Silver Creek second graders celebrate Heroes Day

Positive influences

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl Students in Trisha Sills’ second grade class invited their heroes to the third annual Celebration of Heroes event on Wednesday.

SILVER CREEK — What is a hero? Second graders at Silver Creek Elementary School recently pondered this question for the third annual Celebration of Heroes, and their answers were impressive and sweet. Interestingly, super heroes, professional athletes and pop stars did not make the list for Trisha Sills’ students, who have spent the past two weeks engaged in a writing project about their heroes. Instead, moms, dads, grandparents, siblings and Sills, herself, were the real-life heroes recognized by students on Wednesday.

Sills explained that three years ago, she developed the idea for Celebration of Heroes as a writing project. “I wanted to create a writing project that would be special to the kids,” she told the OBSERVER.

“It’s been really meaningful to them and their families who come here and listen to their kids talk about them. It’s very touching, and there are a lot of tears!”

On Wednesday afternoon, Sills and second grade teachers Lynn Feeley, Cheryl Poppenberg, Meagan Ryerse and Janelle Smith invited all of the heroes to come and listen to their children’s presentations about them. For the past two weeks, the students have been working on their writing assignment, which involved a graphic organizer, a rough draft and a final copy.

In Sills classroom, she welcomed families to her students’ celebration. “We’ve talked about the qualities that a hero would have,” she explained. “We’ve gone through kindness, generosity, their work and their work ethic. They picked you based on those qualities, so congratulations to you! It’s time to celebrate.”

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl Malayah Eldridge was excited to recognize her older sister, MaLani, a ninth grade student at Silver Creek High School.

In the days leading up to Heroes Day, Sills recorded each student reading their paper and gave them the option of playing the video or reading their paper aloud to their hero on Wednesday.

Vicki Erickson recognized her mom as her hero, and brought her to the front of the room to listen to her paper. “My mom is my hero because she lets me go to work with her,” she said. “…My mom is also talented because she cooks us good food every night.”

Mason Fote, too, identified his mom as his hero. “My mom is responsible,” he said. “She cleans her room. She also teaches me responsibility by making me clean my room. My mom is helpful. She grounds my brother when he is being a meanie. She also helps me with my homework.”

“A hero is a kind and respectful person,” said Katherine Jones. “My hero is my Uncle Stevie. My hero is kind by helping me with homework. My hero is respectful by being there ever since I was born.”

Maysyn McNamara was proud to stand with his hero — his mom — whom he identified as kind and a good listener. Importantly, she is also brave; he explained, “My mom is brave because she jumped off a waterfall. My mom is brave because she stays strong everyday. That is why she is my hero.”

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl Andy Marx is pictured here with his Uncle Seth, whom he recognized as his hero on Wednesday.

Other heroic qualities that students recognized were a strong work ethic and honesty. Sekera Snyder said her mom is her hero for these very reasons. “She works hard making food for people. My mom is honest because she tells me everything,” she said. “Another reason why she is honest is she tells me she likes my art projects.”

Other heroes recognized in Sills’ class include Charlotte Dabney’s dad, Sawyer Delmonte’s dad, Eliza Dentice’s mom, Malayah Eldridge’s sister, Skyler Henry’s mom, Tommy Kowal’s dad, Andy Marx’s Uncle Seth, Bentley Seneca’s grandma, Madalyn Viscuso’s dad, Serenity Winger’s teacher, Mrs. Sills and Jaeton White’s grandpa.

MaLani Eldridge, a freshman at Silver Creek High School, was happy to be recognized as her sister Malayah’s hero. “I was excited when she told me she picked me,” MaLani told the OBSERVER. “It was so cute! I’m really excited to be here today.” According to Malayah, her sister has many heroic qualities including intelligence because “she is good at math and science,” and fairness because “she shares her markers with me.”

While learning more about the writing process may have been the key lesson for students, it seems that Sills’ project was a wonderful learning experience for their families, too.

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl Mason Fote invited his hero, his mom, to join him for Heroes Day.