Family and friends of 20 outstanding students packed into the Wolf-High Technology Center at Indian River State College's Chastain Campus in Stuart on Feb. 28 for the annual Joe Kordick Youth Character Awards.
Presented by United Way of Martin County's CHARACTER COUNTS! program and sponsored by Phyllis Kordick; Carr, Riggs & Ingram, PLLC; Kramer, Sopko & Levenstein, PA; and Tykes & Teens, Inc., the awards are presented annually to middle school students and high school seniors in the Martin County School District.
More than 90 nominations were received from schools and the community. Nominations of the students are based solely on their character; 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 independent judges from the community makes the final selection based upon the students' essays, their volunteer and community involvement, how they have dealt with and overcome obstacles in their lives, and personal interviews with the high school nominees.
Members of the CHARACTER COUNTS! advisory board were on hand to present middle school winners with a plaque and high school winners with a $1,000 check. Sr. Judge Larry Schack, founding member of CHARACTER COUNTS! and the keynote speaker, delivered a meaningful message that honored the students for their dedication to good character and encouraged everyone in the audience to consider the Six Pillars of Character as they go about their daily lives.
"Our society is built upon a Constitution, on laws and on regulations. They play a big role in what we do in life. They tell us much about what we can and can't do. However, while there may be things that the law gives us the right to do, it is important to keep in mind this simple sentience: What we have the right to do is NOT always the same as what IS right to do," Judge Schack said.
Middle School Award Recipients
• Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School - Katie Hernandez and Kendall Slack
• Hidden Oaks Middle School - Jake Brush, Adrianna Celani, Jocelyn DiSalvo and Ella Kate France
• Indiantown Middle School - Jacqueline Ajche and Emily Brown
• Murray Middle School - Juliana Sequeira
• Stuart Middle School - Aurora Jenkins
High School Recipients
• Clark Advanced Learning Center - Caroline Nolan
• Jensen Beach High School - Taylor Cotton, Jazlyn Edwards, Zachary Seidle, and Nicholas Torres
• Martin County High School - Stephanie Brookshire, Eric Kastelic, and Rachel Maunus
• South Fork High School - Macy Esco and Tyrique Lewis
The Kordick 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.
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 - Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship - as they go on with their daily lives.
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 CHARACTER COUNTS!, visit www.UnitedWayMartin.org or call 772-283-4800, ext. 234.