SWFM 37

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Chapter 37: Top Scholar for Humanities(1)

 

Turning the clock back to 11.30pm of 23rd June, the night when Xu Tingsheng had fallen into a deep, drunken slumber.

Many held the misconception that the university entrance examination results would be sent to the school and the teachers first, to be viewed as a whole by them through the overall statistical report. Actually, this was false.

In truth, unless you happened to have slept through the night of the results release just like Xu Tingsheng, the first to know your results would always be you and your family.

The next thing that happened would be anxious form teachers calling up their students to inquire about their results, the students also updating one another. If someone failed to answer their calls at this hour, it usually meant that they had bungled up their exams.

This was the conclusion that Old Zhou, Zhou Xueyin had drawn as well. After having called Xu Tingsheng four times in a row but to no avail, a bad feeling arose within his heart, and perhaps some desolation as well.

He had had tremendous hopes for Xu Tingsheng. Never would he have thought that the biggest card in his hand would actually unexpectedly fail to perform like this.

With things having turned out this way, despite the fact that his other students had all done pretty well, amidst Old Zhou’s joy was also a tinge of regret and worry.

“How bad could he have flunked that such a usually calm and reliable child refuses even to pick up his phone?”

Old Zhou then called up Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng. Other than asking about their results, he also asked if they had been able to get in touch with Xu Tingsheng, if they were aware of his circumstances.

Huang Yaming had made it to the cut-off point for key national universities, exceeding it by 17 marks. Meanwhile, Fu Cheng was unlucky, having missed the cut-off point by a mere 3 marks. Actually, if he had glanced a few more times over at Xu Tingsheng’s papers during the examinations, he would definitely not be lacking these mere 3 marks. It was all because of the first examination’s Language paper. As Xu Tingsheng had placed his exam paper in too obvious a position and not remedied it despite several admonitions, the invigilator had given him a warning.

Fu Cheng had been afraid that Xu Tingsheng, whilst trying to ‘look after’ him, would end up being accused of cheating. Therefore, afterwards, during the subsequent few examinations, he had completely refused to take reference from his papers any further.

Yao Jing exceeded the second-tier cut-off line for normal universities by quite a bit, her score not much different from back in Xu Tingsheng’s previous life. Bar the unexpected, she would most likely be going on to the same university.

Song Ni had indeed performed as she had predicted, only having achieved the cut-off for vocational college. Her academic capabilities were actually not as low as this. Although she would not say it, although she had concealed her emotions very well, it could not be denied that the entire affair with Chen Yulun had affected her greatly, even having caused her to feel like giving up on the university entrance examinations and going on to further studies very early on.

After Old Zhou had spoken on the phone with Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng, he proceeded to call up Yao Jing, Song Ni and several other classmates who were comparatively closer to Xu Tingsheng. Still, none of them had heard from him.

A desolate Old Zhou returned to school the next morning to collate the results while still wearing a moody face, despite Grade 12 Class 10 having produced two students who had cleared the cut-off for key universities as well as a number who would be able take regular college courses this time, this being rather a miracle for a normal Humanities class. The entire Humanities cohort of Libei Senior High usually only saw around 15 students meeting the cut-off for key universities each year, and even amidst the current burst of brilliance this year, there were still only around 20 students who had managed it this time.

Of course, the final statistics were not yet known.

The form teachers and subject teachers gathered in the Humanities office, exchanging the news of the results. Quite a number of them approached Old Zhou to congratulate him, and of course, yet more came over to inquire about Xu Tingsheng’s results.

Old Zhou sighed, revealing the situation of Xu Tingsheng not picking up his calls.

Thus, all the teachers came to understand why Old Zhou still looked so moody despite Grade 12 Class 10 clearly having performed so well.

Some sympathised, thinking that it was indeed a great pity, while others could not believe it. Fang Yunyao belonged to the latter group. Having a deep understanding of Xu Tingsheng’s capabilities, she thought: however much a student like this messes up, how bad can it possibly be?

“It probably isn’t that bad; maybe it’s just that he expected too much from himself,” Fang Yunyao consoled Old Zhou and made her own attempt to call Xu Tingsheng, but still to no avail.

