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The Courage of Children: Boston and Beyond

This book shares the stories of 71 brave children from the city of Boston and surrounding communities, and from schools across the country and around the globe. The essays that follow are written by current middle school students who have discovered, recognized, and come to celebrate the courage in their lives.

This book shares the stories of 71 brave children from the city of Boston and surrounding communities, and from schools across the country and around the globe. The essays that follow are written by current middle school students who have discovered, recognized, and come to celebrate the courage in their lives.

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the<br />

<strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

Award-winning essays on courage written<br />

by sixth grade students participating<br />

in <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>:<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

Volume XXIX<br />

2020<br />

Award-winning essays on courage<br />

written by sixth grade students participating in<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum


<strong>The</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Trustees <strong>and</strong> staff <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum,<br />

Inc. would like to express their sincere gratitude <strong>and</strong> appreciation to those<br />

individuals <strong>and</strong> organizations who have given so generously <strong>of</strong> their time,<br />

talent, <strong>and</strong> energy to THE COURAGE OF CHILDREN: BOSTON AND BEYOND,<br />

VOLUME XXIX.<br />

Editing<br />

Liz Watson<br />

Alex<strong>and</strong>ra Marshall<br />

Robert L. Turner<br />

Elizabeth Evans D’Ascensao<br />

Rosemary Murphy<br />

Eliza Cowan<br />

Carrie Minot Bell<br />

Martha Erickson<br />

Veronica Lundgren<br />

Photos<br />

Due to Covid-19 <strong>and</strong> the school closures, all the student photos included<br />

in this book were kindly provided by each student’s school or parents.<br />

Photo Credit for Max’s photo Condée N. Russo.<br />

Northeastern University Reprographics<br />

Marina Flessas <strong>and</strong> Andrew Boucek, Cover Design, Book Layout,<br />

Pre-press <strong>and</strong> Production<br />

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university<br />

located in the heart <strong>of</strong> <strong>Boston</strong>. Northeastern is a leader in experiential<br />

learning, interdisciplinary scholarship, urban engagement, <strong>and</strong> research<br />

that meets global <strong>and</strong> societal needs.<br />

www.northeastern.edu<br />

THE COURAGE OF CHILDREN: BOSTON AND BEYOND, VOLUME XXIX<br />

is a publication <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum, Inc.<br />

© 2020 <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum, Inc.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

ii


Table <strong>of</strong> Contents<br />

Dedication<br />

Champion <strong>of</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> Award<br />

Elsie Wilmerding Award for Excellence in Teaching<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum, Inc.<br />

Participating Schools<br />

viii<br />

ix<br />

ix<br />

x<br />

xi<br />

2020 Essay Judges xiii<br />

Preface by Alex<strong>and</strong>ra Marshall<br />

Max’s Story by Stephanie Warburg <strong>and</strong> Charlotte Harris<br />

xv<br />

xvi<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Boston</strong> 1<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> in My Life 2<br />

Larry Bowens Jr. — M<strong>and</strong>y Lam, Teacher 4<br />

Josiah Quincy Upper School<br />

Aiyanah Lamarre — Erin Hannon-Foley <strong>and</strong> 6<br />

Yol<strong>and</strong>a McCollum, Teachers<br />

Roosevelt K-8 School<br />

Adalis Rivera — Jeanine Stansfield, Teacher 8<br />

Warren-Prescott K-8 School<br />

Owen Brown — Jennifer Gayda, Teacher 10<br />

Linden S.T.E.A.M. Academy<br />

Kristina Cole — Sara DeOreo, Teacher 12<br />

Proctor Elementary School<br />

Uriah Pritchard — Linda Roach, Teacher 14<br />

St. John Paul II Catholic Academy<br />

Jianbin Zhao — Melanie Smith, Teacher 16<br />

Josiah Quincy Upper School<br />

Reuben Stovell — Alanna Edstrom, Teacher 18<br />

Saint Agatha School<br />

Quynh Nhu Vo — Karen Douglas, Teacher 20<br />

Joseph Lee K-8 School<br />

Sidney Harris — Sarah Harrison, Teacher 22<br />

Mother Caroline Academy<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

iii


Amira Mossi — Mona Ives, Teacher 24<br />

Alhuda Academy<br />

Tye-Quon Jones Holley — Teresa Dawson Knoess, Teacher 26<br />

James P. Timilty Middle School<br />

John Dasey — Linda Roach, Teacher 28<br />

St. John Paul II Catholic Academy<br />

Lance Ponikvar — Julie Scott, Teacher 30<br />

Proctor Elementary School<br />

Skarleth Payez — R<strong>and</strong>yl Wilkerson, Teacher 32<br />

Gardner Pilot Academy<br />

Elliot Brenner — Leila Huff, Teacher 34<br />

Buckingham Browne <strong>and</strong> Nichols School<br />

Denzel Taveras — Peter Laboy, Teacher 36<br />

Bellisini Academy<br />

Gabriella Maza — Scott Larivee, Teacher 38<br />

Mary Lyon School<br />

Samuel Pierre — Colleen Clifford, Teacher 40<br />

Beebee School<br />

Maia Grammatopoulos — Helen Sullivan, Teacher 42<br />

Hurley K-8 School<br />

Andre DaSilva — Merrill Hawkins, Teacher 44<br />

<strong>The</strong> Park School<br />

Kathleen Ramos — Michael Andrews, Teacher 46<br />

Barnstable Intermediate School<br />

Mo Marie Lauyanne Kouame — Leila Huff, Teacher 48<br />

Buckingham Browne <strong>and</strong> Nichols School<br />

Joplin Murphey — Aaron Cohen, Teacher 50<br />

Jackson/Mann K-8 School<br />

Jazlenys Guerrero Gonzalez — Kailyn Corrado, Teacher 52<br />

Oliver Hazard Perry K-8 School<br />

Taylor Flemming — Alison Spade <strong>and</strong> Aaron Kesler, Teachers 54<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> Renaissance Charter Public School<br />

Nicolas Grady — Melanie Allen, Teacher 56<br />

Rafael Hern<strong>and</strong>ez K-8 School<br />

Nuriel Kaleb Gutman — Amy Higginbotham <strong>and</strong> 58<br />

Kristin Seekircher, Teachers<br />

Dennis C Haley Pilot School<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

iv


Iris Beato — Kristina Dolce <strong>and</strong> Sasha Oliveira, Teachers 60<br />

Esperanza Academy<br />

Beatriz Machado — Melissa Ma, Teacher 62<br />

Salemwood School<br />

Shawn Fredo — Deborah Hart, Teacher 64<br />

Barnstable Intermediate School<br />

Sebastian Cole — Amy Higginbotham <strong>and</strong> 66<br />

Kristin Seekircher, Teachers<br />

Dennis C Haley Pilot School<br />

Leena Kenz Chawqui — Jennifer Gayda, Teacher 68<br />

Linden S.T.E.A.M. Academy<br />

Mya Rogers — David Russell, Teacher 70<br />

McKinley South End Academy<br />

Richard Brittle Jr. — Alison Spade <strong>and</strong> Aaron Kesler, Teachers 72<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> Renaissance Charter Public School<br />

Ava Murphey — Joyce Baio, Teacher 74<br />

Saint Patrick School<br />

Zoe Nazarchuk — Kathleen McGonigle, Teacher 76<br />

Thomas Edison K-8 School<br />

Sean Buchanan — <strong>The</strong>rese Evans, Teacher 78<br />

South <strong>Boston</strong> Catholic Academy<br />

Sonja Martin — Erin Hannon-Foley <strong>and</strong> 80<br />

Yol<strong>and</strong>a McCollum, Teachers<br />

Roosevelt K-8 School<br />

Ginger Biederman — Kyla Graves, Teacher 82<br />

Brimmer <strong>and</strong> May School<br />

Logan Eldaief — Kate Boswell <strong>and</strong> Alex Jones, Teachers 84<br />

<strong>The</strong> Advent School<br />

Zahid Elsadig — Christopher Donaher, Teacher 86<br />

Al-Noor Academy<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong> <strong>Boston</strong> 90<br />

National<br />

Selma Atassi — Sara Coyle, Teacher 92<br />

Beverly Hills Academy, Beverely Hills, MI<br />

Abigail Hammond — Julie Cochran, Teacher 94<br />

Heritage Middle School, Ringgold, GA<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

v


Edwin Caballero — Jessica Preciado, Teacher 96<br />

De La Salle Academy, Concord, CA<br />

Bailey Bodvin — Crystal Tomecek, Teacher 98<br />

New Oxford Middle School, Oxford, PA<br />

Taya Meyers — Cathy Kimbrough, Teacher 100<br />

Fillmore Central Middle School, Fairmont, NE<br />

Vivian Verano — Andrew Richards, Teacher 102<br />

Keith Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

Adelany Perez Rust<strong>and</strong> — Valerie Parent, Teacher 104<br />

Keith Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

Makayla Horvitz — Ashley Harwood, Teacher 106<br />

Roosevelt Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

Serenity Lopes — Carolyn Westgate, Teacher 108<br />

Roosevelt Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

Janiyah Sanchez — Colin Southgate, Teacher 110<br />

Norm<strong>and</strong>in Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

Nevaiah Sanchez — Debra Mendes, Teacher 112<br />

Norm<strong>and</strong>in Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

International<br />

Yemen<br />

Hind Abdulhamied — Haifa Al-Jabobi, Teacher 114<br />

Sawdah Bint Zam’ah, Sana’a, Yemen<br />

Mohamed Al-Harazi — Osama Al-Harazi, 116<br />

Sign Language Translator<br />

Al-Amal School for the Deaf <strong>and</strong> Mute, Sana’a, Yemen<br />

Aminah Shou’e — Mohamed Dhiab, Teacher 118<br />

Ibn-Zaidon, Abbs-Hajja, Yemen<br />

Manahel Ali — Haifa Al-Jabobi, Teacher 120<br />

Sawdah Bint Zam’ah, Sana’a, Yemen<br />

Moneer Al-Anesi — Noman Abdallah, Teacher 122<br />

Al-Rasheed, Sana’a, Yemen<br />

Belize<br />

Kimora Myles — Fransisca McDougal, Teacher 124<br />

El Shaddai SDA Primary School, Cayo District,<br />

Belmopan, Belize<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

vi


Asha Allen — Ms. Godoy <strong>and</strong> Susana Coy, Teachers 126<br />

Our Lady <strong>of</strong> Guadalupe R.C. Primary School, Cayo District,<br />

Belmopan, Belize<br />

Jabin Ramos — Nakita Lemoth, Teacher 128<br />

St. Martin’s Government School, Cayo District, Belmopan, Belize<br />

Jordan Tillet — Arcelia Coc, Teacher 130<br />

United Evergreen Primary School, Cayo District, Belmopan, Belize<br />

Spain<br />

Julia Freer — Dawn Austin, Teacher 132<br />

American School <strong>of</strong> Barcelona, Spain<br />

Cambodia<br />

Kunthea Mab — Phalla Ol, Teacher 134<br />

Cambridge School <strong>of</strong> Cambodia, Kauk Rovieng Village, Cambodia<br />

Sytha Rath — Phalla Ol, Teacher 136<br />

Cambridge School <strong>of</strong> Cambodia, Kauk Rovieng Village, Cambodia<br />

Mongolia<br />

G. Uranchimeg — Ya. Dagiimaa, Teacher 138<br />

Munkhkhann Soum High School, Munkhkhaan Soum,<br />

Sukhbaatar Province, Mongolia<br />

Ts. Azbayan — A. Oyungerel, Teacher 140<br />

120th School, Bayanzurkh District, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia<br />

N. Chimedsuren — O. Adyasuren, Teacher 142<br />

120th School, Bayanzurkh District, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia<br />

B. Urangoo — Ts Bolormaa, Teacher 144<br />

Baruun-Urt 2nd Secondary School, Baruun-Urt State,<br />

Sukhbaatar Province, Mongolia<br />

Ts. Nyamsuren — M. Munkhzul, Teacher 146<br />

120th School, Bayanzurkh District, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

vii


We dedicate the 29th edition <strong>of</strong><br />

THE COURAGE OF CHILDREN: BOSTON AND BEYOND<br />

to the following partners <strong>and</strong> volunteers,<br />

who continue to demonstrate their unwavering<br />

dedication advancing our mission:<br />

Merry Conway<br />

Felicity Forbes Hoyt<br />

Margot Schmid<br />

Each one has provided <strong>and</strong> sustained creative leadership<br />

in our New Bedford program for four years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

viii


Champion <strong>of</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> Award<br />

<strong>The</strong> Champion <strong>of</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> Award is given annually in recognition for<br />

outst<strong>and</strong>ing volunteerism at MAX<strong>Courage</strong>. Past recipients have been board<br />

members <strong>and</strong> long-time volunteers who have given their time, treasure, <strong>and</strong><br />

talent to the organization. Awardees go above <strong>and</strong> beyond the call <strong>of</strong> duty<br />

<strong>and</strong> we could not do the work we do without them.<br />

We honor JANE SKELTON, PhD as the 2020 recipient <strong>of</strong> the Champion <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Courage</strong> Award. Jane is the former Senior Program Director for Secondary<br />

Language Arts for <strong>Boston</strong> Public Schools <strong>and</strong> Director <strong>of</strong> Secondary ELA<br />

for Malden Public Schools. Currently, Jane is an Adjunct Faculty for<br />

Northeastern University in the College <strong>of</strong> Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Studies.<br />

Elsie Wilmerding Award for<br />

Excellence in Teaching<br />

<strong>The</strong> MAX<strong>Courage</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Trustees is honored to present the Elsie Wilmerding<br />

Award for Excellence in Teaching. Named in honor <strong>of</strong> our late <strong>and</strong> long-time<br />

board member, this award celebrates Elsie’s talent <strong>and</strong> passion for teaching,<br />

<strong>and</strong> the tremendous impact teachers can have in the lives <strong>of</strong> young people.<br />

After spending thirteen years as a learning specialist at the Fenn School, Elsie<br />

authored writing workbooks <strong>and</strong> the young adult historical novel, This L<strong>and</strong> is<br />

Mine!. This L<strong>and</strong> is Mine! is a beautiful book detailing Crazy Horse <strong>and</strong><br />

General Custer <strong>and</strong> the contested expansion <strong>of</strong> the Western United States<br />

through the perspective <strong>of</strong> the two important historical figures. Elsie was<br />

known for her patience, kindness, <strong>and</strong> creativity with her students.<br />

<strong>The</strong> recipient <strong>of</strong> the 2020 Elsie Wilmerding Award for Excellence in Teaching<br />

is MICHAEL ANDREWS <strong>of</strong> the Barnstable Intermediate School. He serves<br />

as a tireless champion <strong>of</strong> both his students <strong>and</strong> the field <strong>of</strong> education.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

ix


<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum, Inc.<br />

Board <strong>of</strong> Trustees<br />

Stephanie Warburg, President<br />

Frederick Warburg, Vice President<br />

Barbara Hawkins, Treasurer<br />

Elizabeth Evans D’Ascensao,<br />

Secretary<br />

Members<br />

Nancy Adams<br />

Brant Binder<br />

Amy d’Ablemont Burnes<br />

Astrid Burns<br />

Jill Lenhardt<br />

Corey Bennett Lewis<br />

Kate Lubin<br />

Ann Ogilvie Macdonald<br />

Marsha Yamaykina MacLean<br />

Jenny Toolin McAuliffe<br />

Kristen Sullivan McEntyre<br />

Julie Norman<br />

Kate Patterson<br />

Ryan Patton<br />

Whitney Patton<br />

Diane Schmalensee<br />

Clayton Schuller<br />

Board Emerita<br />

Carrie Minot Bell<br />

Suzanne Fisher Bloomberg<br />

Pamela Humphrey<br />

Joan Bennett Kennedy<br />

Staff<br />

Eliza Cowan, Executive Director<br />

Liz Watson, Program Director<br />

Advisory Board<br />

Craig Bailey<br />

Carrie Minot Bell<br />

Katie Schuller Bleakie<br />

Lisa Clark<br />

Janet Coleman<br />

Merry Conway<br />

Kit Cunningham<br />

Heather Faris<br />

Carmen Fields<br />

Robert Gittens, Esq.<br />

Elizabeth Goodenough<br />

Ann Gund<br />

Katherine McManmon Hoyt<br />

Felicity Hoyt<br />

Julie Joyal<br />

Kasey Kaufman<br />

Rona Kiley<br />

Gil Leaf<br />

Karen Leopold<br />

Lois Lowry<br />

Rachel Maltz<br />

Alex<strong>and</strong>ra Marshall<br />

Martha Pierce<br />

Diana Rowan Rockefeller<br />

Alex Saltonstall<br />

Jane Skelton<br />

Gary Smith<br />

Donna Storer<br />

Robert L. Turner<br />

Rev. Liz Walker<br />

Lisa Walker<br />

Jonathan Warburg<br />

Janet Wu<br />

Joyce Yaffee<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

x


Participating<br />

Schools<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> Public Schools<br />

Curley K-8 School<br />

Dennis C. Haley Pilot School<br />

Gardner Pilot Academy<br />

Hurley K-8 School<br />

Jackson Mann K-8 School<br />

Joseph Lee School<br />

Josiah Quincy Upper School<br />

McKinley South End Academy<br />

Oliver Hazard Perry K-8 School<br />

Roosevelt K-8 School<br />

Thomas A. Edison School<br />

James P. Timilty Middle School<br />

Warren Prescott School<br />

Washington Irving Middle School<br />

Local Schools<br />

Al Noor Academy<br />

Alhuda Academy<br />

Barnstable Intermediate School<br />

Buckingham Brown <strong>and</strong> Nichols<br />

School<br />

Beebee School<br />

Bellisini Academy<br />

Beeman Memorial School<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> Renaissance Charter School<br />

Brimmer <strong>and</strong> May School<br />

Dearborn STEM Academy<br />

Dr. William W. Henderson<br />

Inclusion School<br />

Esperanza Academy<br />

John T. Nichols Middle School<br />

Linden S.T.E.A.M. Academy<br />

Malik Academy<br />

Mary Lyon School<br />

Mother Caroline Academy<br />

Proctor School<br />

Saint Agatha School<br />

St. John School<br />

Saint Patrick School<br />

Salemwood School<br />

Sarah Greenwood School<br />

Shore Country Day School<br />

South <strong>Boston</strong> Catholic Academy<br />

St. John Paul II Catholic Academy<br />

Taunton Family Rescource Center<br />

<strong>The</strong> Advent School<br />

<strong>The</strong> Park School<br />

National Schools<br />

Beverly Hills Academy, MI<br />

Blue Oak Charter School, IL<br />

De La Salle Academy, CA<br />

Fillmore Central Middle School, NE<br />

Floyd T Binns Middle School, VA<br />

Henley Elementary School, OR<br />

Heritage Middle School, GA<br />

Interagency Academy, WA<br />

New Oxford Middle School, PA<br />

Keith Middle School, MA<br />

Norm<strong>and</strong>in Middle School, MA<br />

Roosevelt Middle School, MA<br />

South Central Middle School, GA<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

xi


International Partners<br />

Yemen<br />

Abi Dhar Al-Ghafari<br />

Abjad Schools<br />

Abn-Zaidon<br />

Al-Ahrar<br />

Al-Amal School for the<br />

Deaf <strong>and</strong> Mute<br />

Al-Kifah<br />

Al-Motassim<br />

Al-Qairawan<br />

Al-Ra’e<br />

Al-Rashid<br />

Al-Samawi<br />

Al-Thawrah<br />

Al-Zahra<br />

Al-Zaitonah<br />

Ali Abdul-Moghni<br />

Ali Talib<br />

Bani Houdhair<br />

Dhafar<br />

Ibn-Zaidon<br />

Khawlah<br />

Rabe’ah Al-Adawe’ah<br />

Sawdah Bint Zam’ah<br />

Soda Bint Zam’ah<br />

Somaiyah Girls School<br />

<strong>The</strong> British School<br />

<strong>The</strong> Foundation School<br />

<strong>The</strong> Friendly Space, Alzubair<br />

Orphans Care Home<br />

Tokyo<br />

Zainab<br />

Belize<br />

El Shaddai SDA Primary School<br />

Garden City Primary School<br />

Our Lady <strong>of</strong> Guadalupe<br />

Raymond Sheppard Nazarene<br />

Primary School<br />

St. Martin’s Government School<br />

United Evergreen Primary School<br />

Spain<br />

American School <strong>of</strong> Barcelona<br />

Cambodia<br />

Cambridge School <strong>of</strong> Cambodia<br />

Mongolia<br />

45th Secondary School<br />

120th School<br />

Baruun-Urt Secondary School<br />

First Secondary School<br />

Murun Soum Secondary School<br />

Munkhkann Soum High School<br />

Second Secondary School<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

xii


2020 Essay Judges<br />

Liga Aldins<br />

Blakeman Hazard Allen<br />

Phyllis Allen<br />

Elizabeth Atkinson<br />

Gale & Tom Beaton<br />

Patricia Belden<br />

Anne Benning<br />

Jennifer Berylson Block<br />

Grace Bird<br />

Peter Black<br />

Nancy Braitmayer<br />

Karen Britton<br />

Liberty Britz<br />

Owen Burke<br />

Astrid Burns<br />

Margaret Bush<br />

William Cantor<br />

Cindy Gray Carey<br />

Lizzy Carroll<br />

James Carroll<br />

Marty Childs<br />

Margery Cobb<br />

David Cody<br />

Caroline Conzatti<br />

Nancy Coolidge<br />

Katharine Cunningham<br />

Leigh Denny<br />

Anne Doremus<br />

Peggy Dray<br />

Paul Ellis<br />

Valerie Fleishman<br />

Oneida Fox Roye<br />

Susan Gebbie<br />

David Goldovt-<br />

Ryzhenkov<br />

JB Greenway<br />

Amy Grossman<br />

Ann Gund<br />

C.J. Hacker<br />

Jan Hall<br />

Margot H<strong>and</strong><br />

Stacy H<strong>and</strong>ler<br />

Barbara Hawkins<br />

Alex<strong>and</strong>ra Helper<br />

Trevania Henderson<br />

Gina Hughes<br />

Jennifer Hughes<br />

Robin Hunnewell<br />

Judy Kamm<br />

Julia & Steve Kiechel<br />

Rona Kiley<br />

Barbie & Steve Kratovil<br />

Leslie Kulig<br />

Carole Lasky<br />

Virginia Lawrence<br />

Beth & Robb Ladd<br />

Barbara LeBlanc<br />

Mary Ellen Lees<br />

S<strong>and</strong>ra Lipson<br />

Jenny Littlefied<br />

Ellen Lough<br />

Carolyn Lucas<br />

Melissa Ludtke<br />

Kristin Macomber<br />

Susan Mann<br />

Brian McNulty<br />

Kelli McSweeney<br />

Patricia Meaney<br />

Eileen Meny<br />

Rose Ann Miller<br />

Kali Noble<br />

Moira Linehan Ounjian<br />

Jill Pappas<br />

Nirva Patel<br />

Mary Jane Patrone<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

xiii<br />

Deborah Perry<br />

Lyndsay Picciano<br />

Leilani Ricardo<br />

Susan <strong>and</strong> Gordon<br />

Richardson<br />

Julie Riordan<br />

Suzanne Rothschild<br />

Bridget Saltonstall<br />

Linda Samuels<br />

Diane Schmalensee<br />

Jessica Schmitz<br />

Janet Shepherd<br />

Elaine Shiang<br />

Rebecca Simonds<br />

Jennifer Sinnot<br />

Jane Skelton<br />

Amy Kennedy Slesar<br />

Gary & Lynn Smith<br />

Marthe Soden<br />

Susan Stebbins<br />

Richard Tabors<br />

Sean Thimas<br />

Susan Trausch<br />

Gay Vervaet<br />

Blair Walker<br />

Frederick Warburg<br />

Jonathan Warburg<br />

Ellen & Don Watson<br />

Kathy Wattles<br />

Karin Weller<br />

Amy Wertheim<br />

Frances Wilmerding<br />

Lynn Winans<br />

Eve Youngerman<br />

Pamela Zuckerman<br />

Peter Zura


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

xiv


Preface<br />

by Alex<strong>and</strong>ra Marshall<br />

<strong>The</strong> essays in this volume <strong>of</strong> THE COURAGE OF CHILDREN: BOSTON AND<br />

BEYOND were written <strong>and</strong> selected for publication before the Covid-19 virus<br />

became a global crisis. But because they will now be read in this context, what<br />

do we see here? And what can we learn?<br />

<strong>The</strong> character <strong>of</strong> the virus <strong>and</strong> the public response to it are each characterized<br />

by three types <strong>of</strong> behavior: Inactive, Reactive, <strong>and</strong> Proactive. We have seen the<br />

dire consequences <strong>of</strong> inactivity, in contrast to reacting with deliberate force,<br />

which then allows for the creation <strong>of</strong> proactive strategies. And we have seen<br />

repeatedly that a successful outcome requires unity.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se are precisely the themes - the values - <strong>of</strong> the “<strong>Courage</strong> in My Life” essays<br />

that you are about to read. Moreover, in reflecting back through the twentynine<br />

years <strong>of</strong> MAX<strong>Courage</strong>, we see that this has always been the case. Against<br />

bullying or any other threat to their security, these children demonstrate,<br />

with power generated from within, that they have the courage to act <strong>and</strong>, in<br />

reversing wrong, to make things right.<br />

In this year’s essay collection, a Student Council President confronts the<br />

School Board over proposed budget cuts by arguing, “How could you expect<br />

800 kids at Blackstone, including 100 kids with disabilities, to have a proper<br />

education without proper resources?”<br />

A girl in Yemen describes surviving horribly disfiguring burns <strong>and</strong> knows,<br />

“I am no longer the same child <strong>and</strong> my life has changed forever.” And yet,<br />

she declares, “I plan on going to university <strong>and</strong> studying cosmetic surgery.”<br />

A New Bedford girl bullied for speaking Spanish on the school bus<br />

realizes, “I’m proud <strong>of</strong> who I am, <strong>and</strong> I’m proud that I can speak more<br />

than one language.”<br />

“Don’t look at what makes you different as if it’s a problem, look at it as if<br />

it’s an advantage,” another sixth-grader writes. What better advice is there?<br />

<strong>The</strong> wisdom in these pages is not only sustaining but motivating. In describing<br />

the discovery <strong>of</strong> their own courage, these children set examples not just for<br />

other children but for the adults in their lives who so <strong>of</strong>ten fail them. <strong>The</strong>y rise<br />

out <strong>of</strong> their difficulties to the knowledge that they have done what they could<br />

to protect themselves <strong>and</strong> others. <strong>The</strong>y have acted.<br />

Alex<strong>and</strong>ra Marshall is the author <strong>of</strong> six books. She has coordinated the annual selection <strong>and</strong><br />

publication <strong>of</strong> the “<strong>Courage</strong> In My Life” essay collections since the Curriculum’s founding.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

xv


Max’s Story<br />

By Stephanie Warburg <strong>and</strong> Charlotte Harris<br />

Max Warburg was born <strong>and</strong> brought up in <strong>Boston</strong>, Massachusetts. Not long<br />

ago, Max lived in an apartment near the center <strong>of</strong> the city with his parents <strong>and</strong><br />

his brother, Fred. Max was two <strong>and</strong> a half years older than Fred. Max had wavy<br />

light brown hair <strong>and</strong> bright brown eyes, <strong>and</strong> Fred had straight black hair <strong>and</strong><br />

hazel eyes, but when they smiled, they looked a lot alike even though Max<br />

was much bigger.<br />

<strong>The</strong> boys liked sports. <strong>The</strong>y liked to swim in the summer, ski in the winter, <strong>and</strong><br />

sail whenever they got a chance. Mostly, their father, who is an architect, had<br />

to work, but as <strong>of</strong>ten as he could he took the boys sailing, teaching them to tie<br />

lines, trim sails, <strong>and</strong> steer a course.<br />

“Here,” he would say, “Max, you take the wheel. Fred, you hold this line tight<br />

<strong>and</strong> Max will sail us out <strong>of</strong> the harbor.”<br />

And Max would. He’d st<strong>and</strong> at the helm the way he thought his father stood.<br />

Eyes on the sail to be sure it didn’t spill its wind, both h<strong>and</strong>s on the big wheel,<br />

<strong>and</strong> feet spread apart, wind blowing his hair <strong>and</strong> puffing out his jacket, Max<br />

would play the part <strong>of</strong> the captain, dreaming <strong>of</strong> the day he would have his own<br />

boat. He knew exactly what he wanted: a sixteen-foot, drop-centerboard boat<br />

called a 420, just the right size for a twelve-year-old, which he figured he would<br />

be before he would ever get his 420. <strong>The</strong>n he could take Fred on some great<br />

sails, even on the days his dad was too busy. Better yet, then he could race<br />

<strong>and</strong> maybe win.<br />

He knew what he’d call his boat, too. Take It To <strong>The</strong> Max, he’d call it, not just<br />

because it had his name in it, but because it sounded like the sky was the limit<br />

<strong>and</strong> that’s how Max felt.<br />

Max had other dreams. Ever since he was little, Max had been good at<br />

imitating people. His mom would talk to someone on the phone, <strong>and</strong> when<br />

she hung up, Max could imitate her ‘talking to a stranger’ voice or ‘talking to<br />

her best friend’ voice perfectly. He could hear an accent once <strong>and</strong> reproduce<br />

it exactly. He could mimic actors <strong>and</strong> other kids, making his friends laugh <strong>and</strong><br />

fascinating everyone with this ability.<br />

“You ought to be an actor when you grow up,” people would tell him. So he<br />

started looking at the actors on TV with his mind on learning acting skills<br />

<strong>and</strong> camera angles.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“Mom,” Max said one day, “do you think I could ever be on TV?”<br />

“Well, I don’t see why not if you work at it,” she told him. Max’s mom was an<br />

artist, <strong>and</strong> it pleased her to see her son interested in growing up to be in one <strong>of</strong><br />

the arts. Max joined a children’s theater group <strong>and</strong> went for acting lessons. He<br />

started to gain the confidence an actor needs, <strong>and</strong> signed up with an agency<br />

that looks for children to act <strong>and</strong> model. One day a call came.<br />

“Max, do you think you’re ready to act in a television commercial?” the<br />

agency representative asked. “Sure I am. Will my friends be able to see me?”<br />

he replied.<br />

“Not this time. This commercial is going to run in New Jersey, but maybe next<br />

time. Will you do it anyway? Right away?”<br />

“Oh, yes! This is my first chance!” Max ran to get his mom, <strong>and</strong>, alive with<br />

anticipation, Max, Fred, <strong>and</strong> their mom drove to the studio. <strong>The</strong>y spent a day<br />

taping <strong>and</strong> re-taping. Max watched the pr<strong>of</strong>essionals, followed directions<br />

intently, <strong>and</strong> caught on quickly to what was expected <strong>of</strong> him. When the long<br />

day was done, Max tried to guess when the next time would be that he would<br />

get a chance in front <strong>of</strong> the cameras. He couldn’t have guessed then that six<br />

short months later he would be a frequent talk show guest, but not for a<br />

reason anyone would want.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

xvii


For Max, acting was fun <strong>and</strong> easy, <strong>and</strong> so was schoolwork. He loved to be with<br />

his friends in school, <strong>and</strong> he loved to read <strong>and</strong> figure things out. He loved to<br />

laugh <strong>and</strong> play jokes. At school, they called Max the peacemaker. Kids would<br />

argue or get to fighting, but Max would get into the middle <strong>and</strong> try to calm<br />

things down. Being a good sport <strong>and</strong> thinking <strong>of</strong> the other guy were Max’s<br />

way. In tense situations, Max would be the one to lighten things up with a joke.<br />

Not everything came easy. Living in the city surrounded by buildings <strong>and</strong><br />

pavement, Max didn’t have much chance to play ball, but he wanted to. As<br />

soon as he was old enough, Max joined a baseball league. <strong>The</strong>y played on the<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> Common. Max was the youngest player <strong>and</strong> afraid <strong>of</strong> the fastballs<br />

coming straight at him. A couple <strong>of</strong> times he didn’t get out <strong>of</strong> the way <strong>of</strong> the<br />

ball <strong>and</strong> it hit him, but he didn’t let it get him down. For one thing, he knew<br />

Fred was watching <strong>and</strong> he knew as the big brother he’d better get right back<br />

up. Max was philosophical about his shortcomings. “I’ll be better next time,”<br />

he would say, <strong>and</strong> then he’d work at it. He never missed a practice. Even<br />

though he never got to be the best player on his team, by his third season his<br />

teammates knew they could count on him for a solid performance.<br />

During the summers, Max <strong>and</strong> his family left the city for the seashore.<br />

One morning in July 1990, when Max was eleven, Max’s mom needed<br />

something at the hardware store, <strong>and</strong> Max was looking for something to do.<br />

“I’ll go. Let me do it,” he said, <strong>and</strong> he got on his bike <strong>and</strong> pedaled <strong>of</strong>f toward<br />

town. About a mile from the house his front tire hit a pocket <strong>of</strong> s<strong>and</strong> the<br />

wrong way. <strong>The</strong> wheel skewed around sideways <strong>and</strong> Max fell. He l<strong>and</strong>ed on his<br />

shoulder, the breath knocked out <strong>of</strong> him. Hot burning pain filled his stomach<br />

<strong>and</strong> chest, making him curl in a ball <strong>and</strong> squeeze his eyes shut.<br />

