My Award-Winning Saturday

John Scalzi

Yesterday I picked up an award from my high school for Alumni Outstanding Achievement, and it was both delightful and a little nerve-wracking. I’ve picked up awards in front of thousands of people and didn’t bat an eye; this time it was in front of maybe sixty people I went to school with, who remember me when I was fifteen and just starting to write. They know me in a way that not many people do, or can.

Fortunately for me, they and the others in attendance were fabulous. My class and school mates gave me a standing ovation, and then did the wave, which was ridiculous and awesome. It was genuinely touching, and lovely.

I’ve mentioned here before how important my high school was to me and how formative it was in me becoming who I am today, but I’m not sure I’ve made clear the affection I have for my classmates and the other folks I went to school with, and how much that affection has deepened over the years. These are important people to me, and there’s kinship and camaraderie there that’s not just rooted in the time we spent at the school, but also everything’s that come after. To be recognized by my school and to receive this award in the presence of these friends of four decades standing means more than I can express.

And then, when it was all done, we went and danced our brains out and then closed out a bar together. What a great day. What a great night.

— JS

25 Comments on “My Award-Winning Saturday”

  1. Congratulations again. What you said really struck home on why this would be so special. It’s from folks that originally saw you as their friend and classmate. Sounds like you started writing then, a dream in school. Here you are decades later and you did it! They must be so happy for you that you made your dream come true and you are a success in your field. This award will be special in that unique way.

    Thanks for sharing this. Very cool. Decades in the making… :-)

  2. Such lovely comments on your school and classmates. Added a savory note to my Sunday.

  3. I genuinely envy you for this. Outside of a VERY small handful of people, I never want to see anyone from high school ever gain, and I don’t even feel like I have a good reason for it.

  4. The nice thing about being my age and going to school reunions is that the bullies are now too decrepit to deliver wedgies.

  5. “an overnight success after forty years of hard work”

    (yup you earned that plaque)

  6. Our relationship with our high-school classmates can be interesting. Like Athena, I went to small rural schools & by the time I graduated from high school I had known some.if my classmates since kindergarten. I remember sitting in class one day thinking g that while I did not always like some of my classmates (there were a number to whom I was indifferent, having very little in common with them), I certainly knew them in a way I only knew my family. When I went to my 35th reunion a few years ago, I realized that although I had literally not seen some of these people since graduation, I was comfortable with them. They knew me & very little I could do would surprise them. That was a strange & comforting thing.

  7. Wonderful and congratulations, John! With me, that relationship and camaraderie was in college (40 years ago!!!!) Those of us who are still around still keep in touch and it’s like the years between don’t exist!

  8. It makes me very, very happy to read how happy that made you.

    Congratulations on your lifetime achievement of writing and creating – and on your lifetime achievement of creating and tending deep and lasting friendships.

  9. Congratulations on the Award and I am glad that you had such a good time seeing old friends. My oldest friend and I have been friends since the 4th grade. We bonded over our dysfunctional families and she is the one person who I can tell anything to and know that she gets it.

  10. Echoing Luther Siler — I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be able to think well of my erstwhile high school classmates, let alone want to see them again. Bullies, abusers, racists — probably homophobes as well, but since I was closeted at the time, I never had to find that out directly. None of them ever knew me at all or wanted to know me.

    I will say that their cruelty did contribute to the person I am today; I had to become very strong starting at an early age.

  11. What a neat story, John. How wonderful that you are still close with your high school class. That kind of relationship is amazing. You are blessed. Congratulations on your award.

  12. Wow… your views on High School seem so foreign to me I can’t get my head around it.

  13. Congratulations!

    I just attended my 42.5th reunion (i.e., folks from the class of ’77 and ’82). And it was just so nice to be with these folks who knew me when I was just forming my identity. Some remembered me, some didn’t, some were on the cusp….and I was the same for them. Very comforting, particularly since I was half convinced that I would get a lot of “Who are you, anyway?”

  14. Unfortunately, as a lifelong Simpsons fan I automatically add “in the field of excellence” to the end of your award. Too much of my brain is filled with things like that as opposed to useful stuff.

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