The draw on the Jack Webster awards night

It was my first time attending such a big event in Canada. The Jack Webster Awards, the occasion nominated journalists receive awards for the best of their works on a provincial level.

I didn’t really know how it was going to go. Upon entering the hotel, I met some of my classmates in the lobby who were dressed in business attire. “Nice outfit Rahmat,” said Ben and my other classmates.

“Thank you” I replied.

Honestly, I don’t think there was any other person dressed as I. Better or worse! I don’t know. What happened next was in the back of mind until later that night. Everyone busy with meets and greets. My classmate Michael and I were the first to enter the dining hall. It was because I didn’t know anyone other than my school professors whom I see in the school on a regular basis.

Anyway, long story short, the program officially started. I am sitting in the last row in a corner of the big hall packed with hundreds of journalists, the stars of the night, and some of the past, recent and current Jack Webster Awards winners are among them. All my classmates, including me, are trying to have the chance to shake hands or say hello to the famous journalists in the room.

I look at the stage and think of how big of a ‘thing’ it is to come up on this stage to receive the award and say a few words. Well, there is a quick introduction of the Jack Webster Awards and the nominees on the big screens. I am only watching that while wondering when will be my day to have the chance to say a few words on this particular stage.

After a while, the announcer says, “There is a notebook in front of each of you on the tables, fill in the first page for the purpose of a draw to win a prize. The draw will take place at the end of the event.” I do so and the page gets collected. The program continues with announcing best reporters and their hard works in different categories. The winners come on stage to receive the awards and say a few words to the crowd.

At the end of the program, the announcer says, “Now we will pick up a name from the collected pages for the purpose of the draw to win the prize we had promised you in the beginning.

I am telling one of my classmates “who knows if your name gets picked up.” She tells me the same.

At this moment, the announcer picks up one out of all the pages collected. She asks her co-announcer for help to pronounce the name correctly. This grabs my attention even closer because I know my name is not common! “It might be my name,” I said to my self.

Unbelievably! It is no other than me. “Aaamaddolaa Ramaat” calls out the announcer.

I am looking around to confirm if they really called out my name! My classmates Michael, Aaron, Liya and Jenny sitting around the table tell me “They called you, congrats Rahmat, go to the stage”.

Walking towards the stage, I hear two people say, “Look at that! The weird looking guy we talked about earlier is the winner of the draw” I pretend I don’t hear them.

Being very nervous, I go to the stage. I receive my prize and I tell the host on the stage that I am a BCIT student of the journalism program.

“Do you want to say a few words to the crowd to night?” she asked me.

“Mhmmm, yeah,” I said.

Imagine the nervousness and the pressure to talk in front of all the legendary people in hall!

Anyway, I say, “Hello every one, I am Ahmadullah Rahmat a student of the Journalism program at BCIT. I am very fortunate to have the chance to come on stage tonight and say hello to you.”

Now I pause for few seconds to think about what to say next!

“Ok,” I say, “you probably were the same students one day as we the students of BCIT, UBC, LANGARA and KWANTLEN are today. You followed speakers of the truth before you and we promise we will follow you.”

I think they liked the promise of mine because they gave me a big round of applause. Meanwhile, it gave me a few seconds to think what to say next. Here, it comes to mind that their time is very important and I have stop my bullshitting. So I say “I am so happy, thank you so much and have a great night”

I am still at the podium and remembered that Oh! I didn’t mention my school professors who are really working hard to share whatever they can to make our future successful.

I still stay at the podium and say, “By the way special thanks to all my BCIT professors everyone Connie Monk, Mary Kay, Bill Amos, Julia Foy, Alan Waterman, Theresa Lalonde and Catherine Ambrose for all the efforts they make to train the journalists of tomorrow. And, oh, hmm, one more thing. From this podium today, I have a humble request from Connie Monk to please bare with me in news writing. I know I have problems in English writing because it is not my first language but trust me; I am trying my best to improve. Thanks again” I said and left the podium.

I was on the way back to my table in my daydream but in real life, I arrived home and parked my car in the driveway in front of my house. I went to bed with stronger intentions.