2017 Tulare County Kids of Character

Thank you for helping us celebrate
Tulare County Students of Character

On Saturday, October 21, the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register published a two-page ad highlighting the school representatives (one from each of the 133 schools submitted) chosen during the 2017 Kids of Character Week, October 16-21. Listed below are the descriptions written by the nominators for each of the 133 students.

View the two-page ad.

View a list of the more than 6400 students nominated this year.

View the honorees and finalists in each pillar category celebrated at the 2017 Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Kids of Character Reception.

Luis M. Lopez Garcia
Alpaugh Elementary School, Alpaugh
nominated by Francisco Hernandez
Nominator states, “I nominate Luis M. Lopez Garcia for the Kids of Character Award because he exemplifies respect. This young gentleman shows respect inside the classroom by treating his classmates with respect. Furthermore, he collaborates with his group members and is considerate of every group member's ideas. In addition, he also uses good manners by following the 4 Ls when he shares his thoughts with his group members. He treats his peers with respect outside of the classroom while he plays soccer. It is a privilege to nominate Luis M. Lopez Garcia for Kids of Character Award.”
Juan Jimenez
Cutler Elementary School, Cutler
nominated by Megan Thiessen
Nominator states, “Juan goes above and beyond in my classroom every day. Not only does he exemplify our school 'The Wildcat Way,' which is show respect, make good decisions and solve problems, he lives it. When he enters my classroom he follows all the classroom expectations, helps students when he is completed with his work and tries to solve problems on his own before reporting to an adult. Juan has completed, turned in and excelled on every assignment in my class and in the other classrooms he attends. I could not think of another student who deserves this award more than Juan!”
Carroll (CJ) Smith
Dinuba High School, Dinuba
nominated by Brooke Ikuta-Bennett
Nominator states, “CJ is an amazing student who is enrolled in the Tulare County Office of Education classroom at Dinuba High School. He is also a participant in the Leadership class on campus. He is currently on the cross country team and will hopefully participate on the track team as well. CJ treats everyone in his class and on campus with respect. He is the first to assist students by pushing their wheelchairs. He exemplifies the Pillar of Respect by demonstrating this attribute both in the way he carries himself and the way he treats others around him. CJ works hard in his running endeavors and stays dedicated to his training. He remains positive, helpful, and motivated even in the most stressful of situations in the classroom. He gives his all in every academic pursuit, even if the assignment is difficult for him.”
Carlos Vega
Jefferson Elementary School, Dinuba
nominated by David Orosco
Nominator states, “I have been amazed at the growth that Carlos Vega has displayed over the past few years. Carlos continues to grow as a young man and displays respect to those he works with on campus. Carlos has been a volunteer helper at Jefferson Elementary, helping in any capacity. You can find him in the cafeteria if help is needed, putting up posters around campus and assisting teachers. I am proud of the young man that Carlos is becoming. He has shown tremendous growth over the past few years and will continue to do so at this pace.”
Maria Avilez
John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Dinuba
nominated by Tayler Laemmlen
Nominator states, “Maria is incredibly intelligent and ambitious. I look forward to seeing all the things she will accomplish in her life. She raises the bar for work ethic in the classroom and is a model student to her peers. I can count on her to be doing her best. She balances her responsibilities of student, daughter, friend, GATE student and more with such responsibility and care.”
Arman Dhami
Lincoln Elementary School, Dinuba
nominated by Rich White
Nominator states, “Arman shows compassion to others and is willing to help his partners on his own initiative. I notice how all students appreciate his kindness and helpfulness. He sets an example on how to behave and I appreciate having someone who is consistently modeling this for all to see. He uses a quiet voice, listens carefully and works well with everyone. It’s awesome to have such a wonderful student in my classroom.”
Andres Arroyo
Sierra Vista High School, Dinuba
nominated by Jean Smith
Nominator states, “Andres Arroyo demonstrates caring and kindness in his demeanor and action. He is polite and very aware of others. He goes out of his way to be kind, positive and helpful. Some days he gets up hours before school starts and goes out to work before his school day even starts. He has also shared how he helps his mother, who is ill and needs help and care. He cheerfully carries a lot of extra responsibilities that many students his age don't necessarily have to deal with. He deserves to be recognized for his efforts and his cheerful, kind presence.”
Damian Medina
Wilson Elementary School, Dinuba
nominated by Danielle Loveall
Nominator states, “Damian is a wonderful example of a student who demonstrates all the pillars of character, but if I had to choose one it would have to be responsibility. Wilson Warriors 'Do the Right Thing' and Damian demonstrates how a Wilson Warrior should act. Damian is a hard worker and never gives up. I can count on him to do his best work and to help others who may be struggling to understand a concept. I can count on him to tell the truth and be open minded. Damian comes to school every day ready to learn and always has his homework done. His positive personality makes him a joy to have in class.”
Stephanie Avila
Ducor Union Elementary School, Ducor
nominated by Sarina Acevedo
Nominator states, “Stephanie is an outstanding reader. She has set the bar high for her class. She is friendly and shows a great example of what it is to be a trustworthy student at Ducor Elementary School.”
Manuel Valenzuela
Alila School, Earlimart
nominated by Lisa Absher
Nominator states, “Manuel is a very conscientious student. He works very hard to do what is expected of him and strives to do more than that on a daily basis. This hard work has already paid off, as he is making tremendous strides in his READ 180 class at Alila Elementary. He strives every day to be a better person and student. He is prepared and focused in class and takes learning very seriously. I am very proud of Manuel and he deserves to be honored as a Kid of Character! ”
Blanca Izazaga
Earlimart Elementary School, Earlimart
nominated by Jason Patterson
Nominator states, “Blanca comes to third grade as an intelligent young lady and continues to do great things every day. She exemplifies all of the pillars of character. Her best attribute is her attitude because she comes to school every day with a wonderful, positive attitude. She has a great personality that is full of energy and always comes to school with a smile on her face. She has a wonderful heart and helps others in her group and reminds her classmates of the rules, but never in a rude way. She has great leadership skills and has the rare quality of not only working hard for herself, but also working hard to help others.”
Julia Carranza
Earlimart Middle School, Earlimart
nominated by Eduardo Flores
Nominator states, “Julia is an all-around great student. She demonstrates respect in and out of the classroom. She is involved in the school band and plays violin in a Mariachi band in the nearby community of Delano. She is well-liked and respected by her peers and teachers.”
Alexa Quintero
Lincoln Elementary School, Exeter
nominated by Betsy Bentley
Nominator states, “Alexa is an excellent student, a member of our school band and an amazing big sister. Last year Alexa shared so many anecdotes and stories about her little brother that I feel as if I know him! In addition to being a great sister, Alexa is also a budding history buff. She presented projects on three different historical novels, one of which was so compelling, I went out and bought the book and read it! I feel that Alexa's love of history coupled with her academic excellence may someday lead her to be a leader in our community, our state, or perhaps even our country!”
Elizabeth Williams
Rocky Hill Elementary School, Exeter
nominated by Caitlin Scaife
Nominator states, “Elizabeth is a young woman who is wise, kind, and responsible beyond her years. She is an eager helper, devoted friend, and conscientious student. Elizabeth is willing to learn any classroom job, and can be counted on to handle any task when needed. She jumps off the bus each morning, eager to greet friends and teachers alike, and loves playing Go Fish with absolutely anyone. Elizabeth always takes pride in her work and is willing to put forth the effort until she has mastered a skill. Her resolve as a student is impressive. Way to be a teacher's ideal student, Queen Liz!”
