Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“He is only twenty-one years old, still young.” Zhai Sheng’s father said, not lifting his head. He might have said it casually now, but four years later when Zhai Sheng was twenty-five years old and still without a girlfriend, he was not as calm as now.
On the other hand, the results Elder Lee had gotten were very much accurate.
When Qiao Nan went to the school to get her results slip, she saw a bright red banner at the school gate. It read “Congratulations to our student, Qiao Nan, for coming in the first place in the province for middle school exams!”
“Teacher Lee,” Qiao Nan greeted politely when she saw her Chinese teacher.
Teacher Lee looked at her beloved pupil, her visage turning red and green similar to those blended colors on a palette. Qiao Nan was perplexed. “Teacher Lee, do you feel unwell today? Would you like to go back to rest?”
Since middle school exams were over, teachers of the secondary three classes had basically finished their classes and could take a break. It would be fine even if Teacher Lee did not go to school.
“My body is perfectly fine. It is my heart that feels uncomfortable,” Teacher Lee said angrily. “Do you know where the two marks were deducted from?”
“…” Qiao Nan twitched her lips. “I could roughly guess.”
“You…” Teacher Lee was exasperated. “Forget it, forget it. As compared to last semester when you scored zero marks, having two marks deducted this time around could be considered a good improvement. You did not embarrass me.” Teacher Lee plastered a bitter smile on her face.
Apart from Teacher Lee’s Chinese subject, Qiao Nan scored full marks for the remaining subjects.
If it was other students, there would be nothing wrong about the scores. However, it was unusual in Qiao Nan’s case.
Qiao Nan had the perfect score for her essay, but she lost two marks in the memorization component. The loss of these two marks was just like slicing off Teacher Lee’s flesh. Teacher Lee could neither be proud nor angry at Qiao Nan.
Still, Teacher Lee felt slightly comforted by the look of envy in other teachers’ eyes.
The top scorer in the province was her own student. All secondary three teachers’ pay would be doubled. During the Lunar New Year, they would also receive more bonus than usual.
Certainly, the teachers were not really after the increment and bonus. As a teacher, it was rare for them to have students coming in first in the whole province for the middle school exams.
This was sheer luck!
One could imagine how delighted the teachers of secondary three class one must be to see Qiao Nan.
“Hurry along.” Teacher Lee patted Qiao Nan on the shoulder and walked into the classroom with her.
Teacher Chen who was already in the classroom was beaming. “I believed all of you must have seen the banner at the school gate when you reached the school. First, let’s give a round of applause to Qiao Nan. Qiao Nan not only made the secondary three class one proud but also became the pride of Ping Cheng Junior High School. Let’s give her a round of applause!”
The classroom resonated with thunderous sounds of applause.
She was the top scorer in the province. If others knew they were once classmates with her, everyone would be so envious of them.
Every student in the class clapped loudly, with the exception of Zhao Yu who clapped half-heartedly.
“Alright. Everyone should have a look at your results and compare it to the cutoff point for high schools last year. All of you should carefully consider which school you would like to enroll in. When you go back home, you can discuss with your parents before filling in the application form.” Teacher Chen asked the students to pass down the required documents.
When the students received their results, it was the joy of some and the sorrow of others. Some students did fairly well, whereas other students did not do well.
“Qiao Nan, come with me to the office.” After distributing the documents, Teacher Chen asked Qiao Nan to go to the office. “Have you thought it through? Did you discuss with your parents?”
“We had a discussion and my dad agreed to it.” Qiao Nan filled in her desired high school in front of Teacher Chen.
Teacher Chen was relieved that he succeeded in persuading Qiao Nan to study at Ping Cheng High School.
The principal of Ping Cheng High School had specially asked Teacher Chen to make sure that Qiao Nan would study in Ping Cheng High School by all means. She could bring up any requests; the school would try to accede to her requests as long as it was within their means.
After getting the instructions from the management, Teacher Chen also did his best to help Qiao Nan fight for more favorable terms.
After all, since the chat with Qiao Nan last time, Teacher Chen knew that the Qiao family’s financial situation was not very good, and it would be very stressful for the parents to finance two children through school.
Teacher Chen did not wish to see Qiao Nan, who had great potential to do well, to quit school because of the financial situation at home. It would be such a pity.
After knowing about Qiao Nan’s problems, Teacher Chen tried to fight for the best terms for Qiao Nan.
“Qiao Nan, you came in first in the province this time. The school is proud of you. This is a reward from our school. It is not much, only one hundred yuan. But since you decided to go to Ping Cheng High School, they have a reward for you too; it is two hundred yuan.”
Teacher Chen took out two envelopes and passed them to Qiao Nan. The two envelopes contained the reward that Ping Cheng Junior High School and Ping Cheng High School had for Qiao Nan.
“As for what you mentioned earlier, I have notified the management. As long as you study at Ping Cheng High School, you would be exempted from paying three years of tuition and incidental fees. Nevertheless, you would have to settle your own meals since the school would not cover for them. In addition, if you maintain your standard when you go to high school, the school will grant you a scholarship every semester. But then you would no longer have one hundred or two hundred yuan of reward. Do you understand?”
“Don’t worry, Teacher Chen. I understand. This arrangement is pretty good.” Qiao Nan smiled. Actually, she was really pleased with the arrangement. It was only 1993 now. It was unlike the 21st century where a hundred yuan would be used up in no time.
This three hundred yuan was enough to cover her school fees for one to two years. Besides, the school had exempted her from paying tuition and incidental fees. She could save up the three hundred yuan and the money from her scholarship for her college fees.
“Qiao Nan, I am proud of you!” Teacher Chen was slightly agitated. If Qiao Nan was not a female student, Teacher Chen would have given her a hug.
Even though Teacher Chen treated Qiao Nan like his own daughter, she was, after all, a young lady now. It would be inappropriate to do that.
“Don’t say that. It was all because Teacher Chen and the other teachers had taught me well.”
“You are usually quiet in class, but you are good at pleasing people. Alright, go back home. Remember to keep the money properly. Don’t lose it.”
“Thank you for your help, Teacher Chen.” Qiao Nan bowed to Teacher Chen, expressing her heartfelt gratitude. Afterward, she took the three hundred yuan that the school rewarded her and left.
“Well, is our top scorer of the quad back? Nan Nan, do you have time during the summer break? Can you tutor our Juan Er so that she can come in the first place in middle school exams as well?”
One of the aunties from the quad saw Qiao Nan on her way back from school. She had the envious look in her eyes, and she sounded jealous when she spoke to Qiao Nan.
Qiao Nan smiled lightly, shook her head, and walked towards her house.