Max knew something was wrong, more wrong than just a fall from his bike.<br />

Max’s mother knew something was really wrong as soon as she saw him<br />

walking beside his bike, steps slow <strong>and</strong> head down. Before he could get in<br />

the house she had him in the car <strong>and</strong> on the way to the local hospital<br />

emergency room.<br />

“Max fell <strong>of</strong>f his bike <strong>and</strong> he doesn’t feel right,” Max’s mom told the doctor.<br />

<strong>The</strong> doctor felt Max’s back <strong>and</strong> side <strong>and</strong> the smile left her face. “What’s this here?<br />

His side is all swollen. I think he’s ruptured his spleen. Max is in trouble.”<br />

“What kind <strong>of</strong> trouble?” Max <strong>and</strong> his mom said, almost at the same time.<br />

“I’m not sure, but we need to find out fast,” said the doctor, frowning<br />

with concern.<br />

She called an ambulance to take Max to <strong>Children</strong>’s Hospital back in the city.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

xviii


Siren <strong>and</strong> lights clearing a path, the ambulance rushed up the highway to<br />

<strong>Boston</strong>, barely slowing down for the tight corners near the entrance to the<br />

hospital. Max was wheeled straight into the emergency room.<br />

“This doesn’t look good,” the emergency room doctor said.<br />

“If my spleen is split, why don’t you operate on me <strong>and</strong> sew it up?” Max<br />

wanted to know.<br />

“Can you sew Jell-O? That’s what a spleen looks like. Not much to look at, but<br />

good to have because that’s what your body uses to clean your blood. Mrs.<br />

Warburg, this boy is going to be here for at least ten days.”<br />

Sad <strong>and</strong> frightened, Mr. <strong>and</strong> Mrs. Warburg made their plans. Max’s mom<br />

would stay with him, <strong>and</strong> his dad would take Fred back to the shore to keep<br />

things as normal as possible for him. <strong>The</strong> news from the hospital wasn’t good.<br />

It looked as if Max had leukemia, a dangerous cancer in his bone marrow, but<br />

the doctors weren’t sure which kind <strong>of</strong> leukemia he had. Some kinds were less<br />

difficult to cure, <strong>and</strong> some were easier to bear than others. Hoping their son<br />

had the commonest kind that could be cured, the Warburgs started to learn<br />

about leukemia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> results <strong>of</strong> the blood tests came back. Max had a rare form <strong>of</strong> leukemia,<br />

found in one in a million children. <strong>The</strong> lab doctor told Max’s parents, “Now<br />

that we’ve seen these results, I wonder how Max ever got himself <strong>of</strong>f the<br />

ground <strong>and</strong> back to the house the day he fell <strong>of</strong>f his bike. He must be a very<br />

determined boy.”<br />

“Yes, he is,” Max’s father said. “He is going to need to be.”<br />

It was Dr. Susan Parsons who told Max what he had. “Leukemia is hard to<br />

beat. You’ll have to have chemotherapy <strong>and</strong> radiation stronger than one<br />

hundred thous<strong>and</strong> X-rays. In order to test your blood <strong>and</strong> feed you, we’re<br />

going to have to make an incision near your heart <strong>and</strong> insert a tube. You can’t<br />

play ball <strong>and</strong> you can’t play soccer or ride your bike. If your spleen gets hit<br />

again, it will kill you.”<br />

Max thought a bit. “Tell me what is going to happen.”<br />

“You have to have a bone marrow transplant. Do you know what that is, Max?<br />

That means taking the fluid out <strong>of</strong> the middle <strong>of</strong> all your bones <strong>and</strong> then<br />

putting in the fluid from someone else’s bones in its place. We can’t do it<br />

unless we can find the right donor -- someone whose bone <strong>and</strong> blood type<br />

match yours almost exactly. Often, not even members <strong>of</strong> your own family are<br />

a close enough match. Right now, there are about six thous<strong>and</strong> people out<br />

there looking for the one perfect match to save their lives. You’ll be joining<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

xix


them, Max. Your chance <strong>of</strong> finding a match is about one in twenty thous<strong>and</strong>.”<br />

Again, Max thought a minute. “So, there are six thous<strong>and</strong> others. Okay, I’ll be<br />

six thous<strong>and</strong> plus one. I’ll be one <strong>of</strong> the lucky ones.”<br />

“You already have been. Because you fell <strong>of</strong>f your bike, we were able to catch<br />

your disease early, before there were other symptoms. If we get a donor fast,<br />

time will be on your side.”<br />

After ten days <strong>of</strong> testing, they let Max come home to the apartment in <strong>Boston</strong>.<br />

Every week, in order to adjust his medicine, he had to go to the hospital for<br />

blood tests, which meant a little needle, <strong>and</strong> for blood samples, which meant a<br />

big needle <strong>and</strong> a tube. Max hated needles. His mother knew he hated needles<br />

<strong>and</strong> wondered when she didn’t see him flinch each week as the nurse aimed<br />

the needle toward his arm. Even the nurse, who had seen so many different<br />

kinds <strong>of</strong> reactions to needles over the years, was surprised by Max’s calm.<br />

“What are you thinking about, young man?” she said to him on one <strong>of</strong> his<br />

visits to the blood lab, not really expecting a reply.<br />

Max answered very seriously, “First, I wait <strong>and</strong> prepare myself. <strong>The</strong>n I put all<br />

my energy where the needle is going to go, then I make fun <strong>of</strong> the needle.”<br />

On his own, Max had found a way to conquer a fear that, if he did not get the<br />

best <strong>of</strong> it, could make it harder for him to get well.<br />

No sports for at least six months, he’d been told, so he found a calendar,<br />

tacked it up, <strong>and</strong> drew a smiling face on the date six months away. Max had a<br />

goal. He knew he’d be sick for a while but he knew when it would be over. On<br />

the space for February 6, 1991, beside the smile he wrote, “Cured” <strong>and</strong><br />

underlined it in red.<br />

In September, Max went back to school. When he told Nurse Hoolihan at the<br />

hospital that the kids didn’t seem to underst<strong>and</strong> what was wrong with him, she<br />

said she’d come to his school <strong>and</strong> explain. <strong>The</strong> kids listened carefully to Nurse<br />

Hoolihan, but it was Max they wanted to hear from.<br />

“How did you catch leukemia?” asked someone, saying out loud the big<br />

question in everyone’s mind.<br />

“I didn’t just catch it,” Max said matter-<strong>of</strong>-factly. “First, I had to have inherited a<br />

particular gene <strong>and</strong> then I had to have what my doctor said was an accident in<br />

my blood cells. One cell went crazy. It started making the other cells produce<br />

too many white cells <strong>and</strong> platelets. My white cells are crowding out my red cells,<br />

<strong>and</strong> that’s not good for me. But, listen; no one can catch this from me.”<br />

You could see the kids were relieved. <strong>The</strong>y stopped sitting so stiffly <strong>and</strong> acting<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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so polite. Even Max’s teacher <strong>and</strong> the other grownups in the room seemed<br />

to relax a little.<br />

“What can we do for you?” Max’s best friend wanted to know.<br />

“Don’t treat me funny. I’m not supposed to bump my spleen but I’m the<br />

same old Max.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re were reminders at home, too, that his life had changed. Max had to<br />

choose whether to give up his kitten, Fantasy, or have her claws out so that she<br />

couldn’t scratch him <strong>and</strong> start an infection. Max couldn’t bring himself to hurt<br />

Fantasy that way, so he found her another home. He missed his kitten. “Be<br />

careful, Max. Be careful,” it seemed to him his mother kept saying. He missed<br />

hearing her say, “Off you go <strong>and</strong> have a good time,” without a worried look.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hospital did what it could to find a donor for Max so he could have the<br />

transplant that could save his life. His parents were tested <strong>and</strong> Fred was tested,<br />

but no perfect match was found. Close relatives were tested <strong>and</strong> then friends<br />

<strong>of</strong> the family, <strong>and</strong> still no match. Wait, the hospital told them, a match might<br />

be found in the new national marrow donor registry.<br />

His parents were troubled by waiting. <strong>The</strong> registry had too few matches <strong>and</strong><br />

too many other people who were counting on the registry but hadn’t been<br />

helped. “We can help. We can learn how to do donor drives.” It was going to<br />

be hard, but they knew they had to try. What they didn’t realize at first was that<br />

Max would make the donor drive succeed. At first, only the family worked on<br />

the drives. <strong>The</strong>n they were joined by many <strong>of</strong> their friends, <strong>and</strong> soon, old<br />

friends were joined by the hundreds <strong>of</strong> new friends Max found through<br />

television <strong>and</strong> radio.<br />

Max’s campaign for a donor was called the “Max + 6,000.” Always, Max wanted<br />

people to remember that this wasn’t just for him. It was for Max <strong>and</strong> all the<br />

others in America who needed the one perfect donor. Many people didn’t<br />

really know what leukemia was all about or about bone marrow transplants, or<br />

how to help even if they wanted to help. One morning, figuring he had<br />

nothing to lose <strong>and</strong> plenty to gain, Max called a radio station to see if he could<br />

make his appeal on the air. He spoke on local radio shows. He was invited to<br />

talk on Channel 4 <strong>and</strong> then Channel 7 <strong>and</strong> then Channel 2. Smiling into the<br />

camera, Max would say, “Leukemia is a blood disease that starts in the marrow<br />

<strong>of</strong> bones. I need new bone marrow in order to get better. Come have a simple<br />

blood test <strong>and</strong> see if you can be my donor. Perhaps you will be my MUD, my<br />

matched unrelated donor.”<br />

Tom Bergeron, one talk show host, said to Max, “You’re good at this. You look<br />

as if you’re enjoying yourself.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

xxi


“I am, sir. I wanted to be on TV <strong>and</strong> here I am. Maybe this is what I was getting<br />

ready for. Even if no donor turns up for me, I can help someone else.”<br />

For the people watching Max, it wasn’t pity that moved them; it was Max’s<br />

cheerful way <strong>of</strong> thinking <strong>of</strong> others before himself. <strong>The</strong> stations asked him back<br />

again <strong>and</strong> again. Hundreds <strong>and</strong> eventually thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong> people came to give a<br />

sample <strong>of</strong> their blood <strong>and</strong> promised to be a bone marrow donor if their type<br />

matched the type <strong>of</strong> anyone in need.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Boston</strong> Globe <strong>and</strong> <strong>The</strong> <strong>Boston</strong> Herald picked up Max’s story. “Max waits for<br />

his rescue,” said one headline. “Max leads charge against disease.” <strong>The</strong><br />

reporters who met him liked Max <strong>and</strong> wanted to help him. <strong>The</strong>ir stories<br />

reassured people <strong>and</strong> gave them practical information about when <strong>and</strong> how to<br />

become a bone marrow donor.<br />

At every donor meeting, there was Max wearing a “Max + 6,000” button <strong>and</strong> a<br />

red carnation. Red for blood, he said, <strong>and</strong> laughed when people asked how he<br />

could joke about something so serious. Max would shake each donor’s h<strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> say thank you. “You may not help me but you probably will help<br />

somebody,” he’d say.<br />

Every week, Max’s white cell count got higher. Every week, the need to find a<br />

donor got more acute. “It may be getting too late,” Dr. Parsons worried. “We<br />

have to find a donor soon.”<br />

Days slipped by. Weeks slipped by. Leaves on the trees outside Max’s window<br />

turned red <strong>and</strong> orange <strong>and</strong> then brown <strong>and</strong> fell away in the winds <strong>of</strong> early<br />

winter. Max, Fred, <strong>and</strong> their mom <strong>and</strong> dad talked about the little events <strong>of</strong><br />

each day <strong>and</strong> about the distant future but not <strong>of</strong>ten about the immediate<br />

future. <strong>The</strong>y talked about missing the rest <strong>of</strong> the summer at the shore <strong>and</strong><br />

about Take It To <strong>The</strong> Max, the dreamboat. <strong>The</strong> boat came to mean so much.<br />

It meant another summer growing up. It meant having a future. By mid-<br />

October, nearly three months after Max’s leukemia was discovered, there still<br />

was no donor. “I’m going to order the 420 for Max,” his father said. “It will<br />

mean a lot to him knowing the boat is started.” He called the boat builder,<br />

who said yes, he could have the boat ready by spring. By the time Max was well;<br />

his 420 would be ready to put into the water.<br />

With no donor found, surgery went forward to improve Max’s chances later<br />

on, just in case a donor could be found. On November 15, Max’s spleen was<br />

removed. He recovered for a week in the hospital <strong>and</strong> for six days at home.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, on November 28, the hospital called. <strong>The</strong> lab had found the miracle<br />

match among the last batch <strong>of</strong> samples.<br />

“Who is it?” Max asked.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“We don’t know, but it’s a perfect match!” the nurse said. Later, during long<br />

December days in the hospital, Max <strong>and</strong> his dad sent the anonymous<br />

benefactor a picture <strong>of</strong> the intravenous bag that held the life-giving bone<br />

marrow with a letter that said, “This is all we know <strong>of</strong> you but we want to thank<br />

you!” Much later, Mr. <strong>and</strong> Mrs. Warburg learned that the donor was a doctor<br />

in Seattle, Washington, whose great-, great-, great-, great-gr<strong>and</strong>father all the<br />

way back to the 1800s in Europe was the same as Max’s.<br />

Now, with marrow from the donor, treatment could begin to pave the way for<br />

the transplant that might save Max. Chemotherapy would be the worst part.<br />

“Your hair is going to fall out, Max,” Dr. Parsons told him. Max could see that<br />

other kids in the cancer ward had little or no hair. “It’s part <strong>of</strong> getting better,”<br />

he told Fred. But he wasn’t sure he would be brave enough. He had seen<br />

others going for their treatment <strong>and</strong> returning exhausted <strong>and</strong> in tears. He was<br />

determined he wouldn’t let the treatment sink his spirits.<br />

First Max had a tube implanted in his chest, as the doctor told him would<br />

happen, for giving medicine, taking blood samples, <strong>and</strong> for feeding him<br />

because he wouldn’t be able to eat normally. He would have to be almost in<br />

isolation in a special environment called the Laminar Flow Room. In the<br />

sealed room, ducts brought a steady, moving stream <strong>of</strong> oxygen down <strong>and</strong> away<br />

from the bed, blowing foreign substances away from Max as his system tried to<br />

accept the strange marrow <strong>and</strong> begin making its own blood.<br />

Except for daily trips to the Total Body Irradiation room--the hospital<br />

people called it the TBI--Max had to stay in the isolated room <strong>and</strong> could<br />

see few visitors. When his mom <strong>and</strong> Fred visited each day <strong>and</strong> his dad came<br />

in the evening, they had to scrub like doctors <strong>and</strong> wear cover-up coats <strong>and</strong><br />

hairnets. Even a touch could harm, so there could be no hugs to give comfort<br />

<strong>and</strong> love. Each morning the halls were cleared <strong>of</strong> contaminating strangers<br />

so Max, inside a tent, could be wheeled through the empty halls to the<br />

treatment room.<br />

Knowing he’d be lonely <strong>and</strong> expecting he’d be scared, Dr. Parsons had given<br />

Max a tape recorder so he could make a record <strong>of</strong> what was happening to him.<br />

Max told his tape recorder, “Going to TBI is really cool, like being in a space<br />

ship. <strong>The</strong> air coming in from the top <strong>of</strong> my oxygen tent is exhilarating. I feel<br />

like a great explorer from the next century gliding in on his chair.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> experience in the room wasn’t exhilarating. <strong>The</strong> drugs made Max sick.<br />

He had to stay on a metal table, head on blocks, neck stiff <strong>and</strong> body sore, for a<br />

long time. When finally he sat up, he threw up. <strong>The</strong> vomiting meant he was<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

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done for the day. On his tape Max said, “<strong>The</strong> table is real hard <strong>and</strong> it makes<br />

my head so stiff, but it’s fun because I can blast my music as loud as I want so it<br />

reminds me <strong>of</strong> home.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> first seven treatment days were chemotherapy <strong>and</strong> irradiation. <strong>The</strong> eighth<br />

day, the transplant itself, wasn’t at all what Max expected. Instead <strong>of</strong> an<br />

operation with doctors cutting him open, Max lay on his bed all alone while the<br />

new marrow flowed into his body from a transparent bag <strong>of</strong> clear fluid<br />

suspended over his head <strong>and</strong> connected to him by a clear slender tube.<br />

“How is that going to get into my bones?” he wondered while he watched,<br />

then later heard the doctors themselves marveling that the marrow sought its<br />

way to the right places once it was safely in his system.<br />

<strong>The</strong> blood count was critical. After the transplant, Max’s white cell count was<br />

zero. <strong>The</strong>y wouldn’t let him out <strong>of</strong> the Laminar Flow Room until his count was<br />

3,000. One day after the transplant, his count was 20. <strong>The</strong> next day it was 100,<br />

then 150, then 300. Max had a long way to go, but he was making it. His body<br />

was rebuilding. Slowly the days passed.<br />

Max knew these days would be hard. <strong>The</strong> pains doctors had warned about<br />

became the pains he felt. Max didn’t complain. Instead, he tried to cheer up<br />

other patients stuck, as he was, in the hospital for Christmas. He got his<br />

parents to help. Max’s mom <strong>and</strong> dad brought in a whole Christmas dinner for<br />

all the kids <strong>and</strong> their families in the Jimmy Fund wing, the part <strong>of</strong> the hospital<br />

where Max <strong>and</strong> the other children with cancer were staying. Teddy Kennedy,<br />

Jr., who had cancer when he was thirteen <strong>and</strong> was now all grown up, brought<br />

presents for the kids, along with living pro<strong>of</strong> that they could get better.<br />

Max yearned for breakout day, the day the doctors would let him go out <strong>of</strong> his<br />

room. Finally, early in the New Year, on January 2, Max woke to see balloons<br />

on the isolation room door <strong>and</strong> crepe-paper streamers overhead. <strong>The</strong> nurses,<br />

especially Nurse Rohan, his favorite, were celebrating for him. This was it; he<br />

was out! He went by wheelchair to the hospital door, then into the fresh air for<br />

the first time in 35 days, <strong>and</strong> then home. He loved the smell, he loved the<br />

look, <strong>and</strong> he loved the feel <strong>of</strong> home! Everyone in the hospital had been great<br />

to Max <strong>and</strong> he was grateful, but home was where he wanted to be. Back in his<br />

own room, Max saw again the calendar with the smile marking February 6. It<br />

was still almost a month away. “Not quite cured,” thought Max. “But maybe I’ll<br />

be better by then. February 6 will be a happy day.”<br />

But it wasn’t. Before long Max was back in the hospital with a high fever. Dr.<br />

Parsons sent him home again, uncertain what was wrong. Back he went again<br />

for ten days <strong>and</strong> again he came home no better. Still he had a fever <strong>and</strong> still he<br />

threw up. On February 6, he went back to the hospital again. <strong>The</strong> smile he was<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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now famous for was still there, but it seemed to waver at the corners <strong>of</strong> his<br />

mouth. Max went back to his isolation room <strong>and</strong> this time he would have an<br />

oxygen mask, the sign <strong>of</strong> mortal struggle.<br />

Max’s mom <strong>and</strong> dad <strong>and</strong> Fred were at the hospital every day, staying with<br />

him until the evening when Max, heavy with drugs, fell asleep. <strong>The</strong> long<br />

days in the hospital were hard on Fred. He played with Max, but it wasn’t<br />

like the last time Max was in the hospital. One day, sick <strong>and</strong> exhausted after<br />

a treatment, Max was being pushed back to his room in the wheelchair.<br />

Fred had had it. Right on the edge <strong>of</strong> crying, he pulled hard on his mother’s<br />

arm, making it difficult for her to push Max’s chair. “Come on, Fred. Max<br />

needs you to help out,” she said.<br />

Max was used to being the helper himself. Knowing he was needed, he said,<br />

“I can cheer Fred up. Put him here in my lap.”<br />

Fred went into his older brother’s lap, glad to be riding the long corridor <strong>and</strong><br />

glad to have Max acting like his old self. <strong>The</strong> two rolled along, Max’s head<br />

hidden <strong>and</strong> arms waving out from under Fred’s armpits, a four-armed,<br />

laughing pair all the way from Pulmonary to the Transplant floor. Hearing<br />

them, the nurses couldn’t tell that one <strong>of</strong> the laughing boys was perilously ill<br />

until, rounding the corner, they recognized Max <strong>and</strong> his family.<br />

“That’s like Max,” they told his mother. “At night on the transplant floor, the<br />

younger kids cry. <strong>The</strong>y’re in pain <strong>and</strong> they miss their families. I hear Max call<br />

to them, ‘Don’t cry. I’m here. You’ve got a friend!’ You have an unusually<br />

brave son, Mrs. Warburg.”<br />

“I’m not sure he realizes,” his mother said. “He says to me, ‘Mommy, do you<br />

think I’m brave?’ I don’t know why he doubts.”<br />

“How does he keep his laughter? How can he keep on smiling?”<br />

“That’s Max,” said his mom. “That’s the way Max is.”<br />

On March first Dr. Parsons told Max his life was threatened. <strong>The</strong> blood<br />

transfusions <strong>and</strong> medicines pumped into him weren’t working well enough.<br />

<strong>The</strong> doctors’ skills <strong>and</strong> the hospitals’ resources <strong>and</strong> Max’s own incredible will<br />

were losing against the disease. Max saw the solemn faces around him. His<br />

body swollen in places, emaciated in places, spotted with sores in places, Max<br />

looked Dr. Parsons straight in the eyes <strong>and</strong> said, “Well, okay, so what’s the<br />

plan? How are you going to get me well?” <strong>The</strong>y looked at Max in disbelief, to<br />

see his conviction so strong despite his ordeal, <strong>and</strong> took heart themselves.<br />

“Come here to the window, Max, come look,” said his father.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

xxv


<strong>The</strong>re in the hospital driveway below, high on a truck <strong>and</strong> with mainsail<br />

flying, was Take It To <strong>The</strong> Max. Max’s eyes widened in pleasure, his delight<br />

was evident in every gesture <strong>of</strong> his excitement. He glowed, knowing the<br />

care <strong>and</strong> love that brought his boat to him at this place at this time.<br />

Nurses <strong>and</strong> doctors all came to exclaim about Max’s treasure <strong>and</strong> enjoy<br />

his infectious happiness.<br />

That night, Max stayed up until close to midnight working on a project with<br />

his dad. When he was ready to put out the light, Max <strong>and</strong> his mom <strong>and</strong> dad<br />

prayed together <strong>and</strong> thanked God for all the help He had given <strong>and</strong> all the<br />

people who had been so kind to him. <strong>The</strong>n Max went to sleep.<br />

Max died in his mother’s arms, holding his father’s h<strong>and</strong>, at 6:55 a.m.<br />

on March 5, 1991.<br />

In the days that followed there was a terrible silence. <strong>The</strong> silence swelled<br />

<strong>and</strong> roared, because silences can do that if what you want to hear isn’t there<br />

<strong>and</strong> what you don’t want to hear is everywhere. <strong>The</strong>n stories started to fill<br />

the empty spaces, stories about Max.<br />

Many stories ended with a shake <strong>of</strong> the head, a glance away, <strong>and</strong> the simple<br />

statement, “Max amazed me then. He was so brave. <strong>Children</strong> amaze me.<br />

I am amazed by the courage <strong>of</strong> children.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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Volume XXIX<br />

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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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<strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Boston</strong><br />

Volume XXIX<br />

1


<strong>Courage</strong> in My Life<br />

<strong>The</strong> mission <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum, Inc. is to strengthen the<br />

literacy skills <strong>of</strong> participating students. Our nonpr<strong>of</strong>it program, provided free <strong>of</strong> charge,<br />

invites educators <strong>and</strong> students to explore the idea <strong>of</strong> courage in literature, their own<br />

lives, <strong>and</strong> within the broader community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum is a year-long language arts program,<br />

founded to honor the life <strong>of</strong> Max Warburg, a courageous sixth grader whose<br />

steadfast determination <strong>and</strong> heartfelt hope in the face <strong>of</strong> his battle with<br />

leukemia continue to inspire our work.<br />

Since the program’s inception in 1991, the <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum has positively<br />

impacted the academic performance <strong>and</strong> increased the essential knowledge <strong>of</strong><br />

over 200,000 sixth grade students in <strong>Boston</strong> Public Schools <strong>and</strong> surrounding<br />

public <strong>and</strong> private schools. By connecting with Max’s story <strong>and</strong> with awardwinning<br />

literature featuring courageous young people, students come to<br />

recognize <strong>and</strong> celebrate the role that courage plays in their own lives. Our<br />

work with talented classroom teachers allows us to empower young people<br />

to continue to act courageously, to the benefit <strong>of</strong> their classmates, families,<br />

communities, <strong>and</strong> themselves.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum, <strong>Courage</strong> in My Life, works to improve<br />

the reading, writing <strong>and</strong> critical thinking skills <strong>of</strong> students. We inspire<br />

participants to celebrate acts <strong>of</strong> courage in their own lives <strong>and</strong> the lives <strong>of</strong><br />

others. We train <strong>and</strong> support teachers in the use <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum<br />

to improve their own instruction <strong>and</strong> to engage <strong>and</strong> inspire their students to<br />

make meaningful connections to literature. <strong>The</strong> success <strong>of</strong> the program is<br />

evidenced by the resulting quality <strong>of</strong> students’ writing <strong>and</strong> individual pride<br />

in their work. This is accomplished through a direct correlation between<br />

its emphasis on literature content <strong>and</strong> writing competency.<br />

Although it is intensely focused on classroom practice <strong>and</strong> teacher instruction,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum also disseminates this work on its<br />

website, in this annual publication <strong>of</strong> essays, <strong>and</strong> at an annual awards<br />

luncheon for Max Warburg Fellows. <strong>The</strong> luncheon draws families <strong>and</strong> the<br />

larger community together for a culminating event, to celebrate the outcomes<br />

<strong>of</strong> the program <strong>and</strong> the students’ efforts. <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong><br />

Curriculum has been featured in academic journals <strong>and</strong> other publications,<br />

positioning the program as a national model for excellent school <strong>and</strong><br />

community partnerships.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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Our sixth grade program, <strong>Courage</strong> in My Life, is a social-emotional learning<br />

tool used in the classroom to help children underst<strong>and</strong>, process, <strong>and</strong> manage<br />

emotions through the reading <strong>and</strong> discussion <strong>of</strong> courage. <strong>The</strong> courage essay<br />

works as an opportunity for students to gain an underst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>of</strong> empathy<br />

through their self-discovery <strong>of</strong> courage <strong>and</strong> the exposure to the stories <strong>of</strong> their<br />

fellow students. Using the <strong>Courage</strong> in My Life curriculum as a social-emotional<br />

learning tool helps students establish positive relationships, evaluate their<br />

actions in new lights, <strong>and</strong> make more responsible decisions.<br />

This year, 1,330 local sixth graders submitted essays, <strong>and</strong> over 2,000 students<br />

participated outside <strong>of</strong> <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> worldwide. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum<br />

program continues to grow on a local, national, <strong>and</strong> global scale. Max<br />

Warburg’s legacy continues to inspire young people to recognize <strong>and</strong><br />

celebrate the courage in their lives.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

3


Larry Bowens Jr.<br />

M<strong>and</strong>y Lam, Teacher<br />

Josiah Quincy Upper School<br />

What courage means to me is speaking up <strong>and</strong> st<strong>and</strong>ing up for myself <strong>and</strong><br />

others, despite my fears. I was courageous when I spoke out to our school<br />

district, <strong>Boston</strong> Public Schools, about my school’s funding. I spoke out not<br />

only for myself but for future students who would be attending Blackstone<br />

Elementary School.<br />

When I first arrived at Blackstone Elementary School in third grade, the<br />

school was not in good shape. When you looked up at the ceilings, there<br />

were missing ceiling cover plates. We did not have real classrooms. Instead,<br />

classrooms were set in a big open space separated by moving dividers, with no<br />

doors. This meant that classrooms did not have their own personal space for<br />

learning. I knew that I had to do something for Blackstone. One day, a teacher<br />

started a Student Council at our school. I began to get involved in third grade,<br />

<strong>and</strong> by fifth grade I became Student Council President.<br />

Sadly, by fifth grade the school got even worse. <strong>The</strong> Student Council heard<br />

that our school was about to lose $500,000 in funding. We didn’t have<br />

much as a school as it was, so imagine then losing $500,000 in funding. Our<br />

school would probably have to shut down. How could you expect 800 kids at<br />

Blackstone, including 100 kids with disabilities, to have a proper education<br />

without the proper resources?<br />

At a School Site Council we informed the rest <strong>of</strong> the school about the<br />

situation. We decided we would speak up at the <strong>Boston</strong> Public School Board<br />

Council Meeting in hopes <strong>of</strong> changing their decision about the funding.<br />

As Student Council President, I had to inform the School Board about the<br />

consequences our school would face if they did this.<br />

When I arrived I was nervous <strong>and</strong> scared, but the future <strong>of</strong> Blackstone was<br />

depending on me. When I got on the podium I was worried, <strong>and</strong> many<br />

thoughts were running through my mind. How was the School Board going<br />

to react to what I had to say? What if they did not take me seriously? How<br />

would this affect the kids at Blackstone? What changes would this make? <strong>The</strong><br />

School Board, along with many other Blackstone families, was staring at me. I<br />

had to show courage <strong>and</strong> be confident in what I had to say. I pushed past my<br />

fears, took a deep breath, <strong>and</strong> closed my eyes for a second. I pictured how the<br />

school would look in the future if I succeeded. I opened my eyes <strong>and</strong> spoke<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“As Student Council<br />

President, I had to<br />

inform the School<br />

Board about the<br />

consequences our<br />

school would face<br />

if they did this.”<br />

about why Blackstone is great <strong>and</strong> how the budget cut will affect students’<br />

performances. I said if they cared about our education they wouldn’t go<br />

ahead with these severe actions.<br />

From that moment on, I knew I was courageous. I spoke up for my school<br />

knowing what could have happened if I hadn’t shown courage. I left that<br />

building knowing there was a chance that what I said had actually made<br />

a difference. I knew that, even if it didn’t change their minds, I had made<br />

my school <strong>and</strong> my family proud. I was proud <strong>of</strong> myself for representing<br />

my school well.<br />

Don’t be afraid <strong>of</strong> what you think can make a change. Push past your<br />

fears <strong>and</strong> speak!<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

5


Aiyanah Lamarre<br />

Erin Hannon-Foley <strong>and</strong> Yol<strong>and</strong>a McCollum, Teachers<br />

Roosevelt K-8 School<br />

“Don’t worry, there’s going to be other girls,” my dad said during the car ride<br />

there. I urgently replied, “But I’m bad at sports. And what happens if they<br />

don’t like me?” I trusted my dad when I should have trusted my instincts.<br />

My dad had signed me up for football. He was one <strong>of</strong> the coaches for the older<br />

kids <strong>and</strong> my brother was a player, so it made sense for me to play. I was having<br />

mixed feelings about playing football, but I was also excited <strong>and</strong> nervous. I was<br />

smiling ear-to-ear, still wondering if there were girls on my team.<br />

My coach showed me around with the other kids. At the end <strong>of</strong> the tour I<br />

asked, “Are other girls on the team?” He replied, “Nope, you’re the only one.”<br />

In front <strong>of</strong> me I could hear the boys saying, “A girl on the team? Girls can’t<br />

play, they’re weak.” After the tour, we got to play tug-<strong>of</strong>-war <strong>and</strong> we got fitted<br />

for gear to see what we needed, which was fun, but what those boys said still<br />

affected me throughout the day.<br />

A month later, I started school <strong>and</strong> I told my friends that I played football.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n the word got around. That’s when more bullies started to tease me. My<br />

hair got pulled by kids, <strong>and</strong> they would say that I was too skinny to play. It got<br />

to the point where I hated school. I was scared to go. In my head I was just<br />

trying not to cry, so I bottled up all these feelings. If I cried in front <strong>of</strong> them,<br />

I knew the bullying would get worse.<br />

We had this thing called “Star student <strong>of</strong> the week.” You would get a poster<br />

that had a ton <strong>of</strong> questions like “What’s your favorite food?” I got picked <strong>and</strong><br />

one <strong>of</strong> the questions was “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My<br />

answer was to be an NFL player for the Patriots. <strong>The</strong>n a boy named Daniel<br />

said, “Girls can’t play football. You think you can play for the NFL? <strong>The</strong>y would<br />

take one look at you <strong>and</strong> say NO!”<br />

This affected me so much that I gave up on my dream <strong>of</strong> being an NFL player.<br />

I let people walk all over me <strong>and</strong> started to think that girls can’t do things<br />

males can, <strong>and</strong> that we have limits to what we can do. That was also what<br />

society wanted me to think.<br />

A couple <strong>of</strong> weeks later, we had our first game. We practiced hard <strong>and</strong> we<br />

were ready! That’s when the other team told me I shouldn’t be a football<br />

player, that I should be a cheerleader. I was used to hearing it, but that’s when<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“Don’t look at<br />

what makes you<br />

different as if it’s a<br />

problem, look at it<br />

as an advantage.”<br />

I had enough. I wasn’t going to let somebody make me feel bad for something<br />

I like to do. I gained the courage to go play <strong>and</strong> do my best (even though<br />

