8th GRADERS AT SUSAN SMITH McKINNEY SCHOOL WRITE ABOUT THEIR HEROES

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A hero is a person who is admired by many.  He has the qualities of a good human being. He is someone who goes beyond expectations and works against all odds. Newspapers are filled with their names, streets are named after them.
The actions of heroes bring them recognition, but no hero you know comes close to the guy I admire.  He can be found in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
My hero made a difference in my life.  People used to tell him that he would never make it.  Whenever he heard this he would respond with these words, AThanks for the challenge.@ 
When I read what he had said for the first time I felt confident in myself.  From that moment on I knew I had a chance to make it.  Heroes are known for making a difference in other people=s lives.  My hero is the highest scorer in the league.  His name is Tracy McGrady.
Like many heroes, my role model faced many hardships along the way.  The biggest obstacle he faced was hiding in the shadow of his cousin, Vince Carter. Both men were ballplayers, but all the attention and fame went to Carter.  One day this, too, changed.  It was Tracy=s time to shine.  He made the decision to leave the Toronto Raptors.  Tracey=s choice hurt Vince.  He was not aware of the feelings his cousin had towards him. Their relationship suffered when this happened.  The cousins didn=t speak for years.
Tracy signed with the Orlando Magic and everything changed in his favor:  he became a famous star.  McGrady went to play with the Magic while Carter signed with the Raptors.  Something had to be done.  The two cousins needed to be brought together; there is no room for enemies within a family.
The time came and both teams were scheduled to play each other.  This situation forced the two cousins to speak for the first time in a long time.  The reunion made them both realize that they didn=t need to fight each other because each made a different choice.
Tracy is now scoring an average of twenty points per game.  As for Carter, he is still one of the best dunkers in the League.  Now that they have learned to give each other room, they both have time to shine with their own light.  The audience can expect that when the cousins play, these will be great games.
The lesson here is that heroes are human.  They have limitations and weaknesses.  They sometimes suffer from a low self-esteem and sometimes have to learn important lessons from their mistakes.
JERMAINE AICE@ PRESTER: FAMILY HERO
by Shathora Tinsley, Class 804
February 19, 1984, was the day my hero Jermaine Prester was born.  September 13, 2002 was the night he was killed.
Jermaine=s street name was AIce@ (meaning: I Control Everything).  He grew up in the Fort Greene Projects along with his older brother Mark and T.J., his younger brother. 
In charge of the boys were Jermaine=s abusive foster parents.  The situation at home was so difficult that one day Mark made the decision to run away from home.  He escaped, leaving behind his two brothers.
Ice attended Middle School 265 until the day he was transferred to 117, another Middle School in District 13.  He was kicked out of that school due to his behavior.  After leaving school, Jermaine=s name was added to the list of drop outs. The streets received him with open arms and they became his playground B maybe because he was well-respected there. Everyone in Athe hood@ adored Jermaine. 
Don=t get me wrong: it=s not that the streets were the only thing that mattered to him.  He had a higher love for his family. He had a great deal of respect for them.  He was willing to do anything in the world in their defense.

Years passed and one day Jermaine=s older brother Mark returned.  Mark told him that his biological mother wanted to see him.  As a result of this meeting, the boys moved in with their natural mother and settled in Crown Heights.  His mother and his two sisters shared a special bond. Perhaps moving in with his family was the best thing that happened to Jermaine.  Finally, he had a chance to (get close to) those he loved and to make up for lost years.
Jermaine and I shared a special bond.  He also showed a great deal of love towards my mother, Patricia Lee. Aunt Pat as he called her held a very special place in his heart. She was behind him every step of the way and supported him even when he was wrong.  Jermaine was so attached to his family that he would do anything on their behalf.
To show the type of person that Jermaine was I will describe some of the ways in which he showed his affection.  His younger cousin Shathora was facing problems B an older guy was giving her too much attention. All she had to do was confide in Jermaine.  As soon as he heard her plea he found a solution and solved her problem.
On June 25, 2002 Jermaine (interceded) when he saw a 17-year-old boy touching his ten-year-old cousin..  He became furious and came to her defense. 
Hours passed and the 17 year old boy recruited other boys.  They went looking for revenge.  Four gunshots were heard going towards the direction where Jermiane was.  The boys shot at Jermaine but luckily they missed and he wasn=t hurt.
Later that day, Jermiane was arrested and charged with assault on a boy under eighteen.  The arrest, in fact was the sacrifice Jermaine had to pay for protecting the welfare, honor and safety of a family member.  For his actions, courage and loyalty to his family, I feel that Jermaine qualifies to be called a hero.
My love for Jermaine is strong that today I celebrate his life because he was my shield, also..  He protected his loved ones from danger and the harm that came their way.  He was outspoken and expressed his opinion freely. 
The last time anyone saw Jermaine was the night he was killed, September 13, 2002.  He was playing outside with his little sisters and cousins.  After he finished playing with them, he walked up to me and gave me a hug and a kiss.   He said, AI=ll see you later, cuz.@  When I heard his words I didn=t realize that those same words would one day mean, AI=ll see you in eternity.@
After the goodbyes, my little sister and I went upstairs.  We heard three gunshots but those were not the shots that actually killed him.  A second set of shots were heard in the early morning of the next day.
Later during that morning, I heard my Aunt Pat run up the stairs, screaming.  AOpen the door,@ she yelled.  AThey=ve killed Jermaine.@  I jumped out of my sleep and ran towards my mother=s room.  I told her the bad news.  I can still remember that hysteria-filled morning..  All I could think about and see were the good times we both shared.  I don=t know the number of times I pictured him running up the block and laughing.  The pain I felt caused me to cry uncontrollably as I replayed his life over and over again. 
The day of the wake was the worst day of my life.  How could I have ever imagined that one day I would see my favorite cousin lying in a casket?  The next day was worse.  During the funeral I had to go through the pain of seeing him being buried.  It was the worst time in my life.  My hero gave up his life to shield his family from dishonor. 
Unfortunately, at the end, my popular cousin, ICE, lost control.

