It’s time to reveal the winners of the Everyday Hero contest we ran in North America earlier this year! The contest asked you to submit a picture and accompanying background information of your very own Everyday Hero, with the first place finalist securing a $10,000 scholarship fund provided by our Everyday Hero Scholarship Fund.
We were absolutely blown away by the amount of amazing entries we received, and were incredibly touched by the many different everyday heroes that were nominated. Many heroes were highlighted for their efforts in their respective workplaces, often for going above and beyond the call of duty or perhaps simply for fulfilling vital but often overlooked roles in today’s society. We saw family members be nominated for their inspiring life stories in the face of, in some cases life threatening, adversities. It was also fantastic to see so many people be nominated for both the great and little things they do in everyday life, their contributions to making the world a better place each and every day. This contest truly demonstrated that there is no one single definition of an everyday hero and that such amazing individuals can come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life.
Given the staggering amount of high quality entries, we decided to take a little more time than initially expected to thoroughly work through each and every entry and we really do appreciate your patience over the past few weeks. It was a difficult task picking out the finalists, but we ultimately settled on three submissions… so, without further ado, here are finalists of the Everyday Heroes Scholarship Fund 2016 contest!
First Place and winner of the Everyday Heroes Scholarship Fund 2016 contest:
Everyday Heroes! - Alex L. (Winner)
It was pouring rain! The Austrian volunteers have saved the night by helping a soaked mother and child from freezing and gave them new dry clothes on, so they could again feel comfortable. You are safe now.
“This picture combines perfectly both the core of the “Everyday Heroes” theme and artistic and technical qualities. The play on the looks and gestures of the people captures really tells the story of both the mother and child and the volunteers. We can see that they truly care for those people and commit themselves completely to this job. On the technical side the composition, exposure, sharpness, focus and vibrant colors are really great.”
Be Your Own Ice Cream Flavor - Chloe S.(Finalist)
There is a common weight that all must share to qualify as human. I was not aware of this until recently. I thought the weight assigned to my character was a flaw. I thought I was not sufficient to be a human. This weight can also be known as definition. Some may find his or her own definition through adversity, others may have had a definition made out for him or her from the womb. How one deals with adversity is how he or she builds up a definition. A norm has been cast to ensure many people cope with difficulties in the same way. This creates a problem, boxes. Boxes are a level of definition that can be harmful. Fear is what builds the box and maintains its presence. Some individuals are too scared to tread away from norms, and become anxious or scared. Others have found a way around the obstacle and have truly become individual. The former keeps people very much alike. Those individuals create their own prisons, and some are unable to escape it and find his or her own definitions. Andrew Fine is an Advanced Placement English Language teacher and someone I believe everyone should meet. He is one of the most genuine and kind human beings the world has to offer. Never have I ever been able to trust an adult so wholeheartedly. He was the first person I was able to come out to. He gained the reputation of trust through this disposition; he emulates the type of feeling one would share with an old friend. It is through his class that I was able to realize that I was human. On the first day of my Junior year, I recall him talking about what is wrong with boxes. Men are shoved into the BE A MAN BOX, and women are placed with the GIRL POWER FLOWERS. Typically, there are people to contend with how fundamental boxes are. As a homosexual male he has pushed towards both sides of that spectrum. His gender forced him to comply to the be a man box the first years of his life. It never fit him to do everything traditionally. Mirroring that, there was a threat presented, the parts of the box that did qualify may be stripped from him by individuals who pride themselves on being traditional. From the experiences placed before him Mr. Fine has learned not to hate. This is the second lesson he places upon the class’s shoulders. It is easier to hate than love, but hate festers into more hate for the things one loves. As a man of many talents, Mr. Fine is outstanding. He can make anyone’s day better from simply being a part of it. Whether this is product of his musical talent, writing genius or ability to persevere is beyond me. He might as well be the most sung unsung hero. Somehow, even with having 120 students a year Mr.Fine has found a way to gain a personal connection with each one. It is hard to leave his class without regarding him fondly; beyond that not many people can say he or she knows who he is. I believe that he has helped changed the atmosphere at my school. The students that have participated in his classes have implantations of his ideals on love and equality. We carry these gems with us post-graduation and try to enlighten anyone facing a negative standpoint. This start of inspiration is not something just anyone can do without knowing his or her own definition. I stayed in the Girl Power Flower box for the better years of my life, I deeply hated myself and saw no potential in my being. The energy each individual is granted upon participating in his class is healing; it was enough to fuel my escape. With Mr.Fine’s wisdom I was able to come out with who I am. I know now that I do not have to feel inhuman for not being able to function as a heterosexual female comfortably; I am a human who may define as they wish to. I have Mr.Fine to thank for my life now. My full gratitude goes out to him, he was someone I needed to meet.
