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The Animal School

(an old fable with a Nancy Louk Kress rewriting)

The animals decided to create a school wherein all the animals would be equally trained to meet the needs of their society.  Instruction was planned for climbing, flying, running, swimming, and digging. 

Because they couldn’t agree on which subject was most important, it was decided all the students had to take the same curriculum.

The rabbit was an expert in running, but almost drowned in swimming class.  The experience shocked her so much that she could never run as well after that.

The eagle was a whiz at flying, of course, but when he showed up for digging class, he was so inadequate to the task that he got assigned to a digging remediation program.  The extra homework took up so much of his time that he soon forgot how to soar.

The mountain goat found climbing an easy class, but was totally lost in flying and swimming, so his parents decided to put him in outside tutoring programs that required them to spend a great deal of time traveling to the high plateaus and to the riverside, resulting in family disharmony and stress, so the family kept to the lowlands ever after.

While the Cheetah got A’s in running, he was totally inept at flying, so his failing grade in flying kept him off the track team.

The Whale served as a peer tutor in swimming the first semester, but even though she had her flying requirement waived because of physical limitations, she was administratively removed from tutoring when her instructors in climbing, running, and digging reported that she was failing their courses.

The mole excelled in digging class, but he spent a great deal of time in after-school tutoring trying to get his other grades up enough to graduate.

But graduate they did---and all the animals were surprised when the top-excelling student was recognized.  You see, he was experienced at swimming and running when he arrived at the school, and his teachers facilitated his success at digging and climbing well enough.  Despite his physical limitations, he was able to pass the flying requirement by creating a kind of “controlled fall” from one tree to another.  Thus it was that the Beaver was named Valedictorian of the Animal School!

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