Kim tries to convince Ma that they should move, just run away from the debt that they owe Aunt Paula, but Ma won’t hear anything of it. She says it isn’t honorable to not repay a debt.
Kim had to say a lot of goodbyes in the spring, as she found out Annette would be going to a prep school for junior high and Mr. Al was moving away. Mr. Al did give them some folding chairs and a mattress, which meant that Kim would have her own bed again.
There was a bully in Kim’s class named Luke, and he began to stare at her during class. One day in the cafeteria, he challenges her to a fight since he believed she knew karate. Annette urges Kim to tell an adult, but Kim is more afraid of adults than she is of Luke. Kim knew if she didn’t fight Luke, he would just come after her every day, so she decided to go ahead and do it. Amazingly, when the fight came, Kim hit Luke enough that he didn’t try to hit her back.
The next day the principal, Mrs. LaGuardia, came to Mr. Bogart’s class. Kim assumed it was to get her in trouble for the fight, but she just wanted to talk about Kim’s recent test scores. Her reading score was low, which Kim thought meant that she would be suspended from school, but really, the principal wanted to know if she would want to go to a private school. Kim wanted to, but knew they could not pay. The principal brought up that most schools would give her a scholarship, if they still had money in their budget.
A few days later, Mrs. LaGuardia informs Kim that Harrison would consider her for a scholarship. That meant that she had to go to a meeting, but Ma could not attend since it was the night a shipment was supposed to go out. Kim was nervous about the big school, but when she arrives, the principal of the school just asked her a lot of math questions, which Kim felt comfortable with. Then the principal, Dr. Weston, takes Kim on a tour of the school, showing her multiple buildings, tennis courts, and more trees than Kim had ever seen.
Dr. Weston takes Kim back to her office and says that there’s a good chance that the school can offer 50% of tuition, or possibly even 75%. Kim realizes there is no way Ma could pay any tuition at all, so she leaves the school assuming she will go to public school. Ma was disappointed that they could not afford it, and offers to take another job, but then she conceded when she realized how much it would cost.
The day of their graduation, Ma got Kim a new brown skirt. All the kids wore formal clothes, even Luke. Aunt Paula allowed Ma to go into work late in order to go to the graduation ceremony. Kim was embarrassed though when she didn’t win any awards. Then, when the principal is giving her speech, she announces to everyone that Kim was granted a full scholarship to Harrison.
When Ma and Kim arrive at the factory, Aunt Paula takes them into her office. She has the letter from Harrison, but assumes it is an application. She is angry at Ma for allowing Kim to hold onto hope for a school she couldn’t get into or afford. That’s when Kim tells her that she was accepted already, and has a full scholarship. Aunt Paula is angry that this was done behind her back, and Kim tells her that they can take care of themselves.
Annette spent the summer traveling, so Kim and she exchanged postcards. When the summer came to a close, Kim got a blazer and prepared to go to school at Harrison. There was a special private bus that picked up kids for the school, so that is what Kim rode. She meets her new teachers and sees more white students than she had ever seen in one place before. Later in the day, Kim and Annette are finally able to meet up, and Kim is relieved that Annette also thinks all the other students are weird.