Angel Armenta
Sierra View Junior Academy, Exeter
nominated by Daniel Moor
Nominator states, “Angel is always fair when working on class work and when playing games. His character is greatly appreciated by students and staff.”
Uriah Gonzalez
Freedom Elementary School, Farmersville
nominated by Mrs. Thomas
Nominator states, “Uriah plays by the rules on the playground and he is very fair in the classroom. He has a wonderful attitude toward all subjects and out on the playground when cooperating with other students. He is fun and always has a smile on his face."
Claudia Cruz-Olea
George L. Snowden School, Farmersville
nominated by Cynthia Lee
Nominator states, “When Claudia was in first grade at Hester, she came to our school to pick up her brother. Every day she came to the back gates to help me open them when I unlocked them. She would also hold my crossing guard stop sign. She always asked me if there was anything I need assistance with. Now that she is at our school, she continues to help me every chance she gets. She truly is a helpful girl and I look forward to our brief visits.”
Allyson Ramos
J.E. Hester School, Farmersville
nominated by Sara Corona
Nominator states, “Allyson Ramos is the most caring student I know. She goes out of her way every morning and every recess to ensure that her fellow classmate, who is autistic, has someone to play with and gets to line. She is the first to help any student who may be having a tough time completing their work. She shares her supplies without complaint when asked by fellow students and always has a smile on her face.”
Andrea Reyes
Ivanhoe Elementary School, Ivanhoe
nominated by Lisa Aguirre
Nominator states, “Andrea is an exceptional student. She arrives to school every morning with a smile on her face and ready to learn. She shows interest and enthusiasm for the things we do in class. She is always willing to take part in all classroom activities.”
Tanner Gilles
Kings River Union School, Kingsburg
nominated by Jenniffer Hosler
Nominator states, “Tanner is an excellent example of a student who tries to make the school environment better by his single-handed efforts. Tanner is kind and a friend to all. You will never see Tanner speak in an unkind way to other students and he is open to talk and help anyone who asks. Tanner illustrates in his daily behavior the idea that true integrity 'is not what you do while people are watching, but it is what you do when no one will know'. Beyond being helpful and kind, Tanner is also the most respectful kid I have had the honor to teach. Even though he may be frustrated on a writing assignment or struggling to complete a task in class, he never shows his frustration. He asks questions, looks for solutions, and tries to do his best, even when it is difficult for him.”
Elle Bothof
Jefferson Elementary School, Lindsay
nominated by Nabid Ceballos
Nominator states, “Elle is a very caring young person. We can always count on Elle to do the right thing. She is always willing to listen to others and offer good advice.”
Veronica M. Macias
Kennedy Elementary School, Lindsay
nominated by Mr. Isaacson
Nominator states, “Veronica continuously goes above and beyond in treating others the way they would like to be treated. She has shown respect in the classroom during instructional time. She corrects mistakes humbly and quickly. She continues to be nice to the other learners and to me. If I make a mistake, she quietly and humbly helps me out by letting me know, which is very respectful of her. If another learner needs help to stay on task, she will kindly redirect him or her. Veronica truly leads the way in creating a respectful, successful, and excellent learning environment. Thank you, Veronica Macias, for being respectful.”
Jazzalyn Barragan
Lincoln Elementary School, Lindsay
nominated by Renee Gonzalez
Nominator states, “Jazzalyn is helpful not only to me, but to other students in the class. She is sweet and puts a smile on my face daily. Jazzalyn has been known to share her supplies when other students are in need.”
Danielle Jauregui
Lindsay High School, Lindsay
nominated by Katryn Gonzales
Nominator states, “Danielle is the senior class president at Lindsay High School. Danielle is organized and motivated about everything at LHS. She is an ASB leader and athletic leader as a three-sport athlete on campus. She plans events, involves other students and follows through with setup and cleanup. Danielle is spirited and outgoing in everything that she does at LHS. She has single-handedly planned and taken on fundraising efforts for her senior class to ensure that all seniors can attend Senior Grad Night. ”
Jonathan Ferreira
Roosevelt Elementary School, Lindsay
nominated by Dawnalee Gonzalez
Nominator states, “Jonathan has earned the title of being trustworthy through his honesty. Even when he makes a mistake, he is quick to admit his wrongdoing and make appropriate apologies.”
Gisselle Becerra-Hernandez
Washington Elementary School, Lindsay
nominated by Gayla Nikkel
Nominator states, “Gisselle is a wonderful individual and responsible student. She completes her work with accuracy and timeliness. She is a leader among her peers; her friends appreciate her willingness to help out whenever she is needed. Gisselle's quiet spirit and calmness just adds to her demeanor in class. It is with great pleasure I nominate Gisselle Becerra-Hernandez.”
Angeline Quinonez
El Monte Middle School, Orosi
nominated by Scott Snodgrass
Nominator states, “Angeline always helps other students in class. Not only does she model exceptional student behavior by staying on task, participating and sharing in class, but also Angeline goes above and beyond by helping others. Angeline will help others in group work situations and even stays a few minutes after school every day to help finish stacking chairs. I never asked Angeline to do this, she just started doing this one day and I have been extremely impressed. This behavior definitely exemplifies the Pillar of Caring.”
Mari Carmen Hernandez
Golden Valley Elementary School, Orosi
nominated by Javier Hurtado
Nominator states, “Mari Carmen is such a helpful and generous student. She is always willing to go out of her way to help her peers or me. She simply does it out of the kindness of her heart. She is never looking for a reward or gesture, just the gratitude she gets for helping others. It is a joy having someone like her in my class.”
Miroslava Martin
Palm Elementary School, Orosi
nominated by Colleen Berry
Nominator states, “Miroslava is new to our school this year. She jumped right in to be a model Palm Panther. She walks her sister to class each morning and rushes to pick her up each afternoon. She is a leader and a fantastic student.”
Kyletta Chavers
Pixley Elementary School, Pixley
nominated by Jason Araki, Berenice Benson
Nominators state, “Kyletta is a very dependable student to her teacher and her classmates. She always says and does the right thing in class and on the playground. Kyletta always goes above and beyond on all of her assignments. She keeps track of her work and is such a responsible young person. This year she received a perfect attendance award because she did not miss a single day of school last year.”
Fatima Torrez
Pixley Middle School, Pixley
nominated by Heather Rodriguez
Nominator states, “Fatima is a responsible student and member of her community. She shows discipline in her studies, earning a 4.0 GPA. Fatima works hard at everything she does. If Fatima has a problem, she is diligent in solving it. Fatima shows responsibility by persevering over every obstacle that comes her way. She is ASB vice president and has been a member of the Step-up program for three years. She is an AVID student and a true leader in her school.”
Kenneth Garcia
Alta Vista School, Porterville
nominated by Lisa Martinez
Nominator states, “Kenneth is one of the most respectful students I have ever had. He was new to our school last year but had no problem making friends. He personifies the adage, 'still waters run deep,' so while he is the 'quiet type,' his respect for teachers and fellow students is quite evident in his speech, interactions, and school involvement. He comes from a large family whose children all exude respect for others. I wish I had a classroom full of ‘Kenneths’!”
