• Mr Dixon

HEROES: KS3 Commended

Mia in Year 8 shares her definition of it what it means to be a hero in lockdown. And it's awesome!


hero: noun | he·ro | \ ˈhir-(ˌ)ō

The definition of hero in the Merriam Webster dictionary is “one who shows great courage”.

When one thinks of the word hero, different perspectives come to mind. Superman is a hero. The Invincible Man of Steel saved the world many, many times. He fears nothing and no-one, but is he really courageous? What about Batman? Armed with the Bat-mobile, and all those gadgets, and that bulletproof gear: is he the real hero?

Well, not all heroes wear capes. Black Widow, a diligent spy in the Marvel Universe, shows real courage. She goes into the battlefield, fearless, without superpowers or fancy gadgets. She might very well be the hero.

Winton Churchill was a hero. He stood up to the Nazis and inspired an entire nation. He showed courage in the face of adversity. But weren’t the soldiers who faced flying bullets in muddy trenches the real heroes? And how about the women, left behind to take care of the country, trying to feed their terrified children when resources were scarce? They were the heroes, too.

Over the last 12 months, our world has changed dramatically. What was considered normal is now cautioned. Acts like hugging a grandparent or shaking hands with a teacher are prohibited, replaced with suffocating masks and latex gloves, protecting humanity against itself. And yet, new heroic figures have emerged out of this sinking pandemic. Our predicament has carved new champions out of the bedrock of society. Doctors are the new heroes, devising strategies to save lives. But could they do it without the nurses, who sit by the bedside tables of the very sick, healing and comforting, staring despair straight in the eyes, unflinching? And for every nurse on the front lines, there’s also a bus driver carrying her to work early in the morning, and back at home after a long shift. Sure, we applaud the NHS, but we don’t clap for the bus drivers. So, who is the real hero?

The closing of our schools is the last straw. Schools are much more than learning centres. Schools are where kids build their social skills and create tight bonds with each-other. A place where we can be ourselves without the real pain of the outside word. For some, schools are the safe place. The only safe space. Many children don’t have loving homes to go back to, yet they are now stuck at home.

The school is my hero, but would it be a hero without the community surrounding it? Our civitas teachers are definitely heroes. They used to greet the student at the gate every morning, rain or shine. Now, they support them with distanced learning.

But we might be forgetting the true heroes in our community, in our school, in our classes: the students of Bolingbroke Academy. They had to overcome so much adversity, but they are still powering through, resilient and courageous. Waking up to a screen instead of seeing their friends, dialing into Zoom calls instead of walking together on a busy Northcote Road, chatting and laughing towards a bright future.

Is there a moral to the story? Yes, always. Heroes are made, not by their powers, but by the circumstances surrounding them. Their courage is born out of adversity.

As the great David Bowie famously sang: “We can be heroes. Just for one day”.

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