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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


If you haven’t heard already, Stone Arch Books recently sponsored a contest where students in grades 3 – 6 wrote an entry about someone they felt was a hero at their school. The contest ran thru February 28. Every morning as my computer powered up, I found myself excited to see if there were any entries. Day after day, I checked the mailbox and nothing was there. I wondered to myself “Was this a good contest? Would kids enter?” Then after 13 days of checking that empty mailbox, I received the first entry! It was from a seven-year-old named Emma and it was so sweet. “My Hero. My hero is Ms. Sortino because she will help us everyday. Her powers are: Mind reading, eyes in back of her head, knowing everybody's names in the universe, Super running. She has also got a side kick named Mr. Hagen the Asst. Principal. His power are: Flying, Super Strong, and X-ray vision.”

After that day, the entries came flooding in. I was amazed at how well kids could articulate the “super powers” of their everyday heroes. Most entries were written about teachers (especially gym teachers), librarians, principals, and custodians. But there were others written about the bravery of a fellow student battling leukemia, a best friend that stands up for herself and doesn’t succumb to peer pressure, a reading teacher that has helped a student progress from level M to level R, and a seeing-eye dog named Licorice that helps a student find her way. I wish I could share all of them with you. As it came time to pick the contest winner, I pored through the entries over and over again. How were we going to choose? We narrowed it down to 50, then to 15, then to 5 and then finally to our winner, Hakeem. Hakeem is a special ed student at the Nathanael Greene School in New York. He wrote an entry about his teacher Mr. Brown.

“My teacher Mr.Brown is visually impaired. That not what makes him a hero. It is because he takes public transportation everyday with Stanley his dog to school. That is why he is a true everyday superhero. In our class we had a project of being blindfolded and trying to find our way around the class it was hard for me. In our school it is hard. Being in special education, we learn to recognize our disabilities. Mr. Brown don't what to take access-a-ride to work being driven from his house to work. I feel sad he can't see the beautiful things around. That bothers me. To ride the train to East NY in Brooklyn is chaotic and not the safest even for people who do not have a disability. The travelling in the snow and ice with Stanley make him even more courageous. Mr. Brown is my pick for our school superhero. He could serve as a superhero for all.”

Thanks to Hakeem for sharing this with us and to all of the kids who recognized the heroes in their lives. (Who's the hero at your school? Share in the comments.)

Shannon Zigmund
Marketing Manager, Fiction
Capstone Publishers


Kim said...

Mr Brown and Stanley were hit by a car today and are both in hospial. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Stone Arch Books said...

We were so sorry to hear about Mr. Brown and Stanley! We hear from the school principal that both are doing well.