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2017 Heroes of the Heartland Essay Winners

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“With faith and hard work, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

Autumn Elbert—4th grade, Martensdale-St. Mary’s School

Autumn’s Hero Essay

My hero is my grandma Ruth Elbert! When I say hero I really mean hero! 

The definition of a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities like my grandma Ruth Elbert!

She has three kids their names are Tammi, Bill, and my dad Mike.

She has white hair blue eyes and a beautiful face. When she smiles it makes everyone have a spark in their day!

Ruth Elbert helped my grandpa aka my grandma’s husband. He is now rested in peace but my grandma is always remembering him. He passed away at the age of 82 in the year 2016. He was in the Korean War and he was very brave. My grandma is also brave because she had a tough time when he was in the hospital and in the hospice house where he could no longer get better. She is always caring and makes breakfast all the time when I am at her house or on a vacation.

My grandpa always threw some meat on the ground for Molly the dog. But Ruth caught him and picked it up before it was too late. But not all the time!

Another good memory about my grandma is the time she was to busy making breakfast for us. She was not looking after grandpa, he was in his wheelchair going down a steep hill, and when she saw him, she was not happy with him! She told my dad to go and get him and when he got up to him he said, I was seeing how far I would get!

I chose her as my hero because she is funny, courageous, loving, and a lot of more stuff than you can imagine! She always comforts me and gives me flowers after I do something like dance, a play, a basketball game and softball games. I also chose her because it would a little one day vacation for her and she could have some breakfast here instead of making it. I could never be as brave as she could even if I tried. I also could not get over the time when my grandma shook my leg and said that we are going to miss grandpa when we go on vacation. That is why I chose my grandma as a hero! I love you grandma!

Sophia Shannon—5th grade, Lakewood Elementary, Norwalk

My Hero

By Sophia Shannon

My hero is a little boy named Moses, who goes to my church. Moses is fighting Cancer. He inspires me because I know I can do anything and achieve anything. Moses is getting better and better, but he is still fighting. I know he is getting better when I see him at church smiling at everyone.

Moses, just last year, developed Leukemia. He started going downhill. My church and I were very worried about him. We even did a blood drive in his honor hoping it would help. We hoped and hoped and he got better.

Moses lost his hair from chemotherapy. He is a cute little bald baby! I chose Moses as my Hero for the Heartland because when I’m sad I can think of him and he makes me climb higher!

Anya Kallenbach—5th grade, Lakewood Elementary, Norwalk

My Hero

Crazy. Helpful. AWESOME! Three words to describe my biggest hero. She loves students and loves to help them learn. She stayed with us when she was student teaching, and taught me a lot about being a great person and helping others before myself. She was always willing to help me even if she was in the middle of something.

Some of the words that she lives by are: “With faith and hard work, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

Kate remarked, “I am a teacher because I truly care and love working with students. I want each student to believe they can be successful and achieve anything they put their minds to. I want to make a difference in the world and if I make a positive impact on just one student, that can change the world.” She’s made many differences with me and now I believe I can change the world.

She knew that she wanted to be a teacher after working with kids in inner-city Chicago while she was in High School.

“These kids were so inspiring, showing that you can have nothing valuable in life, but that coming to school you gain knowledge about life and content which change the way you live.” I thought about this and thought they don’t have all the things I do but they treasure school when we suddenly don’t like it.

While in college she lived in Italy working as a camp counselor on a U.S. Navy base to give summer camp to Navy children. She also lived in Belgium working on a NATO base as a camp director. “These experiences were amazing and helped form my positive, outgoing, exciting teaching style.” She goes to other countries to help kids when I hardly help the kids in my neighborhood.

“My Grandma Joan was a teacher and she inspires me every day. Some days teaching can be challenging, but the success of the students will always be worth the challenge.”

She inspires me every day by just being herself and she is so helpful and cares more about others than she cares about herself.

Allie Fuller—4th grade, Lakewood Elementary, Norwalk

When most people are asked about their hero, they start thinking about people like Captain American and Iron Man, or celebrities. When I was asked about my hero, I thought about people I know. I know many great people so it was a hard decision. I finally decided on my fourth grade teacher, Ms. Schoenhard.

Ms. Schoenhard is a beyond the Milky Way, awesome teacher. She challenges her students, motivates them, and cares very deeply about her students. She will help you right away if you ask for it, and will take time, however long needed to help you. Ms. Schoenhard has different ways of teaching to make sure you are learning. “You are in charge of your learning.” Ms. Schoenhard reminds us almost every day, and runs a classroom based on that rule.

Ms. Schoenhard provides us with hands on learning experiences. She has us jump into the deep end of the pool while we are still learning. It means Ms. Schoenhard teaches us the lesson while doing it for real. “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there’s footprints on the moon.” This quote by Paul Brandt is a great way to describe how much Ms. Schoenhard challenges you. She sets a high bar for you, and helps you reach your goal. Once you’ve reached that goal she will set a higher goal for you.

Ms. Schoenhard is a true hero for me. She shows that you can challenge yourself and motivate yourself and others. I admire her, and I hope she will always be my hero.

Isabelle Huggins—4th grade, Perkins Academy, Des Moines

My Hero is Mrs. Dall-Winther my 4th grade teacher at Perkins Academy in Des Moines public schools. She’s my hero because she makes learning fun for all the kids in my class speaking 15 different native languages and has inspired me to learn and have fun doing it. She also has inspired me to become a scientist when I grow up. She inspired me to do that because she makes us look at things differently just like our mock rocks project. In our project, we had to look at a mock rock and you could break it apart and see what it’s made of. This is how Mrs. Dall-Winther looks at us. She helps us see our potential on the inside. Mrs. Dall-Winther shows she cares about us by asking what we do outside of school. She always wants to know all about it. And if you were sick she would want to know if you’re feeling better and if you’re now ready to learn. She always puts students in her heart and lets them be welcome to be at school.

Mrs. Dall-Winther sets a good example to be grateful. She always writes a thank you card in appreciation of our gifts.

She always has a smile and is positive which helps me feel good about myself. Her smile encourages me to be a better speaker in front of people. I trust her to talk to her about my problems.

She is changing the world because she is changing my life and the kids in my class by teaching us to learn and go to college and soon have a job.

I am thankful for my hero Mrs. Dall-Winther.