SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PALM BEACH COUNTY HONORS STUDENTS FOR ACTS OF CHARACTER
Students representing Palm Beach County schools recently were honored at the Character Counts! End of the Year Celebration at John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres. The event recognizes good deeds and character traits such as trustworthiness, respect, citizenship, caring, fairness and responsibility.
The Galaxy E3 Elementary School Dynamic Impact Drumline and John I. Leonard High School varsity cheerleaders performed for the students and their families.
Comments from principals, guidance counselors and teachers show many examples of exemplary behavior.
The students include Olympic Heights High School senior Carly Terkiel. A role model, she was cited for extending kindness and compassion to others.
Her volunteer duties, including serving as senior class president and assisting patients at a local hospital, motivates her to continue making the world a better place. It's also cemented her decision to enter the medical field, said school counselor Samantha Vanderpool.
"I have had the opportunity to be Carly's school counselor since she entered Olympic Heights High School in 2014 as a freshman," she said. "Over the past three years I have witnessed and have been highly impressed with Carly's depth of knowledge and passion for helping others. Carly is a mature, determined and scholarly young lady and she is in the top 5 percent of her class ranking."
Like many of her fellow outstanding students, Carly exhibits a passion for helping others, something they intend to carry on for a long time.
"My passion is service and leadership," she said. "The teachers know that they can count on me to be there in any capacity. Some of my friends actually make fun of me for caring too much. But it's really who I am and, more important, who I want to continue to be."
Luis Crespo, an 18-year-old senior at Lake Worth Community High School in Lake Worth, is another role model. He didn't stand still when he saw disturbing graffiti on a school wall. He took a photo and reported the incident.
"I'm just doing what I thought what was right," he said. "I didn't do this for recognition. I did it because I was taught we need to care for one another."
Hezekiah Morgan, a first-grader at Diamond View Elementary School in Greenacres, was also honored at the year-end ceremony. He's earned plenty of praise for his respectful and caring ways, which includes a hug for his teacher every morning.
"I am respectful to everyone in my class," he said. "I think my actions affect others. When I do these things, other people can do it, too."
Another honoree is Sophia Menco, an eighth-grader at Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Boynton Beach. Coming here from Colombia and not speaking English, Sophia has become an outstanding student. She has not only excelled at learning a new language, Sophia is also reaching out to other newcomers on campus with guidance and other acts of kindness.
"There has been a lot of new students from foreign countries and I know how it feels to be in a country where nobody understands you, so I try to help them because it is not easy to succeed if you don't know how to communicate," she said.
Sophia says she is happy helping her peers.
"When I learned English, I felt so proud of myself and then when I see the new kids struggling with the language I remember those hard times, so I decided to help so they can feel proud of themselves just like I did," she said.