I wasn’t that good.)<br />

We were losing by two points, <strong>and</strong> that’s when our star player got hurt. I wasn’t<br />

in this play so I had to play for him. This was it, my chance to prove that I<br />

really did add something to the team. I knew no one thought I could do it, not<br />

even my own team. It was a risk putting me out there, a big one in fact! This<br />

play was a trick play. It would look like someone else had the ball <strong>and</strong> then<br />

lead them to the opposite side.<br />

<strong>The</strong> plan was working! <strong>The</strong> other person brought them to the other side <strong>of</strong><br />

the field. <strong>The</strong>n I was running <strong>and</strong> running <strong>and</strong> I thought they were too far<br />

away to catch up to me! <strong>The</strong>n the crowd started shouting out ten, nine, eight,<br />

seven… By the time they counted to two, most <strong>of</strong> my body <strong>and</strong> the ball had<br />

crossed the line. I had made it! My team <strong>and</strong> my coaches started running up to<br />

me. <strong>The</strong>y all tackled <strong>and</strong> hugged me. I noticed then that I didn’t have to prove<br />

anything to anyone but myself. I had doubted myself so much that I forgot<br />

what I could do when I focused.<br />

<strong>The</strong> lesson I learned is don’t sit there <strong>and</strong> complain about a problem you have<br />

<strong>and</strong> not do anything about it. If everyone in the world had the same mindset,<br />

the way we live would be different. <strong>Courage</strong> to me means don’t look at what<br />

makes you different as if it’s a problem. If people say you can’t do something,<br />

prove them wrong. If you st<strong>and</strong> up <strong>and</strong> do something about the problem,<br />

it could change the people around you <strong>and</strong> in your community. Don’t look<br />

at what makes you different as if it’s a problem, look at it as an advantage. It<br />

makes you who you are <strong>and</strong> shows you what you can do.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

7


Adalis Rivera<br />

Jeanine Stansfield, Teacher<br />

Warren-Prescott K-8 School<br />

To me, courage is to be brave <strong>and</strong> not to let anything or anyone get in your<br />

way. Sometimes it’s difficult to show courage, <strong>and</strong> there are times when you<br />

don’t feel confident in yourself.<br />

When I was younger my speech impediment was at its worst. I used to stutter<br />

a lot. I was a very shy girl <strong>and</strong> always kept to myself, which made it hard to<br />

communicate with people <strong>and</strong> express my feelings. I would communicate<br />

with my mom in baby sign language. When I was three my mom <strong>and</strong> my<br />

gr<strong>and</strong>ma took me to an early intervention playgroup where I would play<br />

with kids just like me.<br />

In elementary school, I got teased a lot <strong>and</strong> kids would ask their parents, “Why<br />

does she talk like that?” “Why is she talking weird?” “Why does she sound like<br />

that?” I found it hard to express myself, so I would just stay quiet because I felt<br />

like no one could underst<strong>and</strong> me. Whenever I was mad, happy, sad, or excited<br />

<strong>and</strong> tried to talk to someone, they couldn’t underst<strong>and</strong> me. I would just get<br />

mad <strong>and</strong> blame myself for not speaking like other kids. Once, I was watching a<br />

television show <strong>and</strong> I saw a man who stuttered. I said, “Mommy, he sounds like<br />

me.” <strong>The</strong>n he started singing. Watching him sing <strong>and</strong> not letting his speech<br />

impediment get in his way made me think that I could do the same.<br />

In fourth <strong>and</strong> fifth grade I started improving my speech <strong>and</strong> finding more<br />

useful strategies to help cope with my speech. Now I’m in sixth grade <strong>and</strong> have<br />

stopped going to my Individualized Education Program classes. Now I rarely<br />

stutter <strong>and</strong> am not that shy anymore.<br />

I learned to be confident in myself <strong>and</strong> appreciate the way I am. Remember:<br />

you have a voice even if it sounds different.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

8


“Remember: you have<br />

a voice even if it<br />

sounds different.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

9


Owen Brown<br />

Jennifer Gayda, Teacher<br />

Linden S.T.E.A.M. Academy<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. It means overcoming difficult times<br />

without giving up. Being courageous doesn’t mean you need to do something<br />

risky. Engaging in a new experience, that’s courage. Persevering through<br />

academic struggles, that’s courage. St<strong>and</strong>ing up to bullies, that’s courage.<br />

Making a public presentation about something, that’s courage. <strong>The</strong>se are<br />

all ways <strong>of</strong> displaying courage, none <strong>of</strong> which are risky <strong>and</strong> nothing major<br />

is on the line. This is a story about how my family <strong>and</strong> I showed courage, by<br />

committing to something we had been considering for a while. About four<br />

years ago, my parents decided we would become a foster family.<br />

We have had twelve foster placements by now, <strong>and</strong> all <strong>of</strong> the children we<br />

dearly love <strong>and</strong> miss. Every child that we have welcomed into our home has<br />

a sorrowful story, like all other children in the foster care system. I think that<br />

foster care is such an important thing because, on any given day, there are<br />

nearly 430,000 children in foster care in the United States. <strong>The</strong>se children<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten end up homeless <strong>and</strong> living on the streets if they are still in the foster<br />

care system by the age <strong>of</strong> 17. Knowing I am helping another person’s life in<br />

such a tremendous way makes me feel like a good person. Connections with<br />

these children grow deeper than the roots <strong>of</strong> a tree into the rich soil. We<br />

become so attached to each <strong>and</strong> every child that the hardest part every time<br />

is saying goodbye. We were fortunate enough to never have to say goodbye to<br />

one <strong>of</strong> our placements.<br />

One child we’ve had a special connection with, Ryder Lee Johnson, was<br />

introduced to us about two months after his birth. My parents cared for him<br />

at the hospital for a week or so. We were expecting only a short visit to our<br />

home, but here we are today. He was our longest placement at about three<br />

years. I am honored to say that he is now my brother <strong>and</strong> I can’t imagine my<br />

life without him. He has brought so much joy to my life! He was adopted on<br />

November 21st <strong>of</strong> 2019. That may have been the happiest day <strong>of</strong> my life!<br />

Since we adopted him, he is now known as Ryder Lee Brown <strong>and</strong> is part<br />

<strong>of</strong> our forever family.<br />

This is something that takes courage, because we are dedicating our time <strong>and</strong><br />

effort to every kid that enters this home. We are also showing that we have big<br />

hearts <strong>and</strong> the courage to know that letting go is hard, but it is better for the<br />

child. We took this whole thing one step further by choosing to adopt Ryder.<br />

We are very delighted with the way this amazing young boy has turned out.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I think that foster<br />

care is such an<br />

important thing<br />

because, on any<br />

given day, there<br />

are nearly 430,000<br />

children in foster<br />

care in the<br />

United States.”<br />

I can’t wait to see what else the future has in store for us. Showing courage is<br />

important because it helps you be successful in life. It’s okay to be scared if<br />

you are able to push through <strong>and</strong> never give up.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

11


Kristina Cole<br />

Sara DeOreo, Teacher<br />

Proctor Elementary School<br />

“Love bravely, live bravely, be courageous. <strong>The</strong>re’s really nothing<br />

to lose” - Jewel<br />

I was born in late December, <strong>and</strong> soon after, my mom died. When I went<br />

to the orphanage, I was just a baby. That was really hard for me. It wasn’t<br />

cupcakes <strong>and</strong> butterflies like it is for other kids. In the orphanage, they did<br />

things loving parents wouldn’t do to their kids. For example, when I would<br />

misbehave, they would hit my bare feet. Being treated like that made me feel<br />

like I didn’t belong in this world. But I didn’t know any other life.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re was a daily routine. <strong>The</strong>n one day I was sent to the playroom, which was<br />

out <strong>of</strong> the ordinary. <strong>The</strong>re was a family there watching me. It worried me that<br />

I was in trouble, because I usually got in a lot <strong>of</strong> trouble. When I looked at<br />

them, they smiled at me like they had met me before. Since I had never seen<br />

them, it made me nervous. Over the next few days, the family kept showing<br />

up, <strong>and</strong> we even went to lunch.<br />

Even though I was getting more comfortable with these people, I was still<br />

confused about what was happening. When I felt nervous <strong>and</strong> confused, I<br />

had major panic attacks. Sometimes that looked like kicking, screaming, <strong>and</strong><br />

crying, which was hard for others to h<strong>and</strong>le. This happened when the family<br />

tried to take me into their hotel room. I had never been in a hotel. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

people were still strangers, <strong>and</strong> it was all very confusing. Even though a panic<br />

attack happened, <strong>and</strong> I thought they would never come back, I was surprised<br />

that they did.<br />

I started to notice changes in the way I felt about the situation. It started to be<br />

fun <strong>and</strong> felt less threatening. As we were walking together one day, we went<br />

to this long building with high walls. It looked like a palace. As we started to<br />

enter the building, I stopped <strong>and</strong> turned back <strong>and</strong> realized, “Oh wow, this<br />

is about me, isn’t it?” I went in without screaming <strong>and</strong> yelling because I felt<br />

these people would keep me safe. <strong>The</strong>y showed that they cared for me, <strong>and</strong><br />

this made me feel less anxious. As I waited in the hall, I was amazed by the<br />

paintings <strong>and</strong> golden designs. It was so beautiful. When they came out <strong>of</strong> the<br />

room they said, “We’re going to adopt you. We’re going to be your parents.<br />

<strong>The</strong> government said yes!”<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I think about<br />

the little girl I<br />

was <strong>and</strong> realize<br />

how much I’ve<br />

grown. <strong>Courage</strong> is<br />

being strong <strong>and</strong><br />

brave even when<br />

you’re scared.”<br />

When we left Russia to travel to the United States my new parents were<br />

overwhelmed by me. I didn’t know how to act outside <strong>of</strong> the orphanage. I<br />

was hyper, loud, <strong>and</strong> disruptive to other people. When we got to this new, big<br />

house, things were difficult. I spoke Russian, <strong>and</strong> without the translator, it was<br />

hard to get what I needed. Every day it was challenging for me. I asked myself,<br />

“Is this home?”<br />

As the days went on, I learned to communicate, made friends at school, <strong>and</strong><br />

met the rest <strong>of</strong> my new family. Yes, it was hard for me to fit in. It took a lot <strong>of</strong><br />

courage. My English was not great, but as it got better, I made more friends.<br />

I am now thirteen years old <strong>and</strong> can speak English <strong>and</strong> complete my work in<br />

school. I think about the little girl I was <strong>and</strong> realize how much I’ve grown.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> is being strong <strong>and</strong> brave even when you’re scared.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

13


Uriah Pritchard<br />

Linda Roach, Teacher<br />

St. John Paul II Catholic Academy<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> to me is doing your best even if you have sad <strong>and</strong> hard life stories.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> is holding onto hope that what you want can happen, even if the<br />

thing you want is not happening now.<br />

It was Silas who found me. I would not be here if it were not for him. This<br />

happened when I was about four or five years old. I was at Sunday School<br />

<strong>and</strong> I was sitting alone when he asked his mom (now mine) why I was all by<br />

myself. <strong>The</strong>y started to find out about me by asking some <strong>of</strong> the people at<br />

church some questions. <strong>The</strong>y researched <strong>and</strong> found out about my life. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

discovered that our living conditions were not very good. We were not clean,<br />

<strong>and</strong> there was no food in the house. We were living with bugs. We were taken<br />

out <strong>of</strong> the house <strong>and</strong> moved to a children’s home. After some visits they went<br />

to a few meetings <strong>and</strong> we were taken to court. <strong>The</strong>n Matt <strong>and</strong> Nicole adopted<br />

us <strong>and</strong> we became a family. My adoptive parents are white <strong>and</strong> I am black.<br />

Living like this is really hard for me because you have to live with someone<br />

who is not your skin color. You don’t feel comfortable anymore. You feel like<br />

you are different. Living like this can change you for good or for bad.<br />

When you want to believe you have a choice to change, then you really can<br />

change. It is like a barrier that you have to cross. You have to show courage<br />

if you are willing to change parts <strong>of</strong> your life. That’s how I showed courage.<br />

I had a hard time back when I was first adopted. I did not know what to do,<br />

so I would destroy things <strong>and</strong> not pay any attention to what people said. Now<br />

I am different. I have changed, <strong>and</strong> I think I am calmer. I would like to find<br />

my first family. I still have memories. Sometimes I want to see my birth mom,<br />

sometimes I don’t, <strong>and</strong> sometimes I want to see my mom badly. Just recently I<br />

learned that I have a sister. I was not allowed to see her in the past, <strong>and</strong> I still<br />

have not seen her. Because my first mom could not take care <strong>of</strong> me she could<br />

not keep me. Now that I have this information I show more courage, because<br />

some day I am going to find my sister.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re might be others out there who have stories like mine. I hope my story<br />

can teach them that all stories are important <strong>and</strong> that you can still be faithful<br />

<strong>and</strong> courageous even if you struggle with some sad life situations.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“When you want to<br />

believe you have a<br />

choice to change,<br />

then you really<br />

can change.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

15


Jianbin Zhao<br />

Melanie Smith, Teacher<br />

Josiah Quincy Upper School<br />

What does courage mean? Do you need courage to do something? For me,<br />

it takes a lot <strong>of</strong> courage to live in the United States. I need a lot <strong>of</strong> courage<br />

because there are people getting bullied in the United States. <strong>The</strong> Americans<br />

tell other races to go back to where they came from. <strong>The</strong>y say the United<br />

States is their l<strong>and</strong>. So it really takes courage to immigrate <strong>and</strong> live in<br />

the United States.<br />

When I got to the United States, my mom told me, “This will be a new place<br />

for you to live, but you need to study hard.” I was in third grade, so I didn’t<br />

really underst<strong>and</strong> what that meant. I thought school was fun <strong>and</strong> easy. When I<br />

got to the new school, I thought, “I will make a lot <strong>of</strong> friends there!” But that<br />

was just my imagination. I walked in <strong>and</strong> the principal was very happy to have<br />

me <strong>and</strong> my brother join the school. I walked into the class with my brother,<br />

but everyone looked at us like we were aliens. On the way to class, a bunch <strong>of</strong><br />

people crashed into me <strong>and</strong> they pointed the middle finger at me. I thought,<br />

“What? I just got to school, why do you want to point the middle finger at<br />

me?” I was so confused, but I kept walking <strong>and</strong> got into my class. People in<br />

my class treated me well, <strong>and</strong> they taught me how to write in English <strong>and</strong><br />

how to speak English.<br />

One day, the people I saw before came up to me <strong>and</strong> said, “Hey, Chinese kid,<br />

you’re stupid <strong>and</strong> you will die by us.” I thought that was a threat, but I didn’t<br />

really care. Or I should say I didn’t know if I should care. I went back to school<br />

<strong>and</strong> studied hard to be better than them at English so they wouldn’t tease me<br />

anymore. It took courage to continue to fight through my education.<br />

I get pushed by White people <strong>and</strong> African Americans while lining up for<br />

lunch. One time when recess ended, people yelled at me for losing the<br />

kickball game even though I didn’t play the game. I was so confused, but I said<br />

to myself, “Hey you, you are not a little kid anymore. You should solve things<br />

yourself <strong>and</strong> study hard in English so people won’t look down at you.”<br />

In fifth grade, none <strong>of</strong> the African Americans or White people teased me.<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> them went to another school to bully other people, <strong>and</strong> some were<br />

tired <strong>of</strong> bullying the same person so they went on to bully someone else. But<br />

there were always surprises. One time, I was playing soccer <strong>and</strong> trying to get<br />

the soccer ball from an African American when he tripped me on purpose. So<br />

I didn’t play soccer anymore. He said sorry to me, but he said it like he didn’t<br />

even care. It seemed like he wanted me to trip.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“It takes courage to<br />

try to underst<strong>and</strong><br />

people <strong>and</strong> why<br />

people do the<br />

things they do.”<br />

Another example is from my class. An African American was friends with<br />

Asians <strong>and</strong> White people, but one day she was mad, <strong>and</strong> she said, “You stupid<br />

Asian, you are just slaves that ran out to America.” I was very disappointed, but<br />

I said nothing about it. I think she was just acting stupid because she was mad<br />

at her mom for taking her phone away. It takes courage to try to underst<strong>and</strong><br />

people <strong>and</strong> why people do the things they do.<br />

It really takes a lot <strong>of</strong> courage to live in America with people bullying each<br />

other. From my experience <strong>of</strong> racism, I will try my best to make the world<br />

better by stopping bullying. I think bullying is a way to express your feelings<br />

when you are mad at something.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

17


Reuben Stovell<br />

Alanna Edstrom, Teacher<br />

Saint Agatha School<br />

My idea <strong>of</strong> courage is not backing down in the face <strong>of</strong> danger, st<strong>and</strong>ing up<br />

for yourself <strong>and</strong> others, opposing people who are unjust, <strong>and</strong> having an idea<br />

that is not popular with other people. <strong>The</strong>se things are what courage means<br />

to me. <strong>The</strong>y may not be in a dictionary, but that is my view on what courage<br />

is. <strong>Courage</strong> is not always risking your life for other people. It can be as<br />

simple as st<strong>and</strong>ing up to a bully who has been terrorizing you <strong>and</strong> your<br />

fellow classmates.<br />

Two summers ago, I went to this really fabulous summer camp that I had been<br />

longing to go to for months. <strong>The</strong> first week <strong>of</strong> camp was great, I made many<br />

friends <strong>and</strong> had a great time. <strong>The</strong> second week was even better. I got paired<br />

with another set <strong>of</strong> boys, <strong>and</strong> we had good chemistry <strong>and</strong> deep conversations.<br />

One day, my friends <strong>and</strong> I went to the recreation room to hang out. We<br />

crashed on the couch to watch a few movies when this older boy came toward<br />

us <strong>and</strong> told us to move. <strong>The</strong> boy was at least six inches taller than us, so we just<br />

moved without hesitation. We decided to go play a few games <strong>of</strong> pool. I did<br />

not take part because I do not enjoy the game <strong>of</strong> pool. When we saw the older<br />

boy turn <strong>of</strong>f the television, we decided to get back on the couch <strong>and</strong> watch a<br />

movie. When the movie was over, I decided to turn in early to get some sleep.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next day the same bully from the day before showed up <strong>and</strong> ordered us to<br />

move <strong>of</strong>f the couch or he would beat us up. I have had a lot <strong>of</strong> experience with<br />

bullies, <strong>and</strong> I have now realized that I do not need to fight them. I use words<br />

to fix my problems.<br />

I told him that he had no right to tell us what to do, <strong>and</strong> that he should<br />

leave us alone. He grabbed me by my shirt <strong>and</strong> started saying some very<br />

unpleasant things. Ignoring him, I asked him why he was tormenting people.<br />

He responded by saying, “It’s fun.” After that I asked him who hurt him, <strong>and</strong><br />

he became silent. I asked again, but he said nothing. I asked him a third time,<br />

“Who hurt you?” He finally told me why he was acting this way. He said that<br />

his dad was an alcoholic <strong>and</strong> mistreated him, prior to his mother’s death.<br />

I told him that it is not right to torment people for any reason, even one<br />

as serious as that. He put me down <strong>and</strong> apologized for making a scene. My<br />

friends were surprised that I was able to get to him <strong>and</strong> get him to rethink his<br />

behavior <strong>and</strong> choices. After that day the bully became a close friend. When<br />

camp ended, we kept in touch <strong>and</strong> spent time with each other. We decided<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I have had a lot<br />

<strong>of</strong> experience<br />

with bullies, <strong>and</strong> I<br />

have now realized<br />

that I do not need<br />

to fight them. I<br />

use words to fix<br />

my problems.”<br />

that we should go to the same camp each summer. Now I go to the camp on<br />

a regular basis each summer. I am glad I was able to go to camp, <strong>and</strong> make a<br />

very close friend in the end.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

19


Quynh Nhu Vo<br />

Karen Douglas, Teacher<br />

Joseph Lee K-8 School<br />

“Why can’t you be more like your sister.” This sentence made me feel like I<br />

had to constantly improve who I was <strong>and</strong> that I was not good enough for my<br />

parents or the people around me.<br />

Growing up, I was always surrounded by my two older sisters <strong>and</strong> a strict family.<br />

One sister constantly made my parents proud <strong>and</strong> never disappointed them.<br />

She always got straight A’s. I looked up to my sister tremendously, she was my<br />

hopes <strong>and</strong> dreams. I have to say that I was a good student <strong>and</strong> daughter, but<br />

my parents were never proud <strong>of</strong> me like they were <strong>of</strong> my sister. My mother<br />

would have guests over, <strong>and</strong> her friends would brag about their sons’ <strong>and</strong><br />

daughters’ achievements while my mother would quietly listen. I longed to<br />

hear words <strong>of</strong> praise uttered from their mouths, <strong>and</strong> so I became determined<br />

to make my parents proud.<br />

Every day I would strive to be the best in my class <strong>and</strong> have the best grades.<br />

But even then, I still didn’t uphold my parents’ expectations. I even signed up<br />

for Steppingstone <strong>and</strong> was accepted after the brutal application process. And<br />

still that did not satisfy them. I was constantly living in my sisters’ shadow. We<br />

were in a race <strong>and</strong> they were so far ahead <strong>of</strong> me that, no matter how much I<br />

tried, it was never good enough. <strong>The</strong>y were sprinting through the race like<br />

lightning, while I was desperately crawling on the ground trying to survive<br />

every painful word that was said to me. At the time I thought to myself,<br />

“What is the point to any <strong>of</strong> this if they will not notice the effort <strong>and</strong> pain<br />

that I’ve poured into my work?”<br />

At that moment I decided I was my own person, <strong>and</strong> my sister was her own.<br />

It took courage to stop chasing after something that cannot be touched.<br />

I now tell myself, “I can’t expect someone to be proud <strong>of</strong> me if I am not<br />

proud <strong>of</strong> myself.” I was on a quest <strong>of</strong> self-love, <strong>and</strong> learning more about myself.<br />

It was hard to be true <strong>and</strong> honest to myself. I would still get mad at myself for<br />

not getting a perfect score in class. It took me a massive amount <strong>of</strong> courage<br />

to accept being who I am. I know it is good to fail sometimes in order to<br />

build myself up.<br />

From now on I will only strive to enhance my own education for myself --<br />

putting my soul, passion, <strong>and</strong> determination into my work for no one but<br />

myself. I still don’t know who I am, but I have many years to find out. My<br />

mother can finally brag to her friends that her daughter grew independent<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

20


“I longed to hear<br />

words <strong>of</strong> praise<br />

uttered from<br />

their mouths,<br />

<strong>and</strong> so I became<br />

determined to make<br />

my parents proud.”<br />

on her own, while putting a smile on her face whether it’s real or not. I<br />

finally entered a race <strong>of</strong> my own <strong>and</strong> came in first place. I am proud <strong>of</strong><br />

myself, but I still strive every day to be a better daughter, sister, student,<br />

classmate, teammate, <strong>and</strong> version <strong>of</strong> myself. I am most thankful to my<br />

childhood friend for telling me to have courage. At that time, I was so<br />

frustrated at him for saying that, because those words felt like pity. But<br />

now I underst<strong>and</strong> I was wrong about that, because I have lived it.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

21


Sidney Harris<br />

Sarah Harrison, Teacher<br />

Mother Caroline Academy<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> is doing something that frightens you. I was courageous when I saw<br />

my dad after many years. He left me <strong>and</strong> my sister, <strong>and</strong> my mom worked hard<br />

to make us happy. One day, a man came into my house. I didn’t know who it<br />

was. Since I was shy, my instincts told me to go to my room. My mom knew<br />

who he was. I was confused. I wondered how this stranger could possibly be my<br />

dad. I could be like all the other kids <strong>and</strong> say that I had a dad. A real father.<br />

Not a father figure, a dad that was actually mine, by blood. As time went by,<br />

I drifted away from my dad, <strong>and</strong> my mom became once again both the mom<br />

<strong>and</strong> the dad. I began to forget. A year ago, in fifth grade, one <strong>of</strong> my friends<br />

asked, “Where’s your dad?” I didn’t know. It had been so long since I’d seen<br />

him. I found out that he was in Alabama with his mother.<br />

For my tenth birthday, we visited South Carolina. We saw my mom’s friend.<br />

She told me there was a surprise for me. We would have to drive to see it.<br />

I was excited. We stopped at a hotel. I guessed that the surprise must be<br />

a person, but couldn’t guess who. We walked upstairs to the hotel rooms.<br />

Halfway up the staircase, a man jumped out. I stood there, frozen. Everyone<br />

stood there for a second. I broke the silence when I realised who it was. ”Hi,<br />

Dad.” I couldn’t tell at first. He had changed. He had shaved his head. To my<br />

surprise, my Nana <strong>and</strong> Aunt Lydia were there. When it was time to leave, my<br />

sister <strong>and</strong> I decided to stay with my dad for the night. <strong>The</strong> next day we went<br />

to Waffle House, across the street. <strong>The</strong>n we went to the zoo to see the famous<br />

orangutan named Chantek, who learned sign language. I had heard about<br />

him in a documentary that I watched. When it was time to leave, I didn’t want<br />

to go. In my heart I knew that I would see him again soon, but I still wanted<br />

more time with him. We returned to <strong>Boston</strong>. I thought about how much<br />

fun I’d had. That summer, my sister <strong>and</strong> I saw him again. We stayed with<br />

him <strong>and</strong> Nana in Alabama.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I think about<br />

them being happy,<br />

which makes me<br />

happy, even though<br />

they may be happy<br />

without me.”<br />

After that, I didn’t see him for another year. My mom still worked hard to<br />

keep my sister <strong>and</strong> me happy <strong>and</strong> healthy. I met him at a house that he<br />

had moved into with his friend <strong>and</strong> her two sons. That friend became my<br />

stepmom, with my two stepbrothers. My sister <strong>and</strong> I were not used to having<br />

siblings, especially brothers. <strong>The</strong>y were young when we met them. I have a<br />

half-brother who’s not one yet. It’s fun to hang out with them, but I didn’t<br />

really want them there. I really wanted to spend time with my dad. It’s been<br />

at least two months. I think about him a lot. I wonder what he’s doing. I<br />

wonder about my step-siblings. I wonder when I’ll see them again. It’s<br />

alright though. I think about them being happy, which makes me happy,<br />

even though they may be happy without me.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

23


Amira Mossi<br />

Mona Ives, Teacher<br />

Alhuda Academy<br />

I once thought that courage was being strong or brave. I thought I couldn’t be,<br />

but I realized that everyone can be. <strong>Courage</strong> is not just a simple act; it’s hard<br />

to be courageous. Some people can’t be courageous or just don’t know the<br />

meaning <strong>of</strong> having courage. <strong>Courage</strong> can be a small thing or something major,<br />

<strong>and</strong> could also mean st<strong>and</strong>ing up for yourself. In fact, it takes courage right<br />

now to tell you about my past.<br />

It all started around my birthday as I was about to be ten years old. I was so<br />

excited for my birthday. Realizing my parents were arguing, I asked why, <strong>and</strong><br />

my mom yelled at my dad saying, “Why don’t you tell her?” <strong>The</strong> next day, I<br />

saw moving boxes in the living room. My dad lied <strong>and</strong> said he was moving for<br />

work. Later that day, my mom told me that he was leaving forever.<br />

I didn’t underst<strong>and</strong> anything about divorce, but I did know somewhere deep<br />

in my heart that he wouldn’t come back. That night I cried so much. I had<br />

never cried that hard in my entire life. But I stopped once I realized that<br />

crying wouldn’t help the situation. I had to show the courage to move on <strong>and</strong><br />

try not to let this get to me. I’ve tried <strong>and</strong> failed.<br />

Today I have a new dad, but I am not sure if I’m happy just yet. It can take<br />

courage to deal with things that are beyond your control, like facing the<br />

shortcomings <strong>of</strong> others. However, I can’t let myself be dragged into sorrow all<br />

the time. I have to move on. It’s okay to be upset about what we’ve lost, but<br />

courage means to keep living <strong>and</strong> to keep going in spite <strong>of</strong> that.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

24


“It’s okay to be upset<br />

about what we’ve<br />

lost, but courage<br />

means to keep<br />

living <strong>and</strong> to keep<br />

going in spite <strong>of</strong><br />

that.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

25


Tye’Quon Jones Holley<br />

Teresa Dawson Knoess, Teacher<br />

James P. Timilty Middle School<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> means making your family proud. When I was born in 2007, I was<br />

born into a family that had already lost a child. I didn’t get to meet my sister<br />

because she passed away when she was two or three. She died from a disease<br />

<strong>and</strong> spent a lot <strong>of</strong> time in the hospital before that. My family was saddened by<br />

her death, <strong>and</strong> even though I never met her, I am sad along with my family.<br />

Sometimes I dream about when she was here on Earth, <strong>and</strong> then I wake<br />

up. My mom is still sad about her passing, so I do what I can to make<br />

my mom proud.<br />

I can make my family proud by doing my classwork <strong>and</strong> my homework <strong>and</strong><br />

excelling in school. I am a very good student, but I have multiple learning<br />

disabilities. This means that it is sometimes hard for me to communicate,<br />

<strong>and</strong> it is sometimes hard for people to underst<strong>and</strong> me. This means that asking<br />

for help can be difficult, <strong>and</strong> also following directions can sometimes be<br />

difficult too. Sometimes the teacher is talking but I won’t notice, so I will talk<br />

to other students. <strong>The</strong>y’ll say, “Stop talking. We can’t underst<strong>and</strong> what we are<br />

supposed to do.” I feel terrible about this if it happens, <strong>and</strong> I am becoming<br />

a better listener.<br />

I can make my family proud by being a kind person <strong>and</strong> taking care <strong>of</strong> my<br />

friendships. What I mean by this is that I think that it is important to be a good<br />

friend <strong>and</strong> to never bully others. Having the courage to help others when they<br />

are bullied is important too, because when people pick on you it hurts. Don’t<br />

be a bully. Be a kind person.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> means many things to me. It means remembering the past, but also<br />

moving on. It means taking care <strong>of</strong> others in the present. <strong>Courage</strong> means<br />

making yourself a better person every day.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

26


“<strong>Courage</strong> means<br />

making yourself<br />

a better person<br />

every day.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

27


John Dasey<br />

Linda Roach, Teacher<br />

St. John Paul II Catholic Academy<br />

Each day when I come into school it is not easy. It’s not easy because I have<br />

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) <strong>and</strong> this makes my life<br />

harder. I feel frustrated with my work <strong>and</strong> just want to throw it away. Being<br />

able to focus, for me, is very difficult. I feel pressured every single day. I get<br />

my homework <strong>and</strong> just do not want to do it.<br />

My mom has the same problem too, but she encourages me to not give up<br />

on it. She does her best <strong>and</strong> is now getting her Master’s Degree. Her example<br />

proves to me that I can succeed in school even though I have trouble focusing.<br />

I have used her advice <strong>and</strong> I am doing better <strong>and</strong> better each day. I focus in<br />

school <strong>and</strong> I am getting my homework done. It’s very challenging, but without<br />

my mom I could not do it.<br />

I have trouble at home too. I struggle sometimes to concentrate on one thing.<br />

It’s hard to finish something before I start something else. I feel really blessed<br />

that I have a mom who underst<strong>and</strong>s what I feel <strong>and</strong> what I face every day. I<br />

hope that by sharing my story, other kids who struggle with focusing can know<br />

they are not alone <strong>and</strong> that this should not get the best <strong>of</strong> them. I want to<br />

support you if you are struggling. You can do it. Just like me.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

28


“Her example proves<br />

to me that I can<br />

succeed in school<br />

even though I have<br />

trouble focusing.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

29


Lance Ponikvar<br />

Julie Scott, Teacher<br />

Proctor Elementary School<br />

Most people think courage means “to do something others are afraid <strong>of</strong><br />

doing” or being a superhero or a police <strong>of</strong>ficer or people who save lives. But<br />

courage is anything that helps somebody. It’s getting over challenges <strong>and</strong><br />

facing your fears. <strong>Courage</strong> is never giving up.<br />

All throughout my life I have had ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity<br />

Disorder). This means that I have differences in brain development compared<br />

to someone without ADHD. It also means I have different brain activity which<br />

makes it much harder to hold still, pay attention, have self-control, be quiet,<br />

focus on one thing, be able to control impulses in behavior, think before<br />

acting, <strong>and</strong> to keep from having mood swings <strong>and</strong> fighting, getting aggressive,<br />

<strong>and</strong> more. Not always being able to control this makes it harder to make<br />

friends <strong>and</strong> has also destroyed some friendships. On the bright side, there<br />

are pills that you can take to help make the right choice, to make it easier to<br />

do those activities. Sadly, I didn’t start taking these pills until around three<br />

years ago, <strong>and</strong> this caused a lot <strong>of</strong> long term problems. Taking them was like<br />

having a very large amount <strong>of</strong> caffeine, which caused me to be even more<br />

fidgety, but helped with other problems. Another bad side effect is that I<br />

don’t feel hungry, <strong>and</strong> I feel full all the time. That has caused a lot <strong>of</strong> weight<br />

loss <strong>and</strong> being super hungry at the end <strong>of</strong> the day. <strong>The</strong> side effects <strong>of</strong> the pills<br />

ruined my friendships because I was aggressive <strong>and</strong> fighting. Every night for<br />

months I cried <strong>and</strong> cried because I had lost my best friends. Sometimes it<br />

caused simpler things like always arguing or never agreeing or even putting<br />

homework for last.<br />

Even though a lot <strong>of</strong> other people have ADHD, it is not nearly as severe as my<br />

case is. I have been courageous every time I have fought the urge to fight my<br />

friends, or to shout out. One big example was in second grade, during recess.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re was a game that almost everyone played called “Pop-up-tag,” <strong>and</strong> every<br />

recess there was a massive game with around 50 people. But anytime I tried<br />

to join no one let me. That was how I met some <strong>of</strong> the friends I’m still friends<br />

with today. After I was excluded, over a span <strong>of</strong> a few weeks I “recruited” a<br />

group <strong>of</strong> other kids that were also excluded, <strong>and</strong> my friends <strong>and</strong> some people<br />

that weren’t excluded also played. <strong>The</strong>n at the next recess the bullies who<br />

wouldn’t let me play noticed there weren’t many people, <strong>and</strong> when they<br />

looked around they saw that I had started another game with even more<br />

people than before! When they walked over they apologized to us, <strong>and</strong> we let<br />

them play. I showed courage when I didn’t give up.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

