My Hero: City Year’s Writing Contest 8th grade winner

A hero isn’t just someone who rips off his or her clothes in the pounding climax of a crime to fly off and save someone. A hero doesn’t have to have super strength. A hero is someone who is brave and makes a positive change in someone’s life, sometimes without even knowing what they have done. I’ve met a lot of people in my life so far, and they’ve all allowed me to experience different feelings and perspectives; however, there is one person who has left a significant impact on my life—Natalie. When I was in the fourth grade, I met my friend Natalie. Unfortunately, towards the end of our school year in sixth grade, she was diagnosed with scoliosis. Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side, rather than a straight line. This condition affected the way she was able to sit, stand, and even complete daily interactions with her friends. I consider Natalie to be my hero because she didn’t let scoliosis take control of her life and how she treated people.
When I think about Natalie, one event in particular that comes to mind is when she first told me about her diagnosis. We were sitting at lunch, and she said it so confidently and casually that it seemed as if it weren’t true. She wasn’t sad or depressed; it was like she came across a challenge that she gratefully accepted. I couldn’t understand how someone with a hazardous condition could be so calm. Although it became difficult to complete normal tasks, Natalie didn’t allow her life to be taken over by the fact that she had scoliosis. Because of that, I think highly of her. She could have created a bubble between her world and the outside world, yet she pushed through the hard times.
Another specific thing that comes to mind when I think of Natalie is her tactfulness. Before I found out about her diagnosis, she was always kind and nice. Even when I could see a sharp flash of pain across her face, she was patient and considerate to the people by whom she was surrounded. I remember when she told me that she needed to have surgery. I was completely freaking out and worried; thoughts of all of the possible things that could go wrong blasted through my mind. However, Natalie was relaxed. She was the one reassuring me, when I should have been reassuring her that everything was going to be fine. There was a soothing rhythm that came out when she spoke that washed all of my worries down the drain. She was open and honest with people, and she was always smiling and laughing, no matter how dry a joke was.
With that being said, I consider Natalie to be my hero because she showed a vast amount of maturity and consideration that I wish I had at that age. Until I met Natalie, I thought that heroes had to have capes and bad guys to fight off; however, now, with her help, I realize that a hero can be anyone.



Destiny Samuel is in Eighth grade. She aspires to be a successful author one day. In her free time Destiny is an avid reader, writer and loves taking care of her younger sister.