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Thank you for helping us celebrate Tulare County Students of Character!

Thanks to your participation, nearly 4,800 young people from 154 schools in Tulare County were recognized.

On Sunday, October 23, the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register published a two-page ad highlighting the school representatives (one from each of the 154 schools submitted) chosen during the 2022 Kids of Character Week, October 17-22. View the two-page ad and descriptions of the 154 students featured in the ad. The descriptions are also available by county region below.

North County
Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District
Dinuba AcCEL – Community Based Instruction Program
Dinuba Unified School District
Kings River Union School District
Monson-Sultana Joint Union School District
Stone Corral School District
Traver Joint School District
Three Rivers Union School District
Visalia Unified (Elbow Creek Elementary, Ivanhoe Elementary)
Woodlake Unified School District
Yettem AcCEL Learning Center

Central County
Central Valley Christian School
St. Paul’s School
The Academies Charter Management Organization (Blue Oak Academy, Sycamore Valley Academy)
University Preparatory High School
Visalia Unified School District

East County
Alta Vista School District
Burton School District
Ducor Union School District
Exeter Unified School District
Farmersville Unified School District
Hope School District
Lindsay Unified School District
Pleasant View School District
Porterville Unified School District
Richgrove School District
Saucelito School District
Springville Union School District
St. Anne’s School
Strathmore Union School District
Sunnyside Union School District
Woodville School District

South County
Alpaugh Unified School District
Buena Vista School District
Earlimart School District
Liberty School District
Oak Valley Union School District
Palo Verde Union School District
Pixley Union School District
Sundale Union School District
Tipton School District
Tulare City School District
Tulare Joint Union High School District
Waukena Joint Union School District

To view the names of nearly 4,800 students nominated by teachers, parents, and community members, click on one of the lists below.

2022 Kids of Character Nominees by Student Name
2022 Kids of Character Nominees by School Site
2022 Kids of Character Nominees by Pillar

2022 Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Honorees

Of the nearly 4,800 students nominated during CHARACTER COUNTS! Week, 30 were selected as honorees for the Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Awards. On November 2, an in-person celebration was held to present certificates, scholarships, and other awards to these special honorees. Listed below are the nominations of these exemplary students. Special performance by Monson-Sultana School led by Mary Pauls.

Monson Sultana CC! Song at Awards 2022



Top Honoree:

Diego Yanez Sandoval
Garden Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Michele Hulsey

Nominator Michele Hulsey says,"Diego found my diamond tennis bracelet at his school and turned it in to his teacher who gave it to the office. So appreciative of all of them for doing the right thing. I was sure there was a 0% chance I'd get it back. Got to call his mama (with help) and thank her for raising such an awesome little guy and give him a little thank you in return! Believe in the good!!! Diego demonstrated good character by doing the right thing even when no one was looking. Great Job Diego!!!"
Read the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register article about Diego.


Sophia Lopez
Cutler Elementary School, Cuter
nominated by Anthony Ledesma

Nominator Anthony Ledesma says, “My job is easy with Sophia. There's no need for an aide in my classroom because she takes that role – sometimes after being asked, but most times after she has completed her own tasks. Sophia personifies trustworthiness. The easy part is to talk about the times I ask her to run to the office to grab notes, copies, or other items. However, her true character shines when I'm not around. The days that I have been away from the class, Sophia has been the one to keep things in order. I trust that when I'm out, even if the substitute teacher is having a tough time, Sophia will be there to get everything back on track. I knew Sophia only slightly last year, in passing. But this year, I'm very thankful to our administration and second-grade level team for funneling her into my classroom for this school year. Keep on being that tremendous Pillar of Character that you have shown your whole life, Sophia. Thank you for being who you are!”

Aaron Gibson
Dinuba Community Based Instruction, Dinuba
nominated by Randall Steen

Nominator Randall Steen says, “Aaron is a student in my class who exhibits trustworthiness daily. He always tells the truth, even when it doesn't benefit him. Aaron shows up ready for school every day and he always keeps his pledge to give his best as a class citizen. I can rely on Aaron for the truth. As a new teacher in this classroom, if I need to know the answer of how things "were," Aaron is a trustworthy student who will be honest in his answers. Aaron is a pleasure to have in class, and his attitude and character are something I look forward to daily when I come into work. Thanks so much for your amazing character, Aaron!”