30


“I know that I will<br />

go through the<br />

rest <strong>of</strong> my life with<br />

ADHD, but I won’t<br />

let that stop me<br />

from achieving<br />

my goals.”<br />

Another example was my first year in school, in Kindergarten. <strong>The</strong>re was a<br />

group <strong>of</strong> bullies who always raced people to see who’s fastest, <strong>and</strong> they always<br />

picked on me because I was the slowest in the grade. So I got my best friend,<br />

<strong>and</strong> he still is today, to help me run every single day for the whole school year,<br />

<strong>and</strong> I ran <strong>and</strong> ran until I got faster.<br />

At times I almost gave up, but my friend wouldn’t let me <strong>and</strong> said, “Don’t let<br />

those bullies keep picking on you! Don’t give up!” So on the first day <strong>of</strong> first<br />

grade I walked up to them thinking in my mind, “I can do this, just don’t get<br />

discouraged <strong>and</strong> listen to their negative comments,” <strong>and</strong> so I did! I ended up<br />

being the fastest in the grade <strong>and</strong> wasn’t picked on by those bullies ever again.<br />

I showed courage by being confident <strong>and</strong> not giving up.<br />

I know that I will go through the rest <strong>of</strong> my life with ADHD, but I won’t let that<br />

stop me from achieving my goals. To this day I still have these problems <strong>and</strong><br />

still have to take these pills to help me. As you can imagine, the bullying hasn’t<br />

ended, but I’ve learned to overcome it <strong>and</strong> st<strong>and</strong> up to them <strong>and</strong> get them to<br />

stop. I might not have saved someone else or helped someone else, but I have<br />

overcome my fears <strong>and</strong> differences.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

31


Skarleth Payez<br />

R<strong>and</strong>yl Wilkerson, Teacher<br />

Gardner Pilot Academy<br />

To me courage means to walk forward <strong>and</strong> connect with your fear even though<br />

you are afraid. One quote that really represents the meaning <strong>of</strong> fear is from<br />

Maya Angelou, who says “Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid.<br />

Having courage <strong>and</strong> showing courage mean we face our fears. We are able to<br />

say, ‘I have fallen, but I will get up.’”<br />

A time that I showed courage was when I first came to the US. I was really<br />

afraid, <strong>and</strong> I was only six. I was most scared because I had left behind my<br />

siblings <strong>and</strong> gr<strong>and</strong>parents, <strong>and</strong> they meant the world to me. I was very upset.<br />

My journey from my country to here was really hard. <strong>The</strong> thing that I was<br />

most scared <strong>of</strong> was starting school because I did not know English at that time.<br />

When the day came for me to start school, my aunt dropped me <strong>of</strong>f at school<br />

<strong>and</strong> I met my teacher. Good thing he speaks Spanish, I thought. I went to class<br />

literally crying when my mom <strong>and</strong> my aunt left. My heart was beating <strong>and</strong><br />

racing because I was so scared. <strong>The</strong> first day wasn’t so bad because everybody<br />

welcomed me. And I had Spanish speaking kids in my class, so that was good.<br />

Days passed, <strong>and</strong> I always cried when my mom went to work. I never wanted to<br />

be close to anyone but my mom.<br />

I wasn’t used to the United States, <strong>and</strong> I was confused. I guess I missed<br />

my siblings. I told my gr<strong>and</strong>parents <strong>and</strong> my mom, who sighed <strong>and</strong> said<br />

“Me too, mi niña.’’<br />

One day we were in class, <strong>and</strong> the teacher called my name to answer the<br />

question. I just looked down at my desk <strong>and</strong> felt my eyes tearing up a little, but<br />

I just sighed <strong>and</strong> quickly said, “No se.” I felt everybody’s eyes on me, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

thing I did after that surprised everyone. I asked the teacher to translate the<br />

question from English to Spanish. I was looking at the board as he translated,<br />

<strong>and</strong> guess what, I got it correct! I was like no, no, no: how? But I was happy at<br />

the same time. After that day I wasn’t scared about the fact that I didn’t know<br />

English, <strong>and</strong> I would always ask the teacher for help if I needed it. I was proud<br />

<strong>of</strong> myself, <strong>and</strong> I knew Mami was too. She had told me that she was extremely<br />

proud <strong>of</strong> me because she knew how hard it was for me to move here, especially<br />

without my siblings <strong>and</strong> my gr<strong>and</strong>parents.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

32


“After that day I<br />

wasn’t scared<br />

about the fact<br />

that I didn’t know<br />

English, <strong>and</strong> I<br />

would always ask<br />

the teacher for<br />

help if I needed it.”<br />

One thing that helped me a lot to learn English quickly was music. I loved<br />

American music. I did not know all the words, but I rolled with it, <strong>and</strong> soon<br />

enough I learned all the basics <strong>of</strong> English. I was so proud <strong>of</strong> myself for<br />

learning all the basics in three to four months, so that by eight months I<br />

was raising my h<strong>and</strong> in class like an English-speaking pro.<br />

My message to the people who are struggling with learning any language<br />

is, NEVER LOSE HOPE! I believe in you just like I believed in myself. When<br />

you are mixed up about whether to face your fears or not, read this quote<br />

from Vincent van Gogh: “What would life be if we had no courage to<br />

attempt anything?”<br />

BE BRAVE, TAKE RISKS!<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

33


Elliott Brenner<br />

Leila Huff, Teacher<br />

Buckingham Brown <strong>and</strong> Nichols School<br />

My definition <strong>of</strong> courage is being underst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>of</strong> something, or someone,<br />

different. Also, st<strong>and</strong>ing up for people or beliefs that you don’t need to st<strong>and</strong><br />

up for can be seen as courageous. It’s when you act out <strong>of</strong> your comfort zone<br />

or talk about things that make you feel insecure.<br />

I was about seven or eight visiting my cousins Jack <strong>and</strong> Charlie in Connecticut.<br />

For Charlie’s whole life he was a little bit different from everyone else. He<br />

couldn’t talk in full sentences until he was four or five. He only ate certain<br />

foods <strong>and</strong> didn’t have dinner with everyone else - he had it whenever he<br />

wanted - <strong>and</strong> he was always screaming or yelling. One time my Mom <strong>and</strong><br />

I went to get groceries <strong>and</strong> I asked, “Why was Charlie (who was five) not<br />

speaking in full sentences <strong>and</strong> why was he acting differently <strong>and</strong> not listening<br />

to anyone <strong>and</strong> just running around?” My Mom parked the car at the grocery<br />

store <strong>and</strong> said, “Charlie has dyslexia like your other cousin Max, <strong>and</strong> he is on<br />

the spectrum.” I asked, “What does on the spectrum mean?” She then went on<br />

to explain what autism is <strong>and</strong> what it means. When she was explaining autism,<br />

I was shocked <strong>and</strong> scared for Charlie <strong>and</strong> I felt some butterflies come into<br />

my stomach as I started to feel a little bit guilty. I felt guilty because Charlie is<br />

on the spectrum, Max is dyslexic, <strong>and</strong> I don’t have anything. I couldn’t help<br />

but wonder why I don’t have anything like this. I told myself that if I ever see<br />

anyone bully Charlie or anyone else who is on the spectrum, I would st<strong>and</strong> up<br />

for them. I started tearing up <strong>and</strong> my Mom asked, “What’s wrong, Elliott?” I<br />

said, “Why is there nothing different about me? Why am I so lucky?” My Mom<br />

said, “I don’t know Elliott, you are just really lucky <strong>and</strong> you should be grateful<br />

for it.” I said, “I am, Mom.”<br />

After learning that Charlie was on the spectrum, I felt that I needed to be<br />

strong <strong>and</strong> use my knowledge to my advantage to help people when they don’t<br />

have the same opportunities. I also felt that I couldn’t help Charlie as much<br />

as I wanted to because he lives in Connecticut <strong>and</strong> I live in Massachusetts.<br />

Instead <strong>of</strong> helping Charlie, I decided that I could help other people who were<br />

being made fun <strong>of</strong> for being on the spectrum.<br />

A couple <strong>of</strong> years ago, I was playing in a game <strong>of</strong> soccer against another<br />

school, <strong>and</strong> a player on my team got into an argument with a player on their<br />

team. That player said to my teammate, “You are so autistic,” in an attempt to<br />

hurt him. I realized at that moment that people use being autistic as an insult,<br />

<strong>and</strong> it made me upset because <strong>of</strong> Charlie. I then ran over <strong>and</strong> said, “Dude, I<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

34


“People don’t<br />

always underst<strong>and</strong><br />

the importance<br />

<strong>of</strong> their words,<br />

<strong>and</strong> you have to<br />

do something<br />

about it.”<br />

don’t know what my teammate said to you, but that gives you no excuse to say<br />

something like that. That is really <strong>of</strong>fensive <strong>and</strong> I hope you never call someone<br />

autistic as an insult again.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are people in this world who don’t underst<strong>and</strong> the full impact <strong>of</strong> their<br />

words when they use them. Knowing Charlie has helped me to underst<strong>and</strong><br />

what it means to be on the spectrum, <strong>and</strong> I feel like I can st<strong>and</strong> up to others<br />

who may use this as an insult. Looking back on this event I now realize that<br />

there are people who use a phrase that they might not fully underst<strong>and</strong>, to get<br />

a rise out <strong>of</strong> someone or try to get them to retaliate. I now underst<strong>and</strong> that I<br />

have to be the bigger person. People don’t always underst<strong>and</strong> the importance<br />

<strong>of</strong> their words, <strong>and</strong> you have to do something about it. I believe courage is<br />

when you do or say things that make you feel insecure or uncomfortable.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

35


Denzel Taveras<br />

Peter Laboy, Teacher<br />

Bellesini Academy<br />

To me, courage means st<strong>and</strong>ing up for what you believe in. What would you<br />

do if someone who could not speak up for themselves was being bullied? In<br />

my moment <strong>of</strong> courage, I could feel my skin boiling <strong>and</strong> I jumped into action.<br />

I did not think; I acted. I knew I could not st<strong>and</strong> for what had just happened. I<br />

also felt fear. I have had a long history with bullying that continues to this day.<br />

My act <strong>of</strong> courage happened when a boy in my class was being bullied.<br />

I knew a boy I’ll call John, who had Down syndrome. One <strong>of</strong> the hardest<br />

aspects <strong>of</strong> his Down syndrome is that he cannot speak. Instead <strong>of</strong> speaking,<br />

he makes muffled noises to communicate. He is short, wears glasses, <strong>and</strong> has<br />

short hair. Although he cannot speak, John is a very smart boy. A moment that<br />

John <strong>and</strong> I shared was when no one could underst<strong>and</strong> him. I wondered if he<br />

wanted water? I asked him if he wanted water <strong>and</strong> he shook his head “Yes.” I<br />

took him to get some. Afterwards, he hugged me <strong>and</strong> said what I believed to<br />

be “Thank you.” This was the start <strong>of</strong> our great friendship.<br />

Later that day, I heard a boy making fun <strong>of</strong> John. In that moment, I felt a<br />

rush <strong>of</strong> both fear <strong>and</strong> rage. I felt fear because I thought the other boy would<br />

retaliate if I came to John’s aid. <strong>The</strong> boy would have retaliated because it is<br />

not the culture to report people. This is not the culture because people these<br />

days believe that it’s not worth reporting people <strong>and</strong> we should just mind our<br />

own business. Lawrence is a place where friends watch out for friends in any<br />

way necessary. Also, it can be a place where people are not safe <strong>and</strong> can suffer<br />

retaliation when doing something that is right <strong>and</strong> just. <strong>The</strong> consequence <strong>of</strong><br />

“snitching” is retaliation.<br />

In the end, I talked to the boy <strong>and</strong> told him to leave John alone. <strong>The</strong> boy was<br />

not happy that I stood up for John, <strong>and</strong> he did retaliate. He started pushing<br />

me <strong>and</strong> yelling at me. But even though the boy retaliated, it was worth it in<br />

the end. It was worth it because I got to st<strong>and</strong> up for my friend <strong>and</strong> my beliefs.<br />

After my moment <strong>of</strong> courage, the boy stopped bullying him. John was not<br />

aware that the boy bullied him, <strong>and</strong> I didn’t tell him because I did not want<br />

him to look at himself differently.<br />

John <strong>and</strong> I were inseparable friends. From that moment on, I learned that I<br />

should not let fear get in the way <strong>of</strong> my beliefs. Now I know that courage is<br />

st<strong>and</strong>ing up for what you believe in.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

36


“From that moment<br />

on, I learned that<br />

I should not let<br />

fear get in the way<br />

<strong>of</strong> my beliefs.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

37


Gabriella Maza<br />

Scott Larivee, Teacher<br />

Mary Lyon School<br />

Douglas Malloch once said, “<strong>Courage</strong> is to feel the daily daggers <strong>of</strong> relentless<br />

steel <strong>and</strong> keep on living.” This means that when people begin to bring you<br />

down, you rise back up <strong>and</strong> persevere through the pain. To me, courage is to<br />

keep going when there are obstacles in your way, to keep on living when the<br />

pains <strong>of</strong> life hit you.<br />

My story starts in the spring <strong>of</strong> 2013. <strong>The</strong> sky was gray, it was raining <strong>and</strong><br />

windy, <strong>and</strong> everything seemed so gloomy. I was in K-2, just sitting on the rug<br />

with my other classmates, <strong>and</strong> all <strong>of</strong> a sudden a student across from me said<br />

to me, “Hey Gabbie!’’ I had a confused look on my face <strong>and</strong> thought, why<br />

was he talking to me? Does he want to be friends? He grinned at me with a<br />

mischievous look. “You’re fat!”<br />

I raised my eyebrows <strong>and</strong> was confused. I was always nice <strong>and</strong> quiet <strong>and</strong> had<br />

never been teased before, so why would he choose me as a target? I ignored<br />

him <strong>and</strong> didn’t think much <strong>of</strong> it at first, but later when I got back home, the<br />

words replayed in my head. FAT, FAT, FAT! I couldn’t take the stress those<br />

words gave me!<br />

Later, another student began to call me things. In first to third grade, he<br />

would call me chubby <strong>and</strong> he would glare at me with a weird look. So I gave<br />

him weird looks back. <strong>The</strong>n, after a while, a girl in my class began to tease me<br />

too, <strong>and</strong> tell me rude things. I thought nothing <strong>of</strong> it, knowing I had to stay<br />

strong, but something inside me began to give in.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n one day I was talking to my friend, just minding my own business, when<br />

suddenly a boy poured glue in my hair. I finally snapped. Tears rolled down<br />

my cheeks <strong>and</strong> I felt ashamed. I thought everyone hated me. I was sad when I<br />

had to go to school <strong>and</strong> always wore a sweater to cover myself. I didn’t like to<br />

talk to anyone other than friends, <strong>and</strong> it even got to the point where I would<br />

try dangerous things to become skinny, like starving myself <strong>and</strong> trying to make<br />

myself vomit. I hated myself.<br />

I wanted to let my parents know, but I was scared they wouldn’t accept me,<br />

an insecure little girl who thought badly <strong>of</strong> herself. Luckily, it was my last year<br />

at that school. I knew that it was time to tell my parents, <strong>and</strong> if I wouldn’t<br />

be seeing the bullies again, I might as well tell on them, since they can’t do<br />

anything if they won’t see me again! I first walked up to my dad, who was in<br />

the kitchen. He sat there, looking at his phone. I glared at him, <strong>and</strong> he must<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“If I have to share<br />

a piece <strong>of</strong> advice<br />

to anyone, I would<br />

say to be yourself,<br />

break those chains<br />

holding you down,<br />

<strong>and</strong> rise back up.”<br />

have sensed my presence because he looked up at me. He knew something<br />

was up <strong>and</strong> he asked me what’s wrong. I told him the truth about the students<br />

teasing me. I tried to keep a serious face, but I couldn’t hold in the tears. I<br />

finally broke down. I was really scared that he was going to hate me, but when<br />

I looked at his gentle eyes, I knew I could trust him with my big, bad, secret.<br />

I could tell by the look in his eyes that he felt sorry, but I could also see the<br />

raging fire in his eyes: “Why would they do this to my daughter?” He hugged<br />

me <strong>and</strong> said, “You’ll be okay.”<br />

I finally felt safe after a long time <strong>of</strong> being in the darkness. He went to the<br />

school <strong>and</strong> reported one <strong>of</strong> the students I had talked about. I’m not sure what<br />

happened in that conversation, but the students didn’t mess with me again.<br />

I had finally faced that fear <strong>of</strong> hatred <strong>and</strong> judgment, <strong>and</strong> I was free from the<br />

chains that held me down. After that courageous moment, I became a bit<br />

more open to talk about my anxiety. I talked to my sister, who gave me great<br />

advice on how to respond to bullying. I learned that I can be courageous <strong>and</strong><br />

strong <strong>and</strong> ignore the hate. I learned it’s okay to be yourself.<br />

After a while I changed for the better. I changed my attitude toward people,<br />

I was more open to friendship <strong>and</strong> talking to people, <strong>and</strong> I dressed the way<br />

I pleased. <strong>The</strong> younger me could never have imagined this positive future.<br />

Eventually, when I came to Mary Lyon in fourth grade, I knew this was a<br />

chance to restart, a chance to make new friends <strong>and</strong> use the strategies I had<br />

learned. After a while <strong>of</strong> rebuilding my self-confidence, I became a happy girl.<br />

If I have to share a piece <strong>of</strong> advice to anyone, I would say to be yourself, break<br />

those chains holding you down, <strong>and</strong> rise back up. I would say have courage.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

39


Samuel Pierre<br />

Colleen Clifford, Teacher<br />

Beebe School<br />

Hello, my name is Samuel Pierre <strong>and</strong> I will be telling you about my most<br />

courageous time in my life. <strong>The</strong> most courageous thing is when I chipped my<br />

two front teeth in fifth grade because my teacher told me to grab a paper that<br />

fell under my desk <strong>and</strong> the desk fell on top <strong>of</strong> me <strong>and</strong> hit my head. I had a<br />

slight concussion, <strong>and</strong> when I slammed my head, I chipped my two front teeth<br />

right across. It almost hit the root <strong>of</strong> the tooth, but it didn’t, luckily. My teeth<br />

are now 50/50 real <strong>and</strong> fake because I had to go to the dentist for three hours<br />

<strong>and</strong> he fixed it. It hurts when I eat ice cream. It also hurts to drink cold juices<br />

or soda, so I have to drink room temperature drinks, which makes me twice as<br />

thirsty. I am 11 right now while writing this, <strong>and</strong> when I’m 18 I will get strong<br />

teeth fillings so I can drink cold stuff <strong>and</strong> ice cream <strong>and</strong> bite with my front<br />

teeth again. I am not scared to tell people this because it’s a cool moment in<br />

my life, <strong>and</strong> telling people makes me feel better about it.<br />

When I go out in public I try to smile <strong>and</strong> see if people notice. When I hear<br />

people talking about my teeth injury I try to feel special instead <strong>of</strong> being sad.<br />

I mostly feel bad for my mom because when the school called to tell her, she<br />

probably felt very scared <strong>and</strong> worried for me. She also had to pay a lot for my<br />

teeth. I don’t like it when people talk bad about me or when people tell others<br />

about me. I only told one person <strong>and</strong> told them to keep it a secret. When I<br />

think <strong>of</strong> the moment I chipped my teeth, I try to cheer myself up by saying<br />

my injury is cool because my teeth are new. It makes my parents laugh <strong>and</strong> me<br />

too. If this essay is chosen I will be happy to share this with everyone, <strong>and</strong> I<br />

think it would be cool for people to know my most courageous moment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I am not scared to<br />

tell people this<br />

because it’s a cool<br />

moment in my life,<br />

<strong>and</strong> telling people<br />

makes me feel<br />

better about it.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

41


Maia Grammatopoulos<br />

Helen Sullivan, Teacher<br />

Hurley K-8 School<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> is when you face your fears <strong>and</strong> do what you need to do no matter<br />

how much it hurts. To stay strong through the struggle, <strong>and</strong> to face your<br />

problems head on. To have a positive attitude even when it’s arduous to keep<br />

the smile on your face. That’s what courage means to me.<br />

I was making croquettes with my mom the day I found out about my allergies.<br />

I remember the events clearly, even after seven years have passed. I remember<br />

the delicious smell <strong>of</strong> fresh bread, the sound <strong>of</strong> giggles, <strong>and</strong> hugging my mom’s<br />

legs while she made the ham filling for our croquettes. I remember light laughs<br />

as she picked me up <strong>and</strong> twirled me around, <strong>and</strong> then set me down again.<br />

“Here,” she said, bending down to h<strong>and</strong> me the smallest croquette <strong>of</strong> the batch<br />

to try. I put it in my mouth, chewing happily, savoring the flavor <strong>of</strong> the freshbaked<br />

love my mom had given me. I swallowed, <strong>and</strong> gave my mom a thumbs up<br />

<strong>and</strong> a cheesy, full-toothed smile. She laughed, <strong>and</strong> twirled me around again.<br />

Suddenly, I felt a tickling feeling in my throat. I reached up to scratch my<br />

neck, but then pulled my h<strong>and</strong> back when my h<strong>and</strong> started to get itchy too.<br />

I looked at it, <strong>and</strong> saw that my whole arm was completely red <strong>and</strong> had big red<br />

bumps all over it. I got scared, <strong>and</strong> started crying hysterically. My mom saw my<br />

arm, <strong>and</strong> covered her mouth with her h<strong>and</strong>.<br />

“Tom!” she yelled in a high pitched panicked voice. My dad came running<br />

through the hallway.<br />

“What, what happened?” he said.<br />

“What do you think?” my mom screamed. “Look at Maia!” My dad’s eyes<br />

widened as he looked at my swelling, bumpy arm. At this point, I was terrified<br />

<strong>and</strong> crying so hard I was trembling all over. What was wrong with me? What<br />

was going on? My dad was calling the ambulance, <strong>and</strong> all I could hear was my<br />

dad yelling for them to hurry up. My vision was blurry, colors were mixing,<br />

<strong>and</strong> the lights were streaked, like the view from inside a car on a stormy night<br />

in the middle <strong>of</strong> traffic. I couldn’t be in the room any longer with all this<br />

commotion <strong>and</strong> fear.<br />

I ran into my parents’ room, <strong>and</strong> crawled under the bed. I curled myself into<br />

a ball, tears streaking down my cheeks. I heard the door open <strong>and</strong> loud voices.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ambulance was here. I curled myself up tighter. Although I was trying to<br />

hide, I sobbed so loud that the neighbors could probably hear me. My dad<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“To have a positive<br />

attitude even<br />

when it’s arduous<br />

to keep the smile<br />

on your face. That’s<br />

what courage<br />

means to me.”<br />

came into the room <strong>and</strong> looked under the bed. I cried even harder, sobs<br />

racking through my body. My dad crawled under with me, <strong>and</strong> tried to pull me<br />

out from under the bed. I screamed <strong>and</strong> kicked, but he persisted. If any <strong>of</strong> the<br />

neighbors had been outside, they would have seen a man running toward an<br />

ambulance, holding in his arms a toddler who was screaming bloody murder<br />

<strong>and</strong> kicking like crazy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> inside <strong>of</strong> the ambulance was sterile white, with med packs on the walls<br />

<strong>and</strong> a big white hospital bed on one side. <strong>The</strong> men from the ambulance<br />

pinned me down on the bed, <strong>and</strong> I cried <strong>and</strong> kicked even harder. Now the<br />

world was a blur <strong>of</strong> white, red, <strong>and</strong> skin tones looking down at me. Cries,<br />

howls, cold h<strong>and</strong>s on my arms, <strong>and</strong> then all <strong>of</strong> a sudden, a shot in my thigh.<br />

I screamed <strong>and</strong> struggled, but the h<strong>and</strong>s held me down. People talking,<br />

ambulance sirens, <strong>and</strong> wails washed over me. My breaths were fast, raspy<br />

<strong>and</strong> shallow, <strong>and</strong> the noise was overwhelming. I was tired, frightened, <strong>and</strong><br />

everything hurt. After that, all I could remember were the doctor’s murmurs<br />

<strong>and</strong> questions. I was too drained to answer. <strong>The</strong>n it was all over, but not really.<br />

I still get nightmares about what happened in the ambulance that day, <strong>and</strong><br />

I still have to be cautious with what I eat. I sit by myself during snack time<br />

because <strong>of</strong> my allergies, <strong>and</strong> I am excluded from many things, forced to sit at a<br />

lonely desk in the corner <strong>of</strong> the room when there is a pizza party. I have been<br />

threatened, told by people that one day they will force milk down my throat,<br />

<strong>and</strong> I have had people tip milk cartons over my head when I wasn’t looking.<br />

I have to live with the reality that I could be killed at any second, just with a<br />

mixup <strong>of</strong> someone else’s lunch <strong>and</strong> mine. <strong>The</strong>re are stories <strong>of</strong> hundreds <strong>of</strong><br />

kids with allergies who have died from accidentally eating something they<br />

are allergic to. It’s scary, but I go through it head on, <strong>and</strong> that’s what<br />

courage means to me.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

43


Andre DaSilva<br />

Merrill Hawkins, Teacher<br />

<strong>The</strong> Park School<br />

We laughed <strong>and</strong> talked about sports during the whole P.E. class. We finished<br />

all <strong>of</strong> the activities, so we didn’t have anything to do. As we continued to talk<br />

<strong>and</strong> act like we were cool, a fairly unpopular kid came running by, trying to<br />

complete his laps. While he ran, a rock interrupted him <strong>and</strong> he fell face first.<br />

I showed a lot <strong>of</strong> sympathy for this kid who fell by helping him up <strong>and</strong> asking<br />

him if he was okay, but when I looked over to my friends they just sat there<br />

<strong>and</strong> laughed.<br />

“This kid is so weird,” said one.<br />

“Yeah, how didn’t he finish his laps yet?” replied another.<br />

“Let’s go. This kid is a disgrace,” said the third, walking away.<br />

I stood there trying to soak in their response. “Andre, let’s go,” he said. “Yeah,<br />

yeah on my way.”<br />

In my mind I thought, how could they do such a thing. Someone is suffering<br />

<strong>and</strong> you sit there <strong>and</strong> laugh? I thought about talking to them about it, but<br />

feared I might lose my friendship with them. After that day, my friends started<br />

to target the kid who fell. Every day they pushed him <strong>and</strong> made him feel like<br />

he was worse than them by speaking down about him. I would just observe<br />

<strong>and</strong> stare as his freedom was taken away. This was not right, <strong>and</strong> I knew it<br />

from the beginning.<br />

I couldn’t bear to keep seeing this kid getting bullied consistently every<br />

single day, <strong>and</strong> I finally drove up the courage to confront the kid in charge<br />

<strong>of</strong> it all. <strong>The</strong>y were on the playground sitting down, on their phones, trying<br />

to look cool.<br />

“Hey man,” I said.<br />

“What,” he replied.<br />

“I think that what you’re doing to that kid is very wrong <strong>and</strong> you should<br />

stop immediately.”<br />

“Oh, you’re on his side. I never should have considered you as my friend, <strong>and</strong><br />

now you might see yourself on the …” I think he was about to say that I would<br />

be on the ground, but I’m much bigger than him so he might have thought<br />

twice. “Whatever, let’s go,’’ he said to his “gang.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“Having courage is<br />

the building block<br />

to being great.”<br />

As they left the scene I felt good about myself, <strong>and</strong> later on learned the<br />

boy’s name. This experience made me believe that my friends aren’t the<br />

boss <strong>of</strong> me, <strong>and</strong> that I had the courage to let them know that what they<br />

were doing was wrong.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> is important because, without courage, you won’t be able to<br />

overcome fear <strong>and</strong> could be scared <strong>of</strong> the same thing your whole entire life.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong>ous acts vary between saving someone from a fire to finally talking<br />

to a new person. My act <strong>of</strong> stopping my friends from hurting someone else<br />

may not be scary to you, but to me it is. Having courage is the building block<br />

to being great.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

45


Kathleen Ramos<br />

Michael Andrews, Teacher<br />

Barnstable Intermediate School<br />

In his long-awaited journey to freedom, Dad spent hours in the trunk, hoping<br />

the car would come to a stop. His heart was beating out <strong>of</strong> his chest, with<br />

darkness surrounding him. Only a few more hours I hope. <strong>The</strong> trip will end<br />

soon. It’s worth it. It’s worth it.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> to me means to keep on trying even if it leads to failure. When I<br />

think <strong>of</strong> courage, I think <strong>of</strong> the steps my dad took to become a US citizen.<br />

My dad had been living in Mexico since he was a child, but he decided to<br />

come to America for better opportunities. When he left for his trip, he was<br />

just 18 years old. Dad was skinny, <strong>and</strong> had no beard. He had tan skin that got<br />

darker as he traveled through the desert, the scorching sun burning his bare<br />

head. My dad is very outgoing <strong>and</strong> willing to do anything. He is tall <strong>and</strong> wide,<br />

with his normal dirt tracks he brings into the house. He tried crossing the<br />

border plenty <strong>of</strong> times, but almost every time he did - except the last - it was<br />

unsuccessful <strong>and</strong> he ended up being deported. He kept trying because he<br />

knew that “there was no reason to stay.” No slight possibility <strong>of</strong> change.<br />

Dad traveled by foot to cross the border <strong>and</strong> the rest <strong>of</strong> the trip by vehicle. As<br />

he hiked, he crossed parts <strong>of</strong> the desert. Heat waves shot up in his face, sweat<br />

dripping. Although it was hot during the day, nothing but below freezing<br />

temperatures followed him during the nights. What he could see around him<br />

was vibrant green cactus, hills <strong>and</strong> hills <strong>of</strong> s<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> blue skies for miles. He<br />

felt lost <strong>and</strong> scared. Yet he kept going no matter how tired he was.<br />

During this adventure, he stopped in California’s cities <strong>of</strong> Los Angeles <strong>and</strong><br />

Fresno. When he was in LA, he visited a relative <strong>and</strong> lived with him for a<br />

couple <strong>of</strong> days. It was also the closest port to get to Fresno. Once he’d gotten<br />

there, he worked as a farmer, receiving very little money. Tragically, he was<br />

deported. But he found his way back to LA again. Finally, he took a plane<br />

to Portl<strong>and</strong>, Oregon.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“<strong>Courage</strong> to me<br />

means to keep on<br />

trying even if it<br />

leads to failure.”<br />

In Portl<strong>and</strong>, my dad had finally began the process <strong>of</strong> becoming a US citizen.<br />

From this he obtained a Green Card. He says that everything was easy after<br />

that - besides waiting for his Green Card. He’d gone through many tests,<br />

including the citizenship test <strong>and</strong> the medical test. Dad also took the oath.<br />

It took a few months, but his Green Card finally arrived. Words can’t express<br />

the happiness he felt. <strong>The</strong> next step he took was moving to Chatham,<br />

Massachusetts as a chef. My dad knew Cape Cod had a wide variety <strong>of</strong> jobs<br />

<strong>and</strong> opportunities. He didn’t know it back then, but he had big things to<br />

come in the future.<br />

Now, Dad has short hair, with a stubble beard on his still tan face. He’s larger<br />

than he was, but still has eyes for adventure. My father has always encouraged<br />

me to st<strong>and</strong> up for what I believe in. Once he told me, “Rosy cheeks, never<br />

stop fighting for your beliefs.” From the first time my dad ever told me<br />

this story, I was inspired. He is my role model. Dad exemplifies courage by<br />

persevering regardless <strong>of</strong> the unknown result.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

47


Mo Marie Lauyanne Kouame<br />

Leila Huff, Teacher<br />

Buckingham Browne <strong>and</strong> Nichols School<br />

To me, courage is when you are in a difficult situation, but instead <strong>of</strong> giving<br />

up, you push through using determination in order to reach your goal. It can<br />

also mean trying something that you are not sure about but doing it anyway to<br />

experience something new.<br />

My family <strong>and</strong> I had lived in Paris, France for seven to eight years, I was<br />

just eleven months old when we moved from the Ivory Coast to France. My<br />

parents always wanted my brother <strong>and</strong> me to have a better life than they had.<br />

<strong>The</strong>refore, my dad figured out that he could apply for a Green Card <strong>and</strong> move<br />

to the United States. When he got it, he decided that this was going to be the<br />

new chapter for my family. In <strong>Boston</strong>, there were so many opportunities for<br />

a better education.<br />

June 24th was the day I arrived in <strong>Boston</strong> with my whole family (my mom, my<br />

dad, <strong>and</strong> my brother). In July, my family <strong>and</strong> I stayed at a hotel until we could<br />

find a permanent house. But in early August, my life changed. My parents<br />

knew that if we kept on paying the hotel we would eventually be homeless,<br />

<strong>and</strong> they tried to apply for housing at the DTA (Department <strong>of</strong> Transitional<br />

