2009 Character Ed Awards Announced

Source: The Greeneville Sun

Each Receives $100 To Share With Charity Of Their Choice


Helping with Christian mission projects, caring for the less fortunate and wanting to cure diseases are some of the goals of the students honored Friday as winners of the Greeneville City School System's 2009 Character Education Awards.

Twelve students -- a boy and a girl from each city school -- each received $100 to share with the charity of their choice.

The awards were presented by the Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation, which also hosted a luncheon at the General Morgan Inn.

The luncheon was attended by the students' parents and principals and Greeneville Board of Education members Craig Ogle, Mike Hollowell and Cindy Luttrell.

Guest speaker was Judge Tom Wright Circuit Court Judge for Tennessee's Third Judicial District. Also speaking were Bob Leonard, president of the education foundation; and Director of Schools Dr. Lyle Ailshie.


Winning students were:

* Marley Mitchell, daughter of Paul and Leigh Ann Mitchell, and Lincoln Bowman, son of Tim and Paula Bowman, of EastView Elementary School;

* Lauren King, daughter of Tim and Stacy King, and Gavin Hawkins, son of Calvin and Kim Hawkins, of Tusculum View Elementary School;

* Juliana Kelley, daughter of Stewart and Jean Kilgore, and J.P. Hall, son of Becky and Jeremy "Fess" Hall, of Highland Year-Round Elementary School;

* Mahala Seaton, daughter of John and Marty Seaton, and Jacob Smith, son of David and Debbie Smith, of Hal Henard Elementary School;

* Mollie Ray, daughter of Craig and Amy Ray, and D.J. Patterson, son of Sharon and Darin Patterson, of Greeneville Middle School; and

* Chelsea Luttrell, daughter of Alan and Cindy Luttrell; and Reston Hartsell, son of Michael and Jean Hartsell, of Greeneville High School.

The winners at EastView, Tusculum View and Hal Henard were selected by students, while the winners at Highland, GMS and GHS were selected by teachers.


Mitchell gave his winnings to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in support of its efforts to shut down puppy mills and to prevent the unnecessary euthanizing of animals.

Bowman announced that his donation was to the Niswonger Children's Hospital, commenting that he "tears up a little bit" when he sees sick children.

Both King and Hawkins gave their winnings to the Terri Rymer Read Aloud Library at Tusculum View. Rymer retired last year as principal of the school. Both stressed the importance of children learning how to read, with Hawkins commenting "It's just good for you to do."

Kelley gave her winnings to the Food Bank of Greeneville-Greene County Community Ministries, noting that last year she also gave her science fair winnings to the organization.

Hall's charity was Ronald McDonald House because it had helped his cousin when she was in need, and they help others, he said.

Seaton gave her winnings to First Baptist Church to help with mission projects. She said, "I want to share the good news of Jesus with others."

Smith said he gave his winnings to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation because his little sister, who he described as the "strongest and bravest girl I know," was just diagnosed with the disease.

Ray's charity was the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society because all local animals "deserve to have a good life."

Patterson gave his winnings to the Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County because he has a good home to go to after school, but some children are less fortunate, he said.

Luttrell fought back tears as she told why she chose the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She said she has a close friend who was diagnosed with diabetes during her freshman year, and she fights "a courageous battle every day."

Hartsell gave his winnings to the Holston United Methodist Home for Children's Adventure Based Counseling Program because it give hopeless children opportunities they otherwise wouldn't have, he said. He added that the program includes fun and innovative activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.


Wright said the development of good character starts in the home.

Speaking about the rising national debt, Wright challenged the children to do their part, instead of relying on others for help.

He urged them to take responsibility for their actions, "not just for yourself but as a citizen, to do what's best for all people."

Wright read from a 2004 article in The Greeneville Sun in which longtime Judge James Beckner, of Morristown, announced he would not seek re-election as Criminal Court Judge for Tennessee's Third Judicial District.

The article said, If there were more individual responsibility today, "we would not even have a phrase called 'political correctness,' " Beckner said.

Individual responsibility also means fiscal responsibility, he said, but America now faces "the largest deficit in the history of this country," he noted.

"We can't leave that kind of legacy for our children," he said, "we have to sacrifice."


Leonard congratulated the students and their parents.

He said the students' character is the second part of their education, after academics.

"That's just as important to you in your life," he said. "No matter what career you pursue, those character qualities are going to set you apart."

He noted that as a businessman, he must show character traits of responsibility, kindness and courtesy, perseverance and honesty.

Those traits are included in the city school system's Character Education program, along with self-discipline, respect, courage, self-respect, and justice/fairness.


Ailshie gave the closing remarks, stating, "These are the students that we're going to see do wonderful things, because they've already done many wonderful things."

He encouraged the students to be independent thinkers, informed citizens and to build their character daily.

"Even though that is hard work, there are many rewards," he said.

He also told the students to base their decisions on their spirituality and to avoid making bad decisions that will compromise their character.

"Don't let others sway you from your principles, no matter how hard that may be," Ailshie said.

The welcome was given by Allison Adams, executive director of the Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation.

The prayer was led by Angelia Rodriguez, a Highland teacher and member of the foundation's board of directors.


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