Jareli Reynoso Tapia
Bartlett Middle School, Porterville
nominated by Jeff Spann
Nominator states, “Jareli Reynoso Tapia is the example of responsibility! She is always on task, always willing to help, and definitely willing to ask the questions to guide her to the correct answer! What really impresses me about Jareli is her desire to problem-solve on her own!”
Isabella Isquierdo Cortez
Belleview Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Danielle Delussa
Nominator states, “Isabella makes sure good behavior does not go unnoticed and she takes it upon herself to make things for students that demonstrate good behavior. After showing good behavior, she will bring them a surprise, typically something she has handmade. Students in class know that Isabella is a great friend and will play with anyone on the playground. We recently had a student join our class and Isabella has shown her caring character by taking our new friend under her wing and making sure she has a friend. Isabella is the perfect candidate for caring. She demonstrates it day in and day out.”
Ariana Perez
Burton Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Donald Ramey
Nominator states, “Ariana Perez is an exceptional fourth-grade student! She is an independent learner and self- starter. Not only is she successful in the classroom, she has all the qualities needed to be successful in life. With her behavior and actions, she leads the way and always takes the initiative in beginning, continuing, and completing assignments. Since the first day of class she has proven to be someone you can trust and count on to do the right thing. I cannot think of a more worthy student for being recognized as a person of responsibility.”
Joe Miron
Burton Horizon Academy, Porterville
nominated by Faiza Khalid
Nominator states, “Joe is such a sweet young man who shows fairness in all of his actions. No matter what activity or assignment Joe is working on, he is always very considerate to his classmates and makes sure that everyone is acting fairly. Joe follows all classroom and social rules and I am very proud of him for his ability to make everyone around him feel comfortable.”
Azalea Gutierrez
Burton Middle School, Porterville
nominated by Omar Lopez
Nominator states, “Azalea’s leadership role in my class is to take attendance. Azalea is always honest about who was absent and tardy. She always follows through with her role and makes sure she is accurate. Azalea also volunteers to keep score during volleyball games after school. During these games, the referee always praises her about her job as a scorekeeper. I can count on Azalea to be honest, truthful and to be thorough with any role she carries out.”
Zackery Holmberg
Butterfield Charter High School, Porterville
nominated by Janet Uresti
Nominator states, “Zackery is a student who is constantly serving in the Porterville community from clean-up at Success Lake to larger events, such as Relay for Life. He is always participating in school events and looking to serve others. I have really enjoyed working with Zackery this year and I appreciate how hard he tries on his homework and tasks that are difficult for him. He is also lucky to have extremely involved parents in his life who encourage him to be better and to serve within the community.”
Danielle Alfaro
Hope School, Porterville
nominated by Casey Rangel
Nominator states, “Danielle has only attended Hope since the sixth-grade. Coming to a new school in later years takes a certain amount of adjustment. She is studious, thoughtful, kind and tries her best at all she does. Danielle is our school president and has made a name for herself among the teaching staff and peers in such a short time due to her amazing character. She has also proved herself as a leader this volleyball season by putting in tons of extra hours to learn the game. I am so excited for her to shine this year and be an all-around example of character in the classroom and a leader of our campus."
Ximena Gutierrez
Jim Maples Academy, Porterville
nominated by Laura Behrens
Nominator states, “Ximena is a wonderful young person who always makes sure that things are fair and equitable when working in groups. She makes sure that materials are distributed equally and that each person has an opportunity to perform a job or participate in conversations. Ximena is very kind and soft-spoken, but she quietly makes sure that things are equitable. She always plays by the rules and her peers affirm her for being kind, fair, and a good friend."
Paola Moreno
John J. Doyle Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Monica Brown
Nominator states, “Paola is nominated for the Pillar of Citizenship. She takes pride in our classroom and in our school. She truly wants to make our campus a fun and exciting place for everyone. Paola ran for student council because of her love for our school. While she did not win, she still volunteers her time to help whenever I need it.”
Hector Godinez
Los Robles Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Traci Gomez
Nominator states, “Hector is an amazing young man. Hector befriended a student who most kids disliked. He tries hard to model respectful behavior for the other child. Even when his friend is having a bad day, Hector stays by his side and encourages him to do better. He does not join in disrespectful behavior, yet tries to nudge people to make better choices. Hector is honest about situations and often defends the children no one else supports. He never changes the story to benefit one side or the other, but tells the truth and tries to help solve the problem. He may only be in third grade, but he has more compassion and heart than most adults.”
Garrett Keller
Monache High School, Porterville
nominated by Carmel Spaulding
Nominator states, “Garrett Keller is Monache FFA/Ag Department's unanimous choice for merit recognition in the area of responsibility. Garrett has served as a chapter officer for the past three years for the Monache FFA chapter. Additionally, he is involved in ASB, as well as a member of the water polo and swimming teams. All this dedication, and he still maintains a 4.0 GPA. Even though Garrett is an extremely busy high school student, he takes his responsibilities to heart and always goes above and beyond when it comes to FFA and agriculture. His 'can-do' attitude is a valuable asset here at Monache High School!”
Nate Rodriguez
Monte Vista Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Barbara Loehner
Nominator states, “At football, Nate plays by the rules. He always takes turns with his partners. He does not care if we lose a game. Last time we lost 77 to 0 and Nate said, 'It doesn't matter. At least we had fun.'”
Gilberto Simental
Oak Grove Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Thania Ormonde
Nominator states, “Gilberto is a wonderful, kind, respectful and hardworking student. He consistently tries his best and he always has a smile on his face. He does not let anything get him down. He is a positive and thoughtful little boy and consistently sets a good example toward his peers and adults. He always says 'thank you' and 'please' and he demonstrates respect in all he does. He is always willing to help a peer or staff. We are so proud and happy to have him as a part of our Oak Grove community!”
Blake Holt
Olive Street Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Deborah Bowline
Nominator states, “Blake is a very responsible student. He is very helpful and is dependable when asked to do a task. He takes care of his things and tries to help others do their best.”
Talon French
Pioneer Middle School, Porterville
nominated by Mayra Ruiz
Nominator states, “Talon is the perfect example of the definition of trustworthiness. Talon is involved in numerous activities at Pioneer, holding officer positions in some, which shows how much his peers and advisors trust him in a leadership role. In addition, he can be trusted to execute whatever he volunteers for or says he is going to do. For example, in the MESA program he was assigned the task of finding sample club shirts. Not only did he come up with one sample, but came up with an order template and several samples for the club to vote on. Students and teachers can share something with him and will know that he will not share unless it is okay to share.”
Katie P. Garcia
Porterville High School, Porterville
nominated by Pamela Avila
Nominator states, “Katie is an effective role model for all students, especially with her ability to inspire responsibility and never see a roadblock she cannot conquer. As president of our Red Cross club student chapter, she takes on more and more responsibility each year. From Relay for Life volunteer needs to Pier Fire support, Katie leads peers and adults with enthusiasm and keeps every one going, including her executive board. Katie is a bright, compassionate, genuinely well-rounded young woman and has all the instincts required of a good student leader.”