Assistance). Unfortunately, they thought we had too much money, so we didn’t<br />

classify as homeless yet. Since we couldn’t keep paying for the hotel, we had to<br />

become homeless in order to prove to the DTA that we needed housing. We<br />

couldn’t buy or rent a house yet because neither <strong>of</strong> my parents had a credit<br />

score or any history with buying anything. <strong>The</strong> other reason was because <strong>of</strong><br />

our race. When we would enter Open Houses, we would be given looks, or<br />

they would say this house is not for sale anymore.<br />

At this time I was only eight years old. When we left the hotel, we first wanted<br />

to show the DTA that we were <strong>of</strong>ficially “homeless” <strong>and</strong> that we needed help.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hospital was our first destination. We slept there for the night, <strong>and</strong> woke<br />

up early in the morning to prove our situation to the DTA. <strong>The</strong>y then sent us<br />

to Stoughton, which was very far from <strong>Boston</strong>. When we got to the shelter the<br />

welcome wasn’t the best <strong>and</strong> the conditions were not great either. <strong>The</strong> room<br />

was crowded with junk, there were no beds for us to sleep on, <strong>and</strong>, worse,<br />

we were supposed to stay in the main lobby where all the other families<br />

went to socialize. So my dad decided that we should leave <strong>and</strong> ask the<br />

DTA to go somewhere better.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

48


“<strong>The</strong> fact that<br />

people were<br />

ignorant motivated<br />

me even more.”<br />

When we got there we did not know where we were, <strong>and</strong> we couldn’t go to<br />

the DTA because it was already closed. We tried to look for a map, but<br />

nowadays it’s all about technology. A lady passing by was very nice <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong>fered us a ride to the hospital.<br />

That night we slept at the hospital, where we were given many looks by other<br />

families. <strong>The</strong> fact that people were ignorant motivated me even more. <strong>The</strong><br />

next morning we woke up early to walk to the DTA. This time we got a much<br />

better shelter. My family <strong>and</strong> I were so happy. This time, I felt accomplished<br />

<strong>and</strong> proud <strong>of</strong> myself. I felt this way because I knew I had come a long way. I<br />

was also learning English as a second language.<br />

I feel different about this now. Before, I looked back on all the negatives that<br />

happened during the trip, like parents telling their kids to move their seats<br />

because <strong>of</strong> my family looking “different.” Today, I can see all the positive<br />

things that happened, like singing songs as we walked for a long time or<br />

getting food when my parents thought we were brave <strong>and</strong> courageous. At<br />

the end <strong>of</strong> the day, the most important thing I learned was that people don’t<br />

always want you to succeed, so instead <strong>of</strong> giving up, you should push harder.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

49


Joplin Murphy<br />

Aaron Cohen, Teacher<br />

Jackson/Mann K-8 School<br />

Have you ever felt like a hero? I have.<br />

In <strong>The</strong> Spirit, our camp yearbook, they nicknamed me Lifesaver. It was like any<br />

other day at West End House Camp. We were coming back from the lake after<br />

a session <strong>of</strong> tubing. Completely soaked from head to toe, we all went to dry<br />

<strong>of</strong>f near the fire pit. Oliver, Nathan, <strong>and</strong> I were walking up to our cabin when<br />

we decided we should go get our mail. Nathan volunteered to go <strong>and</strong> headed<br />

toward the camp <strong>of</strong>fice. Nathan is a super nice kid <strong>and</strong> always gets packages<br />

from his parents. This day he came back from the Keaser with a big package,<br />

so, in cabin tradition, we all huddled around <strong>and</strong> watched him open his<br />

package. <strong>The</strong> package was filled with all sorts <strong>of</strong> c<strong>and</strong>y, <strong>and</strong> Nathan reached<br />

out for a Twix <strong>and</strong> took a bite.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n something weird happened. Nathan stopped talking. But that’s not that<br />

weird, since Nathan isn’t an overly talkative kid. But he wasn’t breathing either,<br />

so I assumed that he was either choking or joking. I guessed the former <strong>and</strong><br />

started doing the Heimlich, which I had recently learned from my parents. At<br />

that moment I wasn’t thinking about anything except stopping Nathan from<br />

choking. As I like to say, I was living in the moment. After I completed my<br />

“mission,” our counselor, Eggert, came out <strong>of</strong> the bathroom very confused. He<br />

asked, “What the heck happened here?”<br />

Nathan replied, “Joplin just saved my life.” After that, Steve, the head <strong>of</strong> the<br />

camp, congratulated me for my courageous act. And Nathan gave me the rest<br />

<strong>of</strong> his package <strong>of</strong> c<strong>and</strong>y.<br />

I felt so relieved that Nathan was okay, <strong>and</strong> I was happy to be able to help.<br />

I think that at the moment, you don’t have time to think about what’s<br />

happening, you just react. <strong>Courage</strong> to me is following your instincts <strong>and</strong><br />

helping others.<br />

“Feeling like a hero is like no other feeling but feeling alive.”<br />

- <strong>The</strong> Lifesaver<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

50


“<strong>Courage</strong> to me is<br />

following your<br />

instincts <strong>and</strong><br />

helping others.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

51


Jazlenys Guerrero Gonzalez<br />

Kailyn Corrado, Teacher<br />

Oliver Hazard Perry K-8 School<br />

My mother is the bravest <strong>and</strong> toughest person in my life. My mom was a<br />

beautiful, chubby, long-haired girl. She always used to sneak out to a cliff<br />

beside an ocean <strong>and</strong> jump <strong>of</strong>f. She would always get in trouble with her uncle,<br />

who was strict. Her gr<strong>and</strong>mother always used to say, “You always get in trouble<br />

with your uncle because you never listen the first time.”<br />

When my mom met my dad they decided to live together, <strong>and</strong> she had my<br />

brother Jeremy when she was 15 years old. I was the second baby, <strong>and</strong> I was<br />

born when she was 17. After she met a new man, my little sister Jazvin was<br />

born. However, everything wasn’t perfect. My mom struggled to find a home<br />

for her <strong>and</strong> her three kids. We lived in shelters with other struggling moms.<br />

Despite the situation we were in, the moms in the shelters supported one<br />

another like family. <strong>The</strong>y helped each other to cook, clean, <strong>and</strong> care for each<br />

other’s kids while some <strong>of</strong> the moms were at work or in programs.<br />

One day, my mom got news <strong>of</strong> an open apartment in <strong>Boston</strong>. We moved in<br />

two weeks later <strong>and</strong> started our new life. We lived there for a year <strong>and</strong> a half<br />

before we moved to Beverly. When we moved to Beverly, my brother <strong>and</strong> I<br />

started in new elementary <strong>and</strong> middle schools. Here we got the help we all<br />

needed, including my little sister Jazvin. In Beverly my mom got <strong>of</strong>fered a lot<br />

<strong>of</strong> opportunities, like schools, rides, <strong>and</strong> even jobs, but she turned them down.<br />

My mom got pregnant with her fourth child, Luisa Lara, <strong>and</strong> had to look for<br />

a new apartment because there wasn’t going to be enough space for the new<br />

member <strong>of</strong> the family. I was sad because we had lived in Beverly for four years<br />

<strong>and</strong> I had made so many new friends. I didn’t want to leave. But I had been<br />

brave enough to start a new school <strong>and</strong> make new friends before, so I knew I<br />

could do it again.<br />

After a year <strong>and</strong> a half, we started a new school <strong>and</strong> my mother started a new<br />

job, while my baby sister went to daycare. My mom came home late, after we<br />

came home, so I had to take care <strong>of</strong> my baby sister by feeding her, bathing her,<br />

<strong>and</strong> making sure she didn’t die <strong>of</strong> boredom. I also had to clean the house to<br />

help my mom out because I knew she would be tired after a long day <strong>of</strong> work.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

52


“I act like an adult,<br />

not because I want<br />

to, but to give back<br />

to my mother who<br />

raised her four kids<br />

alone, <strong>and</strong> made it.”<br />

Now that we are settled, we live calmly <strong>and</strong> comfortably as a family. My<br />

mom works hard to make sure we have what we need. She was, <strong>and</strong> still<br />

is, a strong <strong>and</strong> brave mother for her four kids. She has had to be both<br />

our mother <strong>and</strong> father.<br />

I act like an adult, not because I want to, but to give back to my mother who<br />

raised her four kids alone, <strong>and</strong> made it. <strong>Courage</strong> to me means that effort is<br />

worth it, <strong>and</strong> giving up isn’t an option. I’ve learned <strong>and</strong> have been affected by<br />

my mom’s courage. Every day I believe in myself <strong>and</strong> never give up on myself<br />

or on anyone else. <strong>Courage</strong> means to me that my family is looking after <strong>and</strong><br />

caring for each other, no matter how hard life gets.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

53


Taylor Flemming<br />

Alison Spade <strong>and</strong> Aaron Kesler, Teachers<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> Renaissance Charter Public School<br />

<strong>The</strong> meaning <strong>of</strong> courage to me is the ability to do something that scares you or<br />

to do something out <strong>of</strong> your comfort zone. This is a story about how I showed<br />

courage at my bus stop.<br />

It was a normal Friday <strong>and</strong> I was getting <strong>of</strong>f the bus when a little boy who got<br />

picked up by his parents got <strong>of</strong>f the bus too. I thought nothing <strong>of</strong> it until<br />

nobody came <strong>and</strong> he was waiting at his house alone. I decided to wait there<br />

with him. His name was Alec <strong>and</strong> he was about four at the time that I was nine<br />

<strong>and</strong> a half years old.<br />

It was a January day, really cold outside. I was there ringing his doorbell<br />

<strong>and</strong> telling him I would have to leave. I didn’t know what to do. I called my<br />

mom <strong>and</strong> she said leave him <strong>and</strong> go home because it was not my business.<br />

I didn’t want to leave him, so I didn’t go home <strong>and</strong>, not knowing what else<br />

to do, called my aunty. She said go to the corner store to stay warm so we<br />

wouldn’t get sick.<br />

I told Alec that we should head to the corner store to stay warm, <strong>and</strong> we<br />

headed there thinking everything was going to be alright. But Alec then<br />

tripped on a crack <strong>and</strong> scraped his knee. He hit his face on a branch <strong>and</strong> the<br />

pavement <strong>and</strong> got broken glass <strong>and</strong> wood chips in his face. He cried <strong>and</strong> cried<br />

<strong>and</strong> blood came gushing down from his forehead with bits <strong>of</strong> glass, wood, <strong>and</strong><br />

little pieces <strong>of</strong> the pavement. He couldn’t even get up because <strong>of</strong> the large<br />

amount <strong>of</strong> clothing he was wearing <strong>and</strong> his big Paw Patrol backpack. I brushed<br />

the glass <strong>of</strong>f <strong>and</strong> waved down a car, <strong>and</strong> a woman got out <strong>of</strong> her car <strong>and</strong> called<br />

the police. She asked for our names <strong>and</strong> I said his name was Alec <strong>and</strong> my<br />

name was Taylor. <strong>The</strong> woman didn’t seem sketchy or bad <strong>and</strong> had the police<br />

on her phone already, so I knew Alec was going to be just fine. I got home <strong>and</strong><br />

I saw the police heading to Alec’s house.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“It’s not about what<br />

you do, it’s about<br />

the courage you<br />

find to do it.”<br />

I had to be courageous to stay with him <strong>and</strong> wave down a car <strong>and</strong> make sure<br />

Alec was okay. I had just jumped out <strong>of</strong> my comfort zone to do something that<br />

made me scared. I thought I hadn’t done anything that special, but when I<br />

thought to myself, “It’s not about what you do, it’s about the courage you find<br />

to do it” (a quote I made up) I realized I did something that a lot <strong>of</strong> people<br />

wouldn’t dare do. I have done lots <strong>of</strong> other things like help my little sister<br />

with her bullies <strong>and</strong> help a little lost girl get home <strong>and</strong> help my friends <strong>and</strong><br />

others who were in a fistfight resolve their problems. I haven’t done a lot <strong>of</strong><br />

courageous things in my life, but I have done something that had an impact.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

55


Nicolas Grady<br />

Melanie Allen, Teacher<br />

Rafael Hern<strong>and</strong>ez K-8 School<br />

For me courage is being afraid <strong>of</strong> something or someone <strong>and</strong> then<br />

overcoming the fear. My story <strong>of</strong> courage is overcoming a concussion.<br />

It was a normal Tuesday night at a soccer field with my soccer team. We were<br />

just having a normal soccer practice. We were doing a “one vs one” drill. We<br />

were split into two teams. I was next against my team’s top defender, Diego.<br />

Diego was also one <strong>of</strong> my friends. My coach Zach said, “Go!”<br />

I bolted like lightning to go get the ball, but so did Diego. I had just gotten to<br />

the ball before him, but he was close <strong>and</strong> crashed into my head.<br />

I felt dizzy for a couple <strong>of</strong> seconds, but felt fine afterwards. <strong>The</strong> more I played,<br />

the more it hurt, I realized. It was after the drill when everyone said to me,<br />

“Are you okay?” or “Do you need to sit out?” I said no, but I really did.<br />

<strong>The</strong> practice went on, <strong>and</strong> I was hurting more <strong>and</strong> more. By the time practice<br />

was over, my head was killing me with pain <strong>and</strong> I didn’t want to do anything<br />

but lie down when I got home. My mom said, “Are you okay, sweetie?”<br />

I got some water <strong>and</strong> said, “Diego’s head crashed into mine, <strong>and</strong> my head is<br />

hurting.” She said to go lie down on the couch in the living room.<br />

It was as if there was a baseball falling on my head every three seconds. My<br />

stomach felt as if it was jumping up, <strong>and</strong> then it happened. My mouth was full<br />

<strong>of</strong> chewed up food <strong>and</strong> I rushed to the bathroom <strong>and</strong> spit it out. That made<br />

my head hurt more than before. It was pounding with pain every second, <strong>and</strong><br />

the rush <strong>of</strong> pain that I felt was beyond explanation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next day my mom <strong>and</strong> I went to the hospital <strong>and</strong> the doctor said that<br />

I just needed to rest <strong>and</strong> take good care <strong>of</strong> my head. I really liked how the<br />

doctor gave me two ginger ales. I was going to get water, but the doctor said,<br />

“Do you want any ginger ale? It’s actually good for your head.” My mom said I<br />

could, so she gave me two. After about a week <strong>and</strong> a half I felt a lot better, <strong>and</strong><br />

I started going back to school.<br />

In the period <strong>of</strong> having a concussion it was hard not to play soccer, but<br />

the chances <strong>of</strong> making it worse were pretty high, <strong>and</strong> that could ruin<br />

my whole life. I showed courage because a concussion is serious, <strong>and</strong><br />

it’s hard to overcome.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I showed courage<br />

because a<br />

concussion is<br />

serious, <strong>and</strong> it’s<br />

hard to overcome.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

57


Nuriel Kaleb Gutman<br />

Amy Higginbotham <strong>and</strong> Kristin Seekircher, Teachers<br />

Dennis C. Haley Pilot School<br />

You might think that courage means saving the world like Superman or using<br />

powers to fight evil like Spiderman, but let me tell you, it’s different. <strong>Courage</strong><br />

can be anything from taking a difficult test like the Independent School<br />

Entrance Exam to st<strong>and</strong>ing up to a bully, or even facing down the thoughts<br />

inside your head. Hi, I’m Nuriel Gutman <strong>and</strong> I am a proud gender nonconforming,<br />

bisexual eleven year-old. I live with my mom, her partner, my<br />

brother, <strong>and</strong> my dog <strong>and</strong> I want to tell you my story.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re have been many times in my life when I have had to use courage, <strong>and</strong><br />

I am still using it. One story I think about is when I was in preschool. It was a<br />

friendly, welcoming place, <strong>and</strong> I had a classmate who was a little afraid to be<br />

themselves. <strong>The</strong>ir name was Eli. I decided I wanted to wear a dress to school<br />

<strong>and</strong> my always supportive mom approved, but let’s get back to the story. When<br />

I showed courage, wore a dress, <strong>and</strong> defied gender stereotypes, I paved the way<br />

for Eli to be themselves. Now Eli has changed their name to Rey. Even though<br />

I am no longer friends with Rey I still am proud that my showing courage<br />

helped Rey do the same.<br />

Let me tell you another story.<br />

I’m in fifth grade <strong>and</strong> I have been out as gender non-conforming for a while<br />

now. I haven’t worn a dress in a couple <strong>of</strong> years <strong>and</strong> it’s Dress For Success<br />

day at school. This is my chance! Seems easy to you? WRONG. As the day got<br />

closer, I kept second-guessing myself, but I knew I wanted to show my true<br />

colors, <strong>and</strong> I did. I went to school that day with my friend Mazie <strong>and</strong>, let me<br />

tell you, I was as nervous as a cow going to slaughter. My dress was a lavender<br />

purple with subtle green dots. I wore black leggings I borrowed from a friend.<br />

I walked shyly into my classroom <strong>and</strong> started my classwork as on any other day.<br />

But this day was different. <strong>The</strong> day went by in a blur; people asked about my<br />

dress innocently <strong>and</strong> curiously, not wanting to do any harm. I walked through<br />

the hallway feeling the s<strong>of</strong>t fabric run across my ankles. <strong>The</strong> experience was<br />

scary <strong>and</strong> exhilarating, but it was definitely worth it. My mom recalls that when<br />

she got home I was bouncing <strong>of</strong>f the walls. I told her that I had never felt<br />

more like myself, <strong>and</strong> it was true.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

58


“More <strong>of</strong>ten than<br />

not, the enemy is<br />

not the evil bully<br />

but another part<br />

<strong>of</strong> your mind<br />

poisoning your<br />

thoughts <strong>and</strong><br />

turning yourself<br />

against the<br />

real you.”<br />

I have always educated people in my class about stereotypes <strong>and</strong> LGBTQ<br />

people. I enjoy teaching others about this subject that I am passionate about<br />

<strong>and</strong> showing others what stereotypes are <strong>and</strong> how they box people like me in.<br />

Sometimes you may feel sad <strong>and</strong> feel terrible about yourself, <strong>and</strong> that may be<br />

bullies’ doing, but sometimes your only enemy is yourself. If you are feeling<br />

down it may not be another person; it may actually be the thoughts inside your<br />

own head. More <strong>of</strong>ten than not, the enemy is not the evil bully but another<br />

part <strong>of</strong> your mind poisoning your thoughts <strong>and</strong> turning yourself against the<br />

real you. Trust me, it takes courage to stop yourself from thinking negative<br />

thoughts, but when my brain wanted to turn against me <strong>and</strong> think those<br />

thoughts I used my courage to be myself.<br />

So remember, courage is embracing yourself <strong>and</strong> doing things that may be<br />

hard, <strong>and</strong> sometimes having fun doing it. I learned that being myself is the<br />

only way to be, which is the slogan <strong>of</strong> the school’s Gender Sexuality Alliance I<br />

belong to. Showing courage is hard, but it pays <strong>of</strong>f in the end.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

59


Iris Beato<br />

Kristina Dolce <strong>and</strong> Sasha Oliveira, Teachers<br />

Esperanza Academy<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are a lot <strong>of</strong> ways people define courage. Mine is being brave, even<br />

when it scares you. Even if you think you can’t do it, you do it with bravery.<br />

An example <strong>of</strong> me being courageous is when I came out to my mom. I was<br />

so scared to tell her because I had no idea how she would react. Would she<br />

accept me or disown me? Would she still love me or hate me?<br />

But I got up the courage to tell her. It took a whole week because she was in a<br />

bad mood most <strong>of</strong> the week, so I had to wait. I thought over what I should tell<br />

her. <strong>The</strong>n I realized it didn’t matter because I am who I am <strong>and</strong> no one can<br />

change that. So the second she was calm <strong>and</strong> not doing anything, I told her to<br />

sit down on the couch. I felt overwhelmed, but the smell <strong>of</strong> salami calmed me<br />

down, <strong>and</strong> then I told her straight out, “I like girls <strong>and</strong> boys.”<br />

When I was done talking, she responded by hugging me <strong>and</strong> said, “It will take<br />

a minute to process, but … you know I will always love you no matter what you<br />

do … unless you kill your siblings. That’s just a no.” We just started to laugh<br />

<strong>and</strong> hug each other, <strong>and</strong> I was so happy. That’s how I showed courage. This is<br />

how I faced my fear.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

60


“<strong>The</strong>n I realized<br />

it didn’t matter<br />

because I am who I<br />

am <strong>and</strong> no one can<br />

change that.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

61


Beatriz Machado<br />

Melissa Ma, Teacher<br />

Salemwood School<br />

Why is heterosexuality the default?<br />

Imagine being judged <strong>and</strong> considered invalid for being who you are. This is<br />

what happened <strong>and</strong> still happens very <strong>of</strong>ten to me.<br />

This all started about a year ago, when I came out to my family <strong>and</strong> friends as<br />

lesbian. Surprisingly or not, it went extremely well. <strong>The</strong>y were very supportive<br />

<strong>and</strong> accepting. But I can’t say the same about how it went while trying to tell<br />

some eighth-graders from the school, who are friends with my sister.<br />

I usually don’t tell people right away that I’m homosexual, because it’s<br />

nothing different from being straight. Sometimes, I wait until they say<br />

something homophobic <strong>and</strong> say, “You know I’m gay, right?” just so I can<br />

see their desperate faces trying to think about what I just told them. But if<br />

they ask me, I don’t hide it. So when the three eighth-graders asked me if I<br />

was lesbian, I said yes.<br />

Two out <strong>of</strong> three <strong>of</strong> them opened their eyes widely <strong>and</strong> said they respected<br />

it, then one <strong>of</strong> them walked away, kind <strong>of</strong> laughing. That was when the two<br />

boys started to ask <strong>and</strong> say horrible, disgusting things. From homophobic, to<br />

<strong>of</strong>fensive, pornographic expletives <strong>and</strong> questions. That was the exact moment<br />

I realized how bad those people were. <strong>The</strong>y made me feel sad, unsafe <strong>and</strong><br />

alone. When we finally got to the condominium we lived in, one <strong>of</strong> them said,<br />

“No lesbians allowed in this condominium.” It made me feel really mad. At<br />

that point, I just wanted to go home <strong>and</strong> cry. But I didn’t.<br />

I talked about what happened with my friends. I had the courage to open up<br />

about something that makes me extremely uncomfortable. It was <strong>and</strong> still is a<br />

tough thing I go through, just for being who I am.<br />

I have to say my story <strong>of</strong> courage isn’t the story <strong>of</strong> when I was harassed by<br />

two eighth-grade boys. My story <strong>of</strong> courage is just my coming out story <strong>and</strong><br />

the fact that I’m here. I’m alive, <strong>and</strong> that is pretty awesome <strong>and</strong> courageous,<br />

considering everything that I’ve gone through for being part <strong>of</strong> the<br />

LGBTQIA+ community. Being who you are <strong>and</strong> not hiding it in today’s world<br />

is hard, <strong>and</strong> that’s why I wrote about it. As I pointed out in the beginning, why<br />

is heterosexuality the default? Why do people think you’re born straight <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

62


“Imagine being<br />

judged <strong>and</strong><br />

considered invalid<br />

for being who<br />

you are.”<br />

choose to change later? Why do parents or just adults in general assume that<br />

their kids are straight? Why do people assume anyone is straight, so that if they<br />

haven’t confirmed their sexuality, they’re straight?<br />

And mainly, why do straight people think they can tell or try to explain to<br />

LGBTQIA+ people what homophobia is or isn’t? This may seem arrogant, but<br />

I’ve done terrible things to myself because <strong>of</strong> what homophobia has caused to<br />

my mental health when some people feel it is their place to tell me if what they<br />

said is homophobic or not. It kills me to see someone doing that.<br />

This is my story <strong>and</strong> experience with courage. And what I think courage is, is<br />

facing your fears <strong>and</strong> staying strong after experiencing a traumatic situation.<br />

I hope this made you reflect even a little bit about what you say to people <strong>and</strong><br />

how you need to think before saying things.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

63


Shawn Fredo<br />

Deborah Hart, Teacher<br />

Barnstable Intermediate School<br />

I walked by him <strong>and</strong> said “Hi,” not knowing what he was planning to do next.<br />

It felt as if the road was getting longer <strong>and</strong> stretching out towards my house.<br />

Each step I took, my legs were shaking, my breathing was getting heavier, <strong>and</strong><br />

my heart was pumping fast.<br />

I hopped <strong>of</strong>f the bus <strong>and</strong> started my long journey towards home. I was<br />

exhausted after a long day <strong>of</strong> school <strong>and</strong> just wanted to get to my cozy house.<br />

I walked by my neighbor’s house <strong>and</strong> observed all the construction going<br />

on. All <strong>of</strong> a sudden I saw a man walk out by his massive black truck on<br />

the street next to me.<br />

“Hi!” I exclaimed. <strong>The</strong> burly man smiled back <strong>and</strong> I continued my walk<br />

down the narrow street. Suddenly I heard a roaring engine stop behind me.<br />

I quickly spun around <strong>and</strong> noticed that the same big black truck was inching<br />

toward me. <strong>The</strong> passenger window slowly rolled down <strong>and</strong> I saw the same man<br />

I had said hi to earlier.<br />

“Hey kid, how old are you?” his unfamiliar voice announced.<br />

It felt like my heart was in my throat. Thoughts rushed through my mind <strong>and</strong> I<br />

finally thought, Lie. I lied to him <strong>and</strong> said I was ten when I was twelve.<br />

He said, “Well, I have a ten year-old at home playing video games, if you want<br />

to come home <strong>and</strong> play with him.”<br />

I didn’t know what to say <strong>and</strong> I was horrified. I looked around <strong>and</strong> didn’t see<br />

any neighbors near me, no one to call to. I remember the thought that went<br />

through my head: I can’t believe this is happening to me right now. I had to<br />

be courageous! I couldn’t let fear control me. In a shaky voice I replied, “No<br />

thank you,” trying not to show that I was completely frightened <strong>and</strong> in shock.<br />

<strong>The</strong> jet black truck slowly pulled around a corner near my house. I hesitated<br />

<strong>and</strong> thought that I shouldn’t go anywhere near where he turned. That’s when<br />

I thought, RUN! That began my mad dash in the opposite direction toward my<br />

bus stop, away from my house, <strong>and</strong> back down the narrow road. My adrenaline<br />

rushed, I felt my heart beat hard in my chest, tears streaking down my face.<br />

I reached into my backpack pocket <strong>and</strong> fumbled to get my phone out. My<br />

h<strong>and</strong>s were trembling, but I called my father, <strong>and</strong> just hearing him pick up the<br />

phone gave me a little bit <strong>of</strong> relief.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

64


“I might have been<br />

scared at the<br />

moment, but my<br />

courageous acts<br />

probably saved<br />

my life.”<br />

“Dad, I almost got kidnapped!” I exclaimed, my voice cracking. I told him<br />

exactly what happened <strong>and</strong> how this man was following me.<br />

“I am leaving work now, <strong>and</strong> will be right there!” he reassured me. Dad<br />

could hear the panic in my voice. As I stood on the edge <strong>of</strong> my neighbor’s<br />

grass waiting for my dad to come, seconds felt like minutes <strong>and</strong> minutes<br />

felt like hours.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, relief hit me like a big wave as my dad zoomed into the neighborhood.<br />

We rushed back to our house <strong>and</strong> my dad called the police to investigate the<br />

problem. I felt dizzy, wondering, Is this reality, am I in a dream? With everything<br />

going on, I just couldn’t process what was happening. One thing I could think<br />

<strong>of</strong> is that I had to be courageous <strong>and</strong> remember all the details <strong>of</strong> what went<br />

down on my walk home.<br />

<strong>The</strong> police came in. I stood strong <strong>and</strong> gave them as many details as possible,<br />

trying hard to hold back my tears. After the police investigated, I finally started<br />

to feel safe with my parents by my side.<br />

This experience taught me that it’s okay to be scared because fear is a part<br />

<strong>of</strong> everyone. However, you have to be able to fight through the fear <strong>and</strong> stay<br />

strong. This can be hard, but everyone has that ability in them. I might have<br />

been scared at the moment, but my courageous acts probably saved my life.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

65


Sebastian Cole<br />

Amy Higginbotham <strong>and</strong> Kristin Seekircher, Teachers<br />

Dennis C. Haley Pilot School<br />

To me courage means to show strength <strong>and</strong> bravery in a time where strength,<br />

will, <strong>and</strong> bravery seem impossible. To show strength <strong>and</strong> bravery in a time <strong>of</strong><br />

pain, hurt, <strong>and</strong> sadness. People who use courage show how strong they are.<br />

People who risk their lives every day to save other people, like firefighters or<br />

police <strong>of</strong>ficers, represent courage to me.<br />

Everyone has had courage. I have had it several times. This is one <strong>of</strong> my<br />

stories. One <strong>of</strong> my favorite places to go in the summer <strong>and</strong> hang out with my<br />

friends was the woods. <strong>The</strong> woods were mysterious <strong>and</strong> interesting. In the<br />

winter the woods were filled with snow. <strong>The</strong> lake would freeze <strong>and</strong> a cold<br />

breeze would surround it. In the summer the woods sheltered my friends <strong>and</strong><br />

me from the sun. Everything in the forest was so green. But one winter when<br />

the ground was topped by frost, something happened.<br />

I opened the door <strong>and</strong> yelled for Oscar, my dog. It usually took a while for<br />

him to come in, but he always came inside within a few minutes. Or at least<br />

until today. After a few minutes <strong>of</strong> calling his name, I decided to go <strong>and</strong><br />

check on him.<br />

I checked everywhere, there was no sight <strong>of</strong> him anywhere. <strong>The</strong>n I noticed<br />

something: a small hole under the gate. Oscar, my dog, had dug his way out<br />

<strong>and</strong> run away. I opened the gate <strong>and</strong> sprinted for the woods, hoping he hadn’t<br />

gotten too far. I searched for hours, yelling his name <strong>and</strong> hoping he would<br />

come back. When I was about to give up trying to find him, he raced right<br />

past me. I ran as fast as I could to try <strong>and</strong> catch him. I grabbed him by his<br />

vest with one h<strong>and</strong>, but before I knew it I tripped on a log that sent me<br />

flying. When I hit the ground I looked back at Oscar who was 60 feet away<br />

from me. I shut my eyes.<br />

I woke up confused, in the middle <strong>of</strong> the woods, soaking wet. I did not know<br />

where I was, <strong>and</strong> as I struggled to st<strong>and</strong> up I realized I was injured. I was<br />

covered in scrapes, three <strong>of</strong> them were bleeding, <strong>and</strong> I had a huge headache.<br />

I did not know what to do, <strong>and</strong> I didn’t have a phone either. I was limping,<br />

but the only choice I had was to walk.<br />

After ten minutes <strong>of</strong> walking, I couldn’t bear the pain any longer. It was a<br />

constant stinging every time the air brushed on my leg, <strong>and</strong> it felt like small<br />

needles dancing on the deep scrape. My headache was getting worse, but I<br />

was determined to get back, <strong>and</strong> I did not stop. After another ten minutes the<br />

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“Don’t let struggle<br />

or pain bring you<br />

down because if<br />

you want to make<br />

your own path you<br />

need to be strong.”<br />

snow reached a foot deep, <strong>and</strong> the blood from my scrapes started to freeze,<br />

which closed the wounds, <strong>and</strong> the headache started to s<strong>of</strong>ten. Everything<br />

was okay until I made it to the creek. As I was crossing, the ice beneath me<br />

immediately cracked. Although the water was only one foot deep, it was<br />

so cold I was gasping for air even though I wasn’t fully submerged. When I<br />

jumped out onto the snowy ground, this time my scrapes were screaming at<br />

me. I sat there looking up at the sky. I was confused why this was happening to<br />

me <strong>and</strong> thought maybe it was a dream or a nightmare, maybe if I just pinched<br />

myself I would wake up. <strong>The</strong>n the thought went through my head: I have to<br />

get out <strong>of</strong> here. One painful hour later I finally made it out, limping all the<br />

way home, where my mother was waiting with a “Where have you been?”<br />

As I look back at that moment I remember the lesson I learned. I learned<br />

sitting back in life is not going to get anything done or get you anywhere. To<br />

make your own path you have to work hard for what you want your path to be.<br />

To make your own path you have to work hard, even through struggle. Don’t<br />

let struggle or pain bring you down because if you want to make your own<br />

path you need to be strong.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

67


Leena Kenz Chawqui<br />

Jennifer Gayda, Teacher<br />

Linden S.T.E.A.M. Academy<br />

When I was around seven years old, I was eating my gr<strong>and</strong>ma’s msimna, a<br />

crispy square pancake. I remember vividly the moment it happened. I choked.<br />

I was coughing, <strong>and</strong> gasping, <strong>and</strong> it hurt so bad. Eventually, I threw it up.<br />

It’s over, right? Wrong.<br />

It was the start <strong>of</strong> a hard time in my life. After that incident, I stopped eating.<br />

Gradually, I would eat less <strong>and</strong> less, <strong>and</strong> my parents noticed. Instead <strong>of</strong> eating<br />

three meals a day the way I used to, I drank only a cup <strong>of</strong> milk <strong>and</strong> ate a piece<br />

<strong>of</strong> toast at most. My mom <strong>and</strong> dad brought me to restaurants, cooked my<br />

favorite meals, even got me sweets. I didn’t eat. Or if I did, a second later, I<br />

would throw it up. It was a cycle. Every day, I got skinnier.<br />

My mom had enough <strong>and</strong> brought me to be examined at the doctors. <strong>The</strong><br />

doctors said I had to eat, <strong>and</strong> gave me pills to eat with my food. <strong>The</strong> problem<br />

was that I didn’t eat food, so I didn’t take the pills. My gr<strong>and</strong>ma started to<br />

put the pills in apple juice so I wouldn’t feel them. But I did. It took me<br />

weeks to finally adapt to the pills, <strong>and</strong> even then, all I was eating was a<br />

peanut butter s<strong>and</strong>wich two times a week. It was an improvement, but<br />

a slow, slow improvement.<br />

My mom brought me back to the doctors, <strong>and</strong> I had to undergo a minor<br />

surgery. I got a sleeping shot <strong>and</strong> didn’t know what happened, but when I<br />

woke up, I was in a different room. My mom told me that we could go home,<br />

<strong>and</strong> I didn’t question it. I went home <strong>and</strong> tried to eat something. My mom<br />

told me it would take time, <strong>and</strong> it did. Eventually, I was eating all three meals<br />

a day. I relapsed a few times, but I was much better. In the end, I’m happy that<br />

