FORT WORTH, TX–Friday marked the last day of school before winter break commenced for Bill Paxton Memorial High School students. In the absence of education, the day was full of festive fun. There was a first-period school assembly featuring performances by the choir, cheerleaders, and the little-known breakdancing club. Mrs. Barker hosted a cookie decorating competition, and Principal Hendrickson dressed up as a Christmas elf. Few teachers lectured, and most classrooms defaulted to a classic Christmas film screening.
With Mr. Jacobsen taking a sick day, substitute teacher Ms. Kilborn took over his mathematics classes. She’d been instructed to simply pop in Christmas films for the day and sit back. An absolute Tom Hanks fanatic, Ms. Kilborn was eager to show the students her favorite Christmas movie, The Polar Express. Rather than mix it up with other movies throughout the day, she planned to repeat the same first hour of the film for each class.
When zero period heard Ms. Kilborn announce what they’d be watching, she received scattered groans. “Surely they just haven’t seen it, I thought. It’s one of the greatest family movies of all time. They’ll come around when they see that fucking train. Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks, like, shit, that’s a surefire recipe for success,” she explained of her insistence on screening the film. Unfortunately, morale did not improve from there. Nobody said anything, but body language and occasional booing signaled a distaste. Nonetheless, Ms. Kilborn pressed on, showing it again for the next several classes.
By the time sixth-period rolled around, the incoming students had already been warned about Ms. Kilborn’s intention to screen The Polar Express. The lone senior in the Algebra class of underclassmen, Taylor Ali, entered the room with an attitude. Assuming he manages to graduate, this was Taylor’s last Christmas celebration of his high school career. He should be having the time of his life, participating in Secret Santas or watching stuff like Elf or How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Instead, Taylor was about to squander his last holiday party sixth period watching the worst Christmas movie in the history of the world.
“I politely requested that we watch A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas instead. I even brought 3-D glasses for it, but that wanna-be teacher said ‘no.’ So, I put my foot down,” Taylor recounted. At that point, he stood up on his chair from the back of the classroom and delivered an impassioned speech about America, Hollywood’s demise, and why Tom Hanks was part of the ‘plandemic.’ Many were confused by exactly what points Taylor was trying to make, but everyone agreed — The Polar Express simply would not do. On Taylor’s cue, they marched out of the classroom en route to the quad. There the students would stage their silent protest. Ms. Kilborn was left dumbfounded. How could her favorite Christmas movie have gone over so poorly? She resented what Taylor had done, but deep down, Ms. Kilborn couldn’t help but respect him for it.
After the last student had exited, Taylor popped his head inside for a final word with the substitute teacher. “It’s so boring. I’d rather, like, learn math.” Taylor scoffed and slammed the classroom door shut.