2018 Tulare County Kids of Character

Thank you for helping us celebrate
Tulare County Students of Character


On Saturday, October 27, the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register published a two-page ad highlighting the school representatives (one from each of the 131 schools submitted) chosen during the 2018 Kids of Character Week, October 22-27. Listed below are the descriptions written by the nominators for each of the 131 students.

View the two-page ad.

View a list of the more than 5600 students nominated this year.

View the honorees and finalists in each pillar category celebrated at the 2018 Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Kids of Character Reception.


Jose Gomez
Alpaugh Elementary School, Alpaugh
FAIRNESS
nominated by Francisco Hernandez
Nominator states, “Jose Gomez is a Kid of Character because he shows fairness as he plays sports during recess with younger kids. He is always looking out for their safety and plays by the rules. In addition, he also is a role model to them because he shows them how to play football and always looks out if anyone is hurt. In conclusion, these are the reasons why I nominate Jose Gomez for the Character Counts! Pillar of Fairness.”
Madison Gil Patino
Cutler Elementary School, Cutler
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Erin Serrano
Nominator states, “Madison Gil Patino brings her homework completed every day to class and shows detailed work on all of her assignments. Madison shows up to school every day on time and completes classwork carefully. She makes sure she reads her AR books and is now reading at a 5th grade reading level. Madison is a team player and a leader in her group, making sure her peers are being responsible and completing their work as well. She goes above and beyond what is expected of her.”
Angel Garcia-Banda
Dinuba Community Based Instruction, Dinuba
CARING
nominated by Jennifer McReynolds
Nominator states, “Angel attends our TCOE Community Based Instruction Class in Dinuba. Angel is the epitome of a caring, helpful, kind and selfless individual. He always seizes the opportunity to help a classmate or educational staff in need. We have one student in our classroom that uses a wheelchair and Angel steps in to assist regularly without being asked by any of our staff. He does thoughtful acts of kindness such as assisting her to get her work materials and put them away; he helps her throw her trash away and clean her tray after lunch; he gives her an extra hand by pushing her when the distance is long and tiring. He never oversteps and is always considerate of her wants, needs and feelings. Angel volunteers for tasks asked of educational staff that no one else wants to do. He is a good worker and shows respect to others by addressing them by name each morning upon arrival and saying goodbye at the end of each day. He is very polite and always says thanks for a kind gesture directed toward him. Angel is an excellent role model for the pillar of Caring.”
Julian Barnes
Dinuba High School, Dinuba
CARING
nominated by Matt Griffiths
Nominator states, “Julian Barnes is one of the most caring students I have ever known. He has a strong sense of right and wrong and I have never known him to act uncaring to another student or teacher. Julian is quick to offer assistance to other students and staff when it is needed. He is also generous in sharing what he has with others and making sure they feel included. Julian is an excellent Kid of Character!”
Makayla Martens
Grand View Elementary School, Dinuba
CARING
nominated by Henryallen Ralston
Nominator states, “Ms. Makayla Martens demonstrates her caring demeanor every day by ensuring that she displays role model behavior so that her fellow classmates do not break the rules. During a lesson on empathy, her fellow classmate became upset, and so naturally, she tried to console them. When Makayla learned that some of her classmates did not have a notebook for writing, Makayla spoke to her mom and convinced her to help her classmates out. She is the first person to help her classmates up when they trip and has concern for them until she knows they are okay. Makayla is the type of caring individual that will one day help make this world a better place to live.”
David Olea
Jefferson Elementary School, Dinuba
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Brad Johnson
Nominator states, “David is a terrific example of what a good citizen embodies. He has been consistent in exemplifying all the pillars that kids can be nominated for. He is diligent, and responsible in his work. He is kind and respectful and helpful to all those around him, is willing to take a stand for what is right or to protect those who are being wronged. He is first to volunteer and always ready to encourage others. Repeatedly I have observed him going beyond what is required and expected by myself or others. He would be an excellent candidate for this award.”
James Alvarez
John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Dinuba
RESPECT
nominated by James Dial
Nominator states, “James has been a very respectful young man. He is kind to his classmates and teacher. He treats others fairly and gets along well with everyone.”
Ytzel Sotelo
Lincoln Elementary School, Dinuba
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Tara Bustamante
Nominator states, “Ytzel Sotelo is an excellent example of responsibility in our school. She completes all of her assignments to the best of her ability and encourages her classmates to do the same. She sets high standards for behavior in our classroom. She is consistently the first to transition to our next learning activity! She comes to class, not only on time, but early every day to work towards her reading goals. I appreciate Ytzel’s influence in our classroom!”
Analia Lara
Roosevelt Elementary School, Dinuba
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Pamela Dalrymple
Nominator states, “Analia showed great responsibility when she returned money to her teacher. It had fallen out of my pocket during class time and I was unaware of it. She picked it up and quickly brought it right up to me and said, "Here's your money. It fell out of your pocket!" I found that honesty very refreshing. It shows that our teachings of the pillars of character are really working.”
Iara Olivas
Wilson Elementary School, Dinuba
CARING
nominated by Danielle Loveall
Nominator states, “This year I have been blessed to have a student with Autism. At first, I was very worried on how I would be able to meet the needs of this student along with the other students in my class but from the first day of school I have had the best helper I could ask for-- Iara Olivas a student in my class. Iara has taken this student under her wing and has shown him how to work and follow the rules of our class while being able to do her own work and not distract others from my teaching. Iara always helps him in a positive way and he listens and follows her directions better than mine. On the playground, she makes sure he has someone to play with and takes responsibility for getting him to line up with her when it is time. She walks him to the cafeteria every day and assists him in getting his lunch. Through her actions she has shown my whole class how to treats others who may be a little different. Iara is the most caring and loving student who has helped create a family class atmosphere that is welcoming to all. I am so thankful to have her in my class; I could not have asked for a better student.”
Giovanna Toscano
Ducor Union Elementary School, Ducor
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Maria Barajas
Nominator states, “Giovanna goes out of her way to help her fellow friends with schoolwork throughout the school year. She participates- in fundraisers set forth by the school and by the parent club. She volunteers in the food distribution for the community set for by the school. Giovanna is an easygoing, kindhearted person who loves to be around her friends.”
Jesus Zamora
Alila School, Earlimart
CARING
nominated by Debbie O'Neill
Nominator states, “Jesus is a very caring student. This stems from his caring of his little brother Juan who has special needs. Jesus is there for Juan when he gets home. He helps his mom by taking time to play with Juan so his mom can have a respite to do her duties. Jesus not only plays with his brother Juan but he is caring enough to help Juan learn new things. Jesus helps Juan with new words, games and basic learning. In class, Jesus is very attuned to other students who may need help and he displays his caring nature. Jesus is ready to assist any classmate without being prompted by his teacher. We need more caring students like Jesus.”
Jacob Palomino
Earlimart Elementary School, Earlimart
RESPECT
nominated by Vivian Rodriguez
Nominator states, “Jacob struggles with reading and writing, but one thing he does not struggle with is being respectful. He comes to school every day with a positive attitude. When I tell the class to line up you can expect to see Jacob lined up with his hands behind his back as a role model for his peers. He treats his classmates with respect and is always willing to lend a helping hand to his friends or those in need.”
Ulises Morales
Earlimart Middle School, Earlimart
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Ruth Ayala
Nominator states, “Ulises is a great student. He showed responsibility when asked to translate for his peers during a parent presentation. Ulises had a chance to practice one time how to translate the information for the parents. He worked well with his partner and had a lot of courage to speak in front of a group of parents about the student's expectation. He is not afraid of speaking in public. He actually can become a great speaker and translator on the spot. His peers, staff and parents were impressed with his public speaking. His peers enjoyed working with him on school projects.”
Jacob Carmen
Exeter Union High School, Exeter
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Andrea Venegas
Nominator states, “Jacob Carmen is always looking for opportunities to get involved with our community. He volunteers for charity events, recruits students to clubs and promotes good citizenship across the campus. Jacob participates in multiple clubs, including mock trial, Key Club and more. He works on the high school's student news broadcast and heads up his own Public Service Announcement segment, prompting students to take a responsible role on campus and in the community. On top of all of this, his schedule is full of AP and dual enrollment classes. Jacob does all of this while being a kind, considerate and well-respected individual.”
Cesar Castillo
Lincoln Elementary School, Exeter
RESPECT
nominated by Kim Shipley
Nominator states, “Cesar is such a young gentleman. He is full of respect for not only adults but his classmates. He is willing to help with others, work with them, coach them, and help them right where they are. He does not make anyone feel like they are any less than him and shows understanding and compassion to others. He respects himself as well. He keeps himself well groomed and takes care of his things. He is respectful of his property and keeps things where they belong. He is very respectful of his classmates and me in the classroom as well. He always lifts his hand to speak and never talks over someone else. Cesar is an excellent example and definitely a kid of character!”
Puneet Tatla
Rocky Hill Elementary School, Exeter
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Katie Kirby
Nominator states, “Puneet Tatla is an excellent example of a responsible and dependable student in my class. She not only does what she needs to do at school and at home, but she also volunteers to help out with Kindergarten yard duty, spends her lunchtime with her younger sister, and offers to help with many miscellaneous tasks in the classroom. Her family and friends trust that she will keep her promises to them and do what she says she will do. She has amazing follow through for a fifth grader. Puneet takes full responsibility for her thoughts, words, and actions in the classroom. I have never seen her make excuses or blame others, she understands and accepts the consequences and then tries her best to fix the mistake and learn from it. She comes to school every day with an excitement for learning and a dedication for going above and beyond. Her homework project assignments are completed on time and she usually does more than what was required for each task. She gives her very best at everything every day. I appreciate that Puneet is always doing what she is supposed to do and tries to make sure others are as well. That is why I nominated Puneet for The Character Counts! award for Responsibility.”
Maria Marquez
Freedom Elementary School, Farmersville
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Socorro Lozano
Nominator states, “Maria Marquez is such a caring and loving student. Although I have only known Maria as my 4th grade student, a little over a month, I have already noticed her enthusiasm for school. Right from the beginning, she exhibited her caring personality by offering her help to students in my classroom who struggle with reading or writing. One of her famous phrases when students find it hard to grasp a concept or skill is, "Ms. Lozano, at least they're trying," Maria is very polite, and very respectful. She is such a hard worker too. When her dad had a minor accident recently at work, she was very worried for him. She wanted to get home as soon as possible to help him. This young lady definitely does her share in school, as well as at home. I am very proud of my student, Maria Marquez and feel that she is well deserving of the Kids of Character Award citizenship."
