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FRIDAY REPORT

My Heroine

Students' tributes to their mothers and grandmothers poured in when LA Youth newspaper asked for submissions to an essay contest on "My Hero." This is a selection of essays provided to The Times by LA Youth, "the newspaper by and about teens," in advance of Mother's Day. They have been edited for space.

May 12, 2000

This is about a very special person who has made a difference in my life. She is not a famous actor or actress, nor a famous sports figure. The person who is my heroine is my maternal grandmother, Louise Garner.

Why is she so special? There are not enough adjectives to describe how wonderful a person she is. She is my rock that I lean on so frequently. I so desperately depend on her problem-solving skills, love, and discipline.

My granny is employed by the Superior Court. She works in a juvenile court. On occasion, she will tell us about some of the cases heard in her court, not giving any names of the minors. She then will ask us, her grandchildren, what would we do if placed in a situation wherein we had to decide to do the right thing or do what our friends are doing. These situations make us think for ourselves and remind us that we are the ones controlling our lives, and if we are to have any kind of decent life, we must at all times try to make good choices.

My grandmother is always there for me, even when I have not tried my best. She is forever telling me that I can be what I want to be. She tells me to work hard to improve my weaknesses and to become stronger in my strengths. An example: I did not want to attend tutoring. I felt ashamed and thought the other kids would make fun of me. For a long time, I made up excuses for not attending. My granny talked with me and said that I needed to empower myself. I had not a clue as to what "empower" myself meant. She went on to say that I needed to do what was best for LaQuiesha.

In no way am I saying that everything is always peaches and cream. Granny has good days and bad days just like I do. What I appreciate is that the good days far outnumber the bad days. She is an excellent listener, gives good advice, is thoughtful, giving, and brings down the hammer when needed.

When students are asked to write about their hero or heroine, many times they will select someone that is famous. Well, my grandmother is my famous person. She is a perfect example of the person I would like to model my life after. She has character, a beautiful smile, self-worth and always a kind word for me and others. I love her very much.

LaQUIESHA S. JAMES

Dominguez High School

Compton

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