Zyrie ONeal
Roche Avenue Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Shelly Noble
Nominator states, “ Zyrie is a very trustworthy young person. When I am out for the day and the class has a substitute, I know that I can count on Zyrie to help me out if I have a question on the day. She is honorable and does the right thing even when no one is looking. Zyrie is a role model for her classmates.”
Sebastian Ortega
Santa Fe Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Rejina Alcantar
Nominator states, “Sebastian exhibits the Pillar of Caring. He is kind and enjoys helping others. When Sebastian's peers or teacher need help, he always offers to help. Thank you for being a caring person!”
Krizlynn Balboa
Sequoia Middle School, Porterville
nominated by Renee Fusco
Nominator states, “Krizlynn is an amazing student athlete. She possesses all six of the pillars of character, but fairness is one of her strongest character traits. She has many friends because she demonstrates so many good qualities and her peers look to her as a role model in school and on the court. Watching her play basketball, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand what type of athlete she is and the quality of her character. She is a fair player with a great attitude who respects her teammates, other team members, coaches and officials.”
Jada Juarez
Summit Charter Academy Mathew Campus, Porterville
nominated by Ms. Manning
Nominator states, “Jada Juarez is a great role model and exemplifies the Pillar of Respect. She always treats her friends with respect and welcomes them every morning by volunteering to be the classroom greeter in the mornings. She is a wonderful helper!”
Carlos F. Moreno
Summit Charter Collegiate Academy, Porterville
nominated by Sharon Turner
Nominator states, “Carlos has truly been a pleasure to have in class. He is very professional and always thoughtful. He has stepped in numerous times to help other classmates and is always considerate in the classroom in every aspect. He is committed to making a difference; it shows in every interaction I have witnessed. He is also a talented graphic designer. He understands concepts and does wonderful work. Some of his classmates needed some support on a project and he stepped right in to show them how to work the program. I have never asked him to do so, he just does it naturally.”
Daniel Espinoza
Vandalia Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Carolyn Arthur
Nominator states, “Daniel is an excellent role model for the Pillar of Fairness. He shares with other students. He makes sure all the other students get their tools, books, and other supplies before he gathers his items. Other students may push to be first, but Daniel stays back waiting so others could be first.”
Suzette Mendoza
West Putnam Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Jamie Job
Nominator states, “Suzette is a very kind and caring young person in our classroom. She is consistently ready to help a friend with whatever is needed. She thinks of others and is a good friend to all. Suzette is willing to share anything that she has and offers willingly. She is a great example of the Pillar of Caring.”
Aleczander Smith
Westfield Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Kristie Wood
Nominator states, “Aleczander is a great young man. Although he struggles in areas at school, he is responsible for himself. The extra help he needs, he makes sure he gets. He is so positive and such a hard worker. Aleczander has other classes he transitions to throughout the day; he keeps that schedule himself. I thought I would need to set alarms so I could remember his schedule. I did not have to do that, he comes and goes on time himself. I am very impressed with how this student takes responsibility for his learning and himself.”
Natalie J. Chay
William R. Buckley Elementary School, Porterville
nominated by Melinda Stone
Nominator states, “Natalie exemplifies the pillar of responsibility. First, she always does what is asked of her without any argument or complaint. She always does her tasks with a good attitude. Other students know Natalie is a good example of responsibility because of her actions inside and outside the classroom. When she is at recess or lunch, she always follows the rules of the cafeteria and playground. In the classroom, she is responsible for her materials, getting her work done and following directions. I know I can always count on Natalie to get the job done!”
Isacc Zendejas
Richgrove School, Richgrove
nominated by Ruby Tuvera
Nominator states, “Isacc Zendejas has come a long way from previous years. This student used to get in trouble on a daily basis. He used to get referrals and detention because of his temper, not listening to the teacher and fighting with other students. Isacc is now a model student. He is respectful, responsible and ready to learn and we are proud of his choices at Richgrove School!”
Zachary Hartsell
Springville Union School, Springville
nominated by Vicki Matthews
Nominator states, “Zach is eager to help each day he comes to class. He takes care of the pets in the science class and even takes them home to care for them if they are sick or need additional care. Zach is the leader on the football team and helps coach by lifting other players up. He also helps carry football equipment and sets up the fields. Zach goes beyond what is expected of him.”
Hannah M. Chand
Harmony Magnet Academy, Strathmore
nominated by Elizabeth Arias, Justin Froula, Ben Nelson
Nominators state, “Hannah operates with a natural and uncontrived altruism that most struggle to ever reach. It is very rare to see anyone, let alone a high school student, still so eager to help others. In just over six weeks of getting to know Hannah, I have seen her gladly offer her help to her classmates and even reach out to teachers to help master programs such as Google Classroom and more. She is always ready to offer a kind suggestion or show how to complete a task. In short, Hannah is a wonderfully helpful student who is appreciated by her classmates as well as the staff. I am impressed everyday with her behavior and eagerness to lend a hand.”
Salvatorio Stiner
Strathmore Elementary School, Strathmore
nominated by Debbie Derleth
Nominator states, “Salvatorio is a great example of a respectful student. He looks at you when you are speaking to him and he listens. He follows the school and classroom rules. He is kind to others and is always willing to do what I ask. I can tell that he really wants to be in school to learn and to do his best. He is a great role model for other students because he always treats people the way he would want to be treated. I am very proud of his character and the person he is growing up to be.”
Jadon Guire
Strathmore High School, Strathmore
nominated by Jeromy Blackwell
Nominator states, “Jadon is an All-American citizen. He contributes to the football team, FFA, and is deeply involved in the Kiwanis Key Club and the Boys and Girls Club of Strathmore. He has made Strathmore a better place. He cares about how he represents his teammates and encourages his teammates to represent the Strathmore Spartans well. He serves his teammates and goes the extra mile to build relationships with each team member. Jadon truly cares for others and executes the details of his assignments with great effort.”
Jovany Villanueva
Strathmore Middle School, Strathmore
nominated by Stephen Sobko
Nominator states, “I have taught and coached Jovany Villanueva for five years. His level and sense of responsibility transcends most of what I believed could be accomplished by a middle school student. He takes all of his tasks throughout his day seriously and has the respect of all his peers, teachers and family members. I will miss having him in my classes after this year, but I know he will continue to thrive and be responsible throughout his life. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to work with a student like him at least once in their career to feel the enjoyment I have been fortunate to have over these last five years. He will be deeply missed at Strathmore Middle School.”
David Martin
Sunnyside Union School, Strathmore
nominated by Sarah Merzoian
Nominator states, “David is always the first one ready in class. He comes to school prepared every day and has not forgotten his homework once. He follows our daily schedule and has his materials prepared before I even announce the next subject to the class. He is willing to help his peers without ever being asked first. He is a very hard worker and comes to school ready to learn. David is an excellent role model for responsibility!”
Caroline Jimenez
Monson-Sultana School, Sultana
nominated by Susan Farhang
Nominator states, “Caroline has taken it upon herself to be a friend to a little boy in our class that has trouble playing and working with other students. She has asked to be this student's partner when they do collaborative reading. She is patient and helps him be a better person. Caroline is truly a model for the Pillar of Caring.”
