28 Aug High School Con Artist – My Greatest Con of All Time
In honor of my kids going back to school, I decided to share one of my fondest and most terrifying memories from when I was in grade school. This is the story about how I skipped school 42 times during my senior year of high school and got away with it. Even after getting caught… by my dad. I know you have questions, so let me explain.
I went through many different stages in high school. I was a trouble maker as a freshman, determined to get a boyfriend as a sophomore, Miss Popularity as a junior and working woman my senior year. For the first two years of high school, I completely disregarded the importance of good grades and proper education. I skipped school very often, rarely did my homework and never studied for tests. I made it through those two years by the skin of my teeth.
My parents did not let this go unpunished and they were very, VERY creative with their punishments. Much like the summer going into my sophomore year (click here to read all about it), I spent the summer going into my junior year on LOCK DOWN. To enhance my punishment, my dad purchased a graphic design program for my computer and said I needed to teach myself how to design and animate. Each week, he would give me a new project and I’d literally have to sit at my computer for hours until I figured out how to complete the task.
Oddly enough, by the time junior year came around, I fell in love with graphic arts and wanted to pursue it full-time. This shifted my outlook on school because I knew I would need good grades to get into a reputable college that had a decent graphic arts program. I completely changed and fully dedicated myself to school. Well… kinda.
My grades turned around tremendously and I got more involved in school. I went from having a 2.5 GPA to a 4.0 GPA, joined the Pom Pom Squad and the swim team. Things were looking up for me. However, I still had a problem making it to home room. I just honestly had better things to do. At least once a week, after my parents would drop me off at school, I would sneak out the back and head over to the bagel shop to get a deliciously toasted everything bagel with cream cheese from Einstein Bagel across the street. I’d make my way back by 2nd period and carry on with my day.
I also fancied skipping other classes, but had to be more creative with skipping those. Me and a friend of mine, we’ll call her Betty, would pretend to be assistants to the Vice Principal. We would go to each other’s classes and tell the teacher that the Vice Principal wanted to see her/me. We’d sneak into the locker room or out back behind the school and just talk and laugh like we weren’t supposed to be in class. This didn’t happen on a regular, but it happened often enough.
Fast forward to the spring of my senior year in high school. My major was computer graphics and we were having a showcase for our parents to view what we would be submitting to our prospective colleges as our final admission. I had worked my ass off on my pieces and was so excited to debut my work to my father at the showcase.
My father walked in about 20 minutes after the showcase began. I kid you not, the exact moment he walked in, a voice came over the intercom and said, “Mr. McNeal would like to see Katryce in his office immediately.” My dad looked at me and I looked at him like a deer in headlights.
“Is there something you need to tell me?”
Me: “No. Not at all. This is so strange.”
I knew damn well I had just gotten Betty out of class the day before and that’s what this was about. But I was gonna deny it till the wheels came off.
The walk up to the Vice Principal’s office was intense. I laughed and joked with my dad to try to keep up the feeling that I had no clue what was going on and I was totally innocent. But inside, I was fucking terrified.
When we got to the office, the VP looked pleasantly surprised to see my father. Like I said before, I got in a lot of trouble in school. This particular year, I had just gotten more clever with my skipping and Mr. McNeal was hell-bent on catching me. In his mind, he was finally going to take me down.
“Please take a seat. I’m so surprised to see you, Mr. Davis. I didn’t know you were going to be at the school today.”
“I’m here to see Katryce’s graphic art pieces at the showcase.”
“Very well. That’s so nice of you. I’m sure Katryce is thrilled to have you here!”
What a dick.
He then directed his attention toward me.
“Hello, Katryce. Do you know why I called you in here today.”
My shoulders were tense and sweat was forming in the palm of my hands, but I had to play this shit cool.
“No. I’m actually a little confused to be honest.”
“Well let me enlighten you. It seems like yesterday, someone got your best friend, Betty, out of her class by posing as my aid. You wouldn’t happen to know who that was, would you?”
“Wow. That’s so crazy. No. I have no idea who would’ve done that.”
My dad looked at me with a face that read “I know you did it, but I wanna see how you play this out.”
