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Short story: Show respect at all times

BY: Junior Graphic

On February 20, 2018, I went to the town hall as one of the representatives of my school’s debate group in an inter-school debating contest which was organised at the regional level.

My teammates and I entered the town hall surveying the place to find a comfortable spot to sit before the commencement of the contest.

As expected, we were all nervous because the teams from the other participating schools had equally bold and confident debators whom we had previously encountered at the preliminary competition, prior to the regional contest.

The sight of the other teams pushed us out of the hall to practise and perfect our submissions based on the topic that was given.

When we felt we were sure of our topic and submissions, we proceeded to the hall to settle in the spot we had earlier secured.

However, on our way to the hall, I mistakenly bumped into someone who was also coming out. Because we were both in a hurry, I did not stop to see who exactly it was I bumped into but I later found out that she was a member of the Amazing Grace School’s debate team.

As I walked away from the person, all I could hear were screams of reprimand at both of us over our clumsiness and not looking before moving around. I was clearly at fault but I was too much in a hurry to enter the venue of the contest that I refused to stop to apologise.

Out of anger, I rudely demanded that the other person apologises to me for not looking before moving. Try as my friends did for me to apologise, I vehemently refused to but rather insisted that I was the one who had been offended.

Realising that I had wronged the other person, my friends quickly intervened and apologised profusely on my behalf.

Unfortunately for me, what I did not realise was that very important personalities like the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Education Minister and other important stakeholders in education witnessed my very rude attitude.

When my team mounted the podium to make our submissions for the motion, we did excellently well and even received a standing ovation for our very brilliant submissions.

At the end of the contest when the winners were being mentioned, our  team was announced as the school with the most points accrued during the contest.

When the education minister mounted the stage to present the awards, to our surprise, he mentioned the Amazing Grace School which came second to receive the award for the first place. Unknown to us, one of the modalities for the contest was inter-team bonding and respect.

It was there the minister announced that my school undoubtedly deserved to win the ultimate prize with a trip to Safari Valley, but my attitude earlier with the teammate from the Amazing Grace School robbed us of the prize.

To add insult to injury, I was called back to the podium to render a public apology to the person I earlier refused to apologise to in front of over 700 people.

I was really embarrassed and since that day, I have learnt to be respectful.