Isaiah Espinoza
George L. Snowden School, Farmersville
CARING
nominated by Juanita Hernandez
Nominator states, “Isaiah shows kindness every day. He is always eager to help students who are in need of help without me having to ask him. When he sees a student struggling or unsure what they should be doing, he will go over and ask them if they need help and then show them what to do. I have several students in my class that need constant help with a variety of things and Isaiah ALWAYS ask them in a friendly manner, "Would you like me to help you?" and the students respect him for that. He always says kind things for example; he often tells me to have a good lunch or asks if I need help putting things away. He will say thank you when I pass out papers or hand out notes. He is always attentive and doing his work. When he is done, he will check with my struggling students to see if they need help. He is always kind, never rude and his most important trait is that he accepts the diversity and challenges that we have in our classroom with a kind heart.”
Erica Jimenez Vallejo
Ivanhoe Elementary School, Ivanhoe
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Osiel Garcia Cervantes
Nominator states, “As a middle school teacher, it is often difficult to find a teenager with a sense of responsibility. However, Ivanhoe is honored to nominate Erica Jimenez Vallejo for her unquestionable responsibility. Not only is Erica always the first person to submit her assignments on time, she is also consistently on task regardless of the situation. There is no need to ask her to get on task, as she is well aware of her duties in class. If she happens to miss school, she will find a way to have her assignments submitted in a timely manner. Erica is an excellent advocate for her own education. Her perseverance and positive attitude makes her worthy of this nomination. Erica's responsibility is carried on at home, as she takes great care of her siblings and her daily chores. Her leadership and willingness to succeed academically has helped her develop a sense of responsibility.”
Zinedine Casimiro
Kings River Union School, Kingsburg
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Jessica Wasse
Nominator states, “Zinedine is always doing his share in our classroom and around our campus. He goes out of his way to make sure other people are happy. On multiple occasions, I have witnessed Zinedine picking up trash around campus. This student does this out of the goodness of his heart, not expecting any recognition for his hard work. If he notices other students need help, he stops what he is doing to assists them. It is a pleasure to have such a great helping hand in my classroom.”
Nicholai Keel
Sequoia Union School, Lemon Cove
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Julie Sullivan
Nominator states, “Nicholai is a helpful student who genuinely cares about others, our classroom, and the community. He is a part of our class student council and always has interesting ideas to make our class community more enjoyable. Nicholai is respectful to all and a great member of Sequoia Union School!”
Valeria Medina
Jefferson Elementary School, Lindsay
CARING
nominated by Viviane Rosales
Nominator states, “Valeria was nominated by fellow learners at Jefferson Elementary. Valeria Medina has demonstrated to staff and classmates that she is the epitome of CARING. Numerous learners all reported that while Valeria demonstrates all pillars of character on a daily basis, Valeria never fails to console her friends whenever they appear to be sad and helps them however, she can. Valeria includes everyone during recess and is respectful to all those who surround her. All of Valeria's friends are able to attest to Valeria's caring ways and feel fortunate to have her in their corner.”
Andrew Denni
Lincoln Elementary School, Lindsay
FAIRNESS
nominated by Andrew Camacho
Nominator states, “Andrew plays soccer fairly.”
Amtallah Mohamed
Lindsay High School, Lindsay
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Roger Gonzales
Nominator states, “Amtallah Mohamed is the type of student every teacher dreams about. She comes to class prepared, is always on task and is actively engaged in her learning. There has not been a day when Ama, as she is called by her friends, has not come to class prepared. She has her materials organized for the day, has her computer charged and is ready to learn. Ama is always asking questions, if not for her own understanding, for the understanding of her classmates. She is the first to collaborate with others and often leads discussions. In addition to her work in the classroom, Ama has been very active outside of it. She is a member of the Key Club, LGBT Club, Math Club and Spanish Honor Society. Through Ama's work in the classroom and her extracurricular involvement outside of it, Ama has exhibited what a well-rounded, responsible student should look like. She is a role model for her classmates and makes those around her better. It is pleasure being associated with Ama and strongly recommend her for this honor.”
Aubriel Harvey
Reagan Elementary School, Lindsay
RESPECT
nominated by Erik Walker
Nominator states, “Aubriel Harvey is a wonderful learner. She exemplifies what respect means in all that she does. She takes care of everyone who needs help in my class from math to just being a good listener. She is always saying nice things to brighten up someone's day who is feeling a little down. She always compliments other learners and myself. I have never heard one disrespectful word from her. She is really a remarkable learner with outstanding character. It is a pleasure to be her teacher.”
Jocelyn Garza
Roosevelt Elementary School, Lindsay
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Trisha Carrasco
Nominator states, “Jocelyn Garza has a passion for animals. She has taken in numerous stray dogs and made them part of her family. She is currently trying to find a way to help more. She recently made a video to educate her peers on strays and the responsibilities of pet ownership. Her goal is to educate her community and get them to be more aware of the problem. Her long-term goal is to find an organization she can support monetarily by fundraising.”
Alexa Rodriguez
El Monte Middle School, Orosi
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Mario Alvarez
Nominator states, “I am nominating Alexa Rodriguez (7th Grade) from El Monte Middle School for the "2018 Kids of Character Award." Alexa is a very dedicated scholar who has shown tremendous leadership potential. As a 6th grade student, Alexa maintained a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance. This trend has continued her second year of Middle School. Alexa embodies the profile of a Kid of Character, and could easily be nominated for all pillars. For the purpose of this nomination, I would like to highlight how she exemplifies the Citizenship pillar. Alexa frequently seeks opportunities to better herself as a scholar and an individual. When presented with the opportunity to take on a leadership role for "the Rise Above Project" a community based drug prevention initiative at El Monte Middle School. Alexa, who is typically introverted, did not hesitate to go out of her comfort zone by participating in a series of realistic demonstrations of what can happen to an individual who chooses the path of substance use/abuse. Alexa embraced the challenge to play the role of trouble youth in front of her peers, teachers, parents and community members. Additionally, Alexa has demonstrated her commitment to better herself through higher education by reaching out to the counseling center regarding college and career exploration. She is also an active member of our REAP Scholarship program, where she volunteers her lunchtime once a month to learn about various topics on higher education and navigation through college. Alexa makes it a point to stay on top of deadlines for upcoming events and has attended and participated in all of our events this year. In addition to being in the honor roll, Alexa keeps busy with extracurricular activities such as playing on the school volleyball team and being an active member of her church. Her career aspiration is to attend USC and medical school with hopes of one day becoming an Optometrist.”
Ivan Lopez
Golden Valley Elementary School, Orosi
RESPECT
nominated by Dulce Villanueva
Nominator states, “Ivan Lopez's behavior is outstanding. He is a student who is always honest, treats others the way he would like to be treated, follows directions and rules, and most importantly of all he is KIND. It is a true blessing to be his teacher. He is a great example for all of his peers.”
Lawrence Hernandez
Orosi Community Based Instruction, Orosi
CARING
nominated by Brooke Ikuta-Bennett
Nominator states, “Lawrence has recently enrolled in the new Community Based Instruction Program. He is an exemplary student, who never says an unkind word to anyone. He is helpful in any way he can be, and is always the first to volunteer for special projects. Since he began in his new program, Lawrence has volunteered his time completing trash abatement in the community. He has also volunteered completing supply requests for teachers.”
Emily Ortiz
Palm Elementary School, Orosi
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Carol Montag
Nominator states, “Emily is fully engaged in the classroom. After she has completed assignments, instead of choosing to do what she wants, she helps and coaches others. She is always excited to learn and grow. Everyone enjoys her energy and eagerness in class. She is always available for any task. What a delight to have in our classroom!”
Mollylee Gillon
Pixley Elementary School, Pixley
TRUSTWORTHINESS
nominated by James Lee, Catherine Goodwin
Nominators state, “Mollylee Gillon is one of my students that sticks out as one who has excelled at everything she tries. She exudes trustworthiness because when she focuses on anything, she achieves it. If she tells someone she will do something, she is always the one that will come through. As the commandant of the Central Valley Cadets in Pixley, I have watched her go from a shy (yet trustworthy) student/cadet to one of the few that has achieved Corporal. This year, she is the highest-ranking active cadet. She is able to achieve anything I ask her to get done. When I give a command for the cadets to do something, she is the one that makes it happen. Her ability to pick the right people for the right job within the cadets is also very awesome, and takes a lot of stress off my back. I wholeheartedly nominate her for Trustworthiness because that is just WHO SHE IT!(RESPONSIBILITY) I would like to nominate Molly Gillon. She was my student in 4th grade and I loved watching her grow and excel in my class. Molly comes from a very difficult home life. Her father died 2 years ago and her mother is in and out of her life. Molly is an exceptional girl who has an amazing imagination and creative side. Although you can find her reading and drawing any chance she gets she is a top performing student who turns in her class work and tries hard on tests. I was happy when Molly decided to join Cadets in the middle of last year because she is a student who needs a little extra discipline in her creative life. She has excelled in Cadets and has passed all of her tests and is now Corporal. She leads other students and is a role model for others in our school. I believe with the right mentors and opportunities Molly can truly be anything she wants. Molly shows great responsibility in and out of class. I look forward to all the great things she will do in the future.”
Cesar Rios
Pixley Middle School, Pixley
TRUSTWORTHINESS
nominated by Iris Rodriguez
Nominator states, “Cesar has so much potential and has been slowly discovering that for himself. His creative, passionate ability is what makes him stand out. Due to a tragic loss not long ago, he has had a slow, distracted and difficult beginning of school year. However, as I am building a relationship with him, I am able to see his eagerness to learn. He is beginning to trust the process and is opening himself up. He is constantly asking questions no matter how hard a task might become, he is honest about his actions, encourages others to tell the truth and is not afraid of making mistakes. A few weeks ago, the class had to create a one-pager project, where they filled up a paper with their passion, something that represented them. He filled up the page with a drawing of his uncle and his band. That was the first time I had seen him so excited and concentrated in a task. When he presented his project, he did it with such a passion and love. I knew then he had been holding back a bit and was more than capable in succeeding in anything he would set his mind to. During that project, he was honest of what he could do and wanted to do. As he is beginning to trust himself and what he can do, he is starting to see that life is not all that bad and is trying more. I say all that because I have seen a positive difference in him in such a short period of time. He is an amazing kid with a lot of potential and a good heart.”
