ELI’S HEROES, L. Crawford, Warren, OH

Dear Mr. Schulman,

Most people in the Chicago area were well aware of the catch phrase, ” I want to be like Mike.” This referred to the adulation that existed for Michael Jordan. After an assembly held at Lordstown High School on September 14, there are folks who are saying the same thing about an eighth grade student at Lordstown high school. His name is Michael Yoest. This is my story.

After President Bush declared Friday to be a national day of mourning, our school planned an assembly to pay tribute to those who lost their lives. I had told the students on the public address system that I would make a few remarks followed by some words by the youth minister in our community.

I provided an opportunity for individual students who wished to address the student body.Given the late notice of my announcement, and the daunting task of talking before 300 people only one student accepted the challenge.

Michael was obviously nervous, but he told his classmates about the heroism of the rescue workers and that all of us were privileged to be Americans. He said that we must work together in this time of crisis. When he finished the students gave him a round of applause. They were saluting not only his patriotism, but his courage.

After Michael finished a student led all of us in saying the Pledge of Allegiance and the band played the National Anthem and the Stars and Stripes.

As I was leaving the auditorium, I could not help thinking that Michael Yoest had been our teacher. He stands about five feet tall, but he had been a giant on this occasion. He had displayed the spirit of his convictions by speaking before the entire student body. I was very proud of them.

I am writing to request a favor. Last year, Michael had written an essay in a contest where he described cheesecake as his favorite dessert.

He was not the winner on that occasion, but he emerged as a champion in this one. Since Eli’s has a reputation for making the finest cheesecake in the country, would you be willing to donate one for him? Michael proved that he has the right stuff. It follows suit that he should have the right cheesecake.

I realize that you receive tons of requests from the advocates of worthy causes. You can’t accede to them all. I send this e-mail with some hope, but not an ounce of expectation. After all, we are strangers located more than 400 miles to the east. It is ironic however that the present national crisis has brought all of us closer together.

I have read on the web page that your dad was generous to a fault. I trust that the sins of the father are also present in the son.

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