Victor F. Lopez
Tipton School, Tipton
nominated by Gina Manfredi
Nominator states, “Victor has stood out since the beginning of the year as a very respectful and responsible student. He is very conscious of getting his work turned in on time and making sure that he has understood the expectations set forth for him. He plays on the football team and is well-liked by his peers. Victor's family recently took a trip to look at colleges for his sister and he knew in advance that he was going to miss school. He came to me, as well as his other teachers, ahead of his trip and asked to get his work for the days that he was going to miss. He returned all his assignments as soon as he returned. This is why I am nominating him for responsibility. He is a future leader, for sure!”
Adrian Ruiz
Traver School, Traver
nominated by Linda Navarro
Nominator states, “Adrian Ruiz is a great student. He is always willing to help if needed and will always go out of his way to tell me 'hi' and 'have a good day'. He always has a smile on his face and is just a great student.”
Anyssa Escalante
Accelerated Charter High School, Tulare
nominated by Sara Zakarian
Nominator states, “Anyssa is a responsible young person who is always there to lend a helping hand. Anyssa takes initiative and sets an example for others. She has taken a leadership role on our campus by serving as ASB President. Anyssa demonstrates her excellent character on a daily basis and shows what it means to be a Titan HERO.”
Kevin J. Arceo
Alice G. Mulcahy Middle School, Tulare
nominated by Melody Azevedo, Rebecca Hennigan
Nominators state, “Kevin is an amazing student who exceeds expectations. He will give up his lunch, break and after school time to achieve excellence. Kevin is an exceptional scholar. He works hard to grow in his abilities each day. He is a hard-working scholar and is extremely respectful and responsible. Kevin politely asks for help, even if that means staying after class to do so. He greets his educators with a smile and is sure to thank anyone who provides him with assistance.”
Boston Frediani
Alpine Vista School, Tulare
nominated by Amy Mendes
Nominator states, “Boston is an outstanding student who looks for ways to put others first! He is a leader, a true student of character and an all-around good friend to everyone. He enjoys coming up with service projects to make a difference and help others. He is currently collecting recyclables to raise money for cancer research. He has asked me to keep a tub in the classroom and came up with a presentation encouraging kids to bring in cans, bottles and other recyclables. He truly knows that the little things can create a big difference.”
Leilani Gonzales
Buena Vista School, Tulare
nominated by Carolyne Sanchez
Nominator states, “Leilani is a very caring person. She is quick to help others in and out of the classroom. After school each day, she always finds her way to me to say, 'Have a great day teacher!' Leilani is very passionate and embraces any challenge I place before her. She does everything with a smile on her face. She has the biggest heart.”
Erika Muller
Cherry Avenue Middle School, Tulare
nominated by Ryan Turner
Nominator states, “Erika is, beyond a doubt, the kindest student, and possibly person, that I have ever met. Every teacher and many students on this campus have the same, over-the-top praise for Erika because she exudes the feeling of caring. I have witnessed Erika go up to new students on her own and welcome them to Cherry Avenue. When a student tripped and everything fell out of their hands, she helped the student up and then picked up all of their things for them. She has a God-given ability to love and care for others. Truly, this world is, and will be, a better place because of Erika.”
Emoni Wright
Community Based Instruction I, Tulare
nominated by Kelley Petty
Nominator states, “Thank you, Emoni, for being a great representative for the CHARACTER COUNTS! office during the Tulare County Fair. The students enjoyed meeting you and were happy you gave them stickers!”
Cody Riley
Community Based Instruction II, Tulare
nominated by Kelley Petty
Nominator states, “Thank you, Cody, for being a great representative for the CHARACTER COUNTS! office during the Tulare County Fair. The students enjoyed meeting you and were happy you gave them stickers!”
Laura Hanson
Countryside High School, Tulare
nominated by Elizabeth Castaneda
Nominator states, “Laura is a very responsible young woman. When absent, she is the first to get her missing assignments completed. We know she is responsible and have utilized her as an aide in our room when the opportunity arises. She is a true representation of what responsibility looks like in students.”
Liberty Peckham
Crescent Valley Charter School, Tulare campus
nominated by Candice Haas, Ryan Lapadula, Ashley Taylor
Nominators state, “Liberty consistently finds ways to help her school and her community. She is an active member of the Tulare County Sheriff Explorers, Leadership Committee and Beating the Odds class. As an Explorer, she works hard at all assignments she is given, whether it is directing parking at the local fair or explaining the role of the program. While attending class she is ready to lend a hand, such as moving desks for a special event, creating posters to advertise an upcoming event, reaching out to students who need a supportive friend or being involved during career events. Whenever she is asked to help her school or community, Liberty always has a winning smile and resounding, 'Yes, I will help!'”
Alexis Pope
Cypress Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Mrs. Laird
Nominator states, “Alexis greets her teacher every morning with a smile and asks if she can help. She is a caring child who has helped many of her classmates. Alexis helps other students log into their learning games on the iPads. Each day at clean-up time, she stacks and plugs in the iPads without being asked. She helps students who are struggling and shows them how to do their work. She takes initiative to solve problems and help others each day. She is an excellent example of a kind and helpful student who enjoys giving her time to help others.”
Ciena Garcia
Frank Kohn Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Lisa Aguirre
Nominator states, “Ciena is a very special girl. She is exceptionally sweet and always shows responsibility. One way she always shows responsibility is by doing the right thing, even when she believes no one is watching. She takes the initiative when it matters the most. This special girl is loved very much by others!”
Daniel Jorge
Garden Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Ashley Taylor
Nominator states, “Daniel is a leader, someone who sets an example for others and is a role model for his fellow classmates. He is respectful to his classmates, friends and teachers. You can trust him to do what is expected of him, take responsibility for his own actions to ensure that his classwork is done to the best of his ability. Daniel is fair in ensuring that everyone has a turn during an activity and that everyone's ideas and points of view are heard. Daniel walks in everyday, no matter the situation, with a smile and is willing to help anyone in need.”
A'zlynn Robinson
Heritage Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Briana Koss
Nominator states, “A’zlynn is a student who exemplifies many of the pillars of character, but most recently she was in a situation that showed responsibility. A couple of students in her class were making some poor choices and getting into some dangerous situations. A’zlynn was the only one in her group of friends to step up and seek out an adult's help in the situation. She was brave enough to do what is right, even though no one else made that decision with her. I am very proud of her for making the right decision despite what her friends might think.”
Jadon Hernandez
Liberty School, Tulare
nominated by Brittany Harper
Nominator states, “Jadon is a great student to have in class. Any time I ask someone in the class to do something, Jadon jumps up right away and gets it done. He is friends with everyone in the class and always helps his peers in any way he can. He always tells me goodbye each day. He never acts superior to his peers, rather he sees them as his equal. He would rather help students achieve than do better than them.”
Belen Sanchez
Lincoln Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Dean Parker
Nominator states, “Belen exemplifies the Pillar of Caring as she exhibits caring every day. She is kind with her words and actions. Belen thinks about the feelings and needs of other people in and out of the class. She has manners and says 'please' and 'thank you' often. She volunteers her time after school to help below grade level students in Lincoln's Math and Reading Club held in the computer lab.”
Nickolas Soares
Live Oak Middle School, Tulare
nominated by Roque Serpa
Nominator states, “Nickolas can always be trusted to be ready for the day's activities and to help those who need it. He is a positive influence in the classroom.”