Venus Tcheu
Mission Valley Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Mark Levy

Nominator Mark Levy says, “Venus is a self-motivated, caring, and respectful student. She was just elected class president by her peers. Her speech was about how she could help her fellow classmates. She demonstrates fairness during PE activities by competing honestly, and she works with her group taking turns and sharing materials in class. She responsibly completes all of her work on time and with great effort. She has been nominated for the Pillar of Trustworthiness mostly because she is a model of trust, although she exhibits all pillars. If she struggles with something, she asks for help instead of pretending. If she forgets something, she admits to it rather than blaming others. When she is finished with work, she uses the time to challenge herself on other work instead of talking or playing around. She stays on task except to help others when needed. We are blessed to have Venus in our class.”

Isaac Zamarripa Pena
Pioneer Middle School, Porterville
nominated by Cindy Torrez

Nominator Cindy Torrez says, “We are very proud to nominate Isaac as a “Kid of Character” from Pioneer Middle School. Determination, goal setter, kind, positive ethic, and amazing personality are just some of the traits that describe Isaac, but his most genuine trait is trustworthiness. Everyone around him knows they can count on him for anything and can trust him. During the beginning of the school year, Isaac was out a couple of days and was not able to complete a couple of assignments. When he came back to school, I had mistakenly given him a grade for one of the assignments and he made me aware of my mistake. He admitted to not having done the assignment but asked me for the handout and promised me he would take it home and complete it before the next day. Isaac came in the next day with his assignment completed and his grade was updated. Any other student could have ignored my error and kept the grade that was given, but his great integrity came first and he made things right. This situation made me trust Isaac immediately and I am sure I am not the only one who has experienced this from him. In addition, Isaac is an athlete who is extremely dedicated to both his academics and sports; he balances these worlds so flawlessly. With no question, Isaac is a perfect example that character counts, and it makes a difference in the world.”


Top Honoree:

Elizabeth Garcia
Stone Corral School, Visalia
nominated by Susana Haro

Nominator Susana Haro says, "I have worked very closely with Elizabeth Garcia since last year. She was part of our student council (our leaders on campus) team and as her ASB advisor she stayed true to her commitment as a Vice-President; she ran meetings, came up with ideas for events/sales/activities, collaborated with other students, spoke at our assemblies and just became a great role model for our younger students at Stone Corral. This year she wanted to continue to be part of the leadership team but as our 2022-2023 President, as she advocate for herself during the campaign she earn herself votes but unfortunately the President title went to a classmate of hers. Shortly after the announcement occurred, I went ahead and checked in with her and validated how she was feeling. I expressed to her that it was courageous of her to run and that although the outcome isn’t what she expected, it’s the effort that really counts. A few days go by and she offered to assist me with our new ASB team on how to run meetings, take notes, run sales, etc. I appreciated that she once again took the leadership role and helped our new team. I love that she took initiative that I asked her is she wanted to be my ASB advisor assistant, she gladly accepted. Elizabeth is a well rounded student , her character can be describe by each of these pillars, and this was just one example out of many experience she has demonstrated to me that she is a amazing student to have on campus. I am super proud of Elizabeth and I know she will continue to be the role model for many students at Stone Corral."
Read the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register article about Elizabeth.


Freddy Galindo
Global Learning Charter School, Visalia
nominated by Jennifer Morones

Nominator Jennifer Morones says, “Freddy is the picture you see in the dictionary next to the word respect. Students can easily show fake respect to teachers and then turn around and show disrespect to peers. However, Freddy is respectful through and through to those who are easy to respect and to those who are, frankly, frustrating. In our world, it can often be heard, ‘you have to earn my respect’. And to a point, that makes sense yet, hopefully, in our own humanity, we can generously extend respect to all people whether or not it is given back. It is easy to respect those who look a certain way, act a certain way, have nice things, or are simply easy-going,  kind people. Almost everyone already does that. But to be a truly respectful person, I believe one should model after this young man, Freddy. He has decided who he is going to be regardless of others. Freddy has chosen to give dignity and respect to all, whether they return it or not.”

