Students recognized for good character through Joe Kordick Youth Character Awards

Joe Kordick Youth Character Award Winners

There’s light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but many time-honored events still have not returned to normal. Last year to adapt to this challenging time, United Way of Martin County found creative ways to recognize students who were honored for their outstanding character through the CHARACTER COUNTS! Joe Kordick Youth Character Awards. 

Instead of honoring students during a ceremony, United Way of Martin County CHARACTER COUNTS! advisory board members continued the pandemic-friendly recognition they started last year by placing signs at students’ homes that read “A Joe Kordick Youth Character Award Winner Lives Here.” Seniors were also presented with a $1,000 cash award and middle school recipients were presented with a plaque.

Presented by United Way of Martin County’s CHARACTER COUNTS! program and sponsored by Phyllis Kordick, the awards are presented annually to middle school students and high school seniors in the Martin County School District. 

“It’s been a  difficult year, especially where character is concerned, which is what makes it even more important to recognize the exceptional character demonstrated by our Joe Kordick Youth Character Award winners,” said CHARACTER COUNTS! Advisory Board Committee Chair Rob Tweeddale. 

The Joe Kordick Youth Character Awards are named in honor of the late Joe Kordick, founding chairman and the driving force of CHARACTER COUNTS! in Martin County.  He believed that character development starts at home, but also felt strongly that by bringing parents, teachers, community leaders, and businesses together, everyone could share the task of teaching young people to be responsible and to live with integrity.

This year, numerous nominations were received from schools and the community. Nominations of the students are based solely on their character; those students whose lives and achievements demonstrate an enduring commitment to the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring and citizenship. A panel of judges from the community made the final selection based upon the students’ essays, their community involvement, leadership qualities, how they have dealt with and overcome obstacles in their lives, and personal interviews with the high school finalists.

Middle School Award Recipients

  • Bianca Morales-Soto, Indiantown Middle School
  • Marissa Brodie, Murray Middle School
  • Lily Rice, Murray Middle School
  • Lilian Dietrich, Murray Middle School
  • Noa Vignone, Stuart Middle School

High School Recipients

  • Shelby E. Sexton, Jensen Beach High School
  • Kaitlyn Berger, Clark Advanced Learning Center
  • Quincy Clark, Clark Advanced Learning Center
  • Emily Osborn, Clark Advanced Learning Center
  • Raymond Martucci, South Fork High School
  • Luke Edwards, Martin County High School
  • Colin Fogarty, Martin County High School
  • Rose Kores, Martin County High School
  • Erika Van Vliet, Martin County High School

United Way of Martin County’s CHARACTER COUNTS! program is focused on building a community of good character. Although highly identified with schools, CHARACTER COUNTS! is an initiative for people of all ages and walks of life and is embraced by government, law enforcement and businesses in Martin County. CHARACTER COUNTS! encourages everyone to uphold the Six Pillars of Character as they go on with their daily lives.  For more information about CHARACTER COUNTS!, visit

About United Way of Martin County
United Way of Martin County’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. Since 1972, the United Way has been working to create long-term social change and provide support to Martin County residents by investing in programs that strive to: enhance healthy living, improve education and support financial stability.
For more information about United Way of Martin County, visit or call 772-283-4800.