Fang Yunyao hesitated for a moment before picking up the phone again to call Fu Cheng. She had actually already heard of Fu Cheng’s results from other students the night before, next having confirmed this again over with Old Zhou this morning. While it was kind of a pity, he had still done rather well.

Fang Yunyao would sometimes be shocked by this kind of unconscious interest and concern. When she had realised that she actually really wanted to know Fu Cheng’s results, actually really looked forward to him calling her to tell her his results, she had truly felt a little flustered. In the end, Fu Cheng had not called her. Instead, she had asked about it with feigned nonchalance while speaking with Yao Jing, thereby coming to know of Fu Cheng’s results.

Fang Yunyao felt that it was a bit of a pity for Fu Cheng, but was happy for him as well. After all, in view of his usual results, even entering a vocational university might be a little dangerous for him.

“Since you won’t call me to tell me your results, I shan’t call you to ask either,” Fang Yunyao had thought to herself, her sentiments a little similar to those of a girl in a huff with her boyfriend. Actually, Fu Cheng had not contacted her since the events of that night.

Now, Fang Yunyao had found a good excuse for herself…no, a good reason.

“I already know your results; I think they’re pretty good. What about you?” Fang Yunyao spoke into the phone.

“I feel that they’re not too bad as well; my family is also very satisfied. After all, I had been performing poorly for a long time. This is all thanks to Xu Tingsheng, Old Zhou and all the teachers, and…you, Ms Fang,” Fu Cheng stammered as he spoke.

Actually, when he had said ‘all the teachers’, that had already included Ms Fang. Still, he had specifically repeated her name at the end in order to show his gratitude.

Ms Fang was a little flustered at this as she heard a deeper meaning concealed within his words. Was he trying to convey that she had been his motivation to work hard? …This crafty brat.

Fang Yunyao steadied the wild thoughts in her mind, returning to a proper, upright manner as she replied, “I called to ask-have you managed to contact Xu Tingsheng? How did he do? Mr Zhou said that he could not get through to him.”

As it was still morning, Fu Cheng had not yet received the call that Xu Tingsheng would give him later on, so he replied, “I haven’t been able to get through to him. Huang Yaming and I have already called him tens of times but to no avail. We’re preparing to go to his house in the afternoon.”

“I see.”

Fang Yunyao hung up, sat back down on her chair and casually fiddled with her mouse.

The chat group for Grade 12 teachers had been very lively over the past couple of days, its notification icon continually pulsating and appearing. As Fang Yunyao opened it, the line at the very bottom, sent by the Year Head Mr Huang, read thus: The sciences have been collated, with Ye Jian the top scholar. As for the Humanities, it seems to appear that 592 marks is the highest.

There were only two senior high schools in Libei County, and the standards between them were vastly different. The top scoring student of Libei Senior High was without a doubt the top scholar of Libei County. What the school committee and teachers were really concerned about was their top scorer’s rank in the entire city. This ranking was usually made known on the evening of this day when the city was distributed the official statistical data sent over from the higher-ups.

Of course, no matter what this ranking eventually turned out to be, Libei County’s top scorer was still a lofty position greatly worthy of praise and something that the teachers were exceptionally concerned about as well.

Within a moment, there were teachers asking below: Who?

The Year Head responded: Chen Yulun.

Some teachers in the office immediately stood up to congratulate the form teacher of Class 7, Zhang Xiuyun, “Congratulations Ms Zhang. Chen Yulun from your class is the top scholar for Humanities.”

In actual fact, this piece of news was not really something worth congratulating. For Libei Senior High, the top scholar for Humanities hailing from their sole Humanities special class was only to be expected. If there was anything to guess about, it would instead be none other than who of Class 7 this top scholar actually was.

In spite of this, Zhang Xiuyun still sighed in relief at the fact that the top scholar was from her Class 7. That Xu Tingsheng’s momentum had really been too ferocious. When even his Mathematics had begun showing signs of improvement as well, it had made her feel especially uneasy.

Now that matters looked to be confirmed, Zhang Xiuyun’s tense heart was finally set at ease.

She courteously replied, “All this is as it should be. Also, the city ranking is still not known yet.”

Having finished, she grabbed the office telephone and called Chen Yulun’s family, him being precisely the one who picked up.

She told him, “Congratulations, Yulun. You’re the top scholar for this Humanities batch.”


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