Auliya Gonzales
Mission Oak High School, Tulare
nominated by Dave Caetano

Nominator Dave Caetano says, “Auliya is one of those students who you have a difficult time selecting just one pillar for because she demonstrates all Six Pillars of Character. I have had her in my basketball program for four years and to have been able to watch her growth and development during that time has been a real pleasure. She is without question one of the most respectful and courteous people you will ever meet. She demonstrates that daily with everyone she comes in contact with at school. What I truly appreciate and admire about Auliya is how she makes everyone around her feel good about themselves through her positive encouragement. She exemplifies all that is good about young people!”

Luk Willey
Oak Valley Union School, Tulare
nominated by Debbie Hornung

Nominator Debbie Hornung says, “I am very excited and lucky to be Luk's teacher once again! I had him as a second grader and now as an eighth grader. I can tell when Luk is excited about learning something because his huge smile lights up his entire face. Although Luk may perceive the world in a different way, he still wants to develop friendships and acceptance just as any other child. Learning certain topics can be difficult to process at times, but with a little encouragement, direction, and time, he is able to overcome each challenge. Next year,  Luk is going to be going into high school and we are going to miss seeing him up and down the hallways of our school. I want to make sure his last year at Oak Valley is his best year here. I know my life has been touched in a very special way with having been his teacher. I truly can't wait to see what the future has in store for him. Whatever it may be, I know it will be just as special and bright as he is to us all here at Oak Valley School!

Aliah Vega
Tipton School, Tipton
nominated by Michelle Nuckols and Janet Uresti

Nominators Janet Uresti and Michelle Nuckols say, “Aliah is a very respectful student. Her respect and support for the Tipton community is evident. She is a star athlete, dresses up for all dress-up days, participates in student council , has a ton of school spirit, helps in the school garden and is never afraid of working to help the community be the best it can be. She is a role model on our campus and her peers look up to her as a leader, especially with her dedication to the journalism class.”


Top Honoree:

Diego Mora
Tulare Western High School, Tulare
nominated by Michelle Gill, Laura Encinas and Jenna McGuire

Nominator Michelle Gill, Laura Encinas and Jenna McGuire says, "Diego Mora has demonstrated responsibility (and resilience) from a young age. I met Diego his freshman year of high school as his school counselor, I was blown away by his communication and initiative (via email correspondence) as an incoming ninth grader. Then, when I got to meet Diego in person and learn more about his story, I was even more impressed. Diego was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was just 1 year old. He has not let the medical treatments limit his achievement in the classroom or limit his ambitions and aspirations. Diego is constantly taking the initiative to push himself harder academically and take on new challenges and get involved. During a parent meeting, his mom shared how helpful Diego is around the house and with the family/younger siblings. It was no surprise to his teachers or myself that his incredible work ethic and responsibility are not limited to the classroom. Diego continues to impress his teachers and school staff with his work ethic and determination to always do his best.

Diego always takes initiative to help students who may be struggling in the classroom, especially those who are English Language Learners. He also shares with me the responsibilities in his home. Diego is the oldest in the family and enjoys helping his mom cook/prepare meals as well as caring for his younger siblings. I see the joy on his face when he helps others. He is a respectful student who is always willing to help those around him."
Read the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register article about Diego.


Daleyza Melendez
Alila School, Earlimart
nominated by Yasmin Gonzalez

Nominator Yasmin Gonzalez says, “Daleyza is an individual who takes pride in school. She goes above and beyond on all her assignments. She truly tries her best and is very motivated to learn. She isn’t afraid to ask questions and is great at problem solving. I can describe Daleyza as having a growth mindset. In addition, I can see her hunger to develop and grow academically. Daleyza is an amazing listener who does things the first time she’s told. She’s very proactive, and I love that she prioritizes class assignments and homework. She has many great characteristic traits. She’s a student who is loving and compassionate towards myself and others. I can count on Daleyza for anything because she is the definition of what a good role model is; trustworthy, responsible, leader, kind, honest, thoughtful, independent, considerate, and intelligent. I am proud to say that she’s my student. A big thank you to her parents because I know how hard they work with Daleyza at home to support her through her journey in kindergarten.”

