The Little Girl Who Dared To Wish
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As Amy Hagadorn rounded the corner across the hall from her classroom, she collided1 with a tall boy from the fifth grade running in the opposite direction.

“Watch it , squirt.” The boy yelled2 as he dodged3 around the little third-grader. Then, with a smirk4 on his face, the boy took hold of his right leg and mimicked5 the way Amy limped6 when she walked.

Amy closed her eyes. Ignore him, she told herself as she headed for her classroom.

But at the end of the day, Amy was still thinking about the tall boy’s mean teasing7. It wasn’t as if her were the only one. It seemed that ever since Amy started the third grade, someone teased8 her every single day. Kids teased her about her speech or her limping9. Amy was tired of it. Sometimes, even in a classroom full of other students, the teasing made her feel all alone.

Back home at the dinner table that evening, Amy was quiet. Her mother knew that things were not going well at school. That’s why Patti Hagadorn was happy to have some exciting news to share with her daughter.

“There’s a Christmas wish contest on the radio station,” Amy’s mom announced. “Write a letter to Santa, and you might win a prize. I think someone at this table with blonde curly10 hair should enter.”

Amy giggled11. The contest sounded like fun. She started thinking about what she wanted most for Christmas.

A smile took hold of Amy when the idea first came to her. Out came pencil and paper, and Amy went to work on her letter. “Dear Santa Claus,” she began.

While Amy worked away at her best printing, the rest of the family tried to guess what she might ask from Santa. Amy’s sister, Jamie, and Amy’s mom both thought a three-foot Barbie doll would top Amy’s wish list. Amy’s dad guessed a picture book. But Amy wasn’t ready to reveal her secret Christmas wish just then. Here is Amy’s letter to Santa, just as she wrote it that night:

Dear Santa Claus,

My name is Amy. I am nine years old. I have a problem at school. Can you help me Santa? Kids laugh at me because of the way I walk and run and talk. I have cerebral12 palsy. I just want one day where no one laughs at me or makes fun of me.

Love, Amy

At radio station WJLT in Fort13 Wayne, Indiana, letter poured in for the Christmas wish contest. The workers had fun reading about all the different presents that boys and girls from across the city wanted for Christmas.

When Amy’s letter arrived at the radio station, manager Lee Tobin read it carefully. He knew cerebral palsy was a muscle disorder14 that might confuse the schoolmates of Amy’s who didn’t understand her disability. He thought it would be good for the people in Fort Wayne to hear about this special third-grader and her unusual wish. Mr. Tobin called up the local newspaper.

The next day, a picture of Amy and her letter to Santa made the front page of the News Sentinel. The story spread quickly. All across the country, newspapers and radio and television stations reported the story of the little girl in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who asked for such a simple yet remarkable15 Christmas gift -- just one day without teasing.

Suddenly the postman was a regular at the Hagadorn house. Envelopes of all sizes addressed to Amy arrived daily from children and adults all across the nation. They came filled with holiday greetings and words of encouragement.

During that unforgettable Christmas season, over two thousand people from all over the world sent Amy letters of friendship and support. Amy and her family read every single one. Some of the writers had disabilities; some had been teased as children. Each writer had a special message for Amy. Through the cards and letters from strangers, Amy glimpsed a world full of people who truly cared about each other. She realized that no amount or form of teasing could ever make her feel lonely again.

Many people thanked Amy for being brave enough to speak up. Others encouraged her to ignore teasing and to carry her head high. Lynn, a sixth-grader from Texas, sent this message:

“I would like to be your friend,” she wrote, “and if you want to visit me, we could have fun. No one would make fun of us, ’cause if they do, we will not even hear them.”

Amy did get her wish of a special day without teasing at South Wayne Elementary School. Additionally, everyone at school got another bonus. Teachers and students talked together about how bad teasing can make others feel.

That year the Fort Wayne mayor officially proclaimed16 December 21 as Amy Jo Hagadorn Day throughout the city. The mayor explained that by daring to make such a simple wish, Amy taught a universal lesson.

“Everyone,” said the mayor, “wants and deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and warmth.


