives of her classmates as well.”
There was an outbreak of clapping from the parents.
“We are sending girls from this class out to many fine colleges here in this country from the Naval Academy at Annapolis to Yale. Also to universities outside the United States in six countries, ranging from Tokyo, to Oxford.”
There was more applause as she looked down.
“Where ever they are going, though, the 117 members of this class will all carry in their hearts a memory of the 118th graduate of the class of 2015, Jamie Kirkham.”
This time everyone stood and applauded for a few minutes.
“It only remains for me to ask the class of 2015 to stand before you now, and for the class of 2016 to give you our parting gift.”
As they lined up, the juniors came forward, Abby in front of Jo as they presented the girls with their pins.
“And with that,” Miss Tennant said before she paused, wiping away a tear, “I say to you, the class of 2015, class dismissed. Please, join us for the celebratory lunch.”