How Do You Solve A Problem Like Alfea?

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Hey guys!  This piece is another fanfic that I felt like writing after seeing the recycled background characters in Season 5.  However, unlike my previous one, this is structured to be similar to a newspaper article, while still (of course) fictitious.  And I have a serial fanfic on the way, Zenith of Corruption.  Look forward to it, and enjoy!

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Alfea College for Fairies.  When you hear the name, you think of the perceptions surrounding the school: prosperity, intelligence, wisdom, affluence.  But, as it turns out, this may no longer be the case.

These past few years have been some of the roughest in the renowned institution’s history, and not just because it tends to be a constant target for magical attacks.  Rather, Alfea has chosen to stop publicizing its graduation counts ever since Valtor was defeated by its star fairy team, the Winx Club.  After the Magix media began to push its representatives for an answer, it finally gave up the information: that, out of its entire graduating class of three hundred plus students, only six actually graduated.

“Those students went above and beyond our very stringent requirements,” the current headmistress, Miss Faragonda, states.  “They had experiences available to them that few students ever get.  I too am aware that this is our lowest-ever graduation count, but Alfea has been victimized to the point of affecting our academic schedule.  I assure you that these changes will only be temporary.”

However, the powers that be at the college have a secret that they do not wish to disclose: that excessive amounts of students are being held back for seemingly trivial reasons.  At Alfea, grades can only take you so far, as Lucy, a recent Cloud Tower graduate, observes.  While clearly not a fairy, she knows firsthand how much more competitive their requirements are.

“My childhood friend, Mirta, is still forced to go to that school,” she admits.  “Alfea has a three-year program, so I thought for sure she’d graduate at the same time as me.  She even made me start looking for job postings that asked for both fairies and witches, so we could be coworkers.  But a year  has passed, and she’s still taking third-year classes.  She tells me it’s embarrassing, and the other girls poke fun at her.  She’s always been a bit too sensitive, but it makes me wonder: why are they holding her back?  Her grades are every bit as good as those other graduates.”  She then groans and mutters, “So glad I’m not a fairy.”

The answer to her question begins twenty-five years ago, even before Faragonda was headmistress–considered by many to be Alfea’s golden age.  Back then, Alfea was actually a six-year school with two years for basic fairy training, two years for Charmix training, and two for advanced training.  That way, fairies were given four to five years to achieve the ultimate fairy goal: Enchantix.  With this curriculum, Enchantix was a honor, and even if some failed to achieve it, it wasn’t the end of the world and they could still reach an advanced–albeit marginally inferior–level.  Budget cuts forced cutback on the Charmix program, reducing it to one year.  But the system still seemed fair.

The problem began when the headmistress at the time–the current discipline officer known only as Grizelda–began to realize that Alfea seemed to be losing its edge.  Nobody wanted to go to a five-year school anymore.  They were the butt of jokes from four-year Cloud Tower and Red Fountain students.  In a desperate move, Grizelda pulled the same trick on the basic training program, speeding it up so Alfea could be a four-year college just like the other Magix institutions.

But that wasn’t enough to stop the downward spiral.  Beta Academy, a five-year fairy college and Alfea’s main competitor, wasn’t going to let their rivals take advantage of their now shortened graduation times.  As an experimental measure, they put their students through a even more rigorous schedule to great success.  And they didn’t hesitate to brag to Alfea about their new find: that they had discovered a way to make fairies earn their Enchantix in only a year.

“No one had ever tried this before,” Grizelda recalls.  “We’d always assumed it was impossible, that Enchantix was too difficult to teach in only a year.  It was a catastrophe for us; our student population plummeted.  As soon as the parents saw Beta’s advertising, they couldn’t resist the fact that they were simply more affordable and efficient.  We couldn’t let Beta steal our edge, so we resorted to desperate measures.”

Like Beta, Alfea soon changed its Enchantix curriculum.  Students began to come back to Alfea for its now three-year education–the fastest any college had tried to get through its undergraduate program.  But there were prices to be paid for its increasingly efficient system.

“We couldn’t let non-Enchantix students graduate anymore,” Grizelda continues.  “The job market began to realize how powerful Enchantix fairies were, and demanded them.  Regular level fairies were doomed to be unemployed.  So what else could we do but help them to reach that potential?”  While the school tried to hide the fact that students were held back repeatedly until they earned Enchantix, it was only a matter of time before it became obvious.

To her credit, Faragonda quickly realized this system’s faults.  When she became headmistress eight years ago, she decided she wanted to put an end to this injustice.  But Grizelda gave her an ultimatum along with her promise to become Alfea’s discipline officer: essentially “if you change the system, I will resign.”  An act of blackmail, sure, but one that Faragonda couldn’t refuse, as having an ex-headmistress by her side for advice was far too valuable.  She agreed never to speak of reform again.

That decision, however, came at the price of students like Amaryl, who has been searching for her Enchantix for almost three years, a school record.

“It used to be that students from the same realm would congregate together because of common experience,” she tells us.  “However, now they do it because they know the possibility’s out there.  Danger could lurk, and they could get an Enchantix out of the deal.  It may not be the most savory means of doing so, but there’s this third-year in my Solarian clique named Nova.  I’m not letting her be another holdover like me.  Fairies stick together, and even if I have to go a sixth year, it’d be worth it if I see her at the graduation ceremony, never having to know what I’ve been through.”

She looks out the window, watching the scene unfold: first-years squealing over their first Red Fountain-Alfea dance, blissfully ignorant of the dark truth.

“This school doesn’t want to help us,” she asserts.  “So we’re helping ourselves.”

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4 responses »

  1. I love how all of your fanfics seem so… canon. You get everything down so well, it seems like it could really happen!

    I love how you decided to write about this. It is a little mysterious that only six fairies graduated that year… why didn’t they just have the rest do what Bloom did???

    Good job, I love it! 🙂

    • I’m really glad to hear all of this! I based this one largely off the complaints about how the American school system is currently operating. Alfea and these schools have one common flaw: by making students do Enchantix, they are (in a way) “teaching the test.”

      To Faragonda’s credit, though, she does try to solve the problems without changing the system. For instance, in Season 4 (while the Winx are gone, and only in my canon), she sets up “Enchantix retreats,” which are pretty much humanitarian retreats you can sign up for in ailing realms. “Zenith of Corruption” takes place at one of these retreats, and the main characters are minor fairies: Mirta, Galatea, Roxy, and Nova. There will also be increased focus on Tecna, as she’s called to help another Zenith fairy, Theta, who is unwittingly involved in the titular corruption.

  2. Oh my gosh, I love this! This sounds exactly like a newspaper article, and it’s so funny while being told in a serious tone. Can’t wait for ‘Zenith of Corruption’; it sounds fascinating.

    • What do you find to be humorous about it, out of curiosity?

      Also, I’ve been working on how to develop the background characters, since they weren’t really fleshed out in some instances. If my brainstorming is any indication, Nova will probably be my favorite character to write. She’s a hot-blooded, sassy type who (while maintaining her gossipy reputation from Season 3), underneath her persona, she’s actually a big science nerd (and even tutors students in potions and such). Every once in a while, she says something scientific that would normally go against her personality! xD

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