The Lonely Cheetah

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▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ 1 Maryann watched the young cheetah pace back and forth in her cage. “How sad she is,” Maryann said to herself. For the first time, she wasn’t envious of her oldest brother Tommy, who had the best ever summer job. He was a biology major in college and had gotten a summer internship at the zoo. 2 Tommy had told Maryann that the cheetah’s name was Sala, and she had been found on the Serengeti Plains in Kenya. Her mother had been killed by poachers, and a Kenyan conservation team had rescued the little cheetah cub and raised her. Otherwise, Sala would surely have been killed by predators. Once she was old enough, many attempts were made to release her into the wild. All of them failed. Having lost her mother, Sala didn’t have the skills to protect herself. Eventually, the city zoo had arranged to purchase her. 3 Tommy walked up behind Maryann and put his hand on her shoulder. “So, what do you think of her?” he asked, smiling at his sister. ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt!™ Passage provided under license from PassageBank.com. Use and duplication is restricted to licensees only. ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ 4 “She’s the most beautiful animal I’ve ever seen,” Maryann said slowly and breathlessly. “But why isn’t she with the other cheetahs? She looks so sad.” 5 “She has trouble fitting in,” Tommy said, watching the young cheetah continue to pace. When he looked back at his sister, her eyes filled with tears. 6 “Sit down with me for a minute, little sister,” Tommy said. Pointing to a bench near the primates cage, he put his arm around Maryann and walked in silence to the bench. “Let’s go over there. It’s time to talk about this and to stop ignoring it,” Tommy said. “You have to find a way to be more optimistic and cheerful.” 7 “You don’t think I’d like to be?” Maryann said, choking on her tears. “You don’t think I’d like to feel happy again? I was always happy when we lived in Austin. I had lots of friends, and they liked me, and I liked them.” 8 “And the difference here is what?” Tommy asked gently. “You’re the same person you were in Austin.” 9 “Yes, I am. But the kids here… well, they’re different,” Maryann said sadly. “They aren’t friendly. They have their own friends. They’re just so different from me. Just like those other cheetahs are so different from Sala. And I’m the same as her, very sad. And I’m very alone. Just like she is.” ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt!™ Passage provided under license from PassageBank.com. Use and duplication is restricted to licensees only. ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ 10 “Maybe you can find friends outside the school,” Tommy said thoughtfully. “Maybe you can volunteer here. The zoo has a bunch of middle school and high school kids who love animals who work here.” 11 “I’d try that,” Maryann said. “It sounds as if it could help.” ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt!™ Passage provided under license from PassageBank.com. Use and duplication is restricted to licensees only.

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