Grade 3 Heroes

After watching the video "Ryan's Well" the story of a young boy, Ryan Hreljac, who raised money for a well in Africa, students began to realized that you don't have to be an adult to do something about helping others. There were many discussions and opinions on the definition of a hero. Our best definition was that a hero is someone who makes a positive difference to the earth, plants, animals or people in the world. At this point, students made and wrote about someone they felt was a hero. They made paper people, with their information tucked inside the jackets, and presented their heroes to the class.Below are 4 examples of our heroes.

David Shannon is my Dad's first cousin. David and my Dad grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. David was a normal happy boy who liked to do boy things - sports, ride bikes, go fishing, swim in the lake in the summer and eat worms.

When David was 18 years. Old, he went to school at the University of Waterloo. He played rugby and loved it. During rugby practice he was injured-he broke his neck and became a quadriplegic. That meant he wasn't able to move his arms or legs.

David was lucky because he had some use of arms and hands so he could move his electric wheel chair using a knob control and he could even feed himself with a special holder for the cutlery. David never gave up even though he had to have someone help him all the time and be in a wheel chair.

David studied hard and became a lawyer. He has his own law practice and does a lot of work for other people with handicaps.

In 1997, David wheeled across Canada in his electric wheelchair to raise money and awareness for spinal cord injuries He has worked with the government to help people with handicaps and met the Prime Minister

David is now 42 years old and has spent 24 years as a quadriplegic. He is an ordinary person who has made a positive contribution in the world by helping and raising awareness for other handicapped people. He is lots of fun and like to give me rides on the back of his wheelchair.


Nelson Mandela is my hero. He is a king of black people in South Africa. He told the people that everybody is the same in the world. White, yellow, black, brown, red, they are all equal people.

Nelson Mandela was in prison and alone in a prison on an island for almost 30 years. He never gave up. Everywhere in the world people supported him and were fighting for a better world, where everybody is the same. When Mandela got out of the prison he became president of the country South Africa. Because there are more black people in South Africa then white people he got the power.

He did the same as Martin Luther King in America and is just as famous. Nelson Mandela got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, the highest prize you can get. Now Mandela is an example for people in the world who want everybody to be equal.


Linda Day is my mom. I think she is a hero because she went to Africa and helped the people there. When she was in Africa this is what she did:
Helped and played with the kids
Gave food
Gave medicine
Taught people how to stay healthy
Loved and touched the sick and dying.
She is also a nurse at the Children's Hospital and cares for sick children.
She is also a mom and my mom. And I love my mom and she is loving.


Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg July 28, 1958. His family was living in British Columbia. Terry Fox had bone cancer at age 18. He saw children had cancer. So, he decided to run across Canada, and raise money for cancer research. Terry Fox began to run across Canada in April 12, 1980 in St. Johns. He ran for 143 days!

He ran an average of 42 kilometres. Terry Fox dipped his leg in the Atlantic Ocean. The cancer reached his lungs. He died in June 1981 at age 22.

Just after finishing these heroes we found a letter to the editor, in the Calgary Herald, complaining that children in school were not aware of any heroes.They tended to focus on celebrities as heroes. Below is a letter composed by our students in answer to the editorial.

HEROES: Re: “Where have all the heroes gone?” We are a grade 3 class that has been discussing the question “What Mark Do We Leave?” We want to take action when things are wrong. Yes, there are heroes today! We have decided that a hero is someone who has done something that has made a positive difference to the earth, plants, animals or people in the world. Some heroes, like Mother Theresa and Terry Fox, are known around the world for their outstanding achievement and qualities. Some of today’s heroes are Ryan Hreljac who started raising money for a well in Africa when he was six years old. He is now 10 and has raised $70,000 for clean water in Africa. Iqbal Masih was sold and worked in a carpet factory in India when he was four years old. He ran away at age 10 and made speeches against child labour. Craig Kielburger heard about him when he was nine and now has a foundation called Free the Children to fight child labour. Pat Nixon, in Calgary, is a hero because he started the Mustard Seed for homeless people. A hero can be an ordinary person like you or us. In our classroom we have run for Terry Fox, and done the Aids Walk and Run for the Cure. One of our mothers is going to Africa to help sick people with AIDS. An aunt and uncle are in Indonesia for five years to help after the Tsunami disaster. A student’s sister saved a child’s life when she fell off a chairlift. We think police officers, paramedics and firemen are heroes too. You only have to look next door, or at Glendale School, to see someone “taking action.”

The Grade Three Class
Glendale Elementary School

Copyright © 2006 J. Grimm, N. Klinger and L. Ranta

Copyright for students' work remains with the authors.