Learning a weakness can be a strength
Many of you may have seen this photo on the internet over the last few weeks. By the end of the first week, it was revealed online, over 50 million people had viewed the photo shoot created by Josh Rossi of the Junior Justice League. The likeness was featured locally on KSL news and has been seen nationally on Entertainment Tonight, People online and YouTube. Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill and Chris Evans are some of the Hollywood stars that have retweeted the story. What you may not know is that The Flash is Zaiden Stolrow, a second grader at Lomond View Elementary right here in Pleasant View.
Josh Rossi wanted to create a Junior Justice League that was comprised of kids who were facing some serious challenges. Having Utah ties, he decided to conduct the shoot in Salt Lake City and wanted to match kids to a superhero that turned their challenge into a strength. Zaiden was nominated by his aunt and was subsequently chosen to represent The Flash. Zaiden was chosen to represent a superhero who can run circles around others and never seems to tire. He was selected because he has ADHD, and buzzes with energy. It’s hard for him to focus and sitting still for very long is difficult so you can imagine how he is in a classroom.
In April of this last year, Zaiden had a very traumatic experience in his charter school that was the impetus for him being nominated to represent The Flash. It was supposed to be a great day. The weather was sunny and mild, and the kids were ready and excited for a runathon that they had solicited pledges for. Parents were asked to get their kids fired up on the morning of the run. After a hearty breakfast and a pep talk from Dad, Zaiden hit the school full of energy, finally something he was going to excel at. He was sure he could run more laps than any other kid, and that everyone would be proud of him. The school day started with a pep rally but the older grades ran first, and the younger kids were to stay in their classrooms doing schoolwork while they awaited their turn. The order in which the kids ran proved to be his undoing. He had a disastrous morning and was soon sent to the principal’s office. The Principal called Zaiden’s parents and left messages for them to come pick up their son. She made it clear to Zaiden that she would not reward him for his behavior by allowing him to run with the other children, and she then left him to go outside to be a part of the fundraiser. Zaiden was sequestered alone in her office with the sounds of laughing and merriment outside to torment him. Zaiden’s dad arrived at the fundraiser on his bicycle with a check to fill out for the fundraiser.
Unable to locate his son, Dale asked around and was directed to the Principal who informed him that he needed to take his son home immediately and that there would be no running with the other children. He went to the main office, where he was horrified to find his son crying and sucking his thumb all alone in an office with the door closed. Upon seeing his dad, Zaiden broke down into heart-wrenching sobs and apologies. Since he arrived on a bicycle, Dale had to figure out how to get Zaiden home. He had Zaiden stand on the book rack behind the seat with his hands on dad’s shoulders. No helmet. It was Zaiden’s last week at the charter school and he is now enrolled at Lomond View Elementary.
After hearing about Zaiden’s experience, Josh contacted Zaiden’s parents and plans were underway to give Zaiden an experience to help him learn that a weakness can become a strength. Superheros often need to learn to control their powers, and it’s not always a fast or easy process. Zaiden participates in daily therapy and has a support network being put into place at home and at school to help him. ADHD is a difficult condition for those affected and their families. It often leads to low self-esteem as is the case with Zaiden. His parents have had to make a concerted effort to emphasize that while behavior may be inappropriate or undesirable, that doesn’t mean Zaiden is bad.If you have a loved one that is struggling and would be cheered by a poster of Zaiden as The Flash, the Stolrows would be happy to gift you one while supplies last. They can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.