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By Thanksgiving, Stargirl has become the most popular person at the school. Leo is pretty flabbergasted: how did it happen?
He considers whether it was because she is such a fantastic cheerleader. Not in a typical sense of course, but she really does a great job of entertaining the crowds at football games.
Even though the team is not great, she never takes a break from her enthusiastic cheering. She even goes across the field to the other team's cheerleaders and cheers with them.
Once she shimmied up the goal post on the field, did a tightrope walk to the middle of the post, and threw a touchdown signal. She got in hot water for that one, but the crowd loved it.
Her antics help them forget they had a losing team.
The local newspaper even refers to her as the best athlete on the field.
But still, there could be another reason for Stargirl's recent popularity. It just might be backlash from an incident with Hillari Kimble.
Flashback to a few days after Stargirl sings "Happy Birthday" to Hillari. Hillari took Stargirl's beloved pet rat Cinnamon by his tail and dangled him over the railing of the stairs. Not cool.
People screamed at Hillari not to do it, but she dropped Cinnamon. Also not cool.
Or maybe, Leo thinks, Stargirl has become popular because of Dori Dilson. Who?
See, Dori Dilson is a small ninth grader who writes poetry. Most people don't know her until she decides to sit with Stargirl one day at lunch. After Dori makes the first move, many more people want to sit at Stargirl's table, too. All it takes is one person to set a trend.
Finally, Kevin wonders if her new popularity is due to "us." He wonders if the students have changed on the whole.
No matter what the reason, the reality is that Stargirl is very popular. How can we be sure? Well, everyone is imitating her, just like they used to imitate Wayne Parr. Many people are now playing ukuleles, putting flowers on their desks, and buying pet rats.
Stargirl, meanwhile, participates in an oratorical contest and is, by far, the best speaker.
As the judges pretend to make a decision, they play a documentary to the kids in the auditorium. The documentary is about last year's winner, who, after advancing and eventually winning the state finals, arrived home to a hero's welcome. There were massive crowds awaiting him and they carried him off on their shoulders. Could this be Stargirl's future?
Maybe. She wins handily, and will advance to the next round of competition.
At this moment, Leo notices that the students are not only happy with Stargirl lately, but they are also happier with themselves.