Teachers Heroes

Anne Sullivan Macy

by Michaela from Roseville

Anne Sullivan Macy (
Anne Sullivan Macy (

Where everyone has given up and all hope has been lost, someone will emerge and fight to save thousands when everyone else said it was impossible to do. When the world has turned their backs and people desperately need someone to help them, a hero emerges to give everybody hope again. That hero is Anne Sullivan Macy. She fought and fought when everyone else had given up the battle, working tirelessly to give people with the unjust fate of being both blind and deaf a voice. She saved thousands, now millions of people whom she had never even met, never even seen before, yet she saved all of their lives and wanted nothing in return but for those people to have a chance in the world. She was, and always will be, a true hero.

Even before she became a hero to millions, she always had the characteristics to be a hero, especially throughout all of the bad things that happened in her life. Those things made her strong, strong enough to stand up for millions. Her mother died when she was very young, leaving Anne and her siblings with their abusive, drunk of a father who eventually abandoned them altogether. She was sent to an orphanage and in 1980, at the age of fourteen, nearly became blind from an untreated case of trachoma. Through all the tragic events that happened to her she had an outstanding love and yearning for education. She finally got her chance when Frank Sanborn, the principal for Perkins School for the Blind visited her orphanage. After begging and pleading her determination finally won her a place at the Perkins School for the Blind. That is where she was given the opportunity to be a hero for the ones who desperately needed her but did not even know it yet.

In 1886, at the age of only 20, Michael Anaganos thought to seek out his past student Anne Sullivan to teach the blind and deaf seven year old Helen Keller. Anne, herself, was visually impaired. This did not stop him from thinking that if someone could make a breakthrough it would be her, and he was right. For the entire first month Anne tried and tried again but, just like everyone else before her who had tried, failed, and eventually given up, it was to no avail. The difference was that Anne did not care what those people had done or how they think what she was trying achieve was impossible. She knew that she had to continue because people like Helen needed someone to figure it out and show that they were not just a lost cause. Her persistence and incredible technique prevailed against the odds when they had a breakthrough. Helen knew what Annie meant by water when she spelled it out on her hand while running water on her. That moment changed the lives of deaf and blind people yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Amazingly, Anne Sullivan does not only inspire deaf and blind people and their teachers, her story and work inspires everyone. Despite her many struggles at a young age and being visually impaired, she managed to help so many, not giving up on them like everyone else did. Not only did she do that, she donated basically all of her money to the American Foundation for the Blind in an effort to change even more people's lives that she became flat-out broke. When she could not donate money, she donated her time by giving lectures and speeches in an effort to raise money for deaf and blind people. When negative comments tried to tear her down she ignored them all. This is what made her influence people so much, her character, her nobility, her kind-heart, all of this is why she is still a hero today. She inspires us all to stand up for others and make a difference to help someone else because no one is truly ever a lost cause.

Before Annie Sullivan, the lives of people who are blind and deaf and their families lives were infact blinded and dark with no light or hope left in them. Anne Sullivan not only gave them hope, but she gave them a way to achieve that goal that was before said to be impossible. She continued to perfect her skill until the day she died so that others could be taught the same way. She saved lives, and she did it for the right reasons. That makes her a hero, not just smart, dedicated, or trying to become famous and rich. She showed everyone else that called deaf and blind people dim that they were just the opposite. Her heroic ways and deeds continue to inspire and change people's lives today.

Page created on 10/28/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 10/28/2011 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

American Foundation for the Blind - expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Extra Info

Born: April 14, 1866 in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts.
Death: October 20, 1936.
Her ashes were placed in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
She was the first woman to be given that honor on her own merits.