Monday, March 28, 2011

Teenagers Who Changed the World: Part Three

     I've noticed that all the people in my world-changers' series so far are girls, so part three is all about the guys. This first one really breaks my heart. During the second World War, 12-year-old Calvin Graham joined the Navy by forging documents to make himself seem older. Before his true age was discovered, Graham earned a few medals, including the Bronze Star. Unfortunately, upon his return to the United States, somebody got the story wrong. They thought he was a sailor trying to get out of military service by pretending to be underaged.This patriot was arrested, striped of his medals, and thrown in jail for three months before the story was straightened out. Graham was released from both jail and the Navy, but "denied an honorable discharge, denied his veterans' benefits, and denied the return of his medals." (see citation) Excuse me? This guy was a hero, for crying out loud! 
     Now, you've all heard of Braille, the deaf alphabet, and you might have also heard that it was invented by Louis Braille, who was blind. He was fifteen years old when he came up with the clever system of raised dots that enables blind people to read and write. Louis taught this system to his classmates at the Paris's Royal Institution for Blind Youth. He tried to share it with his teachers, too. They weren't too happy about it. But the sighted teachers refused to learn it, and many of them actually banned their pupils from using it. They claimed the paper-punching noise they made while taking notes was a distraction. 
     But the students kept on using it. Older students taught the system to younger children when adults weren't watching. The faculty tried to punish them in many ways, including depriving them of food. They still wouldn't give up. Eventually, the administrators caved in and adopted the use of Braille in their school.
     Some people have changed the world with spontaneous acts of courage. If you ask me, it takes more courage to do something when you think about it in advance. Calvin Graham knew perfectly well that he could die when he joined the military. He served his country anyways. Louis Braille and his fellow students knew they would be punished. They didn't quit. Stamina like that is rare, even among adults. Let's not forget their bravery and determination.
Sources :http:/

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