Chapter 3 Summary

Margaret Draper was the principal for the school at which Mrs. Eva Marie Olinski first taught. During the summer after Margaret retired, Eva Marie was in an automobile accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Margaret Draper kept in touch with Mrs. Olinski during her recovery and afterward. When Mrs. Olinski finally returns to teaching ten years later, she discovers that Ethan Potter, Margaret's grandson, will be in her class. Mrs. Olinski finds that Ethan is intelligent, independent, and has a refreshingly positive attitude. When she chooses him for her Academic Team, she tells neither her friend Margaret nor anyone else.

Ethan Explains the B & B Inn

Ethan Potter lives in the shadow of his older brother, Luke, who is "always doing something wonderful and/or record setting." As a result, Ethan tends to keep to himself. The Potters, who are a well-established dynasty in Epiphany, plan for Ethan to inherit the family farm when he grows up because his brother is "scheduled for greater things." They do not know that Ethan has dreams of his own: he wants to go to New York City to design costumes and stage sets for the theater.

Ethan sits at the back of the school bus every year. By making himself inconspicuous, he usually manages to have the seat to himself. On the first day of sixth grade, however, he is joined by a new student, Julian Singh. Julian is of Indian descent, speaks with a British accent, and is impeccably polite. In addition, he wears shorts and knee socks, and carries a leather book bag. He is decidedly different and hopelessly uncool. Julian's father has bought the Sillington House, a local landmark which he plans to turn into a bed-and-breakfast inn. Despite himself, Ethan is curious about his new seatmate, but his desire to remain unnoticed by the general populace asserts itself. Although he is not exactly rude to Julian Singh, he makes it clear through his body language that he would prefer to be left alone.

In homeroom, Mrs. Olinski, who is confined to a wheelchair, introduces herself to her students. She explains that she is a "PARAPLEGIC," writing the word under her name on the board. As she speaks, Ethan surveys his classmates and sees Julian sitting in the row next to him. Nadia Diamondstein, whom Ethan had met during the summer, is in the same class too, as is Noah Gershom, the son of Ethan's family's dentist. Hamilton Knapp and Michael Froelich, two known troublemakers, are seated in the back of the room, and they immediately proceed to give Mrs. Olinski grief. At lunchtime, Ethan, Nadia, and Noah sit together, while Julian Singh sits alone. When he is finished eating, Julian leaves the cafeteria. Mrs. Olinski follows him, probably to acquaint him with the rules of...

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