Students recognized for good character during annual Kordick Awards

Family and friends of 23 outstanding students packed into the Wolf-High Technology Center at Indian River State College’s Chastain Campus in Stuart on Feb. 27 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 & Copeland, PA; and Tykes & Teens, Inc., the awards are presented annually to middle school students and high school seniors in the Martin County School District.

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, more than 80 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.

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. Adriana Mancini, a 2017 Joe Kordick Youth Character Award recipient and Founder and President of Students4H2O, delivered an inspirational message and shared her personal experiences overcoming obstacles that she has faced in her mission to make the world a better place. “I am thankful beyond words to have the privilege to recognize students like you who exemplify the Six Pillars of Character and take action as inventors, innovators, and campaigners and make a difference within our schools, community, and planet,” Adriana said. “I am here to encourage you to push yourself when you face your next challenge and to never give up.”

Middle School Award Recipients 
  • Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School – Isyss Bryant, Emily Maradiaga-Monzon, Elizabeth Michels, and Sarah Michels
  • Hidden Oaks Middle School – Evan Boze, Ella Glover, Lillian Lamparillo, and Renee Spakowski
  • Indiantown Middle School – Anita Cardona
  • Murray Middle School – Andrew Engle Stuart Middle School – Ridge Bradford, Grace Fenniman, and Riley McGuire
High School Recipients
  • Clark Advanced Learning Center – Allison Falco and Devon Shpiruk
  • Jensen Beach High School – Lauren Langley and Erich Periman
  • Martin County High School – Nicholas Ciampi, Colin Dobbins, Erica Renzulli, and Carly Witte
  • South Fork High School – Kobe Jarmon and Jennifer Mijares

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