The Worst Birthday | Teen Ink

The Worst Birthday

May 13, 2018
By Celia Buell SILVER, Skokie, Illinois
Celia Buell SILVER, Skokie, Illinois
7 articles 3 photos 24 comments

Originally written for the Quora question "What is your worst birthday memory? Why?" on 2/21/2018


I’ve just made my worst and most memorable [birthday memory] today. A bomb threat.

My school and town are incredibly safe. Or at least, they were until last Monday, when I experienced an actual lockdown that was not a drill for the first time in my life. That happened during eighth and the beginning of ninth period (I’ll get to the importance of this time later). It was determined to be false, and we went on with our day and week.

Flash forward nine days later, to today, February 21st, 2018 - a.k.a my seventeenth birthday. A voice comes on the loudspeaker near the end of eighth period. “This is a hold in place. Ignore all bells and alarms and do not leave the classroom.”

Because it was roughly the same time of day, everyone, including the teachers, assumed it was a drill. My physics teacher, the class I was in, reasoned that it was most likely a drill because the school hadn’t contacted the teachers. They turn off the bell systems, and the bell for ninth period never rings.

Instead, our principal comes on the loudspeaker. “A situation has developed in the building. Please exit through door sixteen and buses will escort all students and staff to West” which is our sister school on the other side of town.

There are about a dozen buses which might have been there for class pick up since it was near the end of the day, or might have come on short notice (the school district has their own buses, so they wouldn’t have had to call the company, just West) and my friend, her brother, and I get what are probably the last three seats on the last overcrowded bus from the first round of buses.
We get to the other school and everyone is looking frantically for their friends, siblings, parents (who had already arrived)…it's utter chaos.

Happy birthday to me.

The author's comments:

This is the story of my seventeenth birthday. It was one week after the Stoneman Douglass shooting and nine days after the first bomb threat my school had. The shooter turned out to be calling from another state; probably someone who called multiple places just to get a reaction. But it was one of the most terrifying experiences I've ever had in my life, and definitely the scariest situation I've ever been in at school.


I've got a couple poems on this subject that I'd love to share as well, but I don't have them typed up yet, so I can't post them today.


Written 2/21/2018

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