Luna Guzman
Crestwood Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Rual Gonzalez

Nominator Raul Gonzalez says, “Luna just started the year as a four-year-old Transitional Kindergarten student and she is already ahead of all of her classmates in modeling responsibility! She not only reminds me daily about our rules, but she models our rules for responsibility. She also exhibits respect, caring, and overall great citizenship, but she has really kept me on my toes in showing that she can be the model for responsibility. She always completes her work with high quality, she always helps clean up her classroom, and she never has to be told to clean. Since the first day of school, she knows what she needs to do.”

Mallory Munger
Lincoln Elementary School, Exeter
nominated by Betsy Bentley and Tara Sharp

Nominators Tara Sharp and Betsy Bentley say, “Mallory strives to do her best and do what is right, even when no one is watching! She takes care of her classroom and classmates,  and takes care of her campus. I have seen her bringing items to the lost and found,  and pick up trash that others walk right past. Mallory is also a teacher's dream. She models all Pillars of Character, but her maturity makes her one of the most responsible students I have ever had the privilege of teaching. Mallory is not only responsible for herself and meeting her needs, but she extends her abilities to others to help them meet their goals. She is always available to help others who are in need or share her ideas to make learning easier. Mallory is a very impressive young lady. She has a maturity that extends beyond her years and is a young lady with a very bright future ahead of her. Mallory embodies what it means to be a responsible Lincoln Lion!

Baily Robb
Ridgeview Middle School, Visalia
nominated by Sarah Basiletti

Nominator Sarah Basiletti says, “Bailey consistently demonstrates responsibility during band classes and extracurricular events at Ridgeview Middle School. She is not only responsible but also trustworthy, caring,  and respectful at all times. My first experience with Bailey as a student was during the summer before her seventh-grade year when she worked to complete my advanced band music theory requirement. Since then, she has always exceeded expectations in my class. She continues to work ahead of most of her grade level on music theory lessons and also helps a couple of other students who are at that higher level. Though she began band playing the trumpet, Bailey elected to switch to tuba because we needed that instrument to be the foundation of our band's sound. She practices and works hard at playing the tuba and provides the rest of the group a solid base on which to build the rest of our sounds. She always turns her assignments in early or on time, even with having to occasionally juggle taking a tuba back and forth between home and school. Bailey is also involved on campus in other important ways. I know she is a member of Campus Life club, she is part of the student leadership group, runs cross country and is on yearbook staff. In spite of her busy schedule, she always has a ready smile!” 


Top Honoree:

Joshua Villarreal
Liberty School, Tulare
nominated by Robert Aldaco

Nominator Robert Aldaco says, "Joshua is a unique individual that treats everybody with fairness. No matter who he’s around, he treats everyone equally with no bias. He has many friends, and after talking to his prior teachers, we have come to the conclusion that he has never taken advantage of others, blamed others for anything, and always listens to his peers and teachers with an open mind. If he is first in line, he is always willing to let others go ahead of him with a smile on his face. He never complains when things do not go his way, and is never one to brag, or rub it into his friends, if he wins. Joshua is just a very friendly person to everyone he comes in to contact with. Joshua deserves to be recognized for the Pillar of Fairness."
Read the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register article about Joshua.


LeighAnna Hughes
Global Learning Charter School, Visalia
nominated by Melisa De Leon Duarte

Nominator Melisa De Leon Duarte says, “LeighAnna is the kid on the playground who everyone wants to play with. She loves to play new games and activities and is always honest and plays by the rules. What I love more than anything is that she really emphasizes her fairness for others. When she sees that someone is not being treated fairly, she will kindly stand up for that person and help them to solve the problem. LeighAnna always puts others before herself to make sure that everyone receives equal treatment. Her fairness makes recess and class a fun place to be because everyone knows they will be treated fairly, because if not, LeighAnna will be by your side making sure you get what you need.”