Jaxon Hoehn
Pleasant View Elementary School, Poplar
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Tashima Irving
Nominator states, “I have a young man in my class that just steals my heart away. I have watched him grow in the area of responsibility over the last 2 years. Jaxon Hoehn is a bright student who has struggled with his temper since he was in Transitional-kindergarten. I would see him get extremely upset if things did not go as he wished. When I was a kindergarten teacher, he loved to come in my classroom. Therefore, as a reward for his good behavior his teacher would allow him to come into my class for a few minutes. He would be presented as my leader and he would lead a group activity. I now have him in my first grade class. He has grown tremendously, and has become one of my most responsible students. He is cognizant of his behavior and takes the time to breathe and think about his choices before he reacts. If he finds himself getting upset he can now talk about it, and excuse himself from the situation until he calms down. Which is something many adults are not capable of doing! Once he calms down he comes and stands next to me and says, "Ms. Irving guess what? I am now happy again". When he says that I know he is ready to get back to work. To see this change in him and ability to refocus brings me great joy. Jaxon excels academically, he is an excellent reader, and enjoys saying jokes and making us laugh. He has a true heart of gold and it shows when he greets me with a hug and smile in the morning, or wants to hold my hand as we walk out during dismissal. I look forward to seeing him grow even more. He is definitely a leader in the making.”
Diamond Cardenas
Alta Vista School, Porterville
RESPECT
nominated by Yadira Maldonado
Nominator states, “Diamond is respectful not only to her fellow classmates, but also shows great respect towards the adults on campus. Every morning she passes by all her teachers and tells them good morning. While out on the playground, she treats her friends respectfully and if someone gets hurt, she automatically asks if they are okay. I can always count on her to do what she is asked even when no one is watching. Diamond is a great student and truly exhibits all of the pillars of character; unfortunately, I could only pick one.”
Diana Lara
Bartlett Middle School, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Mandy Knowles
Nominator states, “I am so proud of my student Diana Lara. This is her second year with me and she continues to impress me with her caring and generosity. If a student (or teacher/staff) is down, she asks if they are okay. She will always help a peer when they are struggling and share whatever she has. What makes these traits so impressive is that she is an IRC 'Intervention Resource Classroom" student. By nature she should struggle with these characteristics, however she exemplifies them. To even further brag about my student she was on the honor roll last school year, and well on her way to academic success again. I firmly believe we must work with what we have. I see that in Diana. She may not understand the topics at times, but she gives each effort 100%. You make my heart happy Diana Lara! Keep up the Good Work!”
Kaitlyn Ortiz
Belleview Elementary School, Porterville
FAIRNESS
nominated by Shelby Lozano
Nominator states, “Kaitlyn is a student who shows fairness in every class. She always makes sure her classmates are following the rules and doing their best. Kaitlyn always makes sure to talk to her classmates to make sure they are having fun and following the rules. She is a great well-rounded student for all six pillars of character.”
Marcy Cabatu
Burton Elementary School, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Donald Ramey
Nominator states, “Marcy entered 4th Grade this year with a “can do” attitude. From day one, she has been a model student assisting the teacher and her fellow learners. Everyone in class knows that she can be counted on to do the right thing no matter what the situation brings. She is very generous with both her time and knowledge!”
Samantha Sanchez
Burton Middle School, Porterville
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Ricky Rountree
Nominator states, “Samantha has continued to amaze me. From day one, she has been respectful, responsible, and caring. I am proud to be her teacher. In my opinion, she has merited all of the categories; however, I am only able to suggest one. I select the area of responsibility. All of her assignments are completed in a timely manner and with quality work. Samantha has never been off task, follows directions to the letter, and never loses that smile upon her face. She has never deviated from doing what she is supposed to be doing. She has exceeded my expectations in all areas. I firmly believe and proudly admit that she has showcased such a greatness in the art of being responsible that I have yet to witness a student achieve this level so soon in the school year. She is the first to accomplish this at such an early period. I realize that some of this has to do with her upbringing; nevertheless, she makes this choice on a daily basis and encourages others to do the same. Whether or not she wins the award, she is definitely a winner in my classroom, on our campus, at her home, and in our community. I marvel in a wondrous joy at such an amazing eight grader.”
Zackery Holmberg
Butterfield Charter High School, Porterville
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Janet Uresti, Adam Castillo
Nominator states, “Zackery is an amazing student. He volunteers for numerous hours every year at Porterville's Relay for Life and at other community events where he receives no pay, or recognition (it does allow him to earn some elective credits, but even with that it is 15 hours for every elective credit). He is always helping our Creation Lab supervisor on-site with projects she is trying to carry out. Zackery plays a huge part in our district and at the community's Porterville Celebrates Reading event. He is a hard-working student in his academics and we are hoping he will graduate a year early. I am very proud of Zackery. Zackery is a very caring individual. He is very helpful on campus to other staff and students he offers help when it is needed. He helps without being asked and is a giving person.”
Ricardo Saavedra
Granite Hills High School, Porterville
RESPECT
nominated by Lucia Hernandez
Nominator states, “I have not known Ricardo for a very long time, but when it comes to recognizing someone for any kind of recognition, he is the first to come to mind. Ricardo is in my first period class as a freshman at Granite Hills High School. I have about 150 students, yet out of all my students, Ricardo is the one that stands out the most to me. Every morning when he comes into my class, he greets me with a handshake and tells me good morning. Even though it is first period (and it's math), he always comes in with a positive attitude and the willingness to learn. If he has any kind of confusion, he politely raises his hand to ask for help. When the period ends, he always makes sure to wave or shake my hand along with a, "Have a good day Ms. Hernandez". When you see him during break/lunch, he is still carrying on that positive attitude. I hope I have more students like Ricardo because he carries such a positive aura, you cannot help but be in a good mood when he is around.”
Gavin Lambarena
Hope School, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Flor Martinez
Nominator states, “As a teacher, every year we are brought forth with new challenges, hopes, and aspirations. This year, in particular, I was met with a very challenging group of students that I had anticipated all summer long. From the moment they walked into my classroom, I welcomed them with love, security, and stability. In the beginning, I was met with some resistance by a group of students. There was one student in particular that just knew how to make me smile. His kind words and gestures reassured me of the innocence and goodness found in every single child. Every morning, he always has something kind to say. His smile lights up a room. He is very trustworthy, responsible and has taught me so much already. One morning, in particular, he brought me an apple and it was at that moment that I was reminded of my role as a teacher. He reminded me that I am there to inspire, love, encourage and instill a desire for curiosity. He reminded me that they call me 'Teacher.'"
Karson Avila
Jim Maples Academy, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Yudy Navarro
Nominator states, “Karson Avila is a very caring and helpful student. One day, another classmate did not have a snack and without thinking twice, Karson gave him his snack. He is always looking out to help me in the classroom and whenever he can, he likes to lend a hand to anybody. Not only does he care about others, he also cares about performing his very best. He strives to persevere and do whatever it takes to exceed in everything!"
Damian Palomares
John J. Doyle Elementary School, Porterville
RESPECT
nominated by Cynthia Flores
Nominator states, “Damian Palomares is worthy of the Character Counts! Award for displaying the Pillar of RESPECT. Damian respects everyone around him. He always uses the magic words. For example, he says, “thank you, excuse me, you are welcome and sorry”. He truly treats others the way he would like to be treated.”
Fernando Medina
Los Robles Elementary School, Porterville
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Diana Ward
Nominator states, “For Fernando being responsible embraces learning with integrity. He clearly takes responsibility for his own learning seriously. He always shows academic integrity by doing all of his assignments with genuine effort. He comes early to class to receive additional instruction in areas of need. Integrity is something Fernando represents and is part of his life. He promotes responsibility by being fair and honest both inside and outside the classroom. Fernando is one terrific and responsible student.”
Marisol Gonzalez
Monache High School, Porterville
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Carmel Spaulding
Nominator states, “Marisol Gonzalez is a graduating senior at Monache High School. She has been a member of the Monache FFA chapter since her freshman year of school, and has been very involved in Career Leadership Events, and Supervised Agriculture Experience projects. She has exhibited rabbits, and market lambs at the Porterville and Tulare County Fairs, and has competed in many judging and public speaking contests. She deserves the Kids of Character Award because of her work ethic and commitment to our chapter and school farm. Marisol was one of our Summer Student Interns this past year. She was a very conscientious and hardworking individual, who took care of the livestock and plants on the school farm. She was a dedicated worker, who put in long hours, weeding, transplanting, and watering the plants in the Ornamental Horticulture department, as well as caring and managing the poultry and swine units. Marisol gave up her summer vacation and was a very valuable asset to our agriculture program. Marisol knows the meaning of work ethic, and showing up daily during the summer heat. Additionally she would also fill in for other students who were unable to fulfill their duties. She always maintained a positive attitude, and was very meticulous and conscientious when completing her designated duties on the farm. The advisors could trust her to show up and work hard. The advisors at Monache High School Agriculture Department are honored to nominate Marisol for the Kids of Character award. She exemplifies the true meaning of character, and we will miss her when she graduates from Monache High School.”
Julieanna Lopez
Monte Vista Elementary School, Porterville
FAIRNESS
nominated by Erica Peterson
Nominator states, “Julieanna exhibits fairness by: taking turns both in the classroom and outside the classroom. She tells the truth, plays by the rules. She is always thinking about how her actions will affect others. She is able to listen to teachers and staff with an open mind, and she does not blame others for your mistakes, but rather reflects on how she could improve her own actions.”
Samuel Herrera
Oak Grove Elementary School, Porterville
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Daisy Contreras
Nominator states, “Samuel is only five years old and has a very responsible nature about him. On a daily basis I hear him taking initiative in helping others in many different areas of the pillars of character. He sets a good example as a scholar in class completing his tasks with a good attitude about learning. On the playground, he will play and make sure to include all students. He holds his peers accountable for their independent work. He seeks out students who are struggling and offers kind words for them when they are sad or crying. When he notices others getting frustrated, he lets them know it is ok to make mistakes and even makes an extra effort to give them something to look forward to. He has a very natural way to bring peace to his peers when they have disagreements in our classroom. It is with great pleasure that I nominate Samuel for his great citizenship that is an example for anyone in our school to follow.”
Rosa Ceballos
Olive Street Elementary School, Porterville
FAIRNESS
nominated by LoriThurow
Nominator states, “Rosa shows the pillar of fairness. At recess, she plays by the rules. She will take turns and is eager to let others join. She knows the rules and makes certain that everyone follows them. Rosa treats people fairly. She listens to others and is a good friend. Rosa is well liked because she treats people fairly.”