I recovered. It took a lot <strong>of</strong> courage for me to eat again, but I’m happy I did.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> doesn’t mean saving someone, or being a hero, it means having<br />

the bravery to face your worst fears.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“<strong>Courage</strong> doesn’t<br />

mean saving<br />

someone, or being<br />

a hero, it means<br />

having the bravery<br />

to face your<br />

worst fears.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

69


Mya Rogers<br />

David Russell, Teacher<br />

McKinley South End Academy<br />

“I HATE you!”<br />

“Leave me ALONE!”<br />

One day I got into a fight with my older brother. It was my bedtime, <strong>and</strong> my<br />

mother wanted to take my phone for the night. I was furious <strong>and</strong> didn’t want<br />

to give it to her. My brother insisted that I give my mother the phone. I yelled,<br />

“Mind your damn business!” From there we started arguing, <strong>and</strong> my brother<br />

yanked the phone from me. In the moment all I saw was red, <strong>and</strong> I felt like I<br />

couldn’t hold my emotions in anymore. I punched my brother in the face, <strong>and</strong><br />

we started to fight. My mother ran to the phone <strong>and</strong> called my uncle to help<br />

defuse the fight. It felt like I was fighting forever until my uncle broke it up.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next day I went to school sad <strong>and</strong> bothered. My guidance counselor could<br />

tell I was sad. We talked about the incident <strong>and</strong> my emotions. My DCF worker<br />

told me I needed to be evaluated at Cambridge Hospital. After spending three<br />

long weeks in the hospital, I received the most unpleasant news ever. My DCF<br />

worker said, “Unfortunately, Mya, you will not be going home today.” <strong>The</strong><br />

room went silent, <strong>and</strong> I started crying hysterically. <strong>The</strong>y sent me to the Bridge<br />

Home for a 45-day assessment. I had so many emotions running through my<br />

mind. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t going home.<br />

My first week at the Bridge Home was hard. I had no friends or any staff I<br />

could talk to. I felt out <strong>of</strong> place … I was ALONE. I couldn’t do the things I did<br />

at home. I used to be able to go out with friends, shop at the mall, <strong>and</strong> play<br />

at the park whenever I wanted. All the fun things I used to do at home were<br />

no longer an option for me. Things at the Bridge got better when I met Ms.<br />

Maggie, Ms. Mary, Ms. Marlen, Ms. Nika, <strong>and</strong> Ms. Kash. <strong>The</strong>y all helped me<br />

feel loved <strong>and</strong> wanted. It was hard being away from home, but things did get<br />

better. I was doing better in school, <strong>and</strong> I was able to have visits with my mom<br />

<strong>and</strong> hang out with my friends. My life was changing for the better.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> to me is never giving up even when things get hard. Living at the<br />

Bridge Home is hard, but I persevered <strong>and</strong> remained positive. Even though<br />

I’m not home right now, I still have courage <strong>and</strong> show it every day!<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“My life was<br />

changing for<br />

the better.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

71


Richard Brittle Jr.<br />

Alison Spade <strong>and</strong> Aaron Kesler, Teachers<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> Renaissance Charter Public School<br />

I believe that courage comes within the heart. I believe it’s the ability to get<br />

out <strong>of</strong> bed <strong>and</strong> deal with the problems <strong>of</strong> life. <strong>Courage</strong> is what people fight<br />

with, live with, <strong>and</strong> die with. <strong>Courage</strong> is the ability to be the best you!<br />

One month after my eleventh birthday, I began to suffer from multiple mental<br />

breakdowns each day. I would cry for one to three minutes, circling through<br />

all the bad moments in my life. Sometimes, it would get to the point where<br />

I started to throw or hit things. My mind was constantly filled with negative<br />

thoughts <strong>and</strong> emotions. I felt devastated knowing that I wasn’t the person I<br />

wanted to be. I was struggling <strong>and</strong> desperate just to find something in my life<br />

that made me happy.<br />

I thought I was overreacting. I felt that other people were in more need than<br />

I was, so I kept to myself. But every day I felt worse <strong>and</strong> wanted someone<br />

to know me well enough to underst<strong>and</strong>. In June, my parents started to<br />

suspect something was wrong. My walk was sloppy <strong>and</strong> mopey <strong>and</strong> I became<br />

emotionless 99% <strong>of</strong> the time. It was too much to bear, to the point that I had<br />

to tell my dad during July, because I had been suffering from these feelings<br />

for almost a year.<br />

Telling my dad that day was hard. I’d already had three mental breakdowns<br />

by 12:00pm, <strong>and</strong> my dad had just gotten <strong>of</strong>f <strong>of</strong> a meeting. He usually works<br />

at home. After he finished his meeting, he asked me the same question I’ve<br />

been asked a hundred times. “What’s wrong?” And <strong>of</strong> course my answer<br />

was, “Nothing.” But after I answered I was at the point that I couldn’t take<br />

it anymore. I started to ball my eyes out. I could barely contain anything. I<br />

could barely even talk! I felt like I was alone. I continuously cried <strong>and</strong> sniffled<br />

between every word <strong>and</strong> sentence, <strong>and</strong> I felt like I was being pressured for no<br />

reason to have to say everything. Despite my goal to not tell anyone, I had to<br />

seek out courage to save me from my desire to keep my feelings a secret. After<br />

my dad’s words <strong>of</strong> wisdom, I later came to know that he blamed everything on<br />

himself for being too hard on me.<br />

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in<br />

life.” -Muhammad Ali<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I felt devastated<br />

knowing that I<br />

wasn’t the person<br />

I wanted to be.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

73


Ava Murphey<br />

Joyce Baio, Teacher<br />

Saint Patrick School<br />

Have you ever demonstrated an act <strong>of</strong> courage by carrying out a good deed?<br />

Well, my story <strong>of</strong> courage began when my brother was born.<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> is the ability to do something that frightens one. Well, this definition<br />

didn’t occur to me on that particular day. On June 22, my baby brother was<br />

born. He was a small, average baby. My older brother, gr<strong>and</strong>parents, <strong>and</strong> I<br />

arrived at the hospital early in the morning. We went to my mom’s hospital<br />

room <strong>and</strong> saw the newborn baby. Everything seemed fine. My mom was a little<br />

weak, but she seemed just fine. We were in the hospital for a while, <strong>and</strong> then<br />

the doctors came in with some heartbreaking news.<br />

<strong>The</strong> doctors had just determined that my mother was displaying some unusual<br />

symptoms, <strong>and</strong> diagnosed her with Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis, or<br />

MS, is a long-lasting disease that can affect your brain, spinal cord, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

optic nerve in your eyes. MS happens when your immune system attacks fatty<br />

material called myelin, which wraps around your nerve fibers to protect them.<br />

Without this protection, your nerves will become damaged. <strong>The</strong> damage<br />

means your brain can’t send signals through your body correctly. Your nerves<br />

also don’t work as they should to help you move <strong>and</strong> feel.<br />

When my family <strong>and</strong> I walked out <strong>of</strong> the hospital into the darkness, we were<br />

worried. We didn’t know anything about MS, so we drove back home <strong>and</strong><br />

started researching. We researched for about two hours until we really knew<br />

how serious this news could be for my mother. Multiple Sclerosis takes over<br />

a year to really affect your immune system <strong>and</strong> nerves, so the doctors have to<br />

keep it under control before it becomes progressive. Progressive MS is called<br />

PPMS. After about a year or two the doctors told us that my mother had been<br />

diagnosed with PPMS, the form <strong>of</strong> the disease which is most serious because<br />

it is identified by steadily worsening neurologic functions in the beginning,<br />

without distinct relapses (attacks or exacerbations) or remission.<br />

We were very sad, <strong>and</strong> so was my mom, but we weren’t going to give up, <strong>and</strong><br />

neither was she. After many long months my mom wasn’t strong enough to<br />

get up <strong>and</strong> walk, so she acquired a wheelchair. When we first brought the<br />

wheelchair home, it was amazing; she loved it so much since she could move<br />

anywhere. Her arms were a little weak, but she could still wheel herself with<br />

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“She is very brave<br />

<strong>and</strong> inspires me to<br />

be just like her.”<br />

her h<strong>and</strong>s. She has had the wheelchair now for five or six years. My mother<br />

is in good health now, with an automated wheelchair <strong>and</strong> other accessories<br />

to help her. To this day my mother is still h<strong>and</strong>icapped, but she is the most<br />

caring, kind, <strong>and</strong> wise mother you will ever meet. She is very brave <strong>and</strong><br />

inspires me to be just like her. <strong>The</strong> only reason she has continued to persevere<br />

<strong>and</strong> fight her disability is because <strong>of</strong> her children. She could have given up at<br />

any moment, or become so discouraged that she would allow the disease to<br />

overcome her completely. Just like Max, she continues to show courage every<br />

day <strong>and</strong> inspire our family.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

75


Zoe Nazarchuk<br />

Kathleen McGonigle, Teacher<br />

Thomas A. Edison K8 School<br />

When I think <strong>of</strong> courage, I think <strong>of</strong> conquering your fear, doing something<br />

you are too afraid to do. <strong>Courage</strong> is facing your problems. Fighting when you<br />

are down. Making it worth it.<br />

All my life I have been singing. Music is my passion. It is my goal to be on<br />

Broadway. When I say I sing, I mean I sing. As in, I sing a lot.<br />

I sing in a choir known as Voices <strong>Boston</strong>, <strong>and</strong> I have made so many great<br />

friends there that it feels like a second home to me. Every year, Voices<br />

performs a musical. Last year, we did “<strong>The</strong> Sound <strong>of</strong> Music,” <strong>and</strong> I was just<br />

old enough to try out for a role. This would be my first audition ever, <strong>and</strong><br />

it felt huge.<br />

Even before then, one <strong>of</strong> my biggest problems was self-doubt <strong>and</strong> anxiety.<br />

Constantly, I had voices in my head telling me that I was worthless, that I<br />

should just give up, that everyone hated me. When I was practicing for the<br />

audition everything was mostly fine. I was getting notes right, <strong>and</strong> I even hit<br />

some <strong>of</strong> the difficult high ones. <strong>The</strong>n the voice came again. It’s not like you’re<br />

going to get the role anyway, so give up. You’re much too worthless to be in this. Stop<br />

trying. I tried blocking it out, but that does not always work. Sometimes it<br />

will not go away.<br />

Throughout the weeks, the voice only got louder <strong>and</strong> louder, <strong>and</strong> soon<br />

enough, what once was a s<strong>of</strong>t, annoying whisper was now a shrill ringing in my<br />

ear, a scream, a cry, a shout. It felt painful. It was drowning out the rest <strong>of</strong> my<br />

thoughts, especially the good ones. No matter how hard I tried, the thoughts<br />

kept coming <strong>and</strong> coming <strong>and</strong> I did not know how to make it stop. It’s just an<br />

audition, I told myself. It doesn’t matter. But it did.<br />

Finally, the day came. <strong>The</strong>se were the types <strong>of</strong> auditions where the other<br />

people trying out would sit <strong>and</strong> watch you, <strong>and</strong> you would sit back down <strong>and</strong><br />

watch them as the director called out roles. It felt amazing, watching everyone<br />

else go up there <strong>and</strong> perform with no problem whatsoever. People laughed<br />

when they made mistakes. It was altogether just an incredible experience for<br />

me <strong>and</strong> all <strong>of</strong> my friends.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n my turn came. All <strong>of</strong> the joy I felt before had gone away <strong>and</strong> was now<br />

replaced by that voice in my head <strong>and</strong> an aching through my entire body,<br />

which was almost impossible to bear. I was drowning, suffocating in my own<br />

thoughts, unable to breathe. Would I do well? Would I fail miserably? What<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“All I had now was<br />

hope, hope that<br />

I wouldn’t mess<br />

up, that I would<br />

make the callback.<br />

This was it.”<br />

would people think? Will my friends hate me? What do I do? I could back<br />

down. I could leave, <strong>and</strong> nobody would notice me. I could...<br />

“Hello, my name is Zoe Nazarchuk, <strong>and</strong> I will be auditioning for the role <strong>of</strong><br />

Elsa von Schraeder.”<br />

I opened my mouth, but anxiety came over me <strong>and</strong> no sound left my lips. But<br />

then I tried again. I grounded myself. My feet were floating away from the<br />

floor, but I had tied them down <strong>and</strong> made sure that they both stayed on the<br />

ground, because I needed this. This was important to me, <strong>and</strong> I wouldn’t let<br />

some silly voice in my head stop me. I took a breath. All I had now was hope,<br />

hope that I wouldn’t mess up, that I would make the callback. This was it.<br />

Out came a note. And another. And then there was a third, a fourth, a fifth,<br />

a sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth. I was doing it. I was really doing it, I was<br />

singing, <strong>and</strong> I was singing with courage! I started s<strong>of</strong>t, but then my voice got<br />

louder <strong>and</strong> more clear because I was actually doing it! I came back to my seat,<br />

<strong>and</strong> suddenly it was like a weight was lifted <strong>of</strong>f my shoulders <strong>and</strong> I could finally<br />

breathe again.<br />

Did I get the role? No, I did not, but I learned that courage is more than not<br />

being afraid. It is about facing your fears <strong>and</strong> conquering them. I still have<br />

thoughts like those today, but I can control them with ease now. Everything is<br />

a lot better for me, <strong>and</strong> I am happier. But I can tell you this: do not let those<br />

thoughts control your life. You are you. Block out the voice with thoughts <strong>of</strong><br />

happiness <strong>and</strong> self-love. Do not let it get to you. Everything will be alright.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

77


Sean Buchanan<br />

<strong>The</strong>rese Evans, Teacher<br />

South <strong>Boston</strong> Catholic Academy<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> to me is being brave <strong>and</strong> confident, <strong>and</strong> if you fall, you get<br />

right back up.<br />

One time I showed courage was by going into the <strong>Boston</strong> spelling bee. That<br />

year I was a fourth-grader going up against eighth-graders. To make the<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> spelling bee you had to win your school spelling bee. I was in that<br />

spelling bee, <strong>and</strong> I didn’t think I would win. I thought this because there were<br />

sixth-graders in the competition <strong>and</strong> they were older, so I thought I would<br />

lose. But I stayed in, <strong>and</strong> before I knew it I was in the top five. A few more<br />

people got out then, <strong>and</strong> before I knew it I was in the final two. It was a sixthgrader<br />

<strong>and</strong> me. I was sure I would lose, but after a few rounds, she got out <strong>and</strong><br />

I won. I was so happy that I won the school spelling bee!<br />

Next I had to do the City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Boston</strong> Spelling Bee. I studied hard each <strong>and</strong><br />

every night. <strong>The</strong>re were eighth-graders in the competition, <strong>and</strong> it was crazy<br />

how they could spell all these words! Before I knew it, the spelling bee was<br />

here! I was nervous <strong>and</strong> scared. Once the spelling bee started, a few kids<br />

were getting out. <strong>The</strong>n I was in the top fifteen, <strong>and</strong> I was one <strong>of</strong> the youngest<br />

there! Next I got top ten, then top five! Somebody got out, <strong>and</strong> there was me<br />

<strong>and</strong> three other kids left. Unfortunately, I got my next word wrong, so I got<br />

out. I was still happy, though, because I was one <strong>of</strong> the youngest there <strong>and</strong><br />

I still made it far.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I was still happy,<br />

though, because<br />

I was one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

youngest there <strong>and</strong><br />

I still made it far.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

79


Sonja Martin<br />

Erin Hannon-Foley <strong>and</strong> Yol<strong>and</strong>a McCollum, Teachers<br />

Roosevelt K-8 School<br />

Has anyone in your family joined the military? Somebody in my family has. My<br />

mother, in particular. She joined the U.S. Air Force.<br />

In 2001, my mother decided to join the military. Did you know that not<br />

everybody in the military is in combat? <strong>The</strong>re are many jobs in the military,<br />

like being a nurse, or a chef. My mother had one <strong>of</strong> those jobs. She was a<br />

Serbian/Croation linguist during her time in the Air Force.<br />

To get into the military, you have to take a test. <strong>The</strong>n, after that, you might<br />

get a Top Secret Security Clearance. <strong>The</strong>y check your criminal record <strong>and</strong> ask<br />

people you know about your character, etc. If you pass the Top Secret Security<br />

Clearance, you get more access to things in the military than if you were to fail<br />

the security clearance.<br />

My mother passed the security clearance, so she decided to be a linguist in the<br />

military. <strong>The</strong>y gave her a list <strong>of</strong> languages to pick from. However, when she<br />

got the results back, she got a language that wasn’t even on the list - Serbian/<br />

Croation. My mother was in shock. Serbian/Croation? She hadn’t even heard<br />

<strong>of</strong> this language! She stared at the letter with her dark, brown eyes.<br />

Serbian/Croation was a language that she was completely unfamiliar with, <strong>and</strong><br />

they gave her only three to six months to become fluent in it. To give some<br />

perspective, it can take over a year to become fluent in a language! So, she had<br />

to work extra hard to learn it. She showed perseverance <strong>and</strong> didn’t give up on<br />

learning it, despite the difficulty.<br />

My mother would practice day <strong>and</strong> night, <strong>and</strong> sometimes the thought <strong>of</strong><br />

giving up was appealing to her. However, she chose not to do that. With a<br />

sudden determination <strong>and</strong> a glint in her eyes, she continued to study Serbian/<br />

Croation to the best <strong>of</strong> her abilities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“Being in the<br />

military is tough,<br />

<strong>and</strong> my mother<br />

persevered <strong>and</strong><br />

didn’t give up.”<br />

Soon enough, she became fluent in Serbian/Croation. She read letters<br />

<strong>and</strong> mail coming in from other countries in Serbian/Croation, then<br />

decoded them into English <strong>and</strong> theorized about what the letter meant<br />

<strong>and</strong> the intent <strong>of</strong> the sender.<br />

Later on, she left the Air Force <strong>and</strong> soon after had my brother, who is now<br />

fifteen years old. Being in the military is tough, <strong>and</strong> my mother persevered<br />

<strong>and</strong> didn’t give up. To me, courage is working really hard <strong>and</strong> not giving up,<br />

even if whatever you’re doing is difficult. My mother showed courage by doing<br />

just that. She learned to persevere even if something is difficult.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

81


Ginger Biederman<br />

Kyla Graves, Teacher<br />

Brimmer <strong>and</strong> May School<br />

I think courage means that if something is right or important to you, you<br />

support it, even if it’s not the most popular choice, or even if it comes with a<br />

price. <strong>Courage</strong> doesn’t even have to be something you’re afraid <strong>of</strong>, it can be<br />

something you do every day.<br />

One way I show courage is by st<strong>and</strong>ing up for animals. It’s always been an<br />

important part <strong>of</strong> my family’s values to be the voice that animals don’t have.<br />

I think st<strong>and</strong>ing up for animals is courageous because many people don’t<br />

believe that animals deserve a voice, but I still speak for them. I’ve helped<br />

worms when they are drying out on sidewalks, <strong>and</strong> I’ve informed people<br />

about where meat comes from <strong>and</strong> how animals in those facilities are treated<br />

unfairly. In addition, I’ve stood up for insects when they are about to be killed.<br />

I’ve always looked out for animals even if no one else does.<br />

Although I have only shown small acts <strong>of</strong> courage in order to help animals,<br />

there are many others who have done bigger things to help. I donate to some<br />

bigger organizations that help animals such as the World Wildlife Fund <strong>and</strong><br />

the Nature Conservancy.<br />

I think it’s important to be courageous <strong>and</strong> st<strong>and</strong> up for animals, because they<br />

can’t st<strong>and</strong> up for themselves. For example, did you know an animal is abused<br />

every ten seconds? Many people overlook animal cruelty, but I’ve tried to<br />

encourage people to underst<strong>and</strong> where meat comes from <strong>and</strong> how animals are<br />

treated poorly. I hope that by showing the courage to protect <strong>and</strong> speak for<br />

animals, they can get the rights they deserve.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“It’s always been<br />

an important part<br />

<strong>of</strong> my family’s<br />

values to be the<br />

voice that animals<br />

don’t have.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

83


Logan Eldaief<br />

Kate Boswell <strong>and</strong> Alex Jones, Teachers<br />

<strong>The</strong> Advent School<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s a riddle that asks: if a train was coming fast, <strong>and</strong> six people were<br />

st<strong>and</strong>ing on the tracks, <strong>and</strong> you’re st<strong>and</strong>ing on a separate track, <strong>and</strong> you have<br />

an opportunity to change the track to save the six people, killing yourself,<br />

would you? A lot <strong>of</strong> people who are asked would definitely answer that they<br />

would save the people, but when they are actually put in the moment, it<br />

becomes a whole lot harder. <strong>Courage</strong> to me is having the strength to pull that<br />

lever, to save the six people, even if it means risking your life.<br />

My aunt is a documentary filmmaker, <strong>and</strong> when she was asked to go to Tahrir<br />

Square, Cairo in 2011 to shoot a film where there was severe risk to her life,<br />

she took the opportunity. At the time, the citizens <strong>of</strong> Egypt were unhappy<br />

with the government, so they took their demonstration to the streets <strong>and</strong><br />

protested non-violently. <strong>The</strong>re was police brutality, <strong>and</strong> many people ended<br />

up in poverty because <strong>of</strong> the government’s unfair policies. People got shot<br />

<strong>and</strong> killed by Egyptian soldiers, <strong>and</strong> it was very dangerous to be there at the<br />

time because gunshots were a common occurrence. This was named “<strong>The</strong><br />

Egyptian Revolution.” My aunt, who lives in New York City, went to Cairo to<br />

make a film about what was going on in Egypt to show everyone around the<br />

world what was happening. My whole family begged her to not go because <strong>of</strong><br />

the extreme danger that she was at risk <strong>of</strong> encountering, but she went anyway.<br />

She knew how much awareness it would bring, <strong>and</strong> how many people could<br />

be saved, so she knew that she had to go to help. She wanted to show how<br />

many people were fighting for what they believed in, <strong>and</strong> even dying, in Egypt.<br />

She documented the change that resulted when the President, Mubarak, was<br />

overthrown <strong>and</strong> a new president was elected.<br />

She luckily made it out alive, <strong>and</strong> her film, <strong>The</strong> Square, was released in 2013.<br />

Many people watched the documentary, <strong>and</strong> it was even nominated for an<br />

Academy Award. It made a huge impact in helping people underst<strong>and</strong> what<br />

was happening in Egypt, <strong>and</strong> it inspired people all over the world. To go there<br />

was extremely courageous, because it was unknown if she would become<br />

injured, or worse. Many people, along with my aunt, have gone to dangerous<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I learned that<br />

there are some<br />

risks that are<br />

worth taking.”<br />

places to make a change. Many <strong>of</strong> these people have been injured, or worse,<br />

<strong>and</strong> have still made a change. Some <strong>of</strong> these people are unknown, but the<br />

change they made, <strong>and</strong> the risks they took, still count. I learned that there are<br />

some risks that are worth taking. Sometimes you have to get through the hard<br />

times to get to the good times. My aunt chose to be the change that resulted in<br />

a change. My aunt pulled the lever.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

85


Zahid Elsadig<br />

Christopher Donaher, Teacher<br />

Al-Noor Academy<br />

I saw courage when I was watching videos <strong>and</strong> learning about the crisis in my<br />

country, Sudan. I was amazed by the people’s courage to st<strong>and</strong> up to corrupt<br />

leaders who had been stealing the country’s money while also committing<br />

senseless violence against the people. From America, I was watching the<br />

revolution <strong>and</strong> learning their chants. I was asking God to help my country.<br />

One day I was doing my homework when my dad told me we were going to a<br />

public protest in <strong>Boston</strong> to show support for Sudan. <strong>The</strong>y were going to chant<br />

like I saw in the videos. I was so excited to finally contribute to Sudan’s call<br />

for peace <strong>and</strong> to play a part in the peaceful protest to raise awareness <strong>of</strong> the<br />

ongoing oppression. But I was also shy at first <strong>and</strong> didn’t join the chanting.<br />

My friend was there <strong>and</strong> encouraged me to chant. So when I started, my heart<br />

felt like angels were washing away my fears. Every time I chanted, I felt like I<br />

was on Cloud Nine, floating high above the scene in the sky. I became so brave<br />

<strong>and</strong> carried by emotion that I even led a chant myself.<br />

It was genuinely fantastic then, <strong>and</strong> upon reflection, now, I’ve never felt so<br />

courageous. <strong>The</strong> people’s prayers were also answered in short order. <strong>The</strong><br />

corrupt <strong>and</strong> violent <strong>of</strong>ficials were removed from power not long after the<br />

protest in <strong>Boston</strong>. <strong>The</strong>y were replaced by reformers, backed by the people,<br />

who governed with the public interests in mind.<br />

I used to think that courage only meant to be able to physically st<strong>and</strong> up to a<br />

bully or do something that gets you noticed. But after that day, I realized that<br />

courage can be as small as chanting with a crowd <strong>of</strong> people, being a wave <strong>of</strong><br />

change in a sea <strong>of</strong> peace. Some may still call me a scaredy-cat, but at that time,<br />

I know I was involved in a battle for justice. I overcame my shyness <strong>and</strong> fear <strong>of</strong><br />

joining when I realized there was nothing to be scared <strong>of</strong>, empowered by the<br />

bravery <strong>and</strong> dedication <strong>of</strong> others. So that’s what courage means to me, <strong>and</strong><br />

that’s what I felt during that time.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“Some may still<br />

call me a scaredycat,<br />

but at that<br />

time, I know I was<br />

involved in a battle<br />

for justice.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

87


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

88


<strong>Courage</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong> <strong>Boston</strong><br />

Volume XXIX<br />

89


<strong>Courage</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong> <strong>Boston</strong><br />

A special supplement featuring essays<br />

from our national <strong>and</strong> international partners<br />

<strong>The</strong> essays featured in this section were written by students participating<br />

in our national <strong>and</strong> international programs. <strong>The</strong>y represent the universal<br />

nature <strong>of</strong> courage, <strong>and</strong> support our conviction that all people have the<br />

capacity to be courageous.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum’s Global Initiative<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum began working with international<br />

partners in 2007 in response to a growing interest in implementing an<br />

accessible, proven curriculum. To date, the program has been taught in 16<br />

countries, including El Salvador, Pakistan, India, Lebanon, Thail<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong><br />

China. This list continues to grow, as our organization forms partnerships with<br />

schools <strong>and</strong> learning communities across the globe to engage students in the<br />

reading <strong>and</strong> writing process, while empowering them to discover, recognize,<br />

<strong>and</strong> celebrate the courage in their lives.<br />

This year, we are honored to continue our partnerships with <strong>The</strong><br />

Cambridge School for Cambodia, Mawr Volunteers in Yemen, the Personal<br />

Development Institute <strong>of</strong> Mongolia, <strong>The</strong> American School in Barcelona,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Dr. Marcia Harris <strong>and</strong> the six schools in Belize. We are grateful to each<br />

<strong>of</strong> these partners for their compassionate work with teachers <strong>and</strong> students<br />

in their respective countries <strong>and</strong> for sharing in the vision <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> Max<br />

Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum.<br />

We welcome any organization wishing to work with <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong><br />

Curriculum. Recognizing that the stories <strong>of</strong> courage from children across the<br />

globe enrich the educational experience for all students, we seek to share our<br />

materials <strong>and</strong> <strong>of</strong>fer educational opportunities for children outside <strong>of</strong> <strong>Boston</strong>.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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<strong>Courage</strong> in My Life National Essay Contest<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum proudly hosts the <strong>Courage</strong> in My Life<br />

National Essay Contest, open to students in grades 5-8 in the United States.<br />

This program engages students in the reading <strong>and</strong> writing process, while<br />

encouraging young people to write about personal experiences with courage.<br />

We are proud to share inspiring essays written by courageous students<br />

from across the United States in the 29th volume <strong>of</strong> THE COURAGE OF<br />

CHILDREN: BOSTON AND BEYOND, including our national essay contest<br />

winner, Selma Atassi, from Beverly Hills Academy in Beverly Hills, MI <strong>and</strong><br />

honorable mention designee Abigail Hammond from Heritage Middle<br />

School in Ringgold, GA.<br />

All schools that participate in our national program are given access<br />

to teaching guides <strong>and</strong> online resources. We encourage participating<br />

schools to deepen their experience by exploring <strong>and</strong> implementing our<br />

sixth-grade curriculum, <strong>and</strong> we continue to <strong>of</strong>fer support <strong>and</strong> guidance<br />

to make this possible.<br />

For more information about <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum<br />

<strong>and</strong> our programs, please visit www.maxcourage.org<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

91


Selma Atassi<br />

Sara Coyle, Teacher<br />

Beverly Hills Academy, Beverly Hills, MI<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> in My Life National Essay Contest Winner<br />

<strong>The</strong> word courage means something different to everyone. To me, the word<br />

courage is not letting people get to you, <strong>and</strong> staying strong.<br />

When I was in sixth grade, the teacher asked the class if we spoke other<br />

languages besides English. When she got to me I responded, “Arabic.” I was<br />

proud that I knew how to speak the language from my country, Syria, but<br />

someone else didn’t think that was something to be proud <strong>of</strong>. A boy screamed<br />

out, “You’re a terrorist!”<br />

I didn’t find it funny. I was still young <strong>and</strong> vulnerable, so I really took that to<br />

heart. It made me really upset inside because I know that my religion teaches<br />

us peace <strong>and</strong> kindness, <strong>and</strong> for him to say that in front <strong>of</strong> everyone was so<br />

embarrassing. All heads turned towards me <strong>and</strong> I sank into my chair. I didn’t<br />

want people to think <strong>of</strong> me like that because Islam is nothing like that. A few<br />

friends defended me <strong>and</strong> comforted me. I know many people go through<br />

much worse, but I was still very young <strong>and</strong> didn’t like it at all. I left the room<br />

<strong>and</strong> went to the bathroom to calm myself <strong>and</strong> get over it.<br />

I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but later when I went to lunch everyone<br />

came up to me to comfort me <strong>and</strong> tell me that kid was just trying to make a<br />

joke, even though I didn’t find it very funny. I wondered how everyone knew<br />

about the incident, but apparently someone who heard him told everyone.<br />

I felt bad for the kid, though. Because he was still young he probably didn’t<br />

realize how much words can affect people. Later, he realized his mistake <strong>and</strong><br />

apologized deeply for his actions.<br />

I think that both the kid <strong>and</strong> I showed courage here because, when I was<br />

called a rude word, I didn’t fight back or make it a big deal. I just proved him<br />

wrong by staying peaceful, just as my religion has taught me to be. I also think<br />

he showed courage because he had the courage to apologize to me <strong>and</strong> learn<br />

from his own mistakes, <strong>and</strong> he wasn’t afraid to admit that he was wrong. We<br />

both showed courage that day.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“We both showed<br />

courage that day.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

93


Abigail Hammond<br />

Julie Cochran, Teacher<br />

Heritage Middle School, Ringgold, GA<br />

Honorable Mention, <strong>Courage</strong> in My Life National Essay Contest<br />

Three years ago something bad happened. It started on a Thursday. We were<br />

late to school. I was talking back to my mom <strong>and</strong> she yelled at me. I was so<br />

mad at my mom that I told a story to my teacher.<br />

I told my teacher that my mom had hit me. <strong>The</strong> teacher believed my story<br />

<strong>and</strong> reported it. <strong>The</strong> school called the cops <strong>and</strong> got them involved. <strong>The</strong> cops<br />

then showed up at our house <strong>and</strong> took all <strong>of</strong> us away. <strong>The</strong>re were four <strong>of</strong> us.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re was me, my two sisters, <strong>and</strong> my brother. I felt so badly that I had only<br />

gotten into the argument with my mom <strong>and</strong> we never resolved it, plus it was in<br />

the middle <strong>of</strong> the school year. It sucked. <strong>The</strong>y told us that our mom <strong>and</strong> dad<br />

needed to work on a few things <strong>and</strong> then we could return home.<br />

I went to this lady’s house to stay until everything got straightened out. She<br />

was nice. She had kids <strong>and</strong> it made me feel a bit better. In addition to not<br />

being with my parents, my siblings were not with me either. <strong>The</strong>y were able to<br />

keep me <strong>and</strong> my big sister together, but my other sister <strong>and</strong> my brother had<br />

to stay somewhere else. As soon as we got comfortable, they put us somewhere<br />

new. It was hard.<br />

It was kind <strong>of</strong> fun at first, but I wanted to go back home. We would go from<br />

house to house. This went on for a month. After a month passed, I got to be<br />

with all <strong>of</strong> my siblings at our home <strong>and</strong> to have family time. We were given a<br />

visit time to all get together <strong>and</strong> see each other. I enjoyed getting to see my<br />

family, but it was only temporary. I knew I had to leave them <strong>and</strong> go back to<br />

live somewhere else that was not my home.<br />

Now, I was only ten when all <strong>of</strong> this happened, <strong>and</strong> I wanted my mom <strong>and</strong><br />

dad. I was living with these people <strong>and</strong> they were mean. This was our last place<br />

where we lived. <strong>The</strong>y yelled at us when we would go to the doctor. <strong>The</strong> lady<br />

would tell me to lay <strong>of</strong>f the food, trying to make me feel fat. I wanted to tell<br />

her to look in the mirror.<br />

Six months had come <strong>and</strong> gone. I finally went back home. I felt happy <strong>and</strong> I<br />

wanted to see my family. I had missed them. Things have been so much better.<br />

