* Forsyth business owner surprised by life-saving bone marrow donor
Honoring Our Heroes essay contest winners
Thea E. Valencia
Jordan Van Uum
Samantha de Haan
Watching cartoon characters save the day from evil villains or reading comics about Batman vanquishing his nemesis may entertain children, but one group of Forsyth County elementary and middle schoolers shared Tuesday night how they are inspired by their real-life heroes.
The Forsyth County Council of PTA’s annual Honoring our Heroes ceremony was a chance for students to recognize someone in their life who they look up to, with a kid-hero pair from each grade in 12 elementary and one middle school accepting a certificate in front of family, friends and teachers at Brandywine Elementary.
“It’s a writing program where we’re basically asking kiddos to write about their real-life heroes,” said Lisa Hickenbottom, vice president of the Brandywine PTA. “It’s been around since 1995.”
Cobb County started the program to encourage kids to look in their actual lives for inspiration, not just in celebrities or on TV, said Anna Sander, vice president of programs for the Forsyth County Council of PTAs.
Students who wrote winning essays for their grade at their school talked about their parents, their siblings, their doctors, their teachers, their friends, their coaches. One student from each grade was selected to read their essay for the audience, which filled to standing room only in the first-year school’s cafeteria.
“My cousin volunteers at the hospital. She likes to read and talk to the sick people. This shows me she is caring,” said Misha Patel, a kindergartener at Big Creek Elementary.
One student talked about the nurse who cared for her and her twin brother when they were born prematurely. Another explained why he chose his speech language pathologist, who helped him get rid of his stutter and anxiety.
A girl’s yoga coach was honored. A teacher and a best friend were also chosen.
Jocelyn Ramirez read about her sister who Ramirez matched to be able to donate bone marrow. The Matt Elementary fifth grader ended her essay with tears in her eyes and down her face as she told the audience her sister is still her hero every day even though she passed away in 2012.
“Heroes,” said Scott Edwards, the guest speaker for the event, “come in all different forms.”