“There is a true sense of “slice of life” in this picture, a genuine feeling of looking at a human being that is passionate about his job and his students. The moment is captured perfectly and the smile and expression on the teacher shows all his dedication. The composition is great, framing the teacher between his white board and the raised hands and books of those students captivated by his lesson illustrates in a great way the importance of his vocation.”
A Fighting Chance - Michael S. (Finalist)
My everyday hero comes in the form of two brothers, Edwin and Carlos C., who constantly thrive to support their community through the art of boxing. Their non-profit gym nestled deep within the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts first opened its’ door back in 2008 as a means to keep the youth off the streets. Not just the youth though train here, people from all walks of life come to the gym and are welcomed. The C. brothers work tirelessly to take care of others before themselves ensuring that all those who train at the gym have a healthy and bright future ahead. Through boxing they want people to install themselves with life lessons, to bravely march forward with the knowledge that they can do anything. They both constantly sacrifice their free time to help others, but to them there is no greater satisfaction than giving back. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, for me Edwin and Carlos C. define what it means to be an everday hero. To inspire and give back without asking for nothing in return. #everydayheroes
“The photographer managed to capture a picture that resonates with his words and captured what he saw in those two people. With the close-up framing we feel ourselves close to the two brothers through this picture. We can feel how important to them are the gym and the people who come here.”
The Game of Compassion - Anthony C. (Honorable Mention)
In my travels, I met the homeless gentleman playing chess on the right, who’s named Francis. I was intrigued and asked to play a game with him and he happily accepted. I learned that he sets up his chess board there every single day. He teaches others how to play, and during the games he just listens to what they have to say. Everyday he plays countless games and listens to others’ problems. To just listen and spread the love of chess seems to simple, but it’s actually a very powerful thing. He may be homeless, but that’s not stopping him from lending his ears to others. Sometimes all we need is someone to listen to us. To just be able to listen and give others his time when he has nothing else, that makes him my everyday hero. He gives all that he can even with nothing.
This entry is very moving
and the story behind it really reached us. The picture is well thought and puts
the viewer close to the two protagonists, creating a great
“photojournalism” style photo. The only drawback that refrained us to
put this entry in the top 3 is that the composition doesn’t isolate well enough
the main protagonist, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the tarp to the right or to
the noisy wire fencing.
A Small Hand - Jillian D. (Honorable Mention)
My mom is an amazing woman. She has the courage to leave an abusive relationship and become a single parent to four children. Since then, she has been unemployed, gone through a house fire, and struggled with the daily ridicule of her peers. Yet, despite all of this, she still remains the same strong, caring woman who raised me and continues to pass on her loving nature to others.
There is a lot of subtle
storytelling in this picture, the movement of the mother while the kid is still
hesitating to move shows perfectly the role of the parents, to guide and bring
their kids forward in life. It’s a minor issue but we think that the picture
would have worked even better without the car in the background, which reduces
a bit the readability and importance of the mother.
I’m not really into Halloween, but after the long Friday I wanted to write a piece of music. I was in a unique mindset/mood today, and the song captured it like sympathetic resonance. Love it when that happens.
The melody is a slower rearrangement of a song I wrote last weekend for a Crea update trailer. I should go make a post of that before I forget.
And the song art is a photo I took years ago on a hiking trip. It’s not strictly related.