Jonathan G. Torrez
Los Tules Middle School, Tulare
nominated by Angela Nunes
Nominator states, “Jonathan is an excellent student! He is extremely helpful in class, always moving and keeping busy to make the day run smoothly. He takes initiative and always goes beyond our expectations. He is a pleasure to have in class, a reliable and hard worker. Great student!”
Lorenzo Ruiz
Maple Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Rochelle Muller
Nominator states, “Lorenzo is a great role model in our classroom. He is always on task and always chooses to do the right thing. He takes his AR books home every night and comes into the classroom each morning ready to take a quiz. He also does his seatwork independently and asks for help when he is struggling. He always does his best work. I am proud to nominate Lorenzo for the Kids of Character Award!”
Michelle Uzzell
Mission Oak High School, Tulare
nominated by Donna Borba, Shay Williams-Hopper
Nominators state, “Michelle goes beyond her duties in the Nurse's office as an aide. She is a very responsible young person. Michelle is helpful to all who sit around her. She makes sure to greet her classmates, our secretary, and me each day with a great big 'Hi' and a smile. She is positive, happy, and energetic."
Jakob Ortiz
Mission Valley Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Stacey Whitfield
Nominator states, “Jakob comes to school each day with a huge smile, the utmost respect for adults and teachers alike, and just an overall great attitude. His respect for the opportunity that he has each day to learn and accomplish new goals is noteworthy. He can be seen treating other students respectfully at all times of the day, even when he does not know an adult is watching. He is a ray of sunlight to our classroom.”
Jackson Benevedes
Oak Valley Union School, Tulare
nominated by Margaret DoCanto
Nominator states, “Citizenship stands out as the one pillar that embodies all others and Jackson is a student that could easily fit the description for each pillar. I feel he is a model citizen. He is always there to support and help his friends. He does anything and everything that is asked of him. He goes above and beyond in any task that is asked of him, academic or otherwise, and he has an unshakably strong moral character, which is a rarity at such a young age.”
Isaac I. Magana
Palo Verde Union School, Tulare
nominated by Phil Anderson
Nominator states, “Isaac is a student who cares about others. He is not the kind of person who stands by when others are faced with tough decisions. Last year, two of Isaac's classmates were at odds and arguing for a good portion of the afternoon. There was an assembly scheduled at the end of the day and as students headed to the gym, Isaac walked alongside the boys and got them to consider what the consequences would be if they would fight. He told the boys that it was not worth it, and he helped with de-escalating the impending situation. The two students ended up settling their conflict and became friends. I appreciate Isaac's concern for others, as well as his willingness to tell the truth, even when it is a hard thing to do.”
Demaje Riley
Pleasant Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Rhonda Sousa
Nominator states, “Demaje is extraordinarily caring. When he sees another student struggling with their work, logging onto their computer or taking notes, he jumps right in to help. I will often look up during instruction and notice that he is making sure his table partners have written down what I have asked them to or are on the right page. I will ask students to underline a main idea, he will check to make sure that his group and others have done so. He does all of this without being asked. He always stays on task as he assists others.”
Gerlinda Joiner
Roosevelt Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Cristal Campos
Nominator states, “I nominate Gerlinda Joiner for the Pillar of Citizenship. Gerlinda truly cares about keeping her school campus clean. When she is out at recess, she constantly picks up trash, which helps keep our campus beautiful. In addition, she often volunteers to help clean up the cafeteria. Gerlinda’s caring acts show that she cares about her school community."
Monica Alva
Sierra Vista Charter High School, Tulare
nominated by Tiffini Knight, Monica Rios
Nominators state, “Monica is an excellent student. She comes in to the computer lab ready to learn and to do work. She is on task, very respectful to everyone and it is a great pleasure to have her in the computer lab. Monica always has her work in on time and done well. If she has questions about her schoolwork, she emails me about it instead of waiting until the next time she is on the school campus. She is a model student of responsibility. I wish all of my students were as responsible as Monica.”
Cashten C. Timmons
Sundale Union School, Tulare
nominated by Felicia Robles
Nominator states, “Cashten is a leader and a good example of citizenship for his peers. I appreciate his honesty and trustworthiness. He speaks the truth, regardless of the consequences. He is respectful to adults and his peers. I like how responsible he is with his schoolwork, homework and behavior. His work is completed neatly and to the best of his ability while also turned it in on time. He has a helpful nature and will do his part in taking care of school property.”
Alondra Bautista
Superior Community School, Tulare
nominated by Amanda Olguin
Nominator states, “Responsibility does not begin to describe this young woman’s sense of duty, drive, and dedication. Alondra recently took on the responsibility of assisting her family by watching her baby niece, yet made sure she is at school by 7:30 a.m. Another example of her dedication and responsibility occurred sometime last fall. She contacted the school informing them she would be late due to a car accident she was in earlier that morning. When she arrived at school her first words were, 'Get me to a computer, I have a final to take!' This young woman wanted to finish her exam so badly and she was not going to let a car accident get her in way!”
Maria Trevizo
Tulare Tech Prep High School, Tulare
nominated by Phillip Correia, Teri Rhyman, Liz Rocha, Silvia Sausedo
Nominators state, “Maria is an amazing student. She is a senior and does exactly what is needed in order to graduate. As a teacher's aide, she is willing to help out in any way that she can with a smile on her face. While working in the Counseling Office, she has assisted in meal service to students. She can be relied on to set up, serve and clean up after. She tracks meals served and prepares paperwork for me so that I can report to the Food Services Department. Maria is courteous when dealing with the students and staff. She is neat, completes all tasks as assigned and is willing to accept new responsibilities to assist our counselor, liaison, and myself.”
Bear Nunley
Tulare Union High School, Tulare
nominated by Michelle Nunley
Nominator states, “Bear continues to impress me with his kindness and caring attitude. Recently he asked me if I could buy lunch at McDonald’s for one of his friends. When asked who this friend was, Bear immediately told me he was a freshman student in the Special Education class. Bear told me that he hangs out with him at school and that his birthday was coming up and that he liked McDonald's so he wanted to surprise him. Bear is also super caring and patient with another one of our students with special needs who is in the Portuguese class. He routinely serves as her partner during Portuguese dancing and is always patient with her.”
Brendan Black
Tulare Western High School, Tulare
nominated by Shay Williams-Hopper
Nominator states, “I wish I could click all of the pillar boxes for Brendan. He is currently serving as a Tulare FFA Chapter officer and he is one of the best because he looks out for all members, not just himself. He is constantly encouraging others to step out of their comfort zones, providing encouragement and support. He serves as the Tulare FFA Beef Barn Captain, arranging for feeding schedules, showmanship practices and providing grooming assistance to new members. He has stepped out of his comfort zone to judge citrus and does extemporaneous public speaking.”
Olivia Toone
Waukena School, Tulare
nominated by Kara Lorenzo
Nominator states, “Olivia is the essence of caring. She shines bright beyond her years in the way she interacts with her classmates. I have witnessed her being the diffuser in tough situations repeatedly. Olivia is the type of person that I aspire many of my kindergarten students to be at the end of the year. My class is a combination class. I have kindergartners and transitional kindergarten. Where the pace of the transitional kindergarten might frustrate some, she is quick to take them under her wing and help them in every way that she can.”
Marquis Mesa
Wilson Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Rhonda Senn
Nominator states, “Marquis has currently taken a leadership role as Nutrition Ambassador during our monthly Farmers Market events. He has great attendance and is a great communicator. I am pleased that he decided to accept this extra responsibility and I believe he will also gain enormous insight into how we can help others of the Wilson community. Thank you, Marquis!”