“Katryce, I’m sure it wasn’t you, but just to make sure I’m covering all of my bases, would you mind coming to the class she was taken out of so the teacher can rule you out as the person who posed as my aide? Mr. Davis, why don’t you come along too.”
I had to keep it up. I was in too deep now.
“Sure.” I said very matter-of-factly.
The class room was right around the corner and the closer we got, the faster my heart began to beat. Then, in just a split-second, the greatest idea of my life came to mind. The day before, my hair was curly, I was wearing jeans, an oversized sweatshirt, my glasses AND I had no make-up on. But today, I was wearing my Pom Pom uniform, a full face of make-up, my contacts AND I had straightened my hair for the pep rally that night. I looked like a totally different person!
As soon as he asked the teacher to come out, before he could say anything else, I blurted out “Please tell him that I did not come to your classroom yesterday. He thinks I got Betty out of class.”
She looked at me confused. Mr. McNeal glared his eyes at me.
“Ms. Saunders (I don’t remember her real name), can you take a look at Ms. Davis here and let me know if she was the one who got Betty out of class yesterday?”
She looked me up and down, squinting her eyes trying to remember if it was me or not. I totally took advantage of her confusion and threw in, “See! I told you it wasn’t me! She would’ve remembered right away! It was just yesterday!”
Mr. McNeal, now annoyed: “Katryce, please give her a second. Ms. Saunders, do you remember her coming to your classroom yesterday?”
“Ahhhh I’m not really sure and I would hate to get her in trouble if she didn’t do anything. I just don’t think it was her.”
LOOK AT GOD! WON’T HE DO IT?!?
I slowly turned and said to Mr. McNeal with the slightest smile on the corner of my lips, “See?”
He was beet red. “Let’s go back to my office. I have a few other things I’d like to discuss. Thank you Ms. Saunders.”
We walked back to his office and sat down.
“Mr. Davis, are you aware of the fact that Katryce was absent from home room 42 times this year?”
You mother fucker.
My dad raised his eyebrow and looked over at me. “No. I wasn’t”
“Yes. And as you know, Katryce has had quite a few problems with attendance while at this school. This is a big problem.”
I just knew my dad was going to flip. Boy was I surprised with what he said next.
“Mr. McNeal, would you mind reminding me of Katryce’s current GPA?”
“I sure will.” He logged on to his computer to pull up my records with a smile on his face. He was sure that today was the day that he would take me down. All of the sudden that smile turned into a stuck face.
My dad: “Is there a problem Mr. McNeal?”
“No. I just uhhh. Ummm.”
“Is everything ok?” my dad said.
“Yes. Everything is fine.”
“OK, so her GPA iiisssss….” my dad said impatiently.
He mumbled something under his breath.
My dad: “Excuse me?”
“Her GPA is a 4.14.”
You see, in all the years that he spent trying to take me down, he stopped checking my grades. He also didn’t notice that I advanced into AP classes over the year which boosted my GPA even higher. I guess Mr. McNeal just assumed that since my grades started so poorly in my beginning years, they were in the same state years later. He just sat there. Looking puzzled AF.
“Welp. Looks like we’re all done here,” my dad said.
I was so shocked at how my dad jumped in on my scheme and flipped it. Shocked but oddly proud.
“… but she still skipped 32 times!” The Vice Principal said in a desperate last attempt to sabotage my life.
“It just seems to me like she had somewhere to be. We’ll be leaving now. Thank you and have a great day. Come on, Katryce.”
I hopped up and flipped my hair like the bitch I am. Sayonara SUCKA!! He just sat as his desk trying to figure out WTF had just happened.
As soon as we got out of the office my dad looked at me and said, “I know you got that girl out of her class yesterday.” And began to chuckle.
“Am I in trouble?”
“Nah. I know you’ve been working your ass off this year, so I’ll let it slide this time. I’ve been hard enough on you these past couple of years. Just don’t let it happen again.” He said and then winked at me.
For days I couldn’t figure out if that wink was a “It’s all good” wink or a “Live your life” wink. Regardless, my dad had my back even though he knew damn well I was a little shit who was guilty of the crime. It meant everything to me. And after that, I never skipped again. Ok, well never is strong word. Let’s just say I limited how often I skipped. I toned it down for sure.