Patrice Ratsakhy
Pioneer Middle School, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Cydney Padgett
Nominator states, “Patrice Ratsakhy should receive the Kids of Character Award for exemplifying the Caring pillar. She is a 7th grade student who has independently taken on the role of peer mentor of our Special Day Class at Pioneer Middle School, Porterville. Patrice has helped each new student to our class adjust to our campus. She has shown them around campus to locate bathrooms, drinking fountains, and the student store. She has given up a few lunch times to make sure they got their food and found a place to hang out. She was kind enough to stand-up for a student who was being teased. During class, Patrice has given good advice on how to get class work done and about the importance of grades, AR points, and Jiji Levels. She is generous with her knowledge; peer tutoring in math. Patrice wants her peers to feel successful and be able to participate in the rewards programs offered on campus. Overall, Patrice is an amazing student who really does care about her education and her peers. She is the epitome of caring.”
Aaron Cruz
Porterville High School, Porterville
RESPECT
nominated by Julie White
Nominator states, “Aaron Cruz, senior at Porterville High School, in Porterville, CA, displayed respect on the varsity football field on Friday, September 14, 2018. In a football game where an opposing player was injured, and an ambulance had to be called in, he was the ONLY player on the football field from either team, who took a knee out of respect for a student who was injured. This showed not only respect, but caring for a fellow athlete and citizenship on the field. When he was told to stand up to speak to the coach, he would immediately go to the side and get back down on his knee. The only ones who joined Aaron in kneeling were the cheerleaders for both teams. I believe they should be nominated as well. In a world where respect is seen far less, this showed great character, as he was the only football player on the field and/or sidelines who cared enough to take a knee.”
Christopher Plumlee
Roche Avenue Elementary School, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Shelly Noble
Nominator states, “Christopher is a great friend to every kid at school. He is willing to help his classmates that need help completing an assignment in class. He uses kind and sincere words to both his classmates and teacher. Christopher goes above and beyond what a 3rd grader should when a friend needs help being successful in class. He wants all to find success.”
Isidro Santos
Santa Fe Elementary School, Porterville
FAIRNESS
nominated by Joseph McIntire
Nominator states, “Isidro would make a great law enforcement officer or even a judge. Isidro promotes equity and equality in the classroom and on the playground. He is aware of the fragile balance between treating everyone fairly (equality) and ensuring that everyone gets the individualized attention that they need (equity). On countless occasions, Isidro has volunteered to help his fellow classmates during after school intervention to perform better in both math and language arts. Even though he is by no means required to help anyone, Isidro feels that everyone deserves the same opportunity to be successful.”
Jose Vaca Aguilera
Sequoia Middle School, Porterville
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Jennifer Alvarez
Nominator states, “Jose has come to school with a positive attitude and a willingness to work hard. He is on-task and learning every minute of the class. He asks questions and completes all of his work on time. When someone is speaking, he gives his undivided attention. His devotion to his classwork will ensure that his year is successful!”
Dominic Chavera
Success Community School, Porterville
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Marisol Orosco
Nominator states, “Dominic is a responsible student. He completes all of his classwork, no matter how difficult it is. Even if he struggles, he makes sure to ask the school staff for help to make sure that he is doing the work correctly. He asks the teacher for opportunities to earn extra credit and completes that work as well. The bus driver also has commented that he is a responsible bus rider and follows the bus rules, being an example to the other students. We at Success Community School appreciate and want to recognize responsible students like Dominic Chavera.”
Zoey Say
Summit Charter Academy Mathew Campus, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Alberto Horta
Nominator states, “I would like to nominate Zoey Say as a student who embodies the character of caring, both in and out of the classroom. My students are seated strategically in Kagan groups. She has gone out of her way to make sure that all of her teammates have what they need. Zoey has made sure that our library is well taken care of as well as pointing out that some of the books that are found in the library might not be the most appropriate because they include high levels of violence that the younger students should not see. After any activity, she is always making sure that the students around her and with her are back on task and she does it in a way that is neither disrespectful nor rude. She cares about the success of her peers and has always been helpful towards them. Zoey embodies the pillar of caring.”
Alexander Bermudez
Vandalia Elementary School, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Jovita Dabney
Nominator states, “Alexander is a caring person because of his kind words and actions. One example of this was when a new student from Yemen, entered my classroom one month into the school year. I sat this student next to Alex as his shoulder partner. Alex was kind enough to assist her with our “new” math curriculum. Not only was this math program new to him and his classmates, but he had to explain it to his partner. Watching Alex explain the process to his partner was truly an act of kindness and concern for his partner. This is why I chose Alex as someone who is described as caring.”
Izaya Welsh
West Putnam Elementary School, Porterville
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Salvador Garcia
Nominator states, “Izaya Welsh is known for his integrity and good character. His involvement in sports and civic activities is well known in throughout our school. He has displayed and demonstrated restraint in difficult situations where others may have failed to do so. He sets a great example for the students and does so with humility. It is with pleasure that I nominate him for Kid of Character: Outstanding Citizenship.”
Omar Ortiz
Westfield Elementary School, Porterville
CARING
nominated by Renee Carson
Nominator states, “We recently went on a field trip, and we were picking chaperon groups one afternoon. We were down to the last 4 or 5 students who needed to be placed in a group of three. When it was the last boy’s turn, he looked forlorn because there were not many spots left and this boy's friends were already in a group of three. All of a sudden, Omar raises his hand and said, "I will give up my spot in _______ group, so Jahaziel can go with his friends. Everyone knows that those 3 have been best friends since 3rd grade. I do not mind going with a different group. You can put me wherever it works." I was completely caught off-guard by Omar's willingness to let someone else take his place. He obviously realized how important this was to Jahaziel, so he unselfishly went with another group. Omar was willing to go with any of the groups who still had room. Everyone in our room is very fond of Omar, as you can see why, so it was easy for him to fit in with other students in our room. Omar is very humble and giving so I strongly feel exemplifies the pillar of caring.”
Anetta Arouch
William R. Buckley Elementary School, Porterville
RESPECT
nominated by Melinda Stone
Nominator states, “Anetta is a respectful student in many different ways. First of all, she is respectful to her teacher 100% of the time. She is always listening in order to understand, and she shows this with her body language as well as her thoughtful answers and responses in class. Besides being respectful to her teacher, she is also respectful to her fellow students in class and on the playground. She treats her friends the way she would want to be treated. She is polite to them, always kind, and she always makes others smile. Anetta is a blessing to others because she cares about them and shows them respect.”
Isabella Reyes
Richgrove School, Richgrove
TRUSTWORTHINESS
nominated by Noemi Geaney
Nominator states, “Isabella exemplifies trustworthiness. She tells the truth and follows through with her promises. She also exemplifies the other pillars of character as well. She follows all school rules and is eager to learn. Isabella loves a challenge and is kind to others. She is a joy to have in class.”
Lindsay Anderson
Springville Union School, Springville
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Danelle Bledsaw
Nominator states, “Lindsay demonstrates all pillars of character. She is an example 8th grade student who always goes the distance. Lindsay is trustworthy in and out of the classroom and will always tell the truth. She was voted to be our school class Vice President and is respected by the student body. She demonstrates responsibility beyond classwork and leadership roles she takes on always doing her best at all times. She is always fair and plays by the rules even when others do not step up to the fairness plate. Lindsay is caring and looks after her stepbrother who is a grade below by making sure he stays on top of his grades. She is a citizen who our classroom would not run as smoothly without. It is very rare to have an all-around good student who shines in all areas. Lindsay makes my job as a teacher enjoyable and easy!”
Eduardo Lopez
Harmony Magnet Academy, Strathmore
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Jeromy Blackwell
Nominators state, “Eduardo Lopez is a quiet leader, from Woodville. He leads by example, does what he is supposed to do, when he is supposed to do, he does it right, and he does it that way all-of-the- time. Eduardo plays football, and excels as a defensive end. He is also an AP student, and works on projects in the engineering academy. Eduardo never uses these high profile activities as an excuse. He is responsible. He spends his time wisely. He understands he has to manage the events of his life, and he manages them so that he is successful in all things he does. Organization, time, work, and effort have created many opportunities for him.”
Austyn Hughes
Strathmore Elementary School, Strathmore
CARING
nominated by Debbie Derleth
Nominator states, “Austyn is an extraordinarily caring, kind student. He sits next to a special needs student in our class. He never loses his patience, he is very empathetic to his friend's feelings and he is always helpful to everyone in our class. I am so very proud of the young man Austyn is becoming. He is a great role model for others.”
Cristian Rodriguez
Strathmore High School, Strathmore
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Jeromy Blackwell
Nominator states, “Cristian Rodriguez comes from Plainview; he has played football for many years in the community. He has excelled for years as a running back. Our Quarterback graduated last year leaving us with nobody to take the job and no prospect in the near future. Cristian volunteered to sacrifice his role as the running back, and assumed the role of Quarterback. While he struggled early in his new role, he has established himself as a true leader, leading by example through servant leadership, taking on the role of cheerleader-in-chief, trying to keep his team motivated, with a caring and confident air about himself.”
Clarissa Ceballos
Strathmore Middle School, Strathmore
FAIRNESS
nominated by Kristine Warren
Nominator states, “I have had the privilege of having Clarissa as one of my volleyball players this year. She is a very determined and competitive athlete, but underneath all of the effort is a very fair and just person. She is a very positive asset to our team keeping them up beat and picking her teammates up when they are down. She always has words of confidence to share. Any time a call cannot be seen or if I need verification on something, I can always count on Clarissa to be honest and fair with her answer, even if it does not benefit her team. Her teammates look to her for guidance and advice because they know she will tell it to you straight. I enjoy having her as a part of our team and I know she will leave her role model mentality behind for her younger peers to pick up. Clarissa will be hugely successful where ever life decides to take her. It is with these qualities that I nominate her for the Fairness Pillar of Character.”
Amerah Ambriz
Sunnyside Union School, Strathmore
CARING
nominated by Lori Dieterle
Nominator states, “Amerah Ambriz has proven to be a very caring individual in numerous ways. On a daily basis, she exhibits kindness and concern for many of her classmates. One example that stands out above the rest was when a new student showed up to school with a broken foot. Because it was too painful to walk to the playground, the student chose to stay near the classroom. Amerah decided she would keep the new student company and played games with her for many recesses until the student healed. Truly, Amerah could be chosen for any of the pillars of character, but her caring and generous nature is much appreciated and should be recognized.”
Victori Lamb
Monson-Sultana School, Sultana
CARING
nominated by Mrs. Mendoza
Nominator states, “One thing that I can definitely say about Victori is that she will go out of her way to care for others. She is so in tune with people's feelings and she has the ability to be calming when the situation presents itself. Victori will even miss her recess and stay in with a friend just to make them feel better. I can count on Victori to be that helping hand to a friend in need.”
