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Provident-Salierno Foundation Awards

2013 Provident-Salierno Foundation awards
What began as a gesture of support for character education has become an evening to honor Tulare County's distinguished students of character. Founded last year, the Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Awards is an addition to the annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Week celebration. Last year, Tony and Mary Salierno announced that their foundation would provide the Tulare County Office of Education CHARACTER COUNTS! Program with $3,000 per year in the form of scholarships to award to exemplary Kids of Character.

The Saliernos have been longtime supporters of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Program, having participated in the initial community trainings nearly 20 years ago and having contributed to the construction of the Pillar Square monument in Mooney Grove Park. On October 29, the CHARACTER COUNTS! Office recognized 38 students at the Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Awards - 14 winners and 24 finalists.

2013 Provident-Salierno Foundation awards
Throughout the previous week, the winners and finalists were featured in the Visalia Times-Delta and the Tulare Advance Register. The newspapers ran one north county and one south county feature story profiling the winners that correspond to the Six Pillars of Character - Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. The finalists were also featured in the newspapers.

CHARACTER COUNTS! Coordinator Kelley Petty reports that 130 Tulare County schools nominated a total of 6,853 students this year. "Eighteen years ago, we counted just over 100 student nominations in our first CHARACTER COUNTS! Week Celebration," says Mrs. Petty.

"Tulare County is unique in the nation to have long-standing media and charitable foundation partnerships celebrating Kids of Character," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "We truly appreciate the Times Delta and the Saliernos for recognizing the value in promoting good character to build healthy communities."

For a complete list of winners and finalists, visit www.tcoe.org/KidsofCharacter.

Photos above:
~ Darlene Christie, a senior at Woodlake High School, was one of 14 winners in the second annual Provident-Salierno Family Foundation awards. She is pictured shaking hands with Tony Salierno, supporter of the scholarship awards. Darlene was recognized for the Pillar of Caring for her friendship with a special needs student.
~ Yesenia Dueñas-Terriquez, a senior at La Sierra Military Academy in Visalia, shakes hands with the nominators in the Pillar of Responsibility category. Yesenia was one of two top honorees for Responsibility in the 2013 Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Awards.
~ Ava Buchanan, a kindergarten student at Alpine Vista Elementary in Tulare, is presented a certificate and t-shirt by Mary and Tony Salierno. Ava was a finalist in the Fairness category.