Michael Holiday
Annie R. Mitchell Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Hannah Mendoza
Nominator states, “Michael is a young man who truly models the Pillar of Fairness at all times. He makes sure all rules are followed in and out of the classroom and voices his opinion when he sees that things are not fair. For example, when students start changing the rules in a game at recess, he has reminded them what the rules are and that people need to play by the rules no matter what.”
Joseph Zurek
Blue Oaks Academy, Visalia
nominated by Brooke Jackson
Nominator states, “Joseph Zurek is an honest and caring boy who admits when he has made a mistake and does not hesitate to make a heartfelt apology. He is very generous. I have witnessed on several occasions when he offered a helping hand or his very own pencil. Joseph is a hard working student and a joy to be around.”
Isabella Deluna
Conyer Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Darcey Fisher
Nominator states, “Isabella is a student of utmost superior character! She shows all of the Six Pillars of Character daily. I choose her for trustworthiness because she is someone I can always count on and is a leader in our class. Isabella takes pride in her school and always keeps her promises. I count on her to give me accurate accounts of our class when I have a substitute. She is a person of excellent character!”
Alex Araiza
Cottonwood Creek Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Darian Sagaser
Nominator states, “Alex is an upstanding young man. He is always very respectful to his peers, teachers and administrators on campus. He actively listens to you when you speak to him and follows through after being given directions. He is a very respectful student.”
Danny Asher
Crestwood Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Traci Hunzeker
Nominator states, “Sometimes people are acknowledged for an exceptional event or act. Danny is not being nominated for such, but rather because he is a student who quietly goes about the day choosing to be responsible and to do what is right. That in and of itself is exceptional. He does not expect a reward or anything else in return. Our class, our world, is a better place because students like Danny are in it.”
Mariela Menjivar
Divisadero Middle School, Visalia
nominated by Judy Yoder
Nominator states, “Mariela is an AVID student who exemplifies individual determination. Mariela is doing what she is supposed to do. I have no doubt that someday she will be a strong leader in our community as she has already demonstrated her leadership skills in her organization of her binder, her Cornell note-taking and her collaboration with her peers. She is a role model for responsibility as her team's collaboration has let her down but she picked them up to complete a project. Disappointment faded into an accomplishment, as she will not be defeated; hence, she is ready for the challenge to succeed.”
Lauren J. Davis
El Diamante High School, Visalia
nominated by Lawrence Jarocki
Nominator states, “My first impression of Lauren was that she was a competent, dedicated and polite student, the kind that sits in front and raises her hand to answer questions when everyone else either sits in silence or blurts out the first thing that comes to them. She joined my yearbook class and quickly became my go-to person. She has been tireless and committed to all that she does. In fact, I recently found out that Lauren declined to be an officer in our FFA program. Her reason was simple; she did not want to be caught between two leadership positions for fear that she might not be able to excel in both. She consistently shows her maturity and her devotion to excellence, which exemplifies her strength of character and firm self-knowledge to conserve her considerable capacities.”
Jameson Campos
Elbow Creek Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Mrs. Smith
Nominator states, “Jameson is a scholar who does his best at all times and chooses to make right choices all the time. He is kind to others and is a model leader. Jameson can be trusted to do what he says he will do.”
Guillermo Fuentes
Global Learning Center School, Visalia
nominated by Dominique Biello
Nominator states, “Guillermo interacts respectfully toward his peers through his demeanor and attitude. For example, every morning he says hello with a grin and little wave in such a way that it makes me remember why I became a teacher. He has made so many friends in such a short amount of time, which illustrates how he treats others. Everyday students vie for his attention because of his kindness, sincerity and likability, which is because he treats everyone, older or younger, with the same respect. His daily behavior and interactions with his peers and teacher(s) exemplifies the Pillar of Respect.”
Allison Seitz
Golden Oak Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Mrs. Perch, Mrs. Phelps
Nominators state, “If you were to walk into our classroom looking for a student who exhibits the character trait of fairness, you would undoubtedly find this trait in Allison Seitz. Allison is a very upbeat, patient and kind student. She listens well to others, sharing ideas and validating others' thoughts. She goes out of her way to make sure others are included in class and team builders, giving them that little extra bit of confidence they may need. Thanks, Allison!”
Madilyn Farmer
Golden West High School, Visalia
nominated by Paul Peterson
Nominator states, "Every day Madilyn exemplifies the characteristic of being respectful. This young person is open and honest with all people she runs across in a given school day. I know she is respected by her teachers and peers for being herself. Madilyn, by herself, has started a Native American-Indian club on our campus. She had a great initial meeting and interest from the student body. The premise of the club is to learn about other cultures and peoples' experiences. This shows you what Madilyn is all about − energy, willing to learn, share and respect fellow human beings."
Erik Menera
Goshen Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Lori Olvera-Clarkson
Nominator states, “Erik Menera was an exceptional Transitional Kindergarten student last year at Goshen Elementary School. He always came to school prepared and ready to learn. Erik would not only complete his class work, but always had his homework completed as well. I know Erik will do well in kindergarten. Erik Menera...YOU ROCK!”
Melissa Romero
Highland Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Patty Zieg
Nominator states, “Melissa was my student last year. She was, and continues to be, a young person who follows the classroom and school rules. Not only does she follow the written rules, she also follows the unwritten rules of living in our world. If the rule says to raise your hand, she raises her hand every time! She displayed patience and understanding with students who were unable to follow the rules without becoming upset. If she and another student arrived at a line at the same time, she would graciously let the other student go first.”
Raelyne Benavidez
Houston Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Mary Secondo
Nominator states, “Raelyne is the kindest, most caring friend. One of my students lost her mother this summer to a tragic death, so she is often very sad. Raelyne reaches out to her and encourages her to play with her and tries to make her happy. Raelyne is the sweetest first grader I have ever met and really deserves to be extra recognized.”
Anaiah Florez
La Joya Middle School, Visalia
nominated by Ray Cartagena
Nominator states, “Anaiah is the true definition of The Pillar of Citizenship. She is a very active member in ASB at La Joya and in after school duties at a local convalescent home. She has the biggest heart I have ever seen in a student. It's normal to see her helping someone out that needs help and she always looks for opportunities to continue helping those in need.”
Julio Lerma
La Sierra Military Academy, Visalia
nominated by Ronni Aguilar
Nominator states, “Julio Lerma has rank at La Sierra Military Academy and works hard every day assisting our students to meet and exceed our school’s standards and rules. He holds others accountable and helps to make them students who are self-disciplined. He helps to transform lives and he makes a difference at our school.”
David Medina-Gutierrez
Linwood Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Julie Cates
Nominator states, “David exemplifies what it means to be a model citizen. David is kind, courteous and respectful. He has a great work ethic and is an excellent academic and behavior coach. David is a natural teacher, but he never assumes this role in a bossy way. He guides his fellow teammates or his little first grade-reading buddies using questions to direct their learning rather than just giving them the answers. David is also a Garden Leader in the Linwood Garden Club after school program.”