Rocky Mestaz
Three Rivers Union School, Three Rivers
FAIRNESS
nominated by Jami Beck
Nominator states, “Rocky makes sure that our classroom if fair. He knows right from wrong and tries to point out when other classmates are not being treated fairly.”
Alexia Mendez
Tipton School, Tipton
CARING
nominated by Gina Manfredi Magana
Nominator states, “I have a student that has some trouble communicating with other students and when we collaborate in class, I wanted to include him in groups. I assigned him a group the first week of school, not knowing my students very well. This is when Alexia Mendez first stood out to me. She called him over to her group and said, "Come join us!" I could hear her include him in the conversations and welcome his opinions and thoughts. As the weeks have gone on so has her loving kindness, she is always encouraging her group and making sure everyone is participating. She does this in such a kind caring way, a way that every teacher dreams I child would act like. I am very proud to nominate Alexia for caring.”
Rita Vera
Traver School, Traver
CARING
nominated by Elizabeth Rodriguez
Nominator states, “I am nominating Rita Vera, an 8th grade student at Traver School. Rita is a sweet young lady and a student who exemplifies all six pillars. If I had to choose one, it would be caring. Rita is always quick to help anyone in need. She cares about every person on our campus including staff and students. She always is looking to see who she can help. She does not wait to lend a helping hand. She quickly will run to a teacher who is carrying a heavy load, or will offer to help another student with whatever it may be. In class, Rita learned our day-to-day routines very quickly, and was often up out of her seat pulling down the overhead screen and setting up the projector without being asked. "Let me help you Ms. Rodriguez." Rita is always kind to her peers. She will buy extra ice cream or popcorn on Fridays and gives to other students who may not have the money to buy that day. There is times she also will buy ice cream for her teachers and delivers them to the front office as a way of surprising us. She is so thoughtful and puts others first. She is a leader on our campus and loves to give. She does everything with a big and cheerful smile. Rita is generous, humble and kind. All she does is out of the kindness of her heart and never expects anything in return. Rita is known at our school as the student who is not only caring, but respectful and responsible. She is a student who we can count on as always doing the right thing!”
Sieanna Garcia Mendoza
Accelerated Charter High School, Tulare
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Sara Zakarian
Nominator states, “Sieanna is an extremely responsible and trustworthy young lady. She works in our office, school cafeteria, and holds a job at McDonalds. She is conscious about savings and wants to have a better life for herself. She has overcome many obstacles so far in her life and continues to persevere in difficult situations. I am so proud to know this young lady and I know she will find success in life. Sieanna is very deserving of a character counts award and epitomizes what it means to be a responsible student.”
Giselle Chavez
Alice G. Mulcahy Middle School, Tulare
CARING
nominated by Rosalynda Mazon
Nominators state, “Giselle is the type of student that genuinely cares about others. She wants to know whether students are okay, she is cognizant of their feelings, and that is an admirable quality to have at such a young age. Giselle is a member of our Step Up Team. Step Up is a Competition made directly for the students of Tulare County to challenge themselves to make a difference in their school's community. Giselle wants to make a difference. She wants to help students in her community and she is willing to put in the effort it takes to do so. Giselle was a member of our Step Up team last year and their challenge 'The Carnival of Hope,' addressed the homeless students in our community and their families. The effort it took for students to get donations from local organization, businesses and markets was beyond amazing. Giselle takes pride in being a part of something that was bigger than herself and is continuing her work further by being a part of this year's challenge as well. Giselle is an excellent example of the Pillar of Caring. When asked why she wanted to be a part of Step Up, her response was Quote: 'I want to be a part of Step Up to help our homeless families, because I know that it must be difficult for them. I want to help these families, because some of these students are my friends here at Mulcahy.'”
Ava-Marie Freitas
Alpine Vista School, Tulare
CARING
nominated by Lyndsey Ingle
Nominator states, “Ava-Marie is caring in so many ways but one story sticks deep in my mind. It goes like this: "Mrs. Ingle, a student moved and now I don't have a partner for centers." "Yes Ava-Marie. You are correct. We will move groups so everyone has a partner." "Mrs. Ingle, '(student)' does not have a partner, he is alone. So maybe we can be together!" "That would be perfect!" I said, getting teary without her knowing." Little does this audience know but the other student has a difficult time in class and out. He does not have many friends and is having a hard time adjusting. Even though I said we would move partners, she volunteered and asked to be with him. If this does not show caring at its finest, I do not know what does.”
Javier Padilla
Buena Vista School, Tulare
RESPECT
nominated by Jordan Perry
Nominator states, “Javier walks his sister to her class every morning when he gets off the bus and greets every staff member as he passes through the hall. In the classroom, he is helpful during group work especially with assisting struggling learners. He is always on task and cares about keeping his grades up. On the field, he is exemplary, never boastful and follows instructions. He goes out of his way to shake the hands of the refs upon completion of his games. I am proud to nominate Javier for the pillar of respect.”
Zaya Lopez
Countryside High School, Tulare
FAIRNESS
nominated by Elizabeth Castaneda
Nominator states, “Zaya is the epitome of fairness. Zaya is one student who plays by the rules. She is willing to step up when someone is being treated unfairly and makes sure her peers do not feel bullied or left out. Zaya does not judge others and is willing to listen to others who have different opinions.”
Brayden Freitas
Cypress Elementary School, Tulare
TRUSTWORTHINESS
nominated by Annie Braun
Nominator states, “Brayden is someone you can depend on. He is kind and thoughtful as he looks out for the well- being of others. He can always be trusted to share an honest answer, even when it is hard to do. He is constantly looking for ways to improve things for himself and others around him. I can always count on him! I am so proud of you, Brayden!”
Lucas Bernardo
Frank Kohn Elementary School, Tulare
FAIRNESS
nominated by Jeannemarie Ginn
Nominator states, “When you are six or seven years old, "fairness" is not always an easy concept. In our classroom, we discuss that being “fair” does not always look the same. Fairness does not always look the same for everyone. Lucas does an excellent job of showing how to be fair to everyone. He tries his best in everything and this has a wonderful way of showing that not everyone necessarily excels in everything, but everyone can try their best in everything.”
Elizabeth Guerrero
Garden Elementary School, Tulare
CARING
nominated by Maria Cerda
Nominator states, “Elizabeth has been instrumental in bridging the gap between my students and the students at Garden. I teach the TCOE AcCEL classroom for grades 3-6 at Garden school. Many of my students have limited communication skills, are non-verbal, or exhibit behaviors that may not be socially appropriate. As part of the leadership team last year, Elizabeth became a “buddy” to my students for our Special Olympics track meet. She, along with a few other students, came into our classroom and helped my students train for our event. All of the buddies were great, however, Elizabeth truly stood out. Not only did she show patience and kindness to my students, she made an effort to get to know them. She invited them out to play at recess and always greeted them around campus. Her sweet disposition made her a natural for making a connection with my students who exhibit behaviors. She has formed friendships in which my students look forward to seeing her at recess and will ask for her personally. This is a huge accomplishment not only for my students, but for Elizabeth as well. Her actions piqued the interest of other students at Garden in getting to know my students. Fast forward to the beginning of this school year. Garden has become a truly welcoming and accepting place for my students. Countless students come around to simply say hi or give high fives. My students have many opportunities to play and interact with their peers. Elizabeth continues to come into my classroom on a daily basis to check in with her friends, help them with simple tasks, and offer to help with preparing materials for the class. I am thrilled to nominate Elizabeth for a Kids of Character award for caring. She overwhelmingly exemplifies the traits that every school leader would want to see more of.”
Nathalia Gutierrez
Heritage Elementary School, Tulare
RESPECT
nominated by Elizabeth Leak
Nominator states, “Nathalia Gutierrez is a very respectful young lady. First, she always comes to school with a smile on her face and an awesome greeting for other students and myself. Next, if she feels someone is being left out or not being treated fairly, she will come let me know in a very respectful way. Also, she has respect for our school rules. She is very conscientious of our school rules and classroom environment. She is always ready to do her part to ensure that she follows good HAWK habits.”
Marilyn Valenzuela
Liberty School, Tulare
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Renee Hovis
Nominator states, “Marilyn has been chosen for her outstanding citizenship. She consistently demonstrates respect for her peers as well as adults. She is involved in promoting a positive classroom community by always having encouraging words for others. She follows school rules, respects others, and is a positive role model that other students look up to and respect. She is a great leader and an honest and loyal friend to all. Keep up the great work!”
Jean Smith
Lincoln Elementary School, Tulare
CARING
nominated by Rafael Covarrubias
Nominator states, “Jean has been a perfect example of all the pillars of character. Today I am briefly going to describe Jean and her caring nature. Jean started school a week later than the rest of my students, but from the moment, she entered my class it was obvious that she was going to be someone that would greatly influence the essence of the group. Normally students are a bit shy and withdrawn when entering into a new class, but Jean was the opposite. She was all smiles and positive and made friends quickly with all of the kindergarten students. Daily, Jean would demonstrate caring by helping her classmates. One way that Jean demonstrated caring was when working at our Center Stations, she would ensure that all of her group members were able to complete their tasks. If her group members needed assistance, she would always take the time to help them in whatever task needed to be completed. Another way Jean showed caring was on the yard during recess. On the yard, she is always the student making sure that everyone around her is included in the game she is playing. If you are standing around looking bored, she will probably pull you into her game and ask you if you want to play. Finally, Jean showed caring with a student who was having a difficult time adjusting to class routines. One day during Center Rotations a student in class was having difficulty finding his way to his next workstation and Jean took it upon herself to take him by the hand and walk him to his appropriate destination. She continued to do this for several days until said student was able to navigate the routes independently. Jean Smith is a remarkable human being and I am very pleased to have her as one of my students. I hope that she continues on the path that she is currently on. I see great things in her future.”
Lance Nourian
Live Oak Middle School, Tulare
CARING
nominated by Douglas Hunt
Nominator states, “I would like to nominate Lance Nourian for a Kids of Character Award. It is easy for me to select Lance for this award but very difficult to choose which pillar best describes his character. I chose the character of caring because of the way I see him work with others. Lance is my lead trumpet player in the Live Oak Jazz Band and the drum major of our Marching Band. He has the responsibility of not only taking care of his part in the ensemble but also leading by example for the others to follow. On a daily basis, I have the opportunity to see Lance work with other students as they achieve success. He not only helps them work through their struggles, he also takes pride in their accomplishments. I sometimes wonder if he finds it more satisfying to see someone he helps achieve success rather than his own accomplishments. He is a true friend to others and leads by example. I sometimes wonder how my students will turn out as adults. I am sure some will become very successful in whatever field they choose. I am confident Lance will be a successful leader in his chosen field. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for him, but am enjoying every day he is in my class. Please consider Lance for the Character Counts Award of Caring. I cannot think of a more deserving student of this award than Lance Norian.”
