The Good in People
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Olivia Parker and Suzu Rydell have been made the Odyssey Middle School Drama Club's president and treasurer, respectively. Olivia was chosen because of a promise she made about going to the drama festival at the state capital. Talking to Mr. Whittaker at Whit's End, she says the team is the best group they've ever had, but the club hasn't gone for the past two years because of a lack of funds. The entry fee is $50 per student, with ten students in the club; half of the $500 fee is required up front, by the end of the week; and the rest of the balance is due in two weeks. Olivia thinks they can raise the money; she raised that much for a church program (although the program ended up fully funded without her money, so she hung on to it for later). She asks if Mr. Whittaker can help, and though he says he doesn't believe it was a good idea for Olivia to make a promise like that, he replies that he'd be happy to be a chaperone, spread the word, and set up a collection jar. Then, Morrie walks up and asks Suzu if she's ready to go home. She is, and the two of them leave.
Suzu tells Morrie that she believes raising the $500 will take a miracle. Morrie says "Hmm." Then he chuckles. "What?" Suzu asks. "Just thought of something funny," is the reply.
The next morning, Olivia receives a call from a man named Jordan Winword, who claims he's from an organization called the Student Project Fund. He's willing to provide matching funds for the school drama club to go to the state festival, and although he's not allowed to reveal his source, he says he has it on a good word that Olivia has an excellent team this year and that the club hasn't been able to go for the past two years. Olivia finds it suspicious, but the guy tells her that all she needs to do is text him the entry form after she submits her half of the fee, and the Student Project Fund will pay the rest online. He says he won't contact Olivia until he gets her text.
At school, Olivia tells the club about her call from "the guy." Zoe Grant notes that while the website for the Student Project Fund looks legitimate, it's still weird. Morrie agrees and says they should ignore the guy; he's just a complete stranger. Suzu, however, points out that the guy mentioned parts of the conversation at Whit's End: where the festival is, how good the team is, and the two years since they'd been to the festival. Olivia has an epiphany: what if the guy was hired by Mr. Whittaker? Though he said Olivia shouldn't have promised in the first place, Mr. Whittaker wouldn't be giving them money outright; they'd have to work for it. She convinces the rest of the group that they can raise $25 a piece in a week as long as they work together. And they do!
Olivia texts the guy about his half of the fee. At first she thinks he's just a little busy, but a whole week goes by with no response. She decides to find out what's taking so long, so she goes to Whit's End (where she finds Morrie) to ask Mr. Whittaker about the money. He greets her and Morrie, Morrie leaves to wait out front, and Olivia subtly mentions how busy it seems. Mr. Whittaker suddenly remembers and says, "You're here for the money for the drama club, aren't you? … I'm so sorry; you're right! I forgot all about it!" He drops a jar of coins on the counter. "But this isn't enough!" Olivia tells him. "What about the promise? … the matching funds?" Confused, Mr. Whittaker asks what she's talking about. Olivia, stunned, replies that it's nothing; she's been working too hard. She says thanks and leaves with the $25 worth in coins.
Outside, Olivia tells Morrie that it wasn't Mr. Whittaker. There's no way they can raise the money now. Morrie says she'll have to ask for a refund. Even though Olivia promised everyone, unless she has $250 just sitting around somewhere, there's no other choice. With that observation, Olivia asks Morrie to tell everyone that they're going to the festival. "But where are you going to get the money?" "Leave that to me," she answers as she rushes off.
Zoe and Suzu confront Olivia at her house, with Zoe demanding to know where Olivia got the money. Suzu says that Olivia had mentioned she raised more than $250 for a church program, suggesting that Olivia may have used that money. Olivia hands Zoe an envelope with $262.34 — the money for the church — proving that she didn't take it from there. Zoe presses her further and eventually Olivia blurts out that she took it out of her college fund, a private account she made for herself. She made a promise and needed to keep it. With that, she turns over the club presidency to Zoe, who she says will be much more level-headed.
That night while preparing for bed, Morrie and Suzu are discussing the conversation with Olivia. Suzu explains that Olivia didn't need the drama club to pay the $250 back to her. "Unbelievable," Morrie says. "She really is one of those people who practices what she preaches. At least this time." Suzu agrees. Then Morrie wonders, "Wouldn't it be weird if that Jordan guy called her up after the festival to give her the money?" Suzu stops. "Jordan guy? … How did you know his name?" "I guess Olivia told me." "She didn't tell me!" "Are you sure?" "Morrie! Did you have anything to do with this?" Morrie's response is to explain that Olivia was chosen because she promised they would attend the festival. Suzu believed in her, and she came through. She motivated the club and raised $250. And when Olivia could have done something wrong and used the church money, she made a harder decision and used her money to keep her promise. "And what was it that really motivated her to jump into action?" Morrie asks. "The call from the 'Jordan guy.'" "So let me ask you: is everything the drama club did, and that Olivia did, and what she didn’t do; is all of that … good?" "Well," Suzu thinks, "I suppose … yes." "Then instead of being suspicious of your brother, why can’t you think of him as someone who brings out the good in people?"
- Do you think Olivia made the right choice?
- Have you ever been in a similar situation as Olivia?
- If so, what did you do?
- Do you think that what Morrie did was as good as he made it out to be?
- If so, would you have done the same thing?
- Why or why not?
- If so, would you have done the same thing?
|John Whittaker||Andre Stojka|
|Morrie Rydell||Atticus Shaffer|
|Suzu Rydell||April Hong|
|Olivia Parker||Kelly Stables|
|Zoe Grant||Natalie Lander|
|Jordan Winword||Kevin Michael Richardson|
QuotesMorrie Rydell: So let me ask you: is everything the drama club did, and that Olivia did, and what she didn’t do; is all of that … good?
Suzu Rydell: Well, I suppose … yes.
Morrie Rydell: Then instead of being suspicious of your brother, why can’t you think of him as someone who brings out the good in people?
Suzu Rydell: Then, the answer is “yes.” You did have something to do with this.
Morrie Rydell: <beat> Good night, sis’.
Suzu Rydell: Good night, Morrie.