Elgin Arreola
Lincoln Elementary School, Lindsay
nominated by Jullie Denni

Nominator Julie Denni says, “Being a quarterback on our youth football team, Elgin knows what it means to play by the rules. He is the king of fairness, because that matters when you are playing a game. He loves to watch during PE if we are following the rules. He notices anyone who isn't and gently tells them the directions again. I love how he is involved and modeling fairness with his classmates and teammates on and off the field!”

Zaiden Allen
Pleasant Elementary School, Tulare
nominated by Jenna Davis

Nominator Jenna Davis says, “Zaiden is a born leader who wants to make sure that everyone has everything they need to succeed. I truly appreciate his eagerness to learn, but I also appreciate his desire to make sure that everyone has the same opportunities. In his table group, Zaiden is always leading a discussion and making sure that his other team members have a chance to share their input. He is my constant reminder to award points, tickets, or other prizes to a group - even if it is not his own group doing something exemplary. I'm very proud of who Zaiden is and this wonderful personality that he has.”

Luke Mills
Wilson Elementary School, Dinuba
nominated by Carolyn Penner

Nominator Carolyn Penner says, “Luke is a wonderful example of a responsible elementary student. Luke arrives every day to school wearing a friendly smile and carrying a well-prepared backpack. He is often seen encouraging other students to wait in line patiently, to not be rowdy, and to listen to the support staff. Upon entering the classroom, he has his homework ready to submit and reminds others to drop off their work too. He immediately completes his independent morning work,  and quickly is able to fit in a few minutes of reading, computer testing, or a quick trip to the library to check out a new book. On the playground, Luke is known for being accountable for his actions and conduct. He plays fairly and encourages other students, whether he is on the winning team or not. His classmates enjoy spending time with Luke,  and often seek out his assistance in the classroom and on the playing field. On Back to School Night, Luke shared that it was his soccer team's practice night and that his coach strongly encouraged everyone to be at practice. Several other students mentioned that they were not attending the Back to School Night, due to the scheduling conflict with soccer. Luke shared with his friends that it was possible to attend both events. He leads by example and often helps his community of students to see how to create a successful pathway. Luke is a focused and accomplished student, but is modest, humble, fair, and trustworthy.”


Top Honoree:

Brynn Bartlett
Denton Elementary School, Visalia
nominated by Frank Ghiglia

Nominator Stephanie Gendron says, "During a recent school fundraiser event at Roller Town, many of the families that attend Denton Elementary had an opportunity to help raise money for school functions as well as get a chance to enjoy some time together outside of the classroom. This environment allowed for student and adult interaction that isn't always available during the school day, such as playing with friends from another grade level or classroom and meet veteran and new teachers. One interaction that stood out was when two students were slowly making their way around the outside of the skating rink; a young woman was helping a young man balance with his skates. The reason why this was so remarkable was that the young man is one of our students that receive additional services and at times struggles to be able to do all the things that other students can. The young woman, Brynn Bartlett, made sure this young man got to experience all the joy of skating with friends and family. What was even more special was the fact that Ms. Bartlett was having an amazing time including the young man, as evident by the huge smiles on both of their faces. Brynn's efforts turned a night of frustration and loneliness into a night he will never forget. She doesn't know it, but this is not the first time she has been seen demonstrating inclusion, friendship, and caring for her fellow students, whether they have special needs or not. Ms. Bartlett has a heart enough for everyone and her kindness creates an atmosphere where all students feel welcomed and loved at her school. No doubt our special needs students enjoy her companionship and efforts to help them feel loved and welcomed as they shower her with hugs almost daily. You are an amazingly caring young lady Brynn and we are so proud of your kind, caring, and generous character!"
Read the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register article about Brynn.


Jose Miguel Ayala Sanchez
Palo Verde Union School, Tulare
nominated by Anthony Nguyen

Nominator Anthony Nguyen says, “Recently, Miguel and a friend made a conscious effort to stand in the lunch line with a student who was ignored and excluded by others. The fact that he decided to stand up for this ignored student shows the depth of his heart, a true example of caring. His genuine act of kindness is what is needed in the world right now and we are lucky to have Miguel as a role model for our students!”

