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Writing Prompt and Essays

Teens Answer the Question, "Who Is Your Hero?"

Who Is Your Hero?

As an international writing community, StageofLife.com wanted to understand who teens viewed as their "hero."  Was it someone famous?  Or maybe someone close to home?  

We asked that question as part of our on-going teen writing contests and below is a collection of the essays we received from high school and college students as they answered the writing prompt..."Who Is Your Hero?"


Hero Writing Prompt Details

Did you know that "Mom" ranks #1 as the hero for most teens?  That's what we found from our national teen writing contest on the concept of heroes.  From Lady Gaga to Oprah to Gandhi to their English teacher, over 2,650 Notes to the Teacher - Hero Teaching Tipsstudents visited our writing contest and hundreds of high school and college students nominated a personal hero by submitting a 500 word essay.  At the bottom of this page, you'll also find the national press release which ran on PRNewswire immediately after the contest wrapped up that shares our summary and observations about teens and their heroes.

Take a moment to read the winning essay below (My Hero is Friedl Dicker-Brandeis) and have some fun exploring the teen essay finalists or any of the other hero nominations featuring personal, public and famous people.  If you have the time, make a comment on the essays you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them of your comment on their essay). 

Share Your Hero Story on StageofLife.comShare Your Hero Story:  If you have a hero to nominate, you can do that now by sharing your hero essay too.  Click the "Share Your Story" button to upload your essay.

Teachers:  Check out our "Notes to the Teacher" ideas about the "Who is Your Hero" writing prompt.

StageofLife.com writing contestsStudents:  Don't forget to enter the current writing contest on StageofLife.com.  We feature a new writing prompt each month about a real-world issue important to high school and college students.

Who Is Your Hero - Read Essays

Student Writing Contest Winner


Winner:  My Hero is Friedl Dicker-Brandeis

 

High School Finalists - Who Is Your Hero Essays:

College Finalists:


Other Essays (in no particular order):

My Heroes are My Parents:

My Hero is My Mom:

  1. Mom
  2. Mom
  3. Mom
  4. Mom
  5. Mom
  6. Mom
  7. Mom
  8. Mom
  9. Mom
  10. Mom
  11. Mom
  12. Mom
  13. Mom
  14. Lilia Figgins
  15. Mom
  16. Mom
  17. Mom
  18. Mom
  19. Mom
  20. Mom
  21. Lisa Ramirez
  22. Mom
  23. Mom
  24. Mom
  25. Mom
  26. Mom
  27. Mom
  28. Rosalind Crolle
  29. Mom
  30. Mom
  31. Carolyn Stewart
  32. Mom
  33. Mom
  34. Chona
  35. Mom
  36. Mom
  37. Mom
  38. Autumn Swafford
  39. Veronica Noble
  40. Bernadette Parrett

My Hero is My Dad:

  1. Dad
  2. Dad
  3. Dad
  4. Dad
  5. Dad
  6. Dad
  7. Beau Knotts
  8. Dad
  9. Dad
  10. Dad
  11. Dad
  12. Dad
  13. Daniel Rochford
  14. Dad
  15. Dad
  16. Mirzet

My Heroes are My Grandparents:

  1. Grandpa
  2. Grandfather
  3. Grandpa
  4. Grandmother
  5. Grandfather - Joeseph G.
  6. Grandfather
  7. Grandmother - Jennie Pina
  8. Grandparents
  9. Grandmother - Ruby George
  10. Grandmother - Rosie
  11. Grandma
  12. Grandma
  13. Grandfather - Rodney Lanning
  14. Grandpa
  15. Grandmother
  16. Grandmother
  17. Grandmother
  18. Grandmother - Stella Byars
  19. Grandmother - Tong Ye Yi
  20. Grandfather - Sidney Lamar Haggard

My Hero is My Brother or Sister:

  1. Daniel W
  2. Kid Brother
  3. Kid Brother
  4. Older Brother
  5. Brother
  6. Sister
  7. Little Sister - Shaily
  8. Big Brother
  9. Brother

My Hero is My Aunt, Uncle or Cousin:

  1. Aunt
  2. Aunt and Uncle
  3. Uncle Pop Pop
  4. Uncle Jimmy
  5. Auntie Tatla
  6. Cousin Logan
  7. Cousin Osniel

 

My Hero is a Member of the Military:

  1. My Hero is Men and Women of the Armed Forces
  2. My Hero is United States Marine
  3. My Hero is PFC Andrew Harper
  4. My Hero is A Soldier
  5. My Hero is United States Marine Corps
  6. My Hero is MSGT Doty
  7. My Heroes are Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon

My Hero is a Famous Person or Athlete:

My Hero is a Friend:

  • My Hero is My Boyfriend or Girlfriend...
  1. My girlfriend Alexis
  2. My boyfriend Ryan
  3. Leo
  4. Brandon G. Scott Walton
My Hero is My Friend:
  1. My Best Friend
  2. Courtney
  3. DeMarcus
  4. My Best Friend
  5. Sicily
  6. My Friend
  7. Kendall
  8. Kayla Stevenson
  9. Ellie Dodge
  10. Sabrina Cruz-Santana

My Hero is a World Leader:

My Hero is a Teacher or Coach:

  1. My Hero is Coach Carlyce Cononie
  2. My Heroes are Teachers
  3. My Hero is Mr.Gottberg
  4. My Hero is Mrs. Kirk
  5. My Hero is Mrs. Kirk - second essay
  6. My Hero is Cynthia Addison
  7. My Hero is My School Administrator
  8. My Hero is William Bell

My Hero is not a Person, but Part of a Larger Concept:

My Hero is a Character:

My Hero Represents a Larger Group:

My Hero is an Everyday Person:

  1. My Hero is Dale J
  2. My Hero is My Personal Trainer, Tammy
  3. My Hero is Beres Mosley
  4. My Hero is Albert Torres
  5. My Hero is Zarghoona
  6. My Hero is Chandler Mendez

MyHero.comStageofLife.com could not list all of the essays submitted but we thank every student that participated in the conversation and the contest.  If you're interested in reading and talking more about real-life heroes, we encourage you to visit MyHero.com

To enter the current Stage of Life monthly writing contest for high school students and college students

Current StageofLife.com Writing Contest

Stage of Life - Hero Press Release

National Press Release:  Students Across America Answer the Question, "Who Is Your Hero"
 
MOM RANKS #1 ON TEENS' HERO LIST

PRNewswire-USNewswire
StageofLife.com

Move over Lady Gaga. Gandhi and Nick Jonas, please take a back seat. In fact, Oprah, Michael Jackson, and Coach Nick Saban can take the bench as well. In its national essay contest for high school students, StageofLife.com, a writing resource for teens, discovered that “My Mom” is the number one answer given when teens were asked the question, “Who is your Hero?”

2,500+ high school and college students visited the writing contest page, and hundreds of students submitted essays describing their hero. The essays nominated a wide variety of people ranging from Ellen DeGeneres to Todd Beamer (Flight 93 hero on 9/11) to Maurice Jones-Drew to Delta Force Snipers to...Dobby, the House Elf from the Harry Potter Series.

As judges poured over 100,000+ words written about heroes, several insights emerged about today's teens:

1) Teens are inspired by family: Whether it was Mom (#1 most named “hero” in the contest), Dad, Grandparents or a variety of other blood relations, nearly half of the teen essays named a family member as their personal hero, indicating that those closest to the daily routines and life of a teenager often have the best chance to make a positive impact.

As one of the essay finalists wrote her about mother, “Some people may look at a famous cartoon character as their hero, but my mother is my own superwoman.”

Another finalist had this to say about her father in her essay entitled, My Hero is My Knight in Shining Armour, “Of all the superheroes, mythical monsters, and epic warriors of time long past my hero was always right at my side.”

2) Teens find inspiration from celebrities and athletes: The second largest group of nominated heroes fell into the “famous person” category. Essays about Britney Spears, Walt Disney, Bruce Lee, Tyra Banks, Tupac Shakur and dozens of others poured in as many students looked to public figures as their role models.

One student said of rapper, Eminem , “One of [his] most famous quotes is 'Success is my only option, failure's not'. I live my everyday life from this quote. I will never let anyone bring me down, or say I am not good enough.”

3) Teens rely on those around them: While celebrities drew scores of nominations, there was another group nearly just as large – everyday people. These were non-family individuals who come in contact with the student on a regular basis. Teens found heroes in their friends, significant others, coaches, and teachers.

One essay finalists had a creative introduction about a favorite teacher, “An army of rabid school children stand before him. Fueled by teenage angst and enraged by having last lunch, these monsters are ready to devour all who dare to educate them. But one man, armed only with a tome of infinite knowledge, and the legendary sword of 'Expo', awaits these savages with a wink and a smile. That man is (my) World History teacher and my hero”

4) Teens want to change the world: Some of the essays did not name a specific person, but rather a concept or a larger group of people as their hero. From lifeguards to men and women of the armed forces to anyone with a disability, students expressed a need to make a difference in the world, and their heroes reflected that desire. For instance, one student named “Cancer Fighters” as her hero – defined as anyone fighting the battle of cancer.

A blog comment left on the Cancer Fighter essay read, “I wanted to say thanks...because it is like you are saying my mom is a hero to you even though you have never meet her...she is a cancer survivor.”

The winning essay, written by homeschool student, Taylor of Putnam, CT, honored Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a woman who died in a Nazi gas chamber in 1944, but who was better known for spending her time selflessly teaching children art and other forbidden subjects in the Terezin Concentration Camp.

Taylor's essay shared, “Her story shows that hope can bloom even in the coldest of environments; that creativity can change the world, even if that world is the dream world of a child; and above all that even in the darkest of situations, the kindness and goodness inside of us can find a way to shine.”

In partnership with StageofLife.com, the MY HERO project will also featured Taylor's about Friedl Dicker-Brandeis on MyHero.com.

Margaret Dean, Communications Director for the My HERO Project comments, “Her thoughtful reflection on the character qualities that prompted Friedl Dicker-Brandeis to teach art and bring hope to children during the darkest of times, at great risk to her own life, paints a stirring portrait of the best of humanity.”

As an extension of the hero essay contest, StageofLife.com released its monthly free lesson plan for history and language arts teachers on its education resources section of the website. The lesson plan asks students to define “hero” and leads the class through a series of activities, including a “Hero Walk,” that challenges, refines and/or supports their original hero definition.

Rebecca Thiegs, M. Ed., Education Consultant for StageofLife.com and current high school Language Arts teacher at Red Lion Area Senior High School in Red Lion, PA, stated, “Archetypal theory applies to so much of history and literature. Teachers will find the application of the hero lesson plan flexible for a variety of texts, and the closure/homework section of the lesson supports our core mission of getting students to write and blog more outside of the classroom.”

StageofLife.com has consolidated many of the “Who Is Your Hero” essays on a summary page for review at http://www.stageoflife.com/Who_Is_Your_Hero.aspx . When asked why she participated in the writing contest by naming Ash Ketchum, college student and essay finalist, Allison, answered,

“I like Stage of Life because it's a convenient forum to share life experiences with others in similar situations, and give/receive advice from people in all stages of life.”


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About Stage of Life™: StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan grassroots project hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations. Its specialized content includes lesson plan ideas and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, and much more.

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