Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Heroes (03/08/04)
TITLE: HERO PAR EXCELLENCE
By Angela Williams
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Reggie was the biggest boy in the class. His parents had moved in the middle of the term because his father had got a new job in Beechamville. He did not know the children and they all had their own friends. He had tried to get into their groups but somehow, he always seemed to do the wrong thing. He was very unhappy and he took it out on anyone who crossed his path. He was tired of not fitting in.
Recess came and the children were all out on the playground. Reggie watched as the boys kicked their ball around laughing and shouting, while the girls who were not on the slide or the jungle gym, played those silly games that included clapping their hands together and reciting dumb lines. Some of them were skipping. They all looked so happy. Reggie was restless. What could he do? He looked around him and saw the fenced in swimming pool. It was out of bounds. He would just go and look around. No one would see him.
Reggie went to the gate and tried to open it. It was locked. The gate was only open when the swimming teacher was conducting lessons. He continued around the fence until he found a place he could climb over. He dropped to the other side and walked around the pool. Then he saw it. There was a pocketknife on the bottom. He had always wanted a knife like that. If he got a stick, he could push it up to the shallow side and use his toe to take it out. He looked around and found a length of pipe that he could use to push the knife out. Things were going quite well when Reggie leaned over too far. With a loud splash, he fell into the water. He could not swim.
“Help, help” he hollered as he came up for air the first time. Daniel, heard the shout and looked to see where it was coming from. He heard the loud splashing and ran to the fence, just in time to see Reggie going under again. Without stopping to think, Daniel shouted “help, help, somebody call a teacher”, while he raced toward the pool. The gate was locked but Daniel knew where he could get over. He ran to the spot, climbed up, jumped down and dived into the pool. He swam to Reggie, grabbed the back of his shirt as he had been taught, and started pulling him to safety.
“Easy does it Reggie, I’ve got you,” he said to the boy who was still thrashing about. Reggie calmed down somewhat. By then, a number of other boys had climbed the fence and were waiting at the edge of the pool while the girls were screaming and some teachers were running towards the fence. As soon as Daniel reached the side of the pool, strong arms reached to pull them out. Reggie was coughing and spluttering as they put him to lie down by the poolside. Soon the coughing subsided and he could breathe again. The class bully burst into tears.
Daniel, wet and shivering, hugged him. “Never mind, it is all over.” He said. By then, the gate of the pool area was open and the nurse and most of the teachers were there to assist. They wrapped the boys in sheets and took them to the infirmary where they were able to change into dry clothes. They decided to keep them in the infirmary for observation while they called the boys parents to let them know what had happened.
When Reggie got over his embarrassment, he told Daniel how sorry he was for picking on him and taking his money. He promised to give it back to him and asked Daniel if he would be his friend. Daniel remembered a golden text from 1 Thessalonians 5:15:
“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
The following Monday morning at school prayers, the principal called Daniel to the podium.
“Students” he said, “I am very impressed with how some of you behaved on the day of the pool incident. You reacted very quickly and had the sense to call for help. I am proud of you, you are real heroes. I want to commend a very special young man, Daniel McFarlane, whose quick thinking and action saved the life of Reginald Johnson. Daniel, on behalf of the school family, I present you with this trophy, for exhibiting great bravery in the face of danger. You are a hero par excellence.”