Matthew Ramirez
Palo Verde Union School, Tulare
nominated by Anthony Nguyen

Nominator Anthony Nguyen says, “Matthew has come a long way this year and his genuine heart is beginning to take a solid form. Recently, he and a friend made a conscious effort to stand in the lunch line with a student who was ignored and excluded by others. This genuine act of kindness is what is needed in the world right now and we are lucky to have Matthew as a role model for our students!”

Braxton Nunley
Tulare Union High School, Tulare
nominated by Mark Hatton, Arturo Magallanes and Sara Zakarian

Nominators Sara Zakarian, Mark Hatton, and Arturo Magallanes say, “Braxton is very respectful and friendly to all staff members and students. He always greets me with a big smile and has kind words to say. He is a student athlete and takes honors and AP courses. Braxton is inclusive of others and leads by example. During the Tulare County Fair,  Braxton noticed a struggling freshman,  and both he and Alex Thorpe spent the day with him when they didn't have too. That freshman was my son, and I noticed a difference in my son's attitude and outlook on school immediately. This is the kind of impact Braxton and Alex have on the students at this school. They are true leaders. As a father, I cannot repay what he and Alex did for my son, but acknowledge their character and pay it forward. Braxton is a true pleasure to be around. We are all so proud of him.”

Alex Thorpe
Tulare Union High School, Tulare
nominated by Mark Hatton and Jonathan Brogan

Nominators Mark Hatton and Jonathan Brogan say, “Alex is a leader on campus. He is a true pleasure to be around,  and respectful to the staff and the students at Tulare Union. At the fair he took a struggling freshman and both he and Braxton Nunley spent the day with him when they didn't have too. That freshman was my son, and I noticed a difference in my son's attitude and outlook on school immediately. This is the kind of impact Braxton and Alex have on the students at this school. They are true leaders. As a father,   I cannot repay what he and Braxton did for my son,  but acknowledge their character and pay it forward.”


Top Honoree:

Benjamin Watson
Harmony Magnet Academy, Strathmore
nominated by Marla Fields, Ben Nelson and Paula Roche

Nominators Marla Fields, Ben Nelson and Paula Roche say, "As a student, Ben is focused on achieving at his best. His attendance is excellent; he is punctual in regards to being on time and in regards to meeting deadlines. He completes all his work, he possess the confidence to ask questions either for clarification or deeper understanding, and he enjoys learning. When working on collaborative projects, whether they are pathway related or in yearbook, his peers look to him for guidance, and he enjoys assisting them. As a leader, Ben seeks out involvement opportunities and leadership roles. He has been involved in a wide variety of activities: sports (water polo and swim); engaging in community service projects through his church, CSF and Boy Scouts; serving as a peer mediator; and serving as an officer in campus clubs. The most recent example of Ben’s excellent leadership is his work in the yearbook class. His dedication last year to completing a book that he, his classmates, and the school would enjoy and be proud of was superior. His work ethic was one of the reasons I chose him as editor in chief this year. This was not a position that Ben applied for or asked me about. However, when I approached him about it, after a moment’s surprise and perhaps hesitation, Ben accepted the job. Since then, he has taken it upon himself to organize job assignments to make sure school events are covered, help new yearbook students to navigate our digital program, and offer to teach yearbook curriculum covering theme, layout and design, and writing copy. What stands out about Ben is that he is quick to offer assistance to others – he is the first to sign up, the first to help, and the first to be there. His focus has always been to work through challenges with positivity and optimism.

Ben is an exemplary student of character who easily embodies every pillar. Choosing one pillar to assign Ben is rather difficult, but in my work with him both in the classroom and in/for extracurricular activities, I feel that he regularly exhibits trustworthiness in all that he does. If there is a form to fill out, a step to take, or an obligation to meet, Ben is at the ready and will always follow through. I know that I can hand off any task to him as a senior class officer and he will do it. Furthermore, he carries out his work and/or tasks with both integrity and positivity. He shows his fellow classmates and student body members that doing what is right is not an inconvenience but an enjoyable endeavor. I am only thankful for having the opportunity to work with and get to know Ben.

