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Who is your hero?

Who is your hero?

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Dear Graduates,

As any yearbook adviser or prom coordinator will tell you, trying to come up with a theme to summarize 18 years of a population's lives is not an easy task. Of course, you want the theme to be memorable, inspiring for the future and at the same time somewhat nostalgic for the past.

Several good ideas for this year's theme were presented, but only one theme seemed to have a pretty unanimous consensus: heroes. At the time, it just appeared to be a sweet way of saying "thanks" to all of those who helped the graduates get to that big day, but in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I cannot imagine a more fitting theme for the Roanoke Valley.

The Class of 2007, both high school and college, faced a senior year that I cannot begin to imagine. The sadness and hopelessness that came at a time supposed to be filled with joy was overwhelming. But your class is a strong class. You grieved and allowed yourselves to become better from it. And undoubtedly, you relied on a little help from your personal heroes. What you may not realize is that your strength and compassion made many of you heroes to your family and friends.

We as a community are proud of you, Class of 2007. We wish you all much happiness and the best of luck in the years to come.

-- Cindy Porter

Mandy Moomaw

Patrick Henry High School

Who is your hero? Jeanne Brown. She is the head athletic trainer at P.H. She is also a science teacher; she teaches sports medicine and anatomy and physiology.

How long have you known this person? Since freshman year, when I took her sports medicine class. She said she needed someone to help her out in the training room. I became her student assistant.

What qualities do you admire about this person? She has a fantastic sense of humor. Students love her and gravitate to her. She is very understanding, but she also stands up for herself. I really look up to her. She is an amazing individual.

What is it like to be around this person? She is very funny and very laid back. She really wants you to learn, but it's not boring. She makes you want to learn.

How has this person influenced you? She has taught me about being a trainer and about sports medicine. She has also taught me the importance of responsibility, discipline and commitment. I worked for her during football season and went to practice from four to eight every afternoon. I went to eight out of ten football games. I would love to pursue it [sports medicine] in college.

What's the most important thing this person has taught you? Stand your ground and be your own person. Don't be ashamed of anything about yourself.

-- reported by Hillary Mullet, Patrick Henry High School

Anne Tyler Feldmann

City School, Patrick Henry High School, Roanoke Valley Governor's School

I became inspired by the enthusiastic teaching of Mr. [Scott] Dreyer, my ninth-grade history teacher at Patrick Henry High School. Every day in class, it was obvious that he had a passion for what he was teaching and he wanted to pass that on to his students. I always found his lessons fascinating and was eager to learn more. Since his class, I have become more interested in the topics we learned and hope to further my studies in these areas in college. I also hope to carry the same positive energy and enthusiasm that he possesses.

-- Compiled by Jordan Fifer, Patrick Henry High School

Jasmine Reeves

Northside High School

What is a hero? According to the dictionary, a hero is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admittedly for his brave deeds and noble qualities. My definition of a hero is Scott Reeves, my dad.

My dad has served 24 years in the United States Marine Corps. During his time in the USMC, he spent seven months in Iraq and is scheduled to go back to Iraq in November for another seven months.

My dad is my hero because of his wisdom and strength. When my dad speaks, it usually is a lesson about life, and when I say strength, I don't mean physical, I mean mental. My father is the most determined man I know. He sets goals and won't stop until he has reached those goals. I remember when my dad said he would not get out of the Marines until he became a sergeant major, even if it means going to Iraq five times. When most people first see my dad, they think he is coldhearted, demanding and not funny. If you get to know him, you would find out that he is just the opposite. I am so proud of my father, Sgt. Maj. Scott Reeves, and all of his hard work.

-- Compiled by Cindy Porter

Kim McPhearson

Hidden Valley High School

"I had heard of her countless times from older, wiser students. They repeated the same monotonous warning: 'Advanced Chemistry with Mrs. Hicks will kill you.'

"It was with that in mind that I approached the most kindly woman I have ever met in my life."

Kim McPhearson, a senior at Hidden Valley High School, first met Karen Hicks, who is now teaching at Glenvar High School, in her advanced chemistry class last year. Since then, the two have become good friends and an almost inseparable pair of chemistry enthusiasts.

It all started with a simple class assignment for the first semester science projects. "All I did was say 'yes' to the project," explained Hicks. McPhearson chose to report on her interest in neurology (brain tumors, specifically) and shadowed with a brain surgeon. However, when the required hours were up, she wasn't ready to leave; now, the neurology unit at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital has become her second home and a place where she has interned almost every week for the past two years.

For this student and teacher duo, the past few years have been a learning experience for both of them. With Hicks, McPhearson adds, "No matter how many times I mess up, I can always ask for help."

So what does she see her student doing in the future? "Anything and everything," Hicks said confidently.

-- Reported by Betsy Graves, Hidden Valley High School

Andre Tucker

Patrick Henry High School

The individual that has inspired me the most is my grandmother. Life for me has not been easy, going through verbal, mental, and even physical abuse as well as switching between five high schools over a course of four years. However, to have people around you that you know care about you just makes life worth living. I would like to thank my grandmother Della M. Tucker. Thanks to her, I have graduated with an advanced studies diploma, earning five or more seals. I have been accepted to the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Randolph College and the University of Virginia's College at Wise.

-- Compiled by Jordan Fifer, Patrick Henry High School

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