Nathaniel Gonzalez Murillo
Los Tules Middle School, Tulare
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Kathy Ruiz
Nominator states, “Nathaniel is an excellent student to have as an office aide. He is reliable, responsible, always carries out his task in a timely and professional manner. He is friendly and willing to do his best.”
Gabriela Sanchez
Maple Elementary School, Tulare
CARING
nominated by Gabriela Jimenez
Nominator states, “Gabriela Sanchez has only been my student for six weeks, yet her excellent character showed since day one. It has truly been a pleasure to be Gabby’s teacher because she is the epitome of all six Character Counts traits. Besides sharing first name with Gabby, she reminds me a lot of myself. I was also a student at Maple Elementary and my parents were first generation immigrants from Mexico. Gabby demonstrates an intrinsic drive unlike I have ever seen. She is driven to be an avid reader and to learn as much as possible about all the areas we cover in the fourth grade. More importantly, however, is that Gabby is a genuinely kind human being. Her smile radiates kindness. One of her classmates, whom she sits next to in class, is far below grade level. Besides being responsible with her own academic tasks, Gabby patiently assists her peer. Gabby does not help because she feels obligated; she does it because she sees the potential in her classmate. I have been out of my classroom for a bit over a week now due to premature labor. Gabby is the only student who has found a way to send me messages every day stating how worried she is about me and my baby. Her messages warm my heart. It amazes me to see how much empathy a nine year old can possess. However, Gabby is not an ordinary nine year old. Again, it is an honor to recommend Gabriela Sanchez for the pillar of caring given her immense capacity to help other and genuinely care for the well-being of others.”
Sandra Carranza
Mission Oak High School, Tulare
RESPECT
nominated by Diane Brown, Erika Holguin, Doug Jones, Shelby Buchanan, Heather Luttrell
Nominators state, “Sandra treats staff and her fellow students with respect. She conducts herself with integrity and expects the same of others. Sandra is very active and goal oriented. She is a "Go Getter" and very mature. She is professional when addressing her teachers and myself as her Counselor. She has great email etiquette and is always respectful. In addition to being an outstanding all-around student who always contributes in class, Sandra does little things, such as neatly stacking piles of returned tests, without ever being asked to do so. She is awesome! Sandra has to be one of the most kind-hearted students I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She smiles down the hallways each day saying hello to every teacher standing by their door. She rushes to hold doors for our students in wheelchairs and on crutches. She is constantly complimenting people. She just has the desire to make other people feel good. Even when she is having a rough day, she wants others to feel loved. In class, she is bright and often finishes things before the rest of the class. Without ever having asked her to do so, she wanders around to every table trying to help people complete assignments. When she talks to them, she has patience and never ever makes people feel stupid for not knowing something. She is also participating in our spirit club and has taken her own time to help with the club's random acts of kindness initiative. Sandra is what every parent and teacher wants in a kid, a genuinely good heart."
Isabella Delgado
Mission Valley Elementary School, Tulare
TRUSTWORTHINESS
nominated by Victoria Parreira
Nominator states, “Isabella always has the courage to do the right thing. I can trust that she will always make good decisions and be a good role model for her classmates. I am honored to nominate Isabella for the pillar of trustworthiness.”
Mitchel Clements
Oak Valley Union School, Tulare
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Margaret DoCanto
Nominator states, “Mitchel is an excellent example of what it means to be responsible. Each day, without hesitation, he steps up and helps any student in need. Most recently he has been closely watching after a classmate who is special needs and has recently been wheelchair bound. Mitchel gathers his materials and his backpack, and takes charge over the wheelchair, making sure to get his classmate from class to class safety. Each day he takes his friend to break, lunch, and to the nurse's office for his medication. On a recent class field trip, he took care of this student by making sure his wheel chair was put under the bus, pulled out when we arrived, found handicap ramps and elevators, and made absolute sure his friend didn't miss out on any of the activities during the trip, including getting him positioned just right for group pictures. Most importantly, Mitchell does all of this without being asked. His strong character only solidifies the fact that he does what he is supposed to and goes far above and beyond, even when no one is watching. That is a true testament of character. We are blessed to have Mitchel and his influence among us every day.”
Izayah Gomez
Palo Verde Union School, Tulare
FAIRNESS
nominated by Liz Zaragoza
Nominator states, “Izayah is a great friend who always plays fair. He is helpful to me and his friends and follows all school rules. He also likes learning about many things, with science being his favorite. When he finds an interesting bug on the playground, he gives all his friends a chance to observe and learn. Izayah shows fairness in many ways.”
Daniel Chamalbide
Pleasant Elementary School, Tulare
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Gina Walker
Nominator states, “Daniel is a model citizen in our classroom with the admirable choices he makes every day in class. He is respected well by his peers and is often sought out when students are working independently because he is so helpful. I was especially impressed today when he wanted to show me a pair of shoes he was going to purchase for his older sister. When I asked him what the shoes were for (Christmas, birthday, etc) he informed me that they were for her birthday but that he was giving them to her early because he was too excited. I then asked him how he earned his money and he told me it was money he received for HIS birthday. I expressed my amazement, and he told me that he discovered it was more fun to give gifts to others than to buy something for himself. What a wonderful lesson for citizenship! That is how Daniel looks at everything at school; how can his actions help others and make for a better experience. He is a wonderful team member to have in my class!”
Martin Vargas Alvarez
Roosevelt Elementary School, Tulare
TRUSTWORTHINESS
nominated by Su Houser
Nominator states, “Martin Vargas is as trustworthy as a boy can be! Consider yourself lucky if you are his teacher, classmate or friend. Martin always tells the truth. He is the child you can turn to if you want an accurate account of an event. Martin can be trusted to listen to all the students in the group and to do his part for the group effort. Martin is a friend you can trust to hold your ice cream dollar on Friday. In addition, if he says he will keep your secret safe, you can trust him at his word."
Victor Ramos
Sierra Vista Charter High School, Tulare
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Tiffini Knight
Nominators state, “This is my second year to have Victor Ramos as my student. Last year he was behind in his work and had a hard time staying focused on the goal of earning all of his needed credits for the school year. We had a parent-teacher-counselor meeting with Victor to let him know he needed to be more responsible for his school career or he would not be on track to graduate. Since then, and especially since the beginning of this school year, Victor has made a big turnaround. Every week he comes in and has his schoolwork ready to turn in on time. Not only is he more engaged at school, but at home, too. He admitted to working on his homework during his free time at home so that he is not doing all of the work at the last minute. He also told me that it is his personal goal to get his work done on time so that he can graduate on time at the end of his senior year. I have spoken with his mother several times this year, and she and I have both seen how determined Victor is to do better in his academic work. I am very proud of him for staying on top of his work this year and that he is currently meeting his own, personal goals.”
Vanessa Iniguez
Sundale Union School, Tulare
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Clint Wolsey
Nominator states, “I am nominating Vanessa Iniguez for the pillar of Responsibility. As a student athlete she is extremely active and involved. At Sundale, she plays every sport, which means Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday she has after-school practice and games during class time. After she is done with Sundale’s practice, she attends her club soccer team’s practice. Her club soccer commitment has her busy almost year round playing on the weekends. That alone makes for a busy schedule, but there is much more. She is the Sundale Sport’s Program Athletic Director’s Assistant. Details of this position include prepping and handing out all jerseys for game day, counting and depositing snack bar money, creating banners/fliers, setting up for game days, filling in whenever the program needs help, etc. She is also part of the Sundale Leadership Class (ASB). Her duties include snack bar, dances, Kids’ Day Fundraiser, community outreach, etc. She is in Advance Band, which also requires after-school practices and Saturday performances. If this was not enough, she is involved in 4-H. She just finished showing a pig at the Tulare County Fair, this required early mornings and late nights caring/training the pig. All of her weekends and afternoons are full, but she always remembers the number one rule of a student athlete; school comes first! She never misses an assignment and her grades are impeccable. On top of all this, she works at her family’s ice cream business. I am truly amazed how at 13 years old she is able to balance everything – She truly is the epitome of RESPONSIBILITY!!!”
Julianna Deniz
Tulare Tech Prep High School, Tulare
FAIRNESS
nominated by Rachel Sausedo
Nominators state, “Julianna displays all of the pillars on a daily basis. She is a student that shows respect to everyone around her, responsibility by having great attendance and grades, and fairness by setting a good example on doing what is right and not being afraid to tell others if they are doing something wrong. She also shows fairness by playing for our school Volleyball team and always coming back with a positive outlook whether they win or lose. She is a great team player and someone we can always count on. She has made tremendous strides and improvement all around from last year and has become a great role model despite all of the obstacles she has overcome. Julianna has really stepped up this year. She is working on her grades hard and beginning to get involved in her school.”
Mallory Mendonca
Tulare Union High School, Tulare
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Amy Bailey
Nominator states, “Mallory is a sophomore in my softball program and she is a part of my art concepts course. Prior to the year starting Mallory and I had a chat about me needing some peer leadership in my art concepts course and she chose to take the challenge of being my assistant during class time. She understands that her behavior needs to be professional because I give her duties beyond those of the others in class and with doing that, she knows that other students will perceive her as a leader. She is doing a great job. Beyond her own work, she runs errands for me and helps to organize the class. At softball, I have seen an immense amount of growth; she leads the way when things need to be done. I consider my team an extended family and I think that by displaying heightened citizenship and leadership skills she shows that she intends to represent well. This is also important because her mom is my JV coach. A lot of stigma comes along with being the coach’s kid. She keeps her work ethic up and her behavior in a respectable zone all of the time.”
Kelly Bermudez-Reynoso
Tulare Western High School, Tulare
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Melissa Romero
Nominator states, “Kelly demonstrates great character daily! This year in one of my Algebra classes, I had a unique situation arise. I have a new student from Mexico that was actually born in China. He is fluent in both Spanish and Chinese. I have another student that is new from China; she is only fluent in Chinese. So on the first day of school, I was scrambling to figure out a way to communicate with both these students. Luckily, Kelly helped me come up with a solution! Kelly and my two new students sit in the same group. Kelly translates English to Spanish for my new male student and then he translates Spanish to Chinese for my new female student. It's amazing to see these 3 students working together!! Kelly's plan has been such a success :) Never does she complain, rather she embraces the challenge and always does it with a smile on her face. I am in awe of her kindness and her patience in helping not only her fellow classmates, but me as well. Kelly without a doubt should be awarded the Citizenship award.”
