America & Me Essay contest was ‘My Personal American Hero” by Kristina Smail

On March 23, the three winners of the 48th annual America & Me Eassay contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insuarnce were recognized.

Brandon Middle School students Kristina Smail, Abigail Keel and Ben Hooper were awarded for their achievement. As the schools first place winner, Smail’s name will be engraved on a plaque displayed in the school office.

The topic for the 2016-17 America & Me Essay contest was ‘My Personal American Hero.”

Smail’s essay was about her cousin Mariah.

Smails’s first place essay now advances to the state level competition from which the top 10 essays in Michigan will be selected. The top 10 statewide winners, will be announced in April, with a $1,000 cash award.


My Personal Michigan Hero

By Kristina Smail

Brandon Middle School

Admiring, brave, courageous, idealized— all these words define what a hero is. Everyone can be a hero because it doesn’t matter if you inspire a whole group of people or just a few, you are still a hero. Out of everyone, I could’ve chosen as my hero I picked my cousin Mariah.

Only two years older than me, she changed my life for the better. She taught me important lessons that not even my parents did and that’s why she is my hero.

I grew up in northern Michigan, where the summers were nice and warm and the winters were very cold. It was almost summer and my family and I were planning on going to Tennessee over the summer. We decided to take our cousin Mariah with us because she never gets to really go out of state. Being about her second time, we decided to take her with us because she deserves to have fun for once.

Mariah was very mature for her age. I wanted to be just like her, so I changed my ways to be respected like a mature young adult just like her. Ever since I met her, she put me in the shoes of hers. She didn’t have a big house and often was depressed because of family issues, but nothing stopped her from living life to the fullest.

We got to our hotel at around noon, everyone was anxious to go in the pool, so when we were done unpacking our luggage, all six of us kids headed to the pool. There were a few elderly people chilling on the beach chairs, chatting away, and a small crowd of ten kids in the pool. Swimming in the pool for a few minutes, we decided to play some games. The elderly folks obviously heard all the noise and they giggled. One lady said that she loved kids and wanted to take a picture of us. We got ready to smile. My cousin backed away from us and motioned us away. “Never take a picture with someone you don’t know” were her exact words. “She can expose you.” I never thoiught about that. I was struck by reality and thanked her for catching our mistake. I always was told to be careful and never take candy from strangers. We were the candy. Mariah saved all of us from danger, she is our hero.


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