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Superman wasn't perfect, but we can be


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: ALEX WONG - These freshmen high school students are the real superheroes, giving up their weekend to decorate for West Linn's superhero-themed homecoming.Sometimes I feel that if I were a superhero everything would change. I’d be just quick enough, just smart enough, just perfect enough. I’d have super strength or the ability to read minds. I’d be able to fly.

Having superpowers appeals to high school students because we would have the ability to do it all — be someone who our friends could envy and our parents and teachers could be proud of. Every single one of our tests would be marked with an A+ and we’d be setting records on our sports teams that mere mortals could only dream about.

If only putting on a superhero costume was the equivalent of gaining special powers. The closest any high school student is ever going to get to achieving “superhero status” is at this year’s homecoming dance. The theme is superheroes.

Many high school students, and people in general, feel they don’t have the potential to change the world. Who could blame them? The stereotype says that only superheroes save the world and humans can’t do anything but live in it. But people have the ability to save each other.

Maybe, if we have the decency to look, we can save someone who is not so different from us. Another high school student, who feels lost in the shuffle. A girl who sits by herself at lunch every day. Or a boy who is surrounded by tons of friends but feels alone. It happens, here, at West Linn High School. Girls cry in bathrooms and no one is there to help them.

I was thinking about people’s ability to change the world when I walked into my Leadership class. My teacher, Mr. Self, started explaining what it takes to be a leader. I looked around the room and saw many posters from past leadership representatives, all of them saying what leadership means to them.

It made me think. I don’t have any superpowers. How is typical, average me suppose to change the world? That’s a lot to ask of a 15-year-old. It’s a lot to ask of anyone.

It was then that Mr. Self pulled me out of my petrified musings. In his hands he held a yellow button with the words: “I am Number 2.” It means that as a leader you serve others before you serve yourself, and that you put other people’s needs before your own.

It hit me then that Superman can swoop in and save a plane from falling out of the sky, but he will never solve any problems at West Linn High School. It takes real people to do that.

Maybe I can’t stop a speeding bullet, but I can say hi to people who I might not know. I don’t need superpowers for that. I also don’t need superpowers to be unique, no one does. People do amazing things all on their own.

Real people: students, counselors, teachers, parents and even you all have the ability to change people’s lives. Every day most are doing more than Superman ever could.

Superman wasn’t perfect. Superman changed the outcome of many disasters, but he hid behind a flashy costume and his super strength.

When you are put in a scenario where you can help a person — DO. And when you are in a situation where you can change an outcome — ACT. A perfect person is not a superhero with the special powers and the perfect costume. A perfect person is the one whose actions are devoid of human arrogance and selfishness.

Madison Staten is a freshman at West Linn High School.