I wanted my mom to be proud of the leader I was. It was time to focus my planning on my ultimate prize in leadership—Senior Class President. I put together an amazing slate of good friends who showed leadership across sports and clubs. My slogan was Karen Cares, because let me tell you, in my mind, no one cared more than I did. My reason for running was to plan our ten-year class reunion in 1998. I knew I was the woman for the job and last year’s prom had been a slam dunk. I was excited but also nervous.
I had two opponents. Good Guy was a star athlete and well liked and well known in our very large senior class. The Goof was a bit of a class clown and chose to run as a joke. He even bragged about how he was running as a spoiler and didn’t care. The Goof and I had the same larger friend group and I tried to convince him to withdraw his nomination so we wouldn’t split the vote. He laughed and said he didn’t care. But I cared. Karen Cares was my slogan after all.
My campaign team made countless posters, and cut out Karen Cares buttons to be worn on the chests of as many classmates as possible. I was told by a guy friend that Good Guy decided to spread some ugly rumors about me in the gym locker room. Any guy who knew me knew that they couldn’t possibly be true because I couldn’t even get a willing date to a dance for goodness sake. But, I felt the alleged rumors did some damage. The election came and went and Good Guy won, along with the rest of my slate. I was crushed in so many ways. Good Guy allegedly lied about me and still won. I was so disappointed. In my mind, if he wouldn’t have said those things, I would have clearly won the election. I really wanted that win to show my parents that I could be a top leader. Because my mom’s cancer was now spreading to other parts of her body, I’m not even sure they realized I ran, and lost, a big election.