Char­ac­ter Counts un­veils new logo, hon­ors vol­un­teers

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By BRENDA FISHER bfisher@ches­pub.com

EASTON — It was a cel­e­bra­tion of some of this com­mu­nity’s big­gest char­ac­ters dur­ing the an­nual Char­ac­ter Counts Mid Shore Ap­pre­ci­a­tion din­ner on June 11 at the Mile­stone.

Vol­un­teers, stu­dents, law en­force­ment and cor­po­rate donors were hon­ored dur­ing the event for their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Char­ac­ter Counts pro­gram.

Char­ac­ter Counts Mid-Shore Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Su­san Luby acted as em­cee for the evening and spoke about the im­pact the char­ac­ter coaches have on the chil­dren they work with.

“This evening is about so many peo­ple, but it’s

re­ally about our char­ac­ter coaches,” she said. “There is a poem writ­ten by Linda El­lis called ‘The Dash,’ about the year we take our first breath, the year we take our last and the dash in between those years.”

Luby said what mat­ters in life is what hap­pens dur­ing a per­son’s life­time. She said mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in some­one’s life is what re­ally mat­ters.

“Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence means so much to dif­fer­ent peo­ple,” Luby said. “To you char­ac­ter coaches, what you do dur­ing those dashes is the most sig­nif­i­cant.”

Through­out the evening, there were sev­eral awards and recog­ni­tions given out. Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37BTal­bot, and Sen. Ad­die Eck­hardt, R-37-Mid-Shore, gave of­fi­cial ci­ta­tions to sev­eral board mem­bers and vol­un­teers.

The win­ners of the CCMS Laws of Life es­say con­test also were rec­og­nized.

CCMS has been spon­sor­ing the con­test, which was founded by the late Sir John Templeton, since 2000. Stu­dents in mid­dle and high school lan­guage arts and English classes sub­mit es­says about how they ap­ply one or more of the six pil­lars of char­ac­ter in their life.

“Ev­ery fall, we ask lan­guage arts and English teach­ers to in­tro­duce the Laws of Life es­say con­test to their stu­dents,” Luby said. “Not only is this an op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents to prac­tice their writ­ing abil­ity, they also have a chance to have a voice and share with us how they are us­ing char­ac­ter in their life.”

Luby said more than 900 es­says were sub­mit­ted, read twice and scored. The num­bers were tal­lied, and the win­ning es­say from each school was an­nounced ear­lier this spring. From those win­ners, three were cho­sen for ad­di­tional hon­ors. The best over­all es­say is given the Al­bert Ken­nerly Schol­ar­ship award of $2,500, and this year that award went to Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High School se­nior Daniel Gar­cia.

The win­ner of the over­all mid­dle school es­say was St. Michaels Mid­dle High School sixth-grader Max­ine Poe-Jensen. The win­ner of the over­all high school es­say was North Dorch­ester High School ju­nior Seth Tal­ley. All three win­ners were in­vited to read their es­says dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion.

Two long­time char­ac­ter coaches were hon­ored with the Mr. Fred Rogers Award. Bob Hy­man is the char­ac­ter coach for the en­tire third grade in Tal­bot County, and Jeff Webb coaches all the stu­dents at Vi­enna Ele­men­tary, from pre-k to fifth grade. Hy­man and Webb were given of­fi­cial ci­ta­tions from Mautz and Eck­hardt. The award came with a cer­tifi­cate and a cardi­gan sweater with the newly un­veiled Char­ac­ter Counts logo on it.

“As a coach, you give time — time, the most pre­cious re­source of our life. Once you give an hour, that hour is gone for­ever and you don’t get it back. Your time as a vol­un­teer must be val­ued, but we can’t put a value on time,” Luby said. “How can you value some­thing that’s pre­cious and price­less? As a char­ac­ter coach, you bring much to this or­ga­ni­za­tion — skills, ad­vice, ex­pe­ri­ence, friend­ship, vi­sion, lead­er­ship and in­spi­ra­tion.”

Two other stu­dents in­volved with the Char­ac­ter Counts pro­gram also spoke about their ex­pe­ri­ences dur­ing the school year. Easton High School ju­niors Katie Allen and Lu­cas Joshi spent the school year work­ing with first-grade stu­dents at Easton Ele­men­tary–Dob­son in Char­lene DeShields’ class.

“As a stu­dent of Tal­bot County Pub­lic Schools all my life, I’ve had the priv­i­lege of par tic­i­pat­ing in Char­ac­ter Counts for 13 years,” Katie said. “I say priv­i­lege be­cause this pro­gram is such an up­lift­ing net­work of lessons on six es­sen­tial pil­lars. Over the years, I’ve truly learned how lessons on be­ing re­spon­si­ble, trust­wor­thy and re­spect­ful have shaped me into the per­son I am to­day.”

In ad­di­tion to the awards, CCMS un­veiled its new logo, which was de­signed in part by Deutsch.

The evening wrapped up with hon­ors for the cor­po­rate spon­sors that help fund the Char­ac­ter Counts pro­gram through­out the school year. Luby said the pro­gram re­lies on fundrais­ing, grants and do­na­tions, and re­ceives no fund­ing from the schools.

“You choose to do­nate the most pre­cious com­mod­ity in the known uni­verse. We may count your time in num­bers; we may at­tempt to count your time in cash value. We re­al­ize the giving of your time is sim­ply mag­nif­i­cent,” Luby said. “This evening, we take time out to thank you for the amaz­ing time in that you give.”

PHO­TOS BY BRENDA FISHER Easton High School stu­dent char­ac­ter coaches Katie Allen, left, and Lu­cas Joshi, right, pose with Easton Ele­men­tary-Dob­son first­grade teacher Char­lene DeShields. Allen and Joshi men­tored the stu­dents in DeShields’ class dur­ing the school year.

Char­ac­ter Counts Mid Shore hon­ored Jeff Webb, cen­ter left, and Bob Hy­man, cen­ter right, for their work as char­ac­ter coaches dur­ing the CCMS Ap­pre­ci­a­tion din­ner on June 11. Also pic­tured: Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Tal­bot, left, and Sen. Ad­die Eck­hardt, R-37-Mid-Shore, right.

PHO­TOS BY BRENDA FISHER From left: CCMS Board Vice-Pres­i­dent Laura Heikes, Dorch­ester County School Su­per­in­ten­dent Diana Mitchell, CCMS Laws of Life es­say win­ner Daniel Gar­cia, Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High School teacher Heidi Co­hoon and CCMS De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­ate Josh Deutsch.

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