Aleyda Ceballos
Waukena School, Tulare
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Melinda Mills
Nominator states, “Aleyda is an extremely responsible young lady. She has maintained a perfect record of zero missing assignments for multiple years running. She is the oldest in her family and always sets a good example for her younger siblings. She is trusted by the school staff to take care of any task that is asked of her. Her classmates enjoy working with her because she is an excellent partner and group mate, who always does her part.”
Emma Villa
Wilson Elementary School, Tulare
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Heather Beck
Nominator states, “Emma is an amazing citizen in our classroom and in our Wilson community. She always helps to pick up her centers and our classroom. Emma does an awesome job of keeping track of all of her school supplies too. She is a strong leader in our classroom and a wonderful role model for the rest of the class. It is a pleasure to have Emma in my class. Thank you Emma for showing what it is means to be a citizen in our school community.”
Khloe Perez
Annie R. Mitchell Elementary School, Visalia
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Peggy Smith
Nominator states, “Khloe is a model student who always demonstrates the highest degree of citizenship in the classroom and playground. She exemplifies her citizenship skills by always doing her share to make the school and the classroom a nicer place. She always makes sure that she follows the rules and encourages others to do likewise. Khloe constantly wants to be involved in school activities and consistently volunteers to be a class leader or helper when we need someone to represent our class. She is a great role model and truly demonstrates the character trait of citizenship every day!”
Jaden Shipley
Central Valley Christian High School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Kim Shipley
Nominator states, “Jaden is an example of what a student can do when they take responsibility for their own learning. Though Jaden struggles with dyslexia, she puts all efforts into learning and being the best she can be. She takes responsibility for getting her work done on time and done well. She takes all the full load of work and puts in the extra time and effort that it takes her to complete her responsibilities on time. Jaden does not have to be told or reminded to get her work done and to look ahead to deadlines coming up. She keeps a calendar and makes sure all of her assignments; current and future are calendared as a reminder. She is focused during learning time and has learned to take responsibility for getting the best notes she can even though she struggles to keep up. Jaden does not give excuses for what or how she learns. She is a shining example of a person who takes responsibility for themselves, their learning, and their future. She is a kid of character!”
Reagan Keeter
Cottonwood Creek Elementary School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Darian Sagaser
Nominator states, “Reagan is a very responsible young lady. She is a solutions person. She does not come to adults or peers with problems rather she is the person who works to find solutions before problems even arise. When leaving for a doctor appointment or going out of town she doesn't make excuses about not having time to finish homework, she comes the day before with all of it already completed. She is very responsible and will be successful in the future.”
Angel Trujillo
Crescent Valley Charter School, Visalia
RESPECT
nominated by Christine G. Anderson
Nominator states, “Angel is such a diligent worker. He comes to school ready to learn each day. Since he began with the Literacy Center, he has completed 19 English credits. He only began in April 2018. I have never observed him saying an unkind word to anyone. He almost died when he was a young boy. He was renamed, Angel because he survived. He is respectful to teachers, staff and his fellow students. He is worthy of a Character Award.”
Graciela Cruz
Crestwood Elementary School, Visalia
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Jessica Cisneros
Nominator states, “Gracie is a wonderful student. She is always there to help her classmates, myself, and the other teachers around campus. Gracie will often ask me if she can help her classmates after she finishes her work during class with math, reading, or writing. She also likes to stay in at recess and use that time to help tidy up the classroom, sharpen pencils, or help me organize our classroom library. Sometimes she will stay after school as well and ask if there is anything, she can do to help me. Gracie has strongly showed traits of the pillar of Citizenship!”
Hansen Pimentel
Crowley Elementary School, Visalia
TRUSTWORTHINESS
nominated by Adeline Villicana
Nominator states, “It is with great “Honor” that I nominate my 6th grade student Hansen Pimentel for the Pillar of Trustworthiness. Pimentel Hansen is the epitome of “Trustworthiness” because he tells the truth, no matter the circumstance, and he is very honest! Hansen keeps his promises to his classmates, teacher, community, and other adults as well. Hansen also keeps promises to himself, when he sets academic goals and he meets them. He is also very helpful in the classroom and is a magnificent role model for other students! Hansen makes his family and his teacher very proud!”
Jermiah Ortega
Elbow Creek Elementary School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Tracey Frye
Nominator states, “Jermiah Ortega is an easy going, humorous, friendly child. He perseveres despite being dealt a challenging hand. He does not allow his physical disability to diminish his happiness and drive. I am nominating Jermiah for Character Counts for exemplifying the pillar or Responsibility. He is an enthusiastic student who always does his best. He has to work harder than many children to complete routine tasks, but he never lets that interfere with his learning. Jermiah always completes and turns in his homework. He participates in learning activities and does his work. He follows routines and rules as well. Jermiah is a role model for all in many areas, but his Responsibility stands out in the classroom. I wholeheartedly nominate Jermiah for recognition of his Responsibility.”
Emily Silahua
Global Learning Center School, Visalia
CARING
nominated by Laurie Robinson
Nominator states, “I have had the extreme pleasure of being Emily's teacher for 2 years in a row because we have multi-aged classrooms at GLC. Emily is one of the kindest people I have met in my life. She has an empathetic heart and cares so much about people and animals. She has the best manners and the highest morals and values of any student I have ever had. She is helpful to her peers, myself, and anyone she meets. Emily has become a part of my family. She even comes to my house when my 5-year-old grand twins are with me and plays with them. She really is one of a kind!”
Audrie Rodriguez
Golden Oak Elementary School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Jennifer Fowler
Nominators state, “Audrie is a new student to Golden Oak this year. She was slightly scared to start a new school, but she has flourished over the past few weeks. Audrie takes initiative in and out of the classroom. Her focus to achieve tasks at the best of her ability, share her thoughts during instruction, and her dedication to always do the right thing makes her a wonderful candidate for the Kids of Character Award. It has been an honor to watch Audrie grow as a student and as an individual in such a short time this year! She truly is a model student in my class.”
Mauricio Garcia-Corona
Goshen Elementary School, Visalia
RESPECT
nominated by Sarah Van Dermyden
Nominator states, “Mauricio is an excellent student who comes to school each day with a smile on his face. One of my favorite parts of my day is seeing him give his mom a kiss goodbye every morning before school, which shows me how much he respects her. He is always doing what he is supposed to be doing, and he is always willing to help his teacher whenever she needs extra help. Mauricio is especially patient with students who struggle more with school than he does, and he shows them respect by waiting patiently for them to finish their work or by helping them when they need it. Mauricio brings a ray of sunshine into our classroom every day.”
Elvis Xiong
Houston Elementary School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Natalie Alvarez
Nominator states, “Elvis is a student who holds himself to the highest sense of responsibility. What others see as work he sees as a challenge and avenue to prove himself. He never complains but he plan ahead. He sets goals and completes them. His peers have recognized him for meeting his academic goals in the classroom. Elvis sets the standard and is a prime example of responsibility not only in my classroom but at Houston Elementary.”
Max Lopez
Hurley Elementary School, Visalia
RESPECT
nominated by Brian Steele
Nominator states, “Max displays respect on a daily basis. Regardless of being in the classroom or on the playground, Max treats peers/staff with kindness and respect. He is a model student at Hurley and always tries his best even when a given subject may be difficult for him. Max truly makes Hurley a better place to be. It is my pleasure to nominate Max Lopez for the TCOE Kids of Character.”
Jillian Fifield
Linwood Elementary School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Lori Irvine
Nominator states, “Jillian Fifield is the most amazing young lady! I keep track of our daily homework in a web-based program, and her cumulative percentage is 356%. Yes, she loves to read and has read almost 2 million words since school began. However, that is not why her percentage is so high. She completes every bit of homework and does even more than what I assign. Even if I do not require students to complete something, she does it anyway because she really cares and wants to do her best. She has never missed a single assignment and is incredibly helpful to her teammates because she helps them remember things. Sometimes I have to remind myself that she is only in 6th grade because she is so responsible. I also love talking with her at recess because she packs her own lunch and takes so much time to pack the most unique snacks that she has made herself. She of course shares them with me and kids around her. She is responsible in every area of her life.”
Brenda Hernandez
Mineral King Elementary School, Visalia
CARING
nominated by Kristine Olson
Nominator states, “Brenda takes the time to help her classmates, whether it is with spelling, reading, or when using their chrome books. She is very kind and caring.”
Sebastian Munoz
Mountain View Elementary School, Visalia
RESPECT
nominated by Debra Fowler
Nominator states, “Sebastian is a very respectful and conscientious scholar! He follows the rules in the classroom and on the playground. If he is unsure about a rule or classroom procedure, he will raise his hand to have it clarified. He wants to do what is right. He is kind and caring to all his classmates. He is a good friend. It is a pleasure to have him in our class this year!”
Alejandra Moreno
Mt. Whitney High School, Visalia
RESPECT
nominated by Stephani Callahan-Clark
Nominator states, “Alejandra is an amazing student and athlete. She wrestles and plays football. This year, she starts on the JV football team and plays both ways; she is always polite, courteous and helpful to her peers. She is willing to do her best on tasks requested of her. Her current weighted GPA is 2.50. Alex is an amazing young lady with the hopes of entering the medical profession in the future.”
Lana Alipaz
Oak Grove Elementary School, Visalia
CARING
nominated by Rachael Ray
Nominator states, “Lana Alipaz has proven herself to be kind and considerate of others. Several times already this year, she has gone out of her way to ensure others are comfortable, welcomed, understanding the curriculum, and taking part in the group work assignments. For example, Lana sits near a child with special needs. Each day, she connects with the student. She uses his name to draw him into group discussion, gives him gentle reminders about tasks and materials, and deliberately includes and involves him in table group assignments. During the creation of a poster, she delegated small, manageable tasks to this child, returning with new ways he could contribute once he accomplished something. She is allowing the other student to feel like a successful part of the class with her techniques. Another time, a student was expressing concern and frustration because he could not grasp the grammar curriculum being taught. Lana volunteered to sit down with the student and tutor him. Carefully and kindly, she walked through the important information, providing examples and using the assigned problems to teach the student. Also carefully and deliberately, she eased away, asking the student to do more and more independently until he understood the concept and was capable and confident enough to do it his own. After working with Lana, the child felt such a sense of empowerment and gratitude that he wanted Lana's efforts recognized with PBIS reward tickets and suggested she receive the school's weekly award recognition. Lana is an integral part of our classroom community. This year our room has five students new to our school. Her gestures of inclusion are helping us all to grow together in a positive way. Lana's caring personality in and out of the classroom has made the world of difference to us all. Thank you for considering Lana for a Kids of Character Award; she is very deserving.”
