Hero Project

Composed and Collected by Alex

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A Muse of Social Service

I remember a cold Saturday, early in the morning. I remember chilled noses, ragged clothes, earnest faces. I remember boxes of vegetables, bags of rice, tables of delicious foods. I remember the day Julia got me up early to go hand out food at a homeless market. Helping out such helpless people really enriched my life, viewpoint, and world view, an experience that changed me forever. I could not have accomplished it without my personal hero, Julia Nagel, who also happens to be my sister.

A Hero's Guise

The dictionary defines a hero as someone of distinguished courage or ability, admired for their deeds and noble qualities. Social psychologist and author Scott Allison says, "People tend to believe that heroes possess many or all of The Great Eight traits of heroes: smart, strong, caring, reliable, resilient, selfless, charismatic, and inspiring." In reality, heroes can be anyone. A hero can be someone who has done something you admire, whether it be winning a soccer championship or adopting a dog about to be put down. A hero can be someone who is strong when you are not. A hero doesn't have to be perfect. A hero is someone who inspires you, or who is there for you when you need them.

A hero is someone who inspires someone with a trait they possess. A hero is the person ambitious and courageous enough to rise through the ranks of a multi-billion dollar corporation. Imagine the secretary, admiring the person with the traits to succeed, with just the right amount of ambition to inspire said secretary. The person who worked extremely hard and then demanded a promotion, rising to manager of another district of the corporation. Consider how this galvanized the secretary into working harder and always seeking more, seeing how ambition can help inspire success. Does that not make the person with ambition a hero? They motivated someone, their ambition showing above all else to this secretary. This person with ambition may not be perfect. Not every hero is. They cannot fly, might not even be smart or athletic. But they had one thing, the ambition to rise in the ranks, and this influenced someone who hadn't risen before. They only needed to have a single trait to inspire the secretary to find their ambition too. The person with ambition is surely a hero, inspiring someone with one of their traits, inciting them into the actions that lead to success.

A hero is someone who motivates someone with their actions. Say you are feeling rather down. Your best friend walks up, letting you know they are writing a book about their beliefs to try to make an impact. Immediately you perk up. You want to write a book. This can be anyone. Your friend was just a hero, inspiring you to action. Anyone can do this. Whether it be picking up a bit of litter that inspires a weekend park cleanup, or making a piece of art, as long as it inspires someone, it makes that person a hero. Heroes aren’t perfect. They are absolutely ordinary, but unique enough to spur on another person.

A hero is someone with strength where you have none. Many people go through tough times, suffering, falling into depression, simply struggling with what they deal with. A hero doesn’t have to solve all their problems. Just being the rock they hold onto can be enough. Being strong when they aren’t makes them a hero. Imagine you are someone who just moved from everything you know to across the country. Your hero doesn’t need to be the fairy that waves their magic wand, making everything as it was before. It can just be the family member that is always there for you through thick and thin.

Perhaps “hero” is said and the image of a brightly colored suit on the edge of a building appears in your mind, but for me I see someone with passion, drive, courage, ambition, kindness, optimism, anyone at all with someone who admires them. It can be an action or emotion, strength where there is none, the light in the darkness, but anyone can be a hero just by inspiring, motivating, or helping someone else.

Gandhi: Champion of Satyagraha, Untouchable Hero

Alex Nagel

P5 Boeckman


Some people are meant for greatness. For years the British had dehumanized the Indians, ruling them for the gain of themselves, but the Indians would soon find themself a champion. Mahatma Gandhi grew up as a lawyer, working hard to become the greatest he could be. Like destiny, Gandhi, perfect for his role because of his background in law, found himself the leader of thousands of vengeful Indians. He saw the plight of his own people and couldn’t help but fight for them, like a true hero. His legacy inspired millions of others besides those he helped directly.Mahatma Gandhi is an untouchable hero because he inspired the Indians and many other protestors with Satyagraha, his movement of nonviolent protest.

