Newspaper article The Florida Times Union
Writing about Heroes Top Essays Win Tickets
When Twin Lakes Academy Middle School health teacher Patricia Gross heard about an essay contest in which students could write about their personal adult heroes, she read the fine print.
There, on the entry forms, it said the competition also was open to teachers to write about one of their students whom they felt demonstrated leadership qualities in and out of the classroom.
Gross knew just who to write about: Jacob Madden.
Madden, she said, has determination, faith and a strong spirit within him.
For her efforts, she was named one of five grand prize winners in early November in the "Trust Your Instinct" essay contest sponsored by Coca-Cola and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The winners were honored on the field at Alltel Stadium --- along with their heroes --- during the Jaguars' game Nov. 14. They and their heroes each received two tickets to the game.
Gross said she was impressed this year by Jacob, who made straight As in her class despite some personal problems and a leg injury that is keeping him from the love of his life --- sports.
"He still tries, despite the turmoil," said Gross, who was thrilled to stand beside Jacob on the field.
Meanwhile, Mandarin Middle School teacher Jane Feber's push to make her seventh-graders write, write and write some more paid off as well.
Three of the five winners in the contest --- Mike Wills, Jennifer Arevalo and Robby Hyatt --- were from her English class.
"This is only the beginning," said Feber, beaming with pride. "We're going to enter every contest there is."
The contest required children to write 200-word essays about an adult hero or mentor in their life. …