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Essay Contest Winners Announced

Not all heroes wear capes.

During the month of March, we asked people to tell us about an individual they know who, through some act of kindness, courage and / or unselfishness made a positive impact on their life. We had two winners from the Quad City Area. Both have been invited to the Quad Cities Area Annual Meeting and Volunteer Appreciation on May 14, 2014 to be recognized.

Congratulations to our winners, Tyler and Ashante. Please enjoy their stories below.

American Red Cross: My Hero
by Tyler Dunlavy, Bettendorf, Iowa
18 years old

Individuals who lend a hand to those in need deserve to be recognized for their acts of unselfishness and compassion. My hero is Keith Bonnstetter, a Spanish teacher, from Bettendorf High School. Mr. Bonnstetter has one of the most unique and incredible talents that I have ever seen. He can make beautiful snowflakes with almost unimaginable designs that bring his works of art to life. With this talent, Keith Bonnstetter has used his skill to help raise money for the student council as well as helping the new main foyer transform into its own winter wonderland.
Mr. Bonnstetter has taught at Bettendorf High School since 2001 and has made positive impressions on every one of his students. His “Survey to Spanish” class is one of the best classes given to students at Bettendorf High School due to its great importance to the Spanish curriculum as well as the effective teaching style of Mr. Bonnstetter. Through his teachings, I have learned the ability to be patient with everyone I encounter and the ability to treat people right even if they do not give you the same response.

Beyond the classroom, Keith Bonnstetter has used his talent with snowflakes to make a positive impact on our school and the world. During the course of the year, The Philippines suffered a series of natural disasters that left many without homes and a huge amount of deaths. In order to send relief to the country, Keith Bonnstetter organized a weeklong event at the high school in which students brought in donations during the week and at the end of the five days, the money was sent to the Philippines to help the country in need.

Being the committee chair of the Global Service Project committee at Bettendorf High School, I know the time commitment it takes to accomplish an event that lasts three hours. I cannot imagine the amount of time Mr. Bonnstetter spent organizing a whole week worth.
Overall, Mr. Bonnstetter is a man that I admire and respect, and He has taught me many valuable lessons about unselfishness, compassion, and kindness that have been used to give students as well as the affected civilians of the Philippines a positive impact.

My Hero
by Ashante Thompson, Burlington, Iowa
17 years old

My name is Ashante Thompson, and I’m a junior in high school and my hero is my mom. My mom’s name is Fannie Mae Thompson. She passed away on June 15, 2008. She died from lung cancer. I was only 10 years old at the time. My sister, her kids, my mom and I all lived in Moline, Illinois together. My mom was only 52 years old.

My mom was a loving person, she was loved by everyone that came in contact with her. She worked at a hotel called Fairfield Inn in Burlington, Iowa. My mom was a very caring person. She would do anything for anyone, even if she didn’t know you at all.

My mom was also a problem solver. When there was someone that I didn’t get along with, she told me that I wouldn’t get far in life if I let any argument that I had with my friends get to me. When she had problems at work, she would just ignore them and walk away.

When my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, we decided to move back to Burlington to visit my brother so he could see how she was doing. She wasn’t doing good and passed away the very next day. Losing my mom at a very young age made me more responsible for myself. I had to live with my brother ever since. I have been living with him for six years now.

Even though my brother takes care of me, I feel like there was still a lot that I had to learn by myself. My mom is my hero because with her being deceased, I realized all the responsibilities I had as a ten year old child. If it wasn’t for my mom leaving me with these responsibilities, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.

My mom will never be forgotten. Her ways of life not only taught me life’s lessons, but also has inspired many people that knew Mom. I would like to model my own life after my heroine, my mother.