Nethaniel Bustamante
Pinkham Elementary School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Candace Pena
Nominator states, “Nethaniel has shown responsibility throughout his time as a student at Pinkham Elementary. He has the drive and will to do what he is supposed to do, even if others around him are doing the wrong thing. He leads by example and can always be counted on. He sets the example for others around in his group, in his class, and on the playground. He makes others want to do better!”
Ambrose Bueno
Ridgeview Middle School, Visalia
RESPECT
nominated by Deann Myers
Nominator states, “At Ridgeview Middle School, the campus is rife with students who exemplify each pillar. It is easy to observe the hundreds of children who are making great choices every day on our campus. Because I am fortunate to work in an environment that fosters each pillar of character, choosing only one student has proven to be a bit daunting. However, after some thought one student stands out as exceptional. Ambrose Bueno is a typical eighth grader in many respects. He likes hanging out with friends, playing sports, and just doing what 8th graders do...I chose Ambrose for several reasons a few of which I will elaborate. Ambrose is well liked! He is positive in his interactions with peers and staff. His personality is vibrant and his zest for life is contagious. He exudes a healthy confidence, which makes him approachable. In my observations of Ambrose, he treats everyone with the same level of respect. Secondly, he has a kindness about him that is innate. No false pretenses. I suppose I would characterize this as one who is empathetic to others. He truly seems to care about those around him and their feelings. This is evident in the way he is willing to help others. I am often pleased to see this fine young man supporting his peers and helping in class in any way he can. Finally, my choice in choosing Ambrose is that it just feels right! He intuitively knows what respect for others, no matter the circumstance, is all about! Kudos to his family for raising such a great role model!”
Valerie Gutierrez
Riverway Elementary School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Sugehiry Gonzalez
Nominator states, “Valerie Gutierrez has displayed an exceptional example of what it means to be a responsible student. She is comes to class ready to be an inquisitive learner and collaborate with her classmates in order to expand her and their knowledge beyond what she thought possible. She is consistently completing her tasks without being told to do so or without reminders. She knows what is expected of her and she delivers those expectations without hesitation. She is organized, prepared and focused like a true AVID student. I am proud to have her in my class as she continues her journey where I know she will exceed all expectations and meet all her goals.”
Alexa Novelo
Royal Oaks Elementary School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Dawn Woodward
Nominator states, “This student has served as a model scholar in our classroom. She can always be found listening to directions, staying on task and assisting her teammates to do the same. She can always be found with a positive mindset, an eagerness to learn and a cheerful smile. Just recently, we were working on subtraction with multi-digit whole numbers when she voluntarily chose to join our small group lesson. She was able to articulate her misunderstandings and happily accepted assistance in order to improve her skills. She practiced with the small group until she understood the strategies and then headed back to her desk to work independently. I believe that Alexa demonstrated one of the most important facets of responsibility when she sought assistance to improve her skill set. All too often students try to hide their struggles without seeking help, which hinders their growth in all areas of mathematics. This example of her level of responsibility is only one of many that Alexa has demonstrated in my class this year. I am so proud of the student she is and the student she is becoming!”
Makenna Bugni
Shannon Ranch Elementary School, Visalia
TRUSTWORTHINESS
nominated by Jennifer Peck
Nominator states, “Makenna demonstrates the character trait Trustworthiness. She is always honest and shows the upmost respect to her peers and teachers. I have learned that Makenna is true to her word. When she was faced with a difficult situation, she decided to have a private conversation with me to work things out. She expressed her feelings and desire to solve the situation. She was honest about her feelings and was able to express herself freely which resulted in a positive resolution. I am very proud that Makenna is not afraid to be herself and speak up.”
Rocio Pineda
Stone Corral School, Visalia
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Christopher Kemper
Nominator states, “Rocio is an 8th grader and sets an example daily, for what leadership and positive behavior looks like at Stone Corral School. Rocio is constantly stepping up to help others in her class, as well as the entire school community. Inside the classroom, Rocio can be seen eagerly contributing to class discussions, and working with any and all of her peers. She encourages others to share ideas and contribute, even if they are nervous or unsure of themselves. Rocio encompasses qualities of the best Stone Corral behavior possible. She has been a leader in the school community by participating in many activities such as Red Ribbon Week, Veterans’ Day Celebration, helping with the STEM Lab, student store, and assemblies. In closing, I would say that Rocio embodies the great qualities of a student leader. Her positive behavior, outlook and willingness to help others, in the class and school, are catching. I see students looking up to her in a way that would make any teacher or parent proud. It has been a pleasure to get to know Rocio and I look forward to watching all the amazing things she does over her years in school."
Zebadiah Facundo Garza
University Preparatory High School, Visalia
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Sarah Pennington
Nominator states, “Zebadiah completely embraces being a student at UPHS, he is involved in community service with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, is a member of the Mock Trial Team, on our student leadership, and a cast member of our school production. Zebadiah sits on our School Site Council to represent his fellow students.”
Alaina Tejeda
Valley Life Charter School, Visalia
RESPECT
nominated by Kimberly Wallace
Nominator states, “This year, I have a student who is a model leader when it comes to respecting herself and others, both in and out of the classroom. Alaina can be seen using her manners at all times. She chooses to be kind to others, even when they are not kind to her. Alaina really listens to others and wants to help. This is a great trait of a devoted friend. In fact, earlier this year, another student was struggling with being nice to others. Over time, the class got tired of the mean words and actions of this particular student. Soon this student was ignored by all in the classroom. Alaina saw this and chose to forget the mean things they did and started to encourage this student to play with her. By modeling how to be respectful and kind, Alaina was able to change a student's behavior. This goes to show how powerful kindness can be. I am honored to have Alaina as a leader in class this year!”
Hayden Neil
Veva Blunt Elementary School, Visalia
CARING
nominated by Christine Dolan
Nominator states, “Hayden Neil represents many of the character counts pillars. He is very respectful and uses his manners consistently throughout each and every day. For example, he says 'pardon me' and 'thank you' when necessary. Hayden is expresses the pillar of responsibility by always ensuring he is doing what he is supposed to do. He asks for clarification when needed to ensure he is following directions and meeting expectations. Furthermore, he has been caught on multiple occasions reminding his peers of how to represent the character counts pillars by setting a good example and reminding them of the rules. Lastly, he is always kind to his peers and myself.”
Daniel Quevedo
Visalia Technical Early College High School, Visalia
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Emily Archuleta
Nominator states, “For being a freshman, Daniel has shown exemplary responsibility. He takes great care in turning items in on time and comes prepared to each practice and rehearsal with all of the items he needs. If he is unsure, or wants to double check he has everything, he does not hesitate to ask me.”
Dana Ruiz
Washington Elementary School, Visalia
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Elizabeth McKercher
Nominator states, “Dana is a great citizen in our classroom. She respects others and knows how to be a good friend to the other students in our class. She sits at the back of the room and I have watched her come up to the carpet. As she makes her way to the carpet, she pushes in other students’ chairs.”
Kaydence Walker
Willow Glen Elementary School, Visalia
CARING
nominated by Brian Horton
Nominator states, “Kaydence works well with our student who is deaf. She has learned sign language and is able to help her teacher communicate with this student when the interpreter is not available. Kaydence is a very caring student.”
Navpreet Turna
Castle Rock Elementary School, Woodlake
CARING
nominated by Monica Figueroa
Nominator states, “Last year in 4th grade, Navpreet would bring me vegetables from her family's organic garden. She would also remind me not to drink too much coffee because she knew it was not healthy for me. Navpreet was always concerned with my well-being. Now that she is in 5th grade, she stops to visit a few times a week, and she always asks about my day. I think that her wanting to know about my day shows how much she cares. I know that she also cares about her family because she talks about her new baby brother, mom, and her sister. Navpreet has a beautiful heart.”
Aiden Zequeida Rodriguez
Francis J. White Learning Center, Woodlake
RESPECT
nominated by Daniel Salazar
Nominator states, “Aiden Zequeida Rodriguez is an exemplary student for the character pillar of respect. Aiden demonstrates respect in the classroom and on the playground. His language and actions highlight the respect within him. Aiden demonstrates his respect by using kind words and gestures. He uses "please, thank you, and you're welcome" on a daily basis. He has shown to be a peaceful and considerate student by working and playing well with others. Aiden has been a great example for other students to follow. I am proud to nominate him as a Kid of Character!”
Manroop Turna
Woodlake Valley Middle School, Woodlake
RESPONSIBILITY
nominated by Dina Haney, Brianne Underwood
Nominator states, “Manroop Turna is an amazing young lady. She serves on our school leadership team and always meets expectations. As a math student, she is a leader in class and out. She does more than turn assignments in on time, and follow directions. She is a mentor to other students. She always has a positive attitude, a smile on her face and often reminds me of what is next in case I "missed something". Manroop is a joy to have in class and one of the most responsible young ladies I have seen in over 4 decades of teaching. Manroop is an exceptional student who strives to be helpful to everyone. She can be frequently seen assisting other students in their work or asking teachers if there is anything that they need help with for the day. She genuinely enjoys showing kindness to those around her, and always has a smile on her face while she completes any task. Outside of school, she is an active member of her church, where she finds ways to help her community.”
Nancy Calderon
Woodville Union School, Woodville
CITIZENSHIP
nominated by Jessica I Villalobos
Nominator states, “Nancy Calderon is the ideal child anyone would love to have. She is a great student inside and out the classroom. Nancy is always willing to help others. She keeps good grades and her teachers say she is an academic model to her peers. This student has the sweetest, kindest heart you could ever know. She has a soft tone, speaks to all with respect and engages in conversation that reflects maturity beyond her years. Nancy is the type of student whom you look forward to see and wish you could take home. I have never seen her in a tiff with anyone nor in the office for disciplinary action of ANY kind! At Woodville School, we can always expect to see her in HEART events, sports, Migrant works and performances. I had the joy of working with Nancy in our reading intervention program three years ago and she was just the hardest worker, always wanting to challenge herself and asking her group members to raise their own expectations of themselves as well. I am nominating Nancy for being a student that shows great character in the area of citizenship because she is all the great things mentioned plus more and I know this little lady will be one to lead, make changes in this world and remember for a lifetime.”




For more information about the CHARACTER COUNTS! program in Tulare County, visit tcoe.org/CharacterCounts, or contact Kelley Petty at kelleyp@tcoe.org or (559) 740-4303.


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