Ghandi is an untouchable hero because he inspires people with his Satyagraha movement and his actions involving it. For example, "Mandela was inspired by the Satyagraha campaign led by Gandhi" (Pal). Similar to many other great heroes in the past, Mandela too was inspired by Gandhi. Satyagraha is non-violent protest, first created by Gandhi. In South Africa, where Mandela was, there was apartheid and vicious discrimination. Mandela became a politician to fight it. He used Gandhi’s technique of Satyagraha to fight the racism despite being arrested several times. Gandhi also inspired others such as MLK. During his early years, MLK "launched into an exhaustive study of Gandhi's teachings" (Commire, Paragraph 9). He then moved on to use Satyagraha to fight similar racial conditions in the US, marching through the streets and earning freedom and equality. Gandhi inspired Martin Luther King Jr.’s greatest work, his achievement of granting equality to people of all colors. He left behind a legacy of the power of peaceful protest, teaching everyone their own power without violence. Gandhi’s work changed the world forever, changing hundreds of occasions that may have resulted in vicious violence into powerful expressions of the human spirit that forever altered the world for the better. Gandhi is a hero because he inspired some of the world’s greatest leaders, and through them millions.

Now, Ghandi and my sister both have similar traits that inspire people and work to achieve what they believe in. For example, Julia’s first project was an animal olympics competition between pets that raised money for a shelter. She went around with her friends, putting up posters and talking on the school broadcast every day. Julia raised around five hundred dollars for her cause. She inspired people to come out and help, just like Gandhi did for the Indian people, achieving their freedom. Not only are they similar in this way, they also work to achieve what they believe in. Julia was not assigned this work. It was not for credit of any kind. She went and did what she wanted to, did what she believed in. My sister wanted to save animals in need, and so she went and created, using her own ideas, a successful fundraiser. Gandhi did a similar thing. He had gone to Europe for an education, but when he returned from Europe he gave up the life of a lawyer for that of a leader of the people of India. Gandhi did what he believed in, successfully achieving his goals. Gandhi inspired a nation to rise up using nonviolent protests, and inspired thousands more of similar kind. Julia’s work is rougher, with less funding and less developed ideas, but no less important. My sister’s work inspires people small scale, but food to a hungry child makes them just as happy as receiving freedom despite the quantitative difference. All in all, while on different scales, Julia and Gandhi share many similar traits.

Heroes come from all places, all backgrounds and perspectives, affecting different people. My sister and Gandhi, for example, have similar traits but work on very different scales, working for very different changes. Julia works with friends, getting people at school involved. Each inspires me to be great, to be kind, to inspire others myself. Julia has inspired me to help out in my community, such as bringing cans to a shelter to stock their pantry or helping out at a homeless market, both of which Julia has inspired me to help her do. Gandhi inspires me to stand up for what I believe in and help people despite my sacrifices. They have both taught me to do what I believe in, and effect change myself instead of just sharing ideas.

Works Cited

Mark, Joshua J. “Dogs in the Ancient World.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., 21 June 2014. Web. 2 Mar. 2016. <http://www.ancient.eu>.

“Martin Luther King, Jr.” Historic World Leaders. Ed. Anne Commire. Detroit: Gale, 1994. Biography in Context. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.

“Mohandas Gandhi.” American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 5 Feb. 2016.

“Olympian Gods and Goddesses.” InfoPlease. Sandbox Networks Inc., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2016. <http://Www.infoplease.com>.

Pal, Amitabh. “Mandela Took Inspiration From Gandhi.” Progressive. Progressive, 3 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://progressive.org/news/2013/07/182893/mandela-took-inspiration-gandhi>.

Rothermund, Dietmar. “Mahatma Gandhi.” Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Ed. Karen Christensen and David Levinson. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003. Biography in Context. Web. 5 Feb. 2016.

Thayer, Bill. “Greek and Roman Household Pets.” Penelope Uchicago. N.p., 2 May 1998. Web. 2 Mar. 2016. <http://Penelope.uchicago.edu>.

Trueman, C. N. “India 1900 to 1947.” historylearningsite.co.uk. The History Learning Site, 17 Dec. 2015. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/india-1900-to-1947/>.