Much better than before. All <strong>of</strong> this has made me feel bad about myself, but I<br />

have learned how to get over this feeling. I feel <strong>and</strong> act much better because<br />

<strong>of</strong> this situation, but I still have nightmares.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“My family forgives<br />

me <strong>and</strong> still loves<br />

me, but I definitely<br />

learned a lesson.”<br />

Three years have passed. My sister <strong>and</strong> I are the only ones who really<br />

remember it. I have grown <strong>and</strong> learned from this terrible experience. Life<br />

goes on <strong>and</strong> you can overcome it. In the end, things happen for a reason, <strong>and</strong><br />

I have had to be strong <strong>and</strong> have courage to face my parents after everything<br />

I put our family through. My family forgives me <strong>and</strong> still loves me, but I<br />

definitely learned a lesson.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

95


Edwin Caballero<br />

Jessica Preciado, Teacher<br />

De La Salle Academy, Concord, CA<br />

To me, courage means even though you are scared to do it, you continue to<br />

do it. I have exhibited courage in my life. I struggle with anxiety, flat feet, <strong>and</strong><br />

asthma. Once, I woke up coughing really hard. I reached for my inhaler, but<br />

it wasn’t there. I got <strong>of</strong>f my bed <strong>and</strong> began searching for it. By the time I<br />

found it, I was not breathing well. If it had taken me longer to find it, I could<br />

have been a goner.<br />

My asthma makes it hard for me to run long distances. Combine that with<br />

my foot disorder, which makes my feet hurt whenever I walk a long time or<br />

run, <strong>and</strong> you’ve got a person who can’t run as fast as the average human. It’s<br />

horrible. People have bullied me for this. Some people think I am out <strong>of</strong><br />

shape because I run slowly. If they knew me better, they would underst<strong>and</strong> how<br />

hard I try <strong>and</strong> what I feel.<br />

I also struggle to fall asleep. Everything gets darker, I feel like I’m falling,<br />

<strong>and</strong> then I panic. It’s terrifying. My sleep problems make me extra tired.<br />

Imagine having to get through that every night. My sleep problems make<br />

me have nightmares.<br />

In fifth grade, we had to run a mile in under thirteen minutes. My shortest<br />

time was 16 minutes, 40 seconds. I got a 1 in PE that year. I kept running the<br />

mile until I couldn’t much longer. Flat feet is something that really makes<br />

running a true struggle. This year I’m doing better, though. My legs <strong>and</strong> other<br />

problems are more manageable now that I have been working on them.<br />

In the end, my courage might not seem like much to some people, but to me,<br />

it matters a lot. Working through my challenges <strong>and</strong> seeing them get better is<br />

the greatest demonstration <strong>of</strong> courage in my life.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“To me, courage<br />

means even though<br />

you are scared<br />

to do it, you<br />

continue to do it.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

97


Bailey Bodvin<br />

Crystal Tomecek, Teacher<br />

New Oxford Middle School, Oxford, PA<br />

Both feet l<strong>and</strong>ed in a perfect arch. Her body gracefully flew across the stage.<br />

<strong>The</strong> music was like a blanket following her every move. Until it wasn’t. Until it<br />

stopped. But she kept moving. Without the music, every whisper, every gasp,<br />

every laugh, <strong>and</strong> every little breath was heard. Everything. That didn’t stop<br />

her. She kept going <strong>and</strong> we could hear when she fell. When she tumbled.<br />

When she lost her rhythm. <strong>The</strong>n she stood back up <strong>and</strong> kept dancing, twirling<br />

as gracefully as before.<br />

I was the mere age <strong>of</strong> two when I first witnessed what I believe to be true<br />

courage. My sister was eleven, <strong>and</strong> one <strong>of</strong> the best dancers I have ever seen<br />

to this day. <strong>The</strong> first time I ever watched her dance, everything that could<br />

go wrong, did. Her music stopped, <strong>and</strong> she fell moments after. Despite<br />

everything, she mustered all the courage she had left to st<strong>and</strong> up <strong>and</strong><br />

finish her dance.<br />

She had never had something go wrong during a dance recital, much less<br />

a competition. <strong>The</strong> instructors never told her what to do in the event <strong>of</strong> a<br />

mishap. She had absolutely no clue what to do. That didn’t stop her. That<br />

didn’t stop her from st<strong>and</strong>ing back up <strong>and</strong> continuing to dance as if nothing<br />

had happened. <strong>The</strong> audience was silent <strong>and</strong> everyone’s eyes were on her.<br />

Every little sound echoed through the auditorium.<br />

When she finished dancing, she struck the last pose <strong>and</strong> nothing was heard,<br />

except for me, the two-year-old who was cheering with excitement that could<br />

have lit up a room. <strong>The</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> the audience joined in the round <strong>of</strong> applause<br />

immediately after.<br />

I didn’t think that my clapping would do anything or impact anyone, but it<br />

did. My sister didn’t place in the top three <strong>and</strong> didn’t even win a medal, but<br />

she didn’t care. <strong>The</strong> only thing she cared about was making sure that the<br />

audience saw who she was, not what they expected her to be. Everyone was<br />

waiting for her to st<strong>and</strong> up <strong>and</strong> walk <strong>of</strong>f stage when she fell, but she didn’t. For<br />

every little boy <strong>and</strong> girl in the audience, that was true inspiration. <strong>The</strong>re were<br />

teenagers older than her hugging her, thanking her for not giving up <strong>and</strong> for<br />

showing them what courage is.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

98


“Everyone has a<br />

fear. <strong>Courage</strong> is<br />

looking your fears<br />

in the face, <strong>and</strong><br />

laughing at them.”<br />

My sister had about two seconds before becoming a laughing stock <strong>of</strong> the<br />

entire audience. She made the decision as soon as the issue arose that if<br />

she didn’t st<strong>and</strong> up <strong>and</strong> keep dancing, she would regret the decision for<br />

the rest <strong>of</strong> her life.<br />

That would have been the day she let her little sister down. I looked up to her<br />

<strong>and</strong>, if she had walked <strong>of</strong>fstage, I would have thought that it’s okay to give up<br />

the moment things go wrong. But she didn’t. She showed me how much she<br />

cared. Because truly, that’s what courage is.<br />

She wasn’t only dancing up on that stage for me, but for herself. She had to<br />

prove to herself that she could push away the fear that overtook her body<br />

<strong>and</strong> let her bravery take over. She forced herself to be brave. It might seem<br />

mundane that an eleven year-old girl kept dancing when she could have just<br />

given up, yet it’s the complete opposite. In that moment, she wasn’t just some<br />

eleven year-old girl. She was a big sister. A role model. A trend breaker. And<br />

most <strong>of</strong> all, brave.<br />

That’s what courage means to me. Showing the world that you can do<br />

anything when they think you can’t. Proving to yourself that you won’t give up<br />

no matter how tough life gets. Over everything, courage does not mean being<br />

fearless. That’s impossible. Everyone has a fear. <strong>Courage</strong> is looking your fears<br />

in the face, <strong>and</strong> laughing at them.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

99


Taya Meyers<br />

Cathy Kimbrough, Teacher<br />

Fillmore Central Middle School, Fairmont, NE<br />

My sister <strong>and</strong> I had a bad childhood. When we were growing up, my mom was<br />

abusive. We had to run back <strong>and</strong> forth to my aunt’s house, then back to our<br />

mom’s house.<br />

It all started when my gr<strong>and</strong>ma died when I was six. When she was still around,<br />

our mom was so loving to me <strong>and</strong> my sister. My dad went to jail when I was<br />

about two, so I had spent four years <strong>of</strong> my life without a dad. It was really hard<br />

at the park when the other kids were playing with their dads. We felt like the<br />

only kids without a dad.<br />

After our gr<strong>and</strong>ma died our mom was never around. My twelve year-old sister<br />

had the choice to take care <strong>of</strong> me or not. She chose to take care <strong>of</strong> me. A<br />

twelve year-old taking care <strong>of</strong> a six year-old.<br />

Our mom never took us to the park, but I was happy to be stuck with my sister<br />

<strong>and</strong> her best friend who adored me. I know I was loved by her <strong>and</strong> my sister.<br />

She brought us food. My sister always put me first to eat, then she would eat<br />

after me. When our mom was depressed, she <strong>and</strong> her friends did drugs when<br />

they came over. I hated the smell <strong>of</strong> the house. Our mom would sleep around<br />

with guys. Sometimes we had no choice but to sneak out to our aunt’s house<br />

or to my sister’s friend’s house. We did what we had to do to get away from our<br />

abusive mom. I wish mom didn’t do drugs or sleep around with guys.<br />

Now we are adopted by our aunt. Surviving this time in my life with the help <strong>of</strong><br />

my sister showed me that we were both brave <strong>and</strong> courageous when we had no<br />

other choice.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

100


“Surviving this time<br />

in my life with the<br />

help <strong>of</strong> my sister<br />

showed me that we<br />

were both brave<br />

<strong>and</strong> courageous<br />

when we had no<br />

other choice.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

101


Vivian Verano<br />

Andrew Richards, Teacher<br />

Keith Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

I never really thought I’d have this way <strong>of</strong> thinking.<br />

When I was younger, I thought people that thought like this were crazy. Insane.<br />

Sorry younger me, but I guess I would have thought you were insane too.<br />

One day, suicide just seemed like an option. I got overwhelmed <strong>and</strong> my mind<br />

raced with thoughts like, “If you died all <strong>of</strong> this would go away.” And even more<br />

common, “No one would care.” I believed that. Every single day, for so long.<br />

Eventually it was going on for too long. Too long for me to h<strong>and</strong>le, too long<br />

for me to bear. So, I stopped it. I fed into the thoughts <strong>of</strong> hurting myself. This<br />

went on for weeks, maybe even months. It’s one big blur at this point. I do<br />

remember one thing from that time <strong>of</strong> my life, though. Vividly.<br />

I brought what I needed to hurt myself to school. It wasn’t much, but it made<br />

me bleed. I kept it in my backpack all day. See, when hurting yourself becomes<br />

a habit, something you do every day, it becomes almost fun. Like a game. I<br />

couldn’t get it out <strong>of</strong> my mind. Finally, I raised my h<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> asked my teacher,<br />

“Can I get something from my bag?”<br />

I was on my way to my backpack. It brought me so much guilt knowing what I<br />

was going to do after this. But I had to do it. I had that scratchy feeling on my<br />

arms. <strong>The</strong> feeling that made me remember. As if my brain was telling me, “Go<br />

do it. You know you want to.” Taunting me.<br />

But I got it anyway. I went back to my seat <strong>and</strong> waited a little while before<br />

asking the big question, “May I go to the bathroom?”<br />

I went into a stall <strong>and</strong> soon movements were being made <strong>and</strong> blood was<br />

going down my arm. I didn’t know what to do. It didn’t hurt like it usually did,<br />

<strong>and</strong> it bled a lot more. I put some tissue on it <strong>and</strong> exited the stall. I looked at<br />

myself in the mirror <strong>and</strong> put my fake smile on. I didn’t want my friend to<br />

know I was bleeding.<br />

I walked back into the classroom, forgetting about the blood. It was the one<br />

day I decided to wear a long sleeve shirt that wasn’t quite long enough. As I<br />

sat next to my friend, Elijah, I saw the blood appear again. It wasn’t stopping.<br />

I started to panic. Too much.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“Pain is temporary,<br />

help is permanent.”<br />

A panic attack set in. I was so scared. My other friends, Maryam <strong>and</strong> Aubrey,<br />

rushed over after seeing me hyperventilate. <strong>The</strong>y kept asking me if I was okay,<br />

<strong>and</strong> what happened. It sounded like I was underwater. With the strength I<br />

had, I raised my h<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> asked to go to the nurse with a friend. Aubrey<br />

volunteered <strong>and</strong> walked with me.<br />

I was planning on only staying for an anxiety attack. I didn’t want to disappoint<br />

my mom with the call the school therapists would make. I sat for thirty<br />

minutes <strong>and</strong> had some water. I made the decision. I was going to ask for help.<br />

I called the new, younger nurse in <strong>and</strong> pulled up my sleeve. “Can I get a<br />

b<strong>and</strong>aid for this, please?” She agreed <strong>and</strong> made small talk with me. Eventually<br />

she asked what happened.<br />

I thought for a minute about whether I should tell her or not. It seemed like a<br />

good idea, so I did. I told her everything. She waited with me while she called<br />

the counselor down.<br />

She eventually called my mom <strong>and</strong> brought me to a room with her <strong>and</strong> my<br />

mother. I was so nervous. But I had to do it. So I could get better.<br />

As soon as I stepped through the door my mom started sobbing. I felt so bad.<br />

Why would I do this to her? “I’m such a bad daughter,” I thought throughout<br />

the whole meeting. <strong>The</strong>y asked why I did what I did <strong>and</strong> everything like that.<br />

I answered them honestly, <strong>and</strong> eventually they said they were going to get me<br />

therapy <strong>and</strong> some help. I would finally get better.<br />

“Pain is temporary, help is permanent.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

103


Adelany Perez Rust<strong>and</strong><br />

Valerie Parent, Teacher<br />

Keith Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

For me, courage is taking risks <strong>and</strong> overcoming your fear. Overcoming your<br />

fear may be hard to do, but there is always a way to overcome it. Some people<br />

may find it hard. I know I did.<br />

This all started on my bus ride to school when I was in elementary school.<br />

I was speaking Spanish because my friend only understood that. On our way<br />

to school we would speak Spanish <strong>and</strong> this kid named Luis always used to<br />

say, “This is America, we speak English, not whatever you’re speaking.” My<br />

friend didn’t underst<strong>and</strong>, but I did. It started to become a thing that he<br />

did every single day.<br />

He would start to get more <strong>and</strong> more violent towards me. He would push<br />

me, kick me, beat me up. I used to go home with bruises <strong>and</strong> cuts. My mom<br />

started to worry <strong>and</strong> told me that I was perfect the way I was, <strong>and</strong> that speaking<br />

Spanish could help in the future. I didn’t believe her at the time, but I knew<br />

deep inside she was right.<br />

I went to school with the bruises <strong>and</strong> cuts <strong>and</strong> my friends would ask me what<br />

happened. I wanted to tell them, but I kept it a secret. I would say I fell,<br />

but that didn’t happen. I was on the way to school <strong>and</strong> speaking Spanish<br />

when Luis came up to me. I stood up <strong>and</strong> said, “I underst<strong>and</strong> you don’t like<br />

speaking Spanish, but you don’t have to hurt me.” I’m proud <strong>of</strong> who I am, <strong>and</strong><br />

I’m proud that I can speak more than one language.<br />

After that day, I always had a bright smile on my face because I knew that I<br />

overcame my fear <strong>of</strong> st<strong>and</strong>ing up to my bully <strong>and</strong> I had the courage to do it. I<br />

took a big risk <strong>and</strong> I overcame my fear, <strong>and</strong> I feel proud.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“After that day, I<br />

always had a bright<br />

smile on my face<br />

because I knew<br />

that I overcame my<br />

fear <strong>of</strong> st<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

up to my bully<br />

<strong>and</strong> I had the<br />

courage to do it.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

105


Makayla Horvitz<br />

Ashley Harwood, Teacher<br />

Roosevelt Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

To me, courage isn’t the big things, it’s the small everyday things that push<br />

you to your limits.<br />

I’m a quiet person, I’ll admit that. I’m that one kid in the back <strong>of</strong> the class<br />

who never answers questions. But the thing is, I’m one <strong>of</strong> the smartest kids<br />

in the class. I always have the right answers, but I can never actually say<br />

them out loud.<br />

At the beginning <strong>of</strong> sixth grade, I was introduced to a new school with a lot <strong>of</strong><br />

new people, people I didn’t know <strong>and</strong> people I didn’t trust. I’m generally bad<br />

at talking to people, especially new people I’ve never met before. On the first<br />

day <strong>of</strong> school, I sat in the back corner <strong>of</strong> the class. I only knew three people<br />

in my entire class. <strong>The</strong>re were so many new people I felt overwhelmed, so<br />

overwhelmed I couldn’t even look the teacher in the eye.<br />

After a few weeks had passed, I became more comfortable around everyone<br />

<strong>and</strong> people started talking to me. We became friends. Life is always better with<br />

friends, right? For the first time in years I had made new friends. Making new<br />

friends made me want to better myself, to be talkative like them. But I can’t.<br />

I always feel like there’s someone watching me, judging my every action.<br />

It stops me from doing things I’ve always wanted to do. That fear <strong>of</strong> people<br />

judging me. Deep down I know that they don’t care if I mess up, but part<br />

<strong>of</strong> me says that they do care <strong>and</strong> that they notice every mistake I make.<br />

I’ve tried to overcome that feeling. But no matter what, that part <strong>of</strong> me will<br />

always exist. No matter what I do, there will always be that part <strong>of</strong> me that<br />

can’t talk to people, that part <strong>of</strong> me that, no matter what I do, will think I’m<br />

doing it wrong. But having <strong>and</strong> making friends makes overcoming that fear<br />

so much easier.<br />

Sometimes my teacher will call on me now, <strong>and</strong> honestly, it takes a lot out <strong>of</strong><br />

me, but I try my best to answer questions when I have to. I still don’t raise my<br />

h<strong>and</strong> in class, but I try my best every day to keep doing those small things.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y may seem like a simple task to most people, but for me, it takes courage<br />

to do small, everyday things, like simply talk to people.<br />

I am the way I am, <strong>and</strong> that’s okay. I am good enough for me.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

106


“I am the way I<br />

am, <strong>and</strong> that’s<br />

okay. I am good<br />

enough for me.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

107


Serenity Lopes<br />

Carolyn Westgate, Teacher<br />

Roosevelt Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

A lot <strong>of</strong> people really want to do something, but they are scared to do it<br />

because they don’t want to fail <strong>and</strong> be embarrassed. Well, that was how I felt<br />

when I went to try out for the basketball team. I really wanted to do a sport,<br />

<strong>and</strong> I really liked basketball. So, I knew it was the perfect time to try out<br />

because they had a girls basketball team at my school <strong>and</strong> it was basketball<br />

season. <strong>The</strong> day before tryouts I was playing basketball at the park with my<br />

dad <strong>and</strong> looking up a few things that I might need to know about basketball.<br />

<strong>The</strong> night before tryouts I was really nervous, <strong>and</strong> I started to debate whether<br />

I should even try out anymore or not. I was sure that I was not going to make<br />

the team. So I thought <strong>and</strong> thought <strong>and</strong> then I realized, “I am only in the<br />

sixth grade, I still have two more years. I can try out <strong>and</strong> it would give me<br />

time to practice.” I also knew that there would be a lot <strong>of</strong> girls trying out <strong>and</strong><br />

I would not be the only one who didn’t make the team. So, I picked out my<br />

outfit for tryouts <strong>and</strong> I went to sleep.<br />

When I woke up, I was trying to be very confident. When tryouts came I saw<br />

my cousin Tamia, so that made me feel a little bit better. But I was still really<br />

nervous because there were a lot <strong>of</strong> girls there trying out. When the coach<br />

called us into a circle, I got really scared <strong>and</strong> my heart was beating really fast.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first thing we were doing was easy; it was basic dribbling. We went on,<br />

<strong>and</strong> when we got to the shooting I was very scared because I was not a good<br />

shooter. But I continued.<br />

When it was time to say who was on the team I had my fingers crossed. I was<br />

really sad when the coach didn’t say my name. I was sad <strong>and</strong> I just walked out<br />

<strong>of</strong> the gym. When I got out <strong>of</strong> the school, it turned out a lot <strong>of</strong> girls didn’t<br />

make the team, <strong>and</strong> they all told me there was always next year <strong>and</strong> that they<br />

would be trying out next year too.<br />

This took a lot <strong>of</strong> courage, <strong>and</strong> I didn’t think I could do it, but, “Hey, what do<br />

you know? I did it even though I didn’t make the team!” It is better to try than<br />

not try at all, right? I know if I can do it, you can do it too!<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

108


“It is better to<br />

try than not try<br />

at all, right?”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

109


Janiyah Sanchez<br />

Colin Southgate, Teacher<br />

Norm<strong>and</strong>in Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

What does courage mean to you? I think it means when you’re dealing with<br />

something hard but you never give up.<br />

I realized what courage was when I was nine years old. I lived in upstate<br />

New York with my family. One day, my siblings <strong>and</strong> I were walking to the<br />

store. As we got back to the house, the people next door were screaming,<br />

“Your house is on fire!” We were confused. We looked at the house <strong>and</strong><br />

smoke was coming out!<br />

We lost everything.<br />

After the Red Cross was called <strong>and</strong> they informed my mom that they could not<br />

help us because my mom got paid too much, they sent us to <strong>Boston</strong>. When we<br />

arrived in <strong>Boston</strong>, we stayed in a hotel for a few days. <strong>The</strong> next day my mom<br />

went to the <strong>Boston</strong> Housing Authority. We stayed there until we were able to<br />

get into a shelter. <strong>The</strong>y ended up placing us in a shelter in New Bedford. After<br />

being in a shelter for a year or so, we finally got housing.<br />

This was hard for me because I lost everything <strong>and</strong> I had to leave my family,<br />

even my dad. It was hard getting used to being in a new school <strong>and</strong> making<br />

new friends, but I didn’t give up. I kept being happy. I ended up making<br />

many new friends.<br />

My message is: even when you’re going through hard times in life, never give<br />

up! It was a hard lesson for me.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

110


“My message is:<br />

even when you’re<br />

going through<br />

hard times in life,<br />

never give up!”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

111


Nevaiah Sanchez<br />

Debra Mendes, Teacher<br />

Norm<strong>and</strong>in Middle School, New Bedford, MA<br />

My life is not perfect, but it is a lot better than it used to be. Let’s go back to<br />

when I was just six years old. Back then, to say my life was difficult would be an<br />

understatement. My dad did not act how you would expect a dad to act.<br />

When I was about six years old my dad got custody <strong>of</strong> me <strong>and</strong> I would only<br />

see my mom every other week for two days. <strong>The</strong> problems started right away.<br />

He would start to hit me <strong>and</strong> my siblings when he thought we were bad. He<br />

especially hit me because I was his biological daughter, <strong>and</strong> I guess I was the<br />

worst child. At around seven he decided to homeschool me for the first half <strong>of</strong><br />

second grade. I got beaten or hit, every day. Every time I got an answer wrong<br />

I would get hit with a long skinny wooden rod. Finally, he decided to send me<br />

back to school. I thought this would make things better, but sadly I was wrong.<br />

I tried so hard in school, <strong>and</strong> when I brought home grades I was proud <strong>of</strong>, but<br />

they weren’t good enough for him, he would SHOW me they weren’t.<br />

Around eleven, I started to become more <strong>and</strong> more afraid <strong>of</strong> my father. I<br />

would be terrified to be left home alone with him, without my sister. I would<br />

ask to go to a friend’s house if I knew he was going to be the only one home.<br />

He would tell me to shut up <strong>and</strong> that I had no friends. I finally ended up living<br />

with my mom because my father started drinking more <strong>and</strong> more. Sadly, at<br />

that time, my dad still had visitation rights, <strong>and</strong> he was out <strong>of</strong> control more<br />

than ever. When I went to visit him <strong>and</strong> the kids, I was forced to clean the<br />

nasty dog’s room. I would gag from the smell <strong>and</strong> filth. He would give me<br />

seventh <strong>and</strong> eighth grade work to do, <strong>and</strong> if I couldn’t do the work correctly,<br />

he would put me in a freezing cold room where there was no heat. I was<br />

forced to st<strong>and</strong> in just a bra <strong>and</strong> underwear for hours upon hours, freezing<br />

<strong>and</strong> shivering with my arms wrapped around myself just trying to keep warm.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> the worst punishments I remember was when he got really mad <strong>and</strong><br />

made me eat dog food with ketchup on top. If I threw it up, he would<br />

make me eat the throw up.<br />

I haven’t seen my father since Father’s Day <strong>of</strong> my eleventh year.<br />

It took a lot for me to speak up <strong>and</strong> to be heard back then. It took even more<br />

courage for me to think back about it, write it down, <strong>and</strong> share it with you.<br />

Like I said, my life isn’t perfect, but I have come a very long way.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

112


“It took even more<br />

courage for me to<br />

think back about it,<br />

write it down, <strong>and</strong><br />

share it with you.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

113


Hind Abdulhamied<br />

Haifa Al-Jabobi, Teacher<br />

Sawdah Bint Zam’ah, Sana’a, Yemen<br />

I live with my mother <strong>and</strong> sisters. My father is in prison. I was always sad that<br />

my father is in prison. One day we received news at home that my father had<br />

married me to a prisoner. We did not believe it, especially my mother, who got<br />

mad. I was only eleven years old.<br />

My mother went to the prison to clarify the matter. She was introduced to the<br />

person who, supposedly, I had been married to. She met him <strong>and</strong> he said he<br />

has a marriage contract <strong>and</strong> that I am legally his wife. He asked my mother to<br />

bring me to the prison.<br />

My mother told him, “My daughter is only eleven years old. She is very young,<br />

<strong>and</strong> will not marry a criminal in prison.” <strong>The</strong> news about me spread quickly<br />

on social media. Despite that, I continued to go to school. When students<br />

<strong>and</strong> teachers asked me, I told them that I would not get married, <strong>and</strong> I would<br />

continue my education.<br />

My mother took my case to court, asking to revoke the contract. Many people<br />

showed solidarity with us, including lawyers <strong>and</strong> the Ministry <strong>of</strong> Human Rights.<br />

In the following four months I met many people to explain my position,<br />

including the media. I went to the court <strong>and</strong> talked to the judge.<br />

<strong>The</strong> court’s decision was to revoke the contract. I finally gained my freedom.<br />

I did not fear the threats from the person in the prison. My freedom is more<br />

precious than anything else.<br />

I am now continuing my school. At the same time, I attend court hearings<br />

for a case to cancel my father’s custody over me, because <strong>of</strong> his ignorance in<br />

marrying me to the prisoner in exchange for money. I will not fear anything.<br />

I will fight for my future <strong>and</strong> for my freedom.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

114


“My freedom is more<br />

precious than<br />

anything else.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

115


Mohamed Al-Harazi<br />

Osama Al-Harazi, Sign Language Translator<br />

Al-Amal School for the Deaf <strong>and</strong> Mute, Sana’a, Yemen<br />

I grew up wondering why I am different from other children, why I cannot<br />

talk. At the age <strong>of</strong> five, I realized that I could not talk because I cannot hear.<br />

I used to watch children my age talk, laugh, <strong>and</strong> play. I could tell this from<br />

looking at their movements, but I could not tell what they were saying. I<br />

felt sad about myself. Although I learned some signs, I could not respond<br />

to people when they talked to me. I responded by shouting with anger,<br />

<strong>and</strong> by crying.<br />

When I went to school I did not know what the teacher <strong>and</strong> students were<br />

saying. I quit school. I grew older without attending school. I saw children<br />

going to school, playing, <strong>and</strong> laughing, but I could not do that. <strong>The</strong> children<br />

would not accept me because I could not talk <strong>and</strong> hear. I wanted to go to a<br />

school to learn how to express myself. Thank God, I started going to a special<br />

school for the deaf <strong>and</strong> mute.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first days were strange <strong>and</strong> difficult, but eventually I liked the school.<br />

I excelled in my studies <strong>and</strong> completed two years in one year. I met many<br />

girls <strong>and</strong> boys <strong>and</strong> made friends. Every day I learned new things. I learned<br />

to do things like carrying things, <strong>and</strong> I started working. This gave me<br />

a lot <strong>of</strong> confidence. People started to trust me <strong>and</strong> ask me for help <strong>and</strong><br />

praise my work.<br />

I still miss it that I am unable to hear. When Ramadan comes, I fast like other<br />

kids, but when Maghrib, the time we break our fasting, comes, I do not know<br />

until I see people starting to eat. When people ask me what I need for Eid, I<br />

say I need to hear the prayer.<br />

I live in Faj Attan, a place that has been a target for air strikes. Every time<br />

there is a strike, I don’t realize what is happening until I see people running.<br />

One day I was home alone. <strong>The</strong> door <strong>of</strong> the room suddenly broke. I was<br />

scared. I went to the street <strong>and</strong> saw people running. I did not know what to do.<br />

I continue to go to school. I love my school <strong>and</strong> I work hard to learn. I have<br />

a hope to install a hearing aid that will allow me to hear like other children.<br />

I have confidence that I will become normal. I dream <strong>of</strong> completing my<br />

education <strong>and</strong> becoming an ENT doctor to help people who are like me.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

116


“Every time there<br />

is a strike, I don’t<br />

realize what is<br />

happening until I<br />

see people running.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

117


Aminah Shou’e<br />

Mohamed Dhiab, Teacher<br />

Ibn-Zaidon, Abbs-Hajja, Yemen<br />

At the age <strong>of</strong> eight I had a disease called Osteoporosis that affected my lower<br />

limbs <strong>and</strong> left me unable to move. I left school <strong>and</strong> had to stay home. I felt sad<br />

watching girls going to school. Some kids would look at me, <strong>and</strong> others would<br />

mock me. My father <strong>and</strong> mother encouraged medication. My father was trying<br />

to find treatment for me, <strong>and</strong> I went with him from one place to another. He<br />

did all he could. During this time I stopped going to school. When I thought<br />

about going to school, I was afraid <strong>of</strong> others making fun <strong>of</strong> me. I stayed home<br />

for two years, while watching my friends going to school. I felt sorry for myself.<br />

One day when I was watching the girls go to school, I thought about trying to<br />

go to school. <strong>The</strong> main problem was how to get there. I could not walk, <strong>and</strong><br />

we do not have any means <strong>of</strong> transportation. <strong>The</strong> only solution was for my<br />

brothers to carry me to school, <strong>and</strong> they did. <strong>The</strong>y carried me to <strong>and</strong> from<br />

school every day. I was very happy, but I would ask my brothers to put me<br />

down if other people were approaching us.<br />

This continued with the support <strong>of</strong> my father <strong>and</strong> brothers, <strong>and</strong><br />

encouragement from my teachers <strong>and</strong> friends. Now, everyone in the village<br />

is trying to help me. Yes, I lost my ability to move, but I did not lose my<br />

determination <strong>and</strong> ambition. I will finish my education, make my dreams<br />

come true, <strong>and</strong> make my family proud <strong>of</strong> me.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

118


“Yes, I lost my<br />

ability to move,<br />

but I did not lose<br />

my determination<br />

<strong>and</strong> ambition.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

119


Manahel Ali<br />

Haifa Al-Jabobi, Teacher<br />

Sawdah Bint Zam’ah, Sana’a, Yemen<br />

I was five years old <strong>and</strong> I was playing near my mother, who was preparing food<br />

in a mud oven. <strong>The</strong> oven was on fire <strong>and</strong> very hot. I was curious to see what<br />

was inside the oven. I don’t know what happened, I don’t remember anything,<br />

but I fell into the oven.<br />

I cannot forget the pain I had before I lost consciousness. When I woke up my<br />

face was different, <strong>and</strong> my h<strong>and</strong>s were burnt. Although I was rescued quickly, I<br />

suffered tremendously. My dad took me immediately to the doctor. <strong>The</strong> doctor<br />

recommended that my h<strong>and</strong> be amputated. Dad did not agree, <strong>and</strong> tried<br />

to find a medication to reduce the pain <strong>and</strong> minimize the damage. Friends<br />

advised my father to go to Saudi Arabia to get medication, <strong>and</strong> so we did.<br />

It was a long medical journey in Saudi Arabia. Every day I would ask my<br />

father to bring me a mirror. I would look at my face to see if it had improved,<br />

but there was only minor improvement. I started to accept my new look,<br />

especially once the pain <strong>of</strong> the burns was going away. I felt sad that my look<br />

had changed. I remembered my friends <strong>and</strong> how they would look at me. I was<br />

scared that they would make fun <strong>of</strong> me.<br />

We finally went back to Yemen. My look had changed <strong>and</strong> I had lost my<br />

fingers. I am no longer the same child, <strong>and</strong> my life has changed forever. But I<br />

had to accept my new reality. When I turned seven years old, I asked my father<br />

to take me to school. I faced the challenges <strong>of</strong> how people looked at me, <strong>and</strong><br />

the children making fun <strong>of</strong> me. I felt that the best answer was to work hard<br />

<strong>and</strong> be successful in school. I did well in school <strong>and</strong> won first place in my class.<br />

In 2015, the war in Yemen started <strong>and</strong> my area in Saada was affected by air<br />

strikes. My father decided to move to Sana’a. After we arrived in Sana’a my dad<br />

registered me in a school. I was worried about how the other girls would look<br />

at me, especially on the first day. I received a lot <strong>of</strong> support from my father,<br />

my teachers, <strong>and</strong> the classmates who learned about my story. Everybody was<br />

curious to know what had happened to me. I am no longer afraid <strong>of</strong> telling my<br />

story. I promised my father I would always be successful in my studies. I plan<br />

on going to university <strong>and</strong> studying cosmetic surgery.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

120


“I am no longer<br />

the same child,<br />

<strong>and</strong> my life has<br />

changed forever.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

121


Moneer Al-Anesi<br />

Noman Abdallah, Teacher<br />

Al-Rasheed, Sana’a, Yemen<br />

I was living with my three brothers, my mom, <strong>and</strong> my dad in a beautiful area in<br />

