Gulf News

Growing pains

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Flat-out competitio­n to be the most beautiful girl might seem petty and superficia­l, but the undeclared contests to be the smartest are far more ruthless, Ginn knew.

She had always been a good student, a self-described math geek. In the eighth grade, she got the highest GPA in the class. The girl who came in second belonged to the “prettiest, most popular crowd’’. She played field hockey, and the entire team decided that Jamie Ginn was now their collective enemy.

Whenever she walked into a classroom, Ginn remembers, she would see “JSMD’’ scrawled on the blackboard. The same thing appeared on spirit buttons the field hockey team began sporting. Finally, a friend explained the shorthand: Jamie Slut Must Die.

The harassment worsened in high school. She remembers consciousl­y deciding not to apply herself to her fullest.

Dance was Jamie’s true passion, and she concentrat­ed on that and was encouraged by the older girls at a local dance studio who had won scholarshi­p money in the Miss Ocean City pageant. She won the title, and $5,000 (Dh18,350) for college, at 16. But she regrets not allowing herself the same ambition academical­ly. She finished 11th in her graduating class, she remembers, and her tormentor ranked seventh.

“You win,’’ she says now, with a bitter smile.

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