Pupils' tribute is a heroic undertaking

NEIGHBORS

November 19, 2001|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR SEVERAL weeks, pupils at Sandymount Elementary School researched and wrote about heroes in their lives. With the help of family members, they created posters and large signs that heralded their heroes' accomplishments.

Fathers and grandmothers joined heroic ranks with Orville Wright and Christopher Columbus. Doctors and teachers were honored alongside Michael Jordan and Mother Teresa.

The school's morning announcements included poignant examples of what heroism meant to pupils and their family members.

Some heroes - teachers, parents, grandparents, and doctors - didn't know they were heroes until the project culminated with a ceremony Nov. 9.

For an hour that morning, children from each grade presented their posters and told an audience of more than 200 why they chose one special someone as their hero.

Fifth-grader Walker Wright honored his father, Jeff Wright, for his service as a Marine, a police officer and a bailiff for Carroll County courts.

Jeff Wright was one of many people who never expected to be called a hero, and didn't learn about his son's choice until moments before the program.

"I was touched and humbled," Wright said. "I thought he was going to do a report on George Washington. This was a surprise and an honor for me."

During the ceremony, fifth-grader Kelsey Jones sang Mariah Carey's song "Hero" to the hushed crowd. Fourth-graders Aaron Hasenei and Kelsey Jezierski sang and performed "A Song For Peace" in American Sign Language with the poise of polished professionals.

When their taped accompaniment jammed, Aaron and Kelsey sang a cappella without dropping a note.

Five-year-old twins Jack and Drew Spera summed up their definition of a hero in a two-stanza poem. Jack recited in his stanza:

Our hero could be man or woman/

Black, or White, or Blue/

Who's not afraid to take a stand/

For what's good and right and true.

Pupils paid special tribute to Maryland State Police Sgt. Kevin Utz and Don Love, assistant chief for Reese Fire Department, during the ceremony.

Both were called to the stage and given gifts for their dedication to helping others.

Other firefighters, police officers and members of the military flanked the room.

One pupil from each grade handed in money collected for the Red Cross and a local fire department - the amount totaled $450.

Under a spotlight, trumpeter Bob Coffey closed the ceremony by playing taps.

"These past few weeks and this ceremony exceeded our expectations," said Andy Yount, the school's guidance counselor and one of the main organizers of the hero celebration.

"Students got to see how heroes impact people and how heroes can bring about peace in the world," Yount said. "They learned that there are heroes not only in our everyday lives, but in all of us."

Living treasure

Megan Fisher, a fifth-grader at Sandymount Elementary School, honors her grandmother Joan Fisher this week as her living treasure.

Megan honors her grandmother "because she persevered through bad times when my grandfather died almost 40 years ago. She raised five children, including my father all by herself."

"My grandmother is also my hero because she is very wise and strong in her faith," Megan said. "Two words that would describe my grandmother are `respect' and `confidence.' She respects people's feelings and opinions, and she has inspired me to do the best that I can in life's challenges."

Brighten someone's day by submitting his or her name as a living treasure to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157, 410-848- 4703.

Lisa Breslin's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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