1 collided e8baf741a60b535abf652846da7697ac     
v.相撞( collide的过去式和过去分词 );碰撞;冲突;抵触
  • The car and the van collided head-on in thick fog. 那辆小轿车和货车在浓雾中迎面相撞。
  • The car collided with a stationary vehicle. 小汽车撞到一辆停着的车上。
2 yelled aeee2b86b284e7fbd44f45779d6073c1     
v.叫喊,号叫,叫着说( yell的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He yelled at the other driver. 他冲着另一位司机大叫。
  • The lost man yelled, hoping someone in the woods would hear him. 迷路的人大声喊着,希望林子里的人会听见。 来自《简明英汉词典》
3 dodged ae7efa6756c9d8f3b24f8e00db5e28ee     
v.闪躲( dodge的过去式和过去分词 );回避
  • He dodged cleverly when she threw her sabot at him. 她用木底鞋砸向他时,他机敏地闪开了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He dodged the book that I threw at him. 他躲开了我扔向他的书。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 smirk GE8zY     
  • He made no attempt to conceal his smirk.他毫不掩饰自鸣得意的笑容。
  • She had a selfsatisfied smirk on her face.她脸上带着自鸣得意的微笑。
5 mimicked mimicked     
v.(尤指为了逗乐而)模仿( mimic的过去式和过去分词 );酷似
  • He mimicked her upper-class accent. 他模仿她那上流社会的腔调。 来自辞典例句
  • The boy mimicked his father's voice and set everyone off laughing. 男孩模仿他父亲的嗓音,使大家都大笑起来。 来自辞典例句
6 limped a86587a09e410595c633f9e4cfcdcca1     
一瘸一拐地走( limp的过去式和过去分词 ); 困难地航行
  • The damaged ship limped back to port. 那艘受损的船困难地驶回港口。
  • He limped off the playground. 他一瘸一拐地离开了运动场。
7 teasing b0a55d9bbec76684d03d555d84e3ad65     
adj.戏弄的,逗趣的v.取笑,戏弄( tease的现在分词 );梳理(羊毛等)
  • Don't get upset—I was only teasing. 别不高兴,我只是在逗你玩。
  • I didn't think you meant that seriously;I thought you were teasing. 我未想到你是当真的,我原以为你是开玩笑的。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 teased 7db750760b25c2517c6d13ae84c5ffb9     
v.取笑,戏弄( tease的过去式和过去分词 );梳理(羊毛等)
  • He took a screwdriver and teased out the remaining screws. 他拿出螺丝刀把其余的螺丝卸了下来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I felt annoyance at being teased. 我恼恨别人取笑我。 来自《简明英汉词典》
9 limping 977bef5c1a154f333a367e440c595a43     
一瘸一拐地走( limp的现在分词 ); 困难地航行; 磕磕绊绊; 跛行
  • We were off before sunrise, Sandy riding and I limping along behind. 还没出太阳,我们就动身了,桑弟骑马,我一瘸一点的在后边跟着。
  • The young surgeon lifted up the limping General, and offered to conduct him to his home. 青年外科医生把瘫软无力的将军扶起来,要送他回家。
10 curly wybxh     
  • The little boy has curly hair.这小男孩长着一头卷发。
  • She is tall and dark with curly hair.她高高的个子,黑皮肤,卷头发。
11 giggled 72ecd6e6dbf913b285d28ec3ba1edb12     
v.咯咯地笑( giggle的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The girls giggled at the joke. 女孩子们让这笑话逗得咯咯笑。
  • The children giggled hysterically. 孩子们歇斯底里地傻笑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 cerebral oUdyb     
  • Your left cerebral hemisphere controls the right-hand side of your body.你的左半脑控制身体的右半身。
  • He is a precise,methodical,cerebral man who carefully chooses his words.他是一个一丝不苟、有条理和理智的人,措辞谨慎。
13 fort pi3x4     
  • The fort can not be defended against an air attack.这座要塞遭到空袭时无法防御。
  • No one can get into the fort without a pass.没有通行证,任何人不得进入要塞。
14 disorder Et1x4     
  • When returning back,he discovered the room to be in disorder.回家后,他发现屋子里乱七八糟。
  • It contained a vast number of letters in great disorder.里面七零八落地装着许多信件。
15 remarkable 8Vbx6     
  • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills.她在写作技巧方面有了长足进步。
  • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines.这些汽车因发动机没有噪音而不同凡响。
16 proclaimed a82d7c54e95e9bb26715c602fba93ca1     
v.正式宣布( proclaim的过去式和过去分词 );显示
  • The president proclaimed a state of emergency. 总统宣布了紧急状态。
  • The ringing bells proclaimed the birth of the prince. 响亮的钟声宣布王子的诞生。 来自《简明英汉词典》