Origin Story

Like every good superhero story, The Sidekick Collective has its roots in a seemingly unlikely turn of fate.

In 2008, Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer launched a $25,000 national high school essay contest asking, “What does true patriotism mean to you?” They received thousands of essays from students across the nation.

Mild-mannered high school student Paige Edmiston was as surprised to win this national essay competition as Peter Parker was to discover he had developed superhuman powers from a spider bite. Her essay “What true patriotism means to me: A new breed of superhero for the 21st century” argued that true patriots were not all that different from her favorite comic book superheroes. She spent her college years learning and thinking about how she could live up to to the words of her essay, always remembering Uncle Ben’s admonition that “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Then in 2012, a group of students at Paige’s high school literally saved their school. Paige and her filmmaker father decided to tell the students' story through film. While making Reinventing the Patriot, they realized that these extraordinary students would not be recognized for their brave actions — there would be no celebratory assembly in their name, no scholarship in recognition of their good deeds, and no special note in their graduation program.

Thus, The Sidekick Collective was created to recognize and invest in young people like these students — students not all that different from our favorite comic book superheroes.

Paige Edmiston