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9-23-14: Everyday Hero - Allyson Horjus
9-23-14: Everyday Hero - Allyson Horjus
Posted on 09/23/2014

Allyson Horjus

Grade 6

Maplewood Elementary



For the past several years, Allyson Horjus has been a friend and guide to Viktoria Roundtree, a visually impaired classmate at Maplewood Elementary School.


Allyson sits next to Viktoria in class to make sure she can see the words and images that are enlarged on a computer screen at her desk.


In the halls, Allyson walks closest to the walls so that Viktoria doesn’t bump into sharp corners, said teacher Sue Armstrong. She also stays with Victoria on the playground and encourages her friend to try new things.


“I have heard Allyson tell her friend, ‘You got this,’” Armstrong said.


Earlier this month, Allyson brought in a bag of chapter books she had read to share with other students, including some of Viktoria’s favorites.


“Viktoria is really smart and always gets 100 percent on her Accelerated Reader tests,” Allyson said.


Allyson’s caring personality made her a natural choice, the principal said, to be one of the school’s “conflict managers.” Sixth graders are trained by the school counselor and invited to help resolve any conflicts at the primary (grades one through three) recess time. “She has an amazing, calm presence about her that puts other kids at ease,” said Principal Susan Walton.


“She is just a fine young lady who has so much empathy for others.”


It is also not unusual, Walton said, for Allyson and her family to bring in gifts or clothing when they hear of a student in need and then leave them in the office to be shared anonymously.


Earlier this year, Allyson used some of her own money to buy a shirt and hooded sweat jacket for a fellow Maplewood Elementary student.


She has been recognized for good citizenship along with other students twice this year, but “she really doesn’t want the spotlight on her,” Walton said. “Her humility is what makes her so special.”


Allyson’s concern for others extends beyond Maplewood to countries served by the non-profit World Vision organization.


The sixth grader sends the organization some of her allowance, as well as money she collects from selling lemonade in her neighborhood.


    Someday, the 12-year-old said she might like to work for World Vision or at least help children in an impoverished country.


    “I see people suffering in other countries and feel so bad for them,” Allyson said. “I want to help.”


     Her classmates use words such as “kind,” “caring,” and “a really good friend” to describe Allyson.


    “She reaches out to people before she reaches out to herself,” said sixth grader Bradley Jamison.