At the end of my eighth grade year at Notre Dame JR/SR High School there was an assembly of the eighth grade in a large lecture hall next to the chemistry lab. This particular room had auditorium seating and a lab table in the front of the room. At this assembly the “I Dare You” Award sponsored by the American Legion was to be given out. As this was my first year at the school and my life had taken a very weird turn that I was ill equipped to deal with, I spent most of that school year trying to be completely invisible.
I knew nothing about this award or the criteria for the selection of the winner. As my name was announced, I noticed Fr Gibson off to the side, grinning. It seems Father Gibson had something to do with the selection of the “winner”. For the life of me, I could not imagine anything I had done during that academic year that was of any significance either scholastically or in community service that would have warranted my selection. The award came in the form of a large American Legion medallion and a small book entitled “I Dare You”. The message in the title of the book was chilling to me. It was as if he was reminding me to keep quiet about his activities. He used any method to control me and to keep me from having the confidence that I could speak to someone about what was happening and be believed. He was using what should have been a recognition for one of my classmate who had actually achieved something to keep me off my center, to keep me unstable and not knowing what to do next.
I still have the book and the medallion.