Honoring Our Heroes


The program was designed to encourage children to discover “real life” heroes who have shown generosity, trust, persistence, dedication, leadership, creativity, caring, bravery, imagination, service, gentleness, courage or compassion. The creators of the program wanted the children to redefine the heroes they saw portrayed in the media – cartoon characters, superstar athletes, rock musicians, etc. – and to instead recognize the true heroes in their lives. These heroes might be a parent, grandparent, doctor, policeman, fire- man, relative, teacher, or anyone else that has had an impact on the student’s life, either directly or indirectly.


Students are encouraged to select a Real Life Hero who has shown one or more of the characteristics listed above. They are to write about their selected heroes according to the provided rules. Each PTO sets its own deadline and judges its own entries. The council then recognizes winners from each school at a reception. The winners, their heroes, and their parents are invited to the reception.


  • Decide how many winners you will have and how they will be honored.
  • Choose a date and location for your recognition reception. If done at the local unit level, you may want to do this at your February meeting for your Founders Day program.
  • Involve your principal/superintendent in the planning of your program. He/she may have resources available to assist you.
  • Set the deadline date for entry submissions.
  • Prepare a cover letter and rules/entry form.
  • Prepare judging criteria and select judges.
  • Publicize the program in your newsletter, at PTO meetings, on bulletin boards, and in local newspapers. Ask your local newspaper to do a story on the winners and their real life heroes.
  • Consider publishing the winning entries. If you have a large number of winners, you may want to publish their entries in bound books and give them to the winners and their heroes. If you have just a few winners, you may want to publish their entries in your newsletter – one per month.
  • Plan your reception/program. Do you want to have entertainment? Who will provide it? Who will you invite to the program?
  • What will be your budget for the program? Will you purchase awards or will donations be solicited? Will certificates be presented to winners and/or to all participants? Will refreshments be served? Will you need funds to publish the winning entries?