izzy Frazier’s hero doesn’t wear a cape, cannot fly and does not have superhuman strength.
Instead, Lizzy’s hero is an 8-year-old girl named Lydia Andrews.
“My heroine, though, takes a much different form,” the Central Middle School eighth-grader wrote in an essay. “One smaller and less imposing, but every bit as inspirational. Like a red crayon in a box of black crayons, she stands out.”
Lydia is the sister of one of Lizzy’s classmates, and she has Down syndrome.
“Born a child plagued by Down syndrome, Lydia has, her entire life, struggled even to survive,” Lizzy wrote. “Nevertheless, despite enduring everything from feeding tubes to daily doses of medicine, Lydia has grown into one of the happiest, most exuberant children
Lizzy’s essay was selected by Indiana Auditor Suzanne Crouch as the eighth-grade winner of the first Hoosier Heroines Essay Contest. The contest was a celebration of Women’s History Month. Students in Grades 6 to 9 were invited to write essays about their heroines.
Although females make up more than half of the U.S. population, less than a quarter serve in state legislatures, something the Hoosier Heroines theme was meant to highlight.
“There is hope,” Crouch said. “There is a bright shining star here in Indiana. Of statewide elected officers, 57 percent are female. It is important we celebrate and encourage women, particularly young women to get involved.”
First lady Karen Pence and several female state officials gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday to recognize the four essay winners. They all reflected on their own Hoosier Heroines.
Ruth Lilly, the heiress to the Lilly fortune, was Pence’s pick, and Secretary of State Connie Lawson chose her mother.
Lizzy picked Lydia because of her self-confidence and courage.
“I find myself looking up to her, working to model my actions after her own kind, caring ones,” she said. “If Lydia can be a compassionate individual despite the utter bluntness of human nature she has already faced, so can I.”
Mindy Summers, who has taught Lizzy in language arts for the past two years, encouraged Lizzy to apply. She recognized Lizzy had a way with words — she had already been honored by the Human Rights Commission this year and won the 2014 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.
Summers traveled with Lizzy to the ceremony. She said Lizzy is amazing in many ways and humble as well.
“The assignment was optional, but Lizzy is one to seize extra opportunities to share her written work,” she said.
“She has an unbelievable command of the extended metaphor that wows and amazes most audiences.”