Sana’a. I used to go out <strong>and</strong> play with my friends in the neighborhood. I was<br />

happy with my father who provided me with everything I needed. My brother,<br />

who has a small shop, would give me chocolate <strong>and</strong> biscuits when I went to<br />

his shop to bring groceries home. Mom was working in the school I used to<br />

attend. She was a social worker. Students <strong>and</strong> teachers were always praising her<br />

work. I was very proud <strong>of</strong> that.<br />

On one cold winter night last year, my father asked my brother to buy a heater,<br />

<strong>and</strong> he did. After that we gathered in my parents’ room because it was warm.<br />

We were used to mom <strong>and</strong> dad waking us up in the morning, at 6:30. One day,<br />

it was already 9 o’clock when I woke up. My brother had already gone to his<br />

work. I was surprised that mom <strong>and</strong> dad did not wake up. I knocked on their<br />

door, but I did not hear any response. I felt more worried. I knew something<br />

strange was happening. I tried to open the door, but it did not open. I tried to<br />

break it, but I failed.<br />

I ran to my brother in the shop. I told him that mom <strong>and</strong> dad did not open<br />

the door <strong>and</strong> did not reply to me knocking in the door. My brother closed the<br />

shop <strong>and</strong> came home with me. We were running <strong>and</strong> my brother called mom<br />

<strong>and</strong> dad on their phones, but they did not reply. We finally broke the door. I<br />

found my dad’s body was blue, he was already dead. We took mom <strong>and</strong> dad to<br />

the hospital. I was asking doctors to hurry <strong>and</strong> rescue my mom, but she was<br />

also dead. <strong>The</strong>y both died <strong>of</strong> gas poisoning.<br />

After my parents died, I thought that life was over. We are lost, <strong>and</strong> we will not<br />

be able to survive without them. How could I live without them, how could I<br />

study <strong>and</strong> learn? Who will provide me with all I need? At school, my friends<br />

<strong>and</strong> teachers were sad for what happened. <strong>The</strong>y missed my mother who had<br />

worked in the school for 33 years. <strong>The</strong>y supported me <strong>and</strong> encouraged me.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y named one <strong>of</strong> the school facilities after her: “Samira Al-Fakih.”<br />

My brother supports me. He is now providing for the family. I must continue<br />

my education <strong>and</strong> realize the dream <strong>of</strong> my mother <strong>and</strong> father <strong>of</strong> becoming an<br />

engineer. I go to school every day, <strong>and</strong> study hard. Every day I go to school, I<br />

remember my father <strong>and</strong> mother, <strong>and</strong> I feel more determined to succeed.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

122


“After my parents<br />

died, I thought<br />

that life was over.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

123


Kimora Myles<br />

Fransisca McDougal, Teacher<br />

El Shaddai SDA Primary School,<br />

Cayo District, Belmopan, Belize<br />

<strong>Courage</strong>. What is courage to me? Well, we all know that there is a time when<br />

we all need courage. <strong>Courage</strong> gives us a platform to build on <strong>and</strong>, the greatest<br />

part, a voice. Without it we would not be able to st<strong>and</strong> up for what we know is<br />

right. <strong>Courage</strong> is the path that keeps us going when we are facing tough times.<br />

I needed courage when my mom passed away with leukemia. My little<br />

sister <strong>and</strong> I thought that we would be living on the streets. We started crying,<br />

<strong>and</strong> I had to find a way to calm her down. A few days later, we found out that<br />

before our mom passed away she had already planned where my sister <strong>and</strong><br />

I were going to stay until we were old enough to go live on our own. Before<br />

she died, she asked her boss to take care <strong>of</strong> me, <strong>and</strong> my sister was to go live<br />

with her dad. While I was living with my mom’s boss, she had three sons.<br />

I was the only girl, <strong>and</strong> most <strong>of</strong> the time I thought that they were always<br />

picking on me. When I heard that she was a police <strong>of</strong>ficer I became afraid,<br />

because police <strong>of</strong>ficers liked to beat on innocent people (or so I thought).<br />

Throughout the time I was living there, a voice was always telling me<br />

to have courage <strong>and</strong> tell her how I really felt. Every time that voice came<br />

in my head I always blocked it out.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n one night the two <strong>of</strong> us were eating alone. I decided to talk to her about<br />

how I felt. One voice in my head would say, “Don’t, she will beat you.’’ <strong>The</strong><br />

other one would say, ‘’Do it because the problem will only get bigger.” So,<br />

I decided to tell her how I felt. I was relieved from that night on. I was no<br />

longer holding back what I had to say to her. I had found my voice.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are many people out there who find it hard to attach to something or<br />

someone new. Always listen to that positive voice in your head, or else the<br />

problem will only get bigger <strong>and</strong> you won’t be able to find a solution to it. A<br />

wise person once told me to speak out <strong>and</strong> be bold, because life is not getting<br />

easier <strong>and</strong> no one can help you if you don’t speak out. No one can help you<br />

without knowing what you are feeling inside. That was how I got my courage<br />

to make a st<strong>and</strong> for what I know was right.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

124


“<strong>Courage</strong> is the path<br />

that keeps us going<br />

when we are facing<br />

tough times.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

125


Asha Allen<br />

Susana Coy <strong>and</strong> Ms. Godoy, Teachers<br />

Our Lady <strong>of</strong> Guadalupe R.C. Primary School,<br />

Cayo District, Belmopan, Belize<br />

Throughout my life, as a young female, I was consistently told by my mother<br />

that girls should be seen but not heard. I have always questioned what it<br />

meant <strong>and</strong> how it impacted me as a young female growing up in Belize. My<br />

mother has always been the one who enforced extracurricular activities in<br />

my household. My dad is popularly known for his basketball career as a teen<br />

<strong>and</strong> as a young adult. My older sisters who play volleyball <strong>and</strong> steel pan fill<br />

my household with both active <strong>and</strong> talented people. Seeing this within my<br />

household influenced me to join some after-school activities.<br />

As I became more interested in these activities, I wanted to play football <strong>and</strong><br />

basketball with my friends at school. But my mother insisted that I engage in<br />

more ladylike activities since I was a growing, young lady. I was placed in ballet<br />

<strong>and</strong> piano classes because those activities were seen as decent <strong>and</strong> feminine. In<br />

the beginning, I liked dancing with the other girls, but over a period <strong>of</strong> time,<br />

it didn’t feel like me. I enjoyed running, sweating, <strong>and</strong> feeling the adrenaline<br />

rush through my entire body. Sitting around a desk, dressing up or acting<br />

mannerly are stereotypical behaviours that are only seen as acceptable growing<br />

up as a female. Although we live in a time when women in sports are accepted,<br />

we always get labelled as a tomboy or even as a homosexual because we enjoy<br />

such activities. Still, I know my mother was trying to avoid me being called<br />

names, so I continued taking part in them.<br />

When I started St<strong>and</strong>ard Five, I realized that they had sports teams in my<br />

community <strong>and</strong> I wanted to join them. My St<strong>and</strong>ard Five homeroom teacher<br />

told me about a football club that I could join. I was very excited because I<br />

knew I would have a perfect excuse to quit the activities that I was already in,<br />

so I signed up <strong>and</strong> was ready to play football. Being in football came naturally<br />

for me. I didn’t feel overwhelmed waking up in the morning to play the sport<br />

<strong>and</strong> was excited to run around in the sun, with my cleats scraping the grass.<br />

Unfortunately, my mom <strong>and</strong> some older women didn’t like that I was playing<br />

football because the sport was rough <strong>and</strong> it didn’t seem like an activity that<br />

a growing young lady should be participating in. My mom asked me to quit.<br />

I was furious.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

126


“At first, my mother<br />

didn’t like what I<br />

was doing, but my<br />

bold demeanour led<br />

her to underst<strong>and</strong><br />

what I truly<br />

enjoyed doing:<br />

being myself.”<br />

I know that growing up <strong>and</strong> finding yourself is something that is very difficult<br />

to do. I didn’t want anyone forcing their opinions <strong>and</strong> dreams on me. I<br />

wanted to be myself <strong>and</strong> have my own identity. So at twelve years old, I had the<br />

courage to st<strong>and</strong> up for my dreams, regardless <strong>of</strong> what our Belizean society<br />

believes. I told my mother that even though I’m a growing female, things that<br />

seem ladylike were not for me. At first, my mother didn’t like what I was<br />

doing, but my bold demeanour led her to underst<strong>and</strong> what I truly enjoyed<br />

doing: being myself.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

127


Jabin Ramos<br />

Niketa Lemoth, Teacher<br />

St. Martin’s Government School,<br />

Cayo District, Belmopan, Belize<br />

What is courage? For me, courage is the strength someone has to have to do<br />

something scary; it is st<strong>and</strong>ing for something I believe in.<br />

I remember when I was five years old, when my family <strong>and</strong> I came to live here<br />

in Belize from El Salvador, from the colony <strong>of</strong> Ascienda El Tercio. It was a<br />

beautiful place to live, but then things got hard for my father, so we decided to<br />

come live here in Belize. I started school at the age <strong>of</strong> eight. My school’s name<br />

is Saint Martin Government School.<br />

On the first day <strong>of</strong> classes it was very scary because I didn’t know anyone <strong>and</strong><br />

felt consumed by loneliness, especially when my mom left to go back home. I<br />

didn’t know any English, so when the teacher started to speak I felt confused<br />

<strong>and</strong> lost. On the second day <strong>of</strong> school this feeling continued <strong>and</strong> I was still<br />

alone. I sat there at my desk alone when suddenly my teacher hit me. To this<br />

day, I am unsure why it happened or what happened for her to do that.<br />

I didn’t know what I did wrong, <strong>and</strong> was confused. Later at lunchtime, my<br />

mother brought my lunch in for me. While she was there, she was observing<br />

me closely <strong>and</strong> she noticed something was wrong. She asked me what was<br />

wrong. I looked up <strong>and</strong> stared at her for a while, unsure if I should say<br />

anything. I sat there for a while until I gathered my courage, then I told her<br />

what had happened. She immediately got upset <strong>and</strong> went to the principal to<br />

report the teacher, which for me was scary.<br />

I now realize that courage is when someone needs to do something scary. I<br />

now underst<strong>and</strong> that some students get into a state <strong>of</strong> shock when the teachers<br />

abuse them, but they don’t have the courage to talk to people who can help<br />

them. For me, courage is important because it helps people to reveal what is<br />

happening to them <strong>and</strong> allows something to be done.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

128


“For me, courage<br />

is important<br />

because it helps<br />

people to reveal<br />

what is happening<br />

to them <strong>and</strong><br />

allows something<br />

to be done.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

129


Jordan Tillet<br />

Arcelia Coc, Teacher<br />

United Evergreen Primary School<br />

Cayo District, Belmopan, Belize<br />

Every once in a while, someone needs courage in their life. I had a bad<br />

problem with ghosts, <strong>and</strong> even though my mom told me that ghosts never<br />

really existed, I was still afraid <strong>of</strong> them. Sometimes my brother would spitefully<br />

lock me in the bathroom when no one was around. I would scream <strong>and</strong> cry. I<br />

wanted help, but no one else was there. I would avoid looking in the mirror<br />

because usually in horror movies, ghosts would appear <strong>and</strong> pull you into the<br />

mirror, or make you feel as though someone is st<strong>and</strong>ing behind you. I could<br />

not h<strong>and</strong>le that feeling.<br />

I can recall when my brother locked me up in that room for the last time. I<br />

stood up to him <strong>and</strong> told him that I was not afraid. I knew that deep inside I<br />

would still cry. I just wanted to put on a brave face so that my brother would<br />

not lock me in. He still did.<br />

While in that room, I decided not to cry or even scream. I said to myself that<br />

ghosts don’t exist <strong>and</strong> they are not real. At that moment I knew I had to do<br />

something. I just closed my eyes <strong>and</strong> believed in myself that, no matter what,<br />

I would not be afraid. Everything was quiet, <strong>and</strong> I can remember my brother<br />

knocking on the door asking me if I was still in there.<br />

I remained silent. I was so proud <strong>of</strong> myself because at that moment I felt the<br />

fear leave me.<br />

After that moment in my life, I was never afraid. I knew that courage was the<br />

only thing I needed to overcome my fears.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

130


“I just closed my<br />

eyes <strong>and</strong> believed<br />

in myself that,<br />

no matter what,<br />

I would not<br />

be afraid.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

131


Julia Freer<br />

Dawn Austin, Teacher<br />

American School <strong>of</strong> Barcelona, Spain<br />

To me, courage is doing something that you normally wouldn’t do, getting<br />

out <strong>of</strong> your comfort zone, overcoming a fear. I know for a fact that big roller<br />

coasters make me sick to my stomach. I normally end up loving them, but it’s a<br />

difficult task to actually get out the words, “I’ll go on it.” I knew I wasn’t alone,<br />

many people have this fear. I always feel like I need to go on them because<br />

both my brother <strong>and</strong> dad are super brave <strong>and</strong> always go on the tallest <strong>and</strong><br />

fastest ones you could ever imagine. I end up going with them, not so much<br />

for the fun <strong>of</strong> it, but to make my family proud.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re I was, waiting in a line, a long, long line for the scariest ride… <strong>The</strong><br />

Hulk. St<strong>and</strong>ing right beside me I had my dad <strong>and</strong> my brother, big surprise.<br />

I was determined to go on it, even though it was basically the last thing I<br />

wanted to do at Universal. It was such a huge roller coaster; it was green,<br />

had maybe ten loop-de-loops <strong>and</strong> -- may I mention? -- it was as fast as a rocket<br />

taking <strong>of</strong>f for a journey. Every time we saw it fly by us, we could only see it<br />

for a split second.<br />

“I am really nervous, I don’t know if I want to go,” I told my dad, clutching my<br />

stomach, feeling rather light-headed.<br />

“It’s okay, we all get nervous sometimes, you should go on it, we are already in<br />

line, maybe you’ll end up liking it.”<br />

Seriously? You were supposed to say, “It’s fine, you don’t need to go on it.”<br />

It’s our turn, I get on, the ride starts. I scream the whole entire time, while I’m<br />

holding my dad’s clammy h<strong>and</strong>, feeling insecure <strong>and</strong> anxious. I didn’t want to<br />

fall <strong>of</strong>f. I had heard stories <strong>of</strong> kids not getting buckled into the seat properly,<br />

<strong>and</strong> this got my heart pounding.<br />

I hate this so much, get me <strong>of</strong>f this ride immediately. I want to leave, I want<br />

to leave, I want to leave.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ride ended, I got <strong>of</strong>f the ride. I looked at my dad <strong>and</strong> my brother, they<br />

looked at me, <strong>and</strong> we laughed.<br />

“I can’t believe we just did that!” I told them, feeling rather dizzy. I was dizzy<br />

for a whole hour. I could tell that I wasn’t the only one.<br />

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“I had courage <strong>and</strong><br />

I know it paid<br />

<strong>of</strong>f… BIG time.”<br />

My mom asked us how it went, <strong>and</strong> we all surprisingly answered, “It was<br />

horrible.” I was happy for once that I wasn’t the only one who disliked it. I will<br />

say that it was fun to have my family with me. It was like I had gone on a scary<br />

adventure to the unknown.<br />

For the first time, I felt like I didn’t need to do it just for my family, but for<br />

me <strong>and</strong> only me. Next time, if I don’t want to go on something, I’ll know that<br />

I don’t need to go on it unless it’s appealing to me. This doesn’t only apply for<br />

rides, this applies to all <strong>of</strong> my life decisions. This moment has made me who<br />

I am today because I don’t get that nervous feeling anymore, now that I’m<br />

only going on rides that I want to go on. I had courage <strong>and</strong> I know it paid<br />

<strong>of</strong>f… BIG time.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

133


Kunthea Mab<br />

Phalla Ol, Teacher<br />

<strong>The</strong> Cambridge Cambodia School,<br />

Kauk Rovieng Village, Cambodia<br />

<strong>The</strong> meaning <strong>of</strong> courage for me is to try very hard to overcome every obstacle.<br />

It involves persistence <strong>and</strong> daring to do what you think is correct <strong>and</strong> not to<br />

care about what anyone is saying. <strong>Courage</strong> benefits every human, both poor<br />

<strong>and</strong> rich people. Most importantly, we may use courage to help deal with<br />

difficult situations.<br />

Here is a story from my culture that helps me stay courageous. It’s an old story<br />

about the Queen <strong>of</strong> Cambodia during the Khmer Empire. She reigned a very<br />

long time ago during the era <strong>of</strong> Srey Ayuthyea. At that time, women asked<br />

men to marry them, but there was not any man who dared to become engaged<br />

to her because she was the queen <strong>and</strong> reigned over everyone.<br />

So the queen created a competition for the women to build a mountain<br />

(Srey mountain) <strong>and</strong> the men to build their own mountain (Pros mountain).<br />

Whichever team built the highest mountain would be the winners, <strong>and</strong><br />

the losers would have to ask them to marry. <strong>The</strong> losers would propose, <strong>and</strong><br />

the winners could say no to them if they chose. <strong>The</strong> women who were not<br />

beautiful or charming liked this idea because it was sometimes difficult to<br />

engage a man to be their husb<strong>and</strong>.<br />

<strong>The</strong> women were very clever. <strong>The</strong>y gathered together to make many lanterns,<br />

<strong>and</strong> they flew those lanterns in the sky so that they looked like the morning<br />

stars. <strong>The</strong>y wanted the men to misunderst<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> think those lanterns were<br />

the morning stars, so they would sleep late <strong>and</strong> not get out <strong>of</strong> bed to work on<br />

building their mountain. Meanwhile, the women worked very hard to build<br />

their own mountain higher than the men’s mountain. Because <strong>of</strong> this the<br />

men lost the bet. Starting from that time, the tradition changed <strong>and</strong> men<br />

must now ask women to be their wife, <strong>and</strong> the women are the ones who are<br />

able to say yes or no.<br />

<strong>The</strong> women in the era <strong>of</strong> Srey Ayuthyea inspire me because they had the<br />

courage <strong>and</strong> perseverance to dem<strong>and</strong> the right not to engage men to be their<br />

husb<strong>and</strong> if they didn’t want them. Women nowadays must be greatly valued<br />

<strong>and</strong> take care <strong>of</strong> our customs without losing courage. Every woman has the<br />

right to achieve anything. <strong>Courage</strong>ousness is a very important thing to pull<br />

us to reach success.<br />

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“<strong>Courage</strong>ousness is<br />

a very important<br />

thing to pull us<br />

to reach success.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

135


Sytha Rath<br />

Phalla Ol, Teacher<br />

<strong>The</strong> Cambridge Cambodia School,<br />

Kauk Rovieng Village, Cambodia<br />

Being a student I ought to have courage to resolve my family conflicts, as well<br />

as the conflicts <strong>of</strong> people around me. <strong>Courage</strong> is struggling, an effort, it means<br />

to have bold determination to achieve any task that we wish to implement.<br />

I have always tried to help resolve the conflicts <strong>of</strong> my family, <strong>and</strong> even my<br />

friends, by speaking reasonably <strong>and</strong> with courage about the problems that<br />

I have seen. My father can be a cruel person when he comes home from<br />

drinking alcohol <strong>and</strong> is violent to my mother. Whenever I saw him hurt my<br />

mother, I always tried to lure him away <strong>and</strong> get him not to hit her. Because <strong>of</strong><br />

my efforts he has now stopped his violence against my mother.<br />

I have two siblings <strong>and</strong> I am the eldest child in the family. My younger brother<br />

doesn’t obey my mother’s advice, nor mine. He likes hanging out with bad<br />

people. My mother was furious when a group <strong>of</strong> police came to our house to<br />

investigate my brother. <strong>The</strong>y told my mother <strong>and</strong> me that my younger brother<br />

was arrested because he’s addicted to opiates. I pleaded with the police to<br />

release my younger brother from jail, <strong>and</strong> I have tried by all means to advise<br />

him not to do anything illegal anymore, but to no avail. In order to support<br />

the family, my mother <strong>and</strong> I grow <strong>and</strong> sell morning glory vegetables around<br />

the village. Sometimes, I also go to help gather the neighbors’ rice so we can<br />

get a little money to buy food <strong>and</strong> medicine for my mother.<br />

Regarding the violence in the family <strong>and</strong> addictive drugs, I wouldn’t like our<br />

neighbors’ families to face problems like we have, because it means there is<br />

no happiness in the family <strong>and</strong> all <strong>of</strong> these bad conditions will be exposed to<br />

other neighbors’ families as well. I use my courage to remind other young<br />

kids in the next generation not to get involved in addictive drugs the way my<br />

younger brother has done.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“I use my courage<br />

to remind other<br />

young kids in the<br />

next generation<br />

not to get involved<br />

in addictive drugs<br />

the way my younger<br />

brother has done.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

137


G. Uranchimeg<br />

Ya. Dagiimaa, Teacher<br />

Munkhkhann Soum High School,<br />

Munkhkhaan Soum, Sukhbaatar Province, Mongolia<br />

In 2015, I was a little girl in the fifth grade. Our family were herders, <strong>and</strong><br />

I was the youngest daughter. One spring my mom was invited to work as a<br />

chef in the local kindergarten. We were looking forward to walking into a<br />

joyous life with sustainable wages in the public service sector, where she<br />

could have colleagues <strong>and</strong> a team. But we walked into something entirely<br />

different, <strong>and</strong> dark.<br />

This was a misunderst<strong>and</strong>ing between my parents, <strong>and</strong> alcohol addiction. <strong>The</strong><br />

fighting <strong>and</strong> the vodka consumption increased day by day like the stars in a<br />

night sky, <strong>and</strong> laughter became as rare as stars in a daytime sky. I had no one<br />

to talk to, <strong>and</strong> felt like the lonely moon in a dark sky.<br />

When I tried to open up to people about what I was going through I<br />

felt shame <strong>and</strong> judgmental stares -- sometimes whispers <strong>of</strong> gossip. But I<br />

experienced courage, <strong>and</strong> proved that fate exists in this experiment <strong>of</strong> life.<br />

I decided that I would speak to my parents. I couldn’t look them in the eye,<br />

words couldn’t escape my mouth, <strong>and</strong> the tears wouldn’t align with my cheeks.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n I burst into tears <strong>and</strong> ignored my fear. Human communication, I think,<br />

is an unwritten law <strong>of</strong> life that regulates how bright one’s life is. <strong>The</strong> courage I<br />

displayed seemed like a very slowly arriving train. <strong>The</strong> ride that finally arrived<br />

carried with it confidence, with the will to speak up <strong>and</strong> seek happiness.<br />

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“But I experienced<br />

courage, <strong>and</strong><br />

proved that fate<br />

exists in this<br />

experiment <strong>of</strong> life.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

139


Ts. Azbayan<br />

A. Oyungerel, Teacher<br />

120th School, Bayanzurkh District,<br />

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia<br />

Darkness is my biggest fear. I am scared <strong>of</strong> the dark all the time. I live in a<br />

situation where I have to walk in darkness every day. I live in a poor district<br />

where the streets are not lighted. When we have to come home late, we have<br />

to walk in the dark streets.<br />

I didn’t know I could overcome this fear <strong>of</strong> darkness. I didn’t even know that<br />

I needed courage to overcome it. Fear <strong>of</strong> darkness was just a part <strong>of</strong> me <strong>and</strong><br />

a part <strong>of</strong> my existence. But, one incident taught me a lesson <strong>of</strong> courage in<br />

overcoming my fear.<br />

One night my mother got very sick. I wanted to help my mom <strong>and</strong> wanted to<br />

give her some medicine, but we had no water. I realized I needed to run to<br />

my gr<strong>and</strong>mother’s home, which is located two streets away. I ran there as fast<br />

I could, but the darkness had overcome the sun <strong>and</strong> it was completely dark<br />

outside. My heart started pounding so hard. I started trembling. Scared, I ran<br />

back home as fast as I could. I lacked courage.<br />

When I returned <strong>and</strong> saw my sick mother, I got the courage I needed to go<br />

back out there <strong>and</strong> run to my gr<strong>and</strong>mother’s to get some water for my mom.<br />

As I ran out, I was still very scared. But the need to help my mom gave me<br />

courage to overcome my fear. I ran so fast <strong>and</strong> in the blink <strong>of</strong> an eye I was<br />

there at my gr<strong>and</strong>ma’s. I couldn’t believe I had done this.<br />

After this incident, I learned that sometimes we see things as bigger <strong>and</strong> more<br />

dangerous because <strong>of</strong> our fear inside. Once you get the courage to overcome<br />

certain challenges, the things we thought big <strong>and</strong> bad may not be the case.<br />

You realize that afterwards.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“But the need to<br />

help my mom gave<br />

me courage to<br />

overcome my fear.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

141


N. Chimedsuren<br />

O. Adyasuren, Teacher<br />

120th School, Bayanzurkh District,<br />

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia<br />

I am different from other children because my skin color is brown. <strong>The</strong>refore,<br />

growing up I felt different. I thought: I am uglier than the other children. Not<br />

pretty. Especially when children bullied me about my skin color, I felt more<br />

miserable. I thought I was so unlucky. I blamed myself.<br />

Every morning when I looked at myself in the mirror, I asked, “How can<br />

I whiten my skin color?” Now, when I look back at what I was doing, I<br />

realize that the question I asked myself every morning that was making<br />

me feel so miserable was really wasting time <strong>and</strong> energy on something that<br />

I can’t change.<br />

When I reached fourteen years old, I found the right answer to my never<br />

ending misery by asking myself the right question. <strong>The</strong> right question is: “Do<br />

I have to be liked by everyone?” I must be liked by my own self. This was the<br />

most important revelation in my life. I must be pleased <strong>and</strong> be happy with<br />

what I have. Finding this out <strong>and</strong> realizing how important it is for me to like<br />

myself, even my skin color, was revolutionary for me.<br />

<strong>The</strong> instructor from the Personal Development Institute, Mrs. Erdene, came<br />

to introduce us to the MAX<strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum program. We learned the<br />

real life story <strong>of</strong> a boy named Max, <strong>and</strong> other children’s real life courage<br />

stories from the essay book. <strong>The</strong> stories <strong>of</strong> other children who overcame<br />

challenges, like bullying, were important because they told me that I am not<br />

alone, <strong>and</strong> knowing that these children had overcome such challenges, I<br />

realized that I can too.<br />

It was not my skin color that was holding me back, but the lack <strong>of</strong> knowing<br />

my true value <strong>and</strong> believing the lies about me, not the actual truth <strong>of</strong> how<br />

valuable I am. This program helped me realize my true value <strong>and</strong> gave me<br />

confidence <strong>and</strong> happiness. It added a beautiful color to my skin now.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

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“It was not my skin<br />

color that was<br />

holding me back,<br />

but the lack <strong>of</strong><br />

knowing my true<br />

value <strong>and</strong> believing<br />

the lies about me,<br />

not the actual<br />

truth <strong>of</strong> how<br />

valuable I am.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

143


B. Urangoo<br />

Ts. Bolormaa, Teacher<br />

Baruun-Urt 2nd Secondary School,<br />

Baruun-Urt State, Sukhbaatar Province, Mongolia<br />

<strong>Courage</strong> is not just men’s character. <strong>Courage</strong> is also for women. My mother is<br />

that example. She is an example <strong>of</strong> a courageous woman.<br />

When I was in the third grade I lost my dad. My dad died. Since this moment<br />

on, my mother played the role <strong>of</strong> both mother <strong>and</strong> father in our lives. She<br />

worked so hard. I am very proud <strong>of</strong> my mother for being so courageous.<br />

I believe that there are two kinds <strong>of</strong> courage. <strong>Courage</strong> is not only soul power,<br />

but it is also physical power. My mother has both the soul power <strong>and</strong> also the<br />

physical power that usually characterizes men. My mother is a courageous<br />

woman who worked hard to raise her children. I believe these two powers<br />

are unequally given to people. Some have more <strong>of</strong> the one, <strong>and</strong> others have<br />

more <strong>of</strong> the other. My mom has both, as she showed to us through her own<br />

example. I feel protected when I am around my mother. I feel like she is my<br />

superhero. I feel at peace when she is around. I like to be with my mom. I<br />

feel her strength. As she was going through so many difficulties, she was just<br />

pressing on, working hard. She kept us safe <strong>and</strong> loved us. I think this feeling <strong>of</strong><br />

safety comes from her inner strength <strong>and</strong> her goal to fight for her children.<br />

My mom is my example, <strong>and</strong> I want to be someone like her who st<strong>and</strong>s up for<br />

life <strong>and</strong> fights for those things that are valuable in life. I believe my father left<br />

his manly physical power <strong>and</strong> soul power to me <strong>and</strong> to my mom.<br />

My mother is my teacher <strong>of</strong> courage. I want to keep my promise to myself to<br />

pay back my mom by becoming a good person <strong>and</strong> a successful person. I want<br />

to take care <strong>of</strong> my mom when she needs me.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

144


“<strong>Courage</strong> is not<br />

only soul power,<br />

but it is also<br />

physical power.”<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

145


Ts. Nyamsuren<br />

M. Munkhzul, Teacher<br />

120th School, Bayanzurkh District,<br />

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia<br />

“Humans are soul beings” – this is what my teacher told me. For me it was<br />

such a deep <strong>and</strong> secretive thing that I wanted to learn what it really meant.<br />

As time went by, this word became more meaningful, <strong>and</strong> I wanted to know<br />

exactly what it meant for me.<br />

This is something that is seemingly so simple, so I wonder why it seemed to<br />

have such a deep meaning for me. I thought there was a crucial secret behind<br />

it. Some things that were easy for other students weren’t easy for me. It was<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten the case.<br />

For me, it was most difficult to make friends. It was never easy for me to be<br />

close with other students. This was because <strong>of</strong> my family situation. We moved<br />

a lot, <strong>and</strong> I would move from one school to another <strong>of</strong>ten. Sometimes it was<br />

so painful to be separated from friends I had finally made. It was the saddest<br />

thing. <strong>The</strong>n it became just a part <strong>of</strong> life -- to move away.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, after a while, I didn’t even try to make friends, knowing that we will<br />

move away anyway. I stopped communicating with other students. I isolated<br />

myself from others. I didn’t try to work in groups <strong>and</strong> teams. Especially, if<br />

I felt there was a difficulty in communication, I would just give up <strong>and</strong><br />

quickly isolate myself.<br />

But, it wasn’t easy to be alone. No one to talk to. No one to laugh with. No<br />

one to play with. <strong>The</strong>se things pained me from the inside, eating me from<br />

the inside out. Sometimes I felt I was sick. It was a sickening experience.<br />

I was becoming angry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> thought came to my mind: “What if I will regret isolating myself as a<br />

child later in my life when I became an adult?”<br />

I realized that my soul wanted to share with others, my soul wanted to<br />

communicate with others. Realizing what my soul desired was a crucial<br />

moment. My soul’s desire helped me to have the courage to communicate<br />

with students, to be among them so that I could share with them <strong>and</strong> be<br />

happier. I made new friends.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Courage</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Children</strong>: <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Beyond</strong><br />

146


“<strong>Courage</strong> feeds our<br />

souls, <strong>and</strong> souls<br />

are our strength.”<br />

Not long after this I realized what my teacher really meant. Yes, we are soul<br />

beings. Souls need to be nourished. Souls need belonging. Souls need <strong>and</strong><br />

souls want to share with others what we have: happiness, pain, <strong>and</strong> all<br />

other things. Souls desire to communicate. Souls want to give. Souls want<br />

to take as well.<br />

My teacher was so right. This word was for me. It was me.<br />

Sometimes in life there will be situations that may stop us, but courage will<br />

make us move ahead. <strong>Courage</strong> feeds our souls, <strong>and</strong> souls are our strength.<br />

It’s the same as the fuel that the car needs to run. We coexist with each other.<br />

Yes, my teacher was right.<br />

Volume XXIX<br />

147


<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum is a yearlong<br />

language arts program dedicated to strengthening the socialemotional<br />

learning <strong>and</strong> literacy skills <strong>of</strong> students. Since the<br />

organization’s inception in 1991, the <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>Courage</strong> in My Life National Essay Contest have enhanced the<br />

academic performance, critical thinking skills, <strong>and</strong> essential<br />

knowledge <strong>of</strong> more than 200,000 sixth grade students in the<br />

<strong>Boston</strong> Public Schools <strong>and</strong> in local parochial, charter, pilot,<br />

<strong>and</strong> private schools, as well as in schools in 28 states across<br />

the country <strong>and</strong> in 16 countries worldwide.<br />

the courage <strong>of</strong> children: boston <strong>and</strong> beyond<br />

This book shares the stories <strong>of</strong> 71 brave children from the city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

surrounding communities, <strong>and</strong> from schools across the country <strong>and</strong> around the<br />

globe. <strong>The</strong> first story is about Max Warburg, a sixth grader whose steadfast<br />

determination <strong>and</strong> heartfelt hope in the face <strong>of</strong> his battle with leukemia is the<br />

inspiration behind <strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum. <strong>The</strong> essays that follow<br />

are written by current middle school students who have discovered, recognized,<br />

<strong>and</strong> come to celebrate the courage in their lives.<br />

Northeastern University is proud to join with <strong>The</strong><br />

Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum in a partnership to<br />

strengthen the social-emotional learning <strong>and</strong> literacy<br />

skills <strong>of</strong> sixth grade students in <strong>Boston</strong> <strong>and</strong> beyond.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Max Warburg <strong>Courage</strong> Curriculum<br />

at Northeastern University<br />

263 Huntington Avenue, Box 366<br />

<strong>Boston</strong>, Massachusetts 02115<br />

617.373.7399 www.maxcourage.org

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