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MICHAEL JORDAN: AN AMAZING HERO
By Murray DeRamus, Class 802

A hero is a person who has a kind heart.
He can be smart and talented.  He shows by his actions that he cares for the well being of others.  Heroes do not care if the person they end up helping comes from one place or another.  One can learn about important heroes in books, movies or on the Internet.
We can also learn about them from storytellers.  People like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Malcolm X,  Michael Jordan are some good examples of heroes.  Many heroes are so well known that anyone can be questioned about them and they will tell you something about who they are and why they are so well known.
My hero, Michael, Jordan, is a man that has overcome many obstacles throughout. his life. He has been challenged by his career and by life.  He got where he is because of his hard work and talent.  He did what he had to do to accomplish his goals.  He has made a difference in our lies because of his accomplishments.

During his early years, Michael went through a lot.  His love for basketball went so deep that he played everyday after school.  As he grew older he played for his college team.  As time went by Michael became an exceptional player,  dunking over people=s heads like it was the most natural thing.  While Michael was in college he did  his best to make it to the top.  He dream was to get to the NBA to play professional basketball. He achieved his dream and became the best ball player there is.
Michael=s career in the NBA took a turn for the worse when tragedy struck his family. Michael=s father was killed. This tragedy marked a new direction in Michael=s life at a time when his professional career had been at its best.  He played  for the Chicago Bulls and took them to the Finals, winning six NBA championships.  His father=s death forced Michael to make one of the toughest decisions of his life.  He stopped playing ball for a while.  After two years, Michael returned to the NBA.  He played for the same team but under a different number.
Michael is an extraordinary hero.  He overcame many obstacles by doing something people thought was impossible to do. He resigned as an NBA star then returned to six help score six championships.  He then retired from the NBA, and made a come back in 2001, dropping a season high 66 points.
Michael Jordan is a star and his life and career are unbelievable.

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WHO ARE OUR HEROES?
By Valencia Todd, Class 503
 A hero is someone who does his part in making this world a better p[lace in which to live.  Heroes are attracted to actions that are good and just.  To be a hero one does not have to be a member of a special rave or be physically strong.  A hero is a person that has an open mid and heart.  Role models like Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr. and Al Sharpton have the character traits heroes are made of.  They became heroes because of the choices they made when they were faced with difficult challenges.  Heroes voice their opinion on important issues and take difficult and unpopular stands on these issues.  When they speak they do it to communicate how they feel even if they end up paying prices such as fines, jail sentence or the loss of their lives.  To put across their ideas, believes and opinions heroes make use of writing and language.  They also make use of the legal systems and the lases to bring about needed changes.
Most [people live among anonymous heroes.  These are ordinary citizens who make heroic acts but few people notice or acknowledge them..  Their actions do not make the headlines of any newspaper.  One person that did make the headlines and became a hero to millions was rap star Tupac Shakur.  His mother, Afina Shakur, was an important influence in his life.  Afina was a well-known member of the Black Panthers, one of the most confrontational groups of the 1960=s founded by Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver.  The group pushed for African Americas to arm themselves and confront white society in order to force whites to give them equal rights.
In my opinion, Tupac is a hero because he brought about changes his own way.  The lyrics he wrote were used to attack different kinds of situations in society.  The words to his songs had their own definitions and interpretations of things. Tupac, like his mother, tried to make African Americans aware of the issues of the time.  Issues like AIDS, racism and discrimination.
Tupac=s love for learning and reading was another one of his traits.  During his High School years, Tupac participated I campaigns to raise public awareness. He felt that kids should be give the change ot take part in subjects that could help them become aware of their Civil Rights.  This way they could learn about issues such as police brutality.  Many kids my age need training on survival skills, self=-protection, and in something as simple as filling out a job application.  Tupac thought, for example hat subjects like Gym were a waste of time.  I disagree with him on that.
Friendship was something very important to Tupac.  One of his friends was Biggie Smalls (Christopher).  His friendship with Biggie came to an end the day he was shot.  Biggie Smalls became the prime suspect because of his song,@ Who Shot Ya.@  After that incident his friendship with Biggie ended.  Tupac then signed a contract with Death Row Records.
Another of Tupac=s qualities was compassion.  One time he heard a news report about a boy who was attacked by a dog.  He felt compassion for the boy and went to visit
him at the hospital.  This is one more example of how caring he was.
In the music industry many people though Tupac was a thug, but once learn about his actions outside of the industry one realizes that he was a very special kind of guy.  He was compassionate and caring, Tupac Shakur died in 1995 in a drive-by shooting.  To this day, police have not charged anyone with the crime.  They don=t know who actually killed him.  To a fan like me he lives on and is remembered as an extraordinary hero.