Anika Morales
Mt. Whitney High School, Visalia
nominated by Tim Perrotta
Nominator states, “Anika demonstrates the quality of respect every day in her words and deeds. She treats others with dignity, be it in class, while volunteering with her church or as an intern within the Academy of Health Sciences and always is cheerful and accepting of others. Anika is forgiving of others, welcomes those who might otherwise remain at a distance and has the respect of her peers and staff alike. She is a model of respect and highly deserves this honor.”
Alex Perch
Oak Grove Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Nancy Moore
Nominator states, “Alex is one of the most kind, compassionate, caring students I have ever taught. He goes out of his way to help other students both in and out of the classroom. He is a leader who embraces the philosophy of 'servanthood' as he is always there to help. Most of the time, Alex is not asked to help someone, he just sees the need and acts. His selfless attitude and maturity are models for all other students. Alex is a true example of what it means to be an Oak Grove Owl.”
Kiley Langford
Ridgeview Middle School, Visalia
nominated by Jessica Malmsten
Nominator states, “As a CJSF adviser, I have witnessed Kiley be an outstanding student, athlete and citizen of our community. She maintains high honors academically and also volunteers to bring awareness to causes that are close to her heart. She truly is a civic-minded student.”
Nathan Arzate
Riverway Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Maria Vazquez
Nominator states, “Nathan is at school every day on time. He completes his work and turns it in. He is responsible for picking up his younger siblings after school. Once his younger brother's teacher needed a translator to discuss a situation with his younger brother and Nathan automatically jumped at the opportunity and translated. Immediately, he took on the responsibility of an older brother and scolded his brother to better listen to his teacher and do what she asks him to do. Nathan is a very RESPONSIBLE student not only for himself, but also for his younger siblings!”
Joel Arnold
Royal Oaks Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Maria Carrillo
Nominator states, “Joel is a great role model for everyone. He gets along well with others and cares about the people around him. He respects authority and wants to participate to make our class better.”
Vanessa Robles
Shannon Ranch Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Kaylee Soria
Nominator states, “Vanessa is responsible in all that she does. She is a great listener, friend and thinker. She is always putting first things first and making sure that her best effort is put into all that she does.”
Beth Fisher
St. Paul's School, Visalia
nominated by Kelley Petty
Nominator states, “Beth has volunteered in the CHARACTER COUNTS! booth at the Tulare County Fair for three years. Our office is very appreciative of her effort to help our booth when we are unable to attend. This shows a great understanding for the true meaning of citizenship and volunteering where needed.”
Veronica Barrios
Stone Corral School, Visalia
nominated by Miguel Rodriguez
Nominator states, “Veronica is a very responsible student. She never complains or makes excuses about her schoolwork and always completes her work to the best of her knowledge. She is always eager to learn and ready for the next lesson in all subjects. If she is having trouble in any subject, she lets me know and voluntarily stays after school for tutoring. When she is done early with her schoolwork she keeps herself busy reading or reviewing her work."
Rita Rasner
Sycamore Valley Academy, Visalia
nominated by Erika Chan
Nominator states, “Rita is a great citizen now and will continue to be a leader in our community for years to come. She is fierce in her determination to make the world a better place and I am proud to be her teacher. Rita was born with Chiari, a malformation that causes pressure on the cerebellum and brain stem. She has undergone two brain surgeries, yet continues to retain a positive outlook on life and perseveres to succeed. She has a tight family, which includes not only her siblings and parents, but also a community who supports her.”
Alexandra Feller
University Preparatory High School, Visalia
nominated by Amber Block
Nominator states, “Alexandra is a member of the UPHS Leadership team, the yearbook photographer for three years and senior editor of this year's yearbook. She works to plan all the dances and takes pictures at each event. Last year she co-organized the 2017 Prom. She runs the Class of 2018 Club and she is a member of the tutoring team that goes to Dinuba each week to tutor students in English. She believes that being a good citizen means volunteering and serving the community.”
Hayley Henderson
Valley Life Charter School, Visalia
nominated by Robert Osak
Nominator states, “Hayley lives by several pillars of character, but overall, she demonstrates that she is a leader in her community from the choices she makes, so I am nominating her for citizenship. She goes over and above the minimum effort to help her school community. When Hayley noticed an unfair practice where the whole class was losing privileges due to a small fraction of students, instead of complaining or just making a generalized statement about the conditions, she decided to write a detailed letter outlining her points about fairness and preparing students for high school to the administration. It was a very mature approach to find a win-win solution to this issue. She is well known by all teachers as being a leader and respectful in all her classes.”
Roxanne Moreno
Valley Oak Middle School, Visalia
nominated by Linda Wilson
Nominator states, “Roxanne demonstrates all Six Pillars of Character. She is honest, kind, caring, hardworking, and a leader. She is currently on the volleyball team and was nominated by her teammates to be team captain. She is always there for her teammates with positive encouragement and leadership. Roxy recently received the Respect Award and is currently maintaining a 3.5 or higher in all of her classes. She has a contagious smile and an outstanding work ethic. She is not afraid to try new things and take a stand for what's right.”
Rigo (Kilo) Lugo
Veva Blunt Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Christine Dolan
Nominator states, “Kilo possesses many qualities for each of the six pillars of character. Kilo shows respect by helping his classmates in any way possible. This can include helping academically, emotionally or lending a helping hand, such as putting away Chromebooks for others or picking up dropped material. He never judges a person's academic ability. He is patient with his peers and is always willing to work with whomever he can. He shows integrity, does the right thing, even when he is not being recognized. Kilo can be trusted to do what is right and put forth his best effort.”
Jezzlyn Hernandez
Washington Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Elizabeth McKercher
Nominator states, “Jezzlyn shows citizenship every day after school while we are cleaning up to go home. I see her picking up pieces of paper that do not belong to her and pushing in all the chairs. She is a great student who does not need to be asked to do something; she is always a step ahead.”
Jhammer (Johnny) Contreras
Willow Glen Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Mrs. Blimling
Nominator states, “Jhammer is a student who exemplifies all the pillars of Character Counts. He shows respect for others and for our school. Jhammer consistently provides a model for how to treat others with courtesy. He is quick to volunteer when a classmate needs help. In a collaborative setting, he listens attentively and respectfully to the input of his teammates. His work ethic and commitment to academic excellence demonstrates that he respects and values the educational opportunities before him each day. Jhammer exceeds our expectations for student leadership and our school is proud to nominate him for this award.”
Adileny Carranza
Francis J. White Learning Center, Woodlake
nominated by Mary Padovich
Nominator states, “Adileny Carranza did a fabulous job of being our classroom helper the first week of school. She took care of office papers, classroom papers and bus tags. The best part was I never had to remind her!”
Isaac Reynoso
Woodlake Valley Middle School, Woodlake
nominated by Dina Haney
Nominator states, “Isaac is an eighth-grade student of high moral character. He lives the Pillars of Character each day on the field, in the halls and in the classroom. He does his schoolwork with dedication and enthusiasm. Isaac's responsibility does not stop with bringing supplies, completing homework or helping classmates. He demonstrates responsibility when he completes tasks, volunteers in club activities and follows through, and lets the adult know when students are not be kind. He is respected by his classmates and is valued for his spirit of caring and fairness traits.”

For more information about the CHARACTER COUNTS! program in Tulare County, visit tcoe.org/CharacterCounts, or contact Kelley Petty at kelleyp@tcoe.org or (559) 740-4303.

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