While Harmony Magnet Academy senior Ben Watson exemplifies all six pillars of character, I have chosen to nominate him for Citizenship. Ben is an active leader who helps set the tone for success by continually supporting or challenging others to reach their goals. He makes a positive impact on his friends, family, and community by participating in church, scouting, athletics, clubs, and peer mentoring. Whatever he learns from one area of his life he applies to the other areas, whether supporting an individual in physical, emotional, spiritual, or academic need, or serving a larger community. Since 2012, Ben has actively supported the community through church sponsored service ministry including caring for elderly members by assisting with day-to-day needs, home or yard maintenance, packing and moving belongings, or administering the weekly sacrament. Ben has also supported the community and its events through Boy Scouts of America working on building and restoration projects, collection programs, participating in parades, and mentoring others. His BSA Eagle Scout Project is a blood drive to benefit the Central California Blood Center. As a Peer Mediator, Ben exemplifies the qualities of a great mediator – trustworthiness, approachability, dedication, perceptiveness, and impartiality."
Read the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register article about Ben.


Olivia Torres
El Diamante High School, Visalia
nominated by Jessica Cervantes

Nominator Jessica Cervantes says, “Olivia is a great person of character and is involved in school and her community. Olivia enjoys volunteering at events that just need helpers or making her community better in any way she can. Olivia just did an internship over the summer at Kaweah Delta to better assist her community as a future leader in the community. She is the first to volunteer and step up to help out in working food concessions or any other event that may need her help. We can always count on Olivia to want what is best for the community, family, school, team, and friends.  She is always wanting to make things better and puts others before herself. Olivia recently attended a conference to learn how to be a better leader than she already is and how to help make her team a better unit. I look forward to watching her do great things!”

Cristian Rodriguez
Pleasant View West School, Porterville
nominated by Tashima Irving

Nominator Tashima Irving says, “As a third-year member of our SQUAD Club, Cristian is off to a great start! He is a student of excellent character, and a wonderful role model for his peers and his younger siblings. This year he was picked to be a member of SQUAD's Leadership Team and when he received his position he said to me, ‘Ms. Irving you will not be disappointed’. He has kept his word. SQUAD started off with a community service project called ‘Thank an Agriculture Worker’. Our first destination to honor our agriculture workers was the grape fields. Cristian was the first to assist with the organization of the students. He helped load and unload the ice chests and was always asking if there was anything else he could do. I watched him lead the other students as they weaved in between the grape vines and passed out ice-cold Gatorade and thank you cards to the workers. Cristian reminds the other young men in SQUAD to be on time, and he informs the new members of their responsibilities and leads by example. He will spend time after school and after our meetings helping clean up and organize the room in preparation for the next day. Cristian is always the first to volunteer for any community service or school campus needs. I could have checked every Pillar of Character for him, but in a nutshell, he exemplifies Citizenship by always doing his share at school, in SQUAD, in his family, and with his community.”

Daisy Jackson
Sierra Vista Charter High School, Tulare
nominated by Daniel Dutto and Rocio Haro

Nominators Daniel Dutto and Rocio Haro say, “Daisy has shown herself to be an excellent citizen. She is constantly looking for ways to join activities and be a leader at Sierra Vista Charter High School. While on campus, she visits the teacher cubicles and says hello every morning. It helps brighten up our day. Daisy has taken it upon herself to be a part of the Associated Student Body and organize events. She is pleasant and friendly to all other students, and looks for ways to include everyone. Daisy has also been the student representative to the Tulare Joint Union High School District School Board for the past two years. During this time, she has participated in school board meetings, , asking inquisitive questions about the process and taking an interest in civic duty. She also participates in the district Superintendent's Student Advisory. This group meets multiple times per year and discusses the needs of the students throughout the district. At these meetings, Daisy has been an excellent representative of our school and student body.”

Aubry Lucio
Summit Charter Collegiate Academy
nominated by Kayla Roberts

Nominator Kayla Roberts says, “Aubry is a pillar of the Summit community. She is an active member of ASB, Vice President of her Yearbook Club, and regularly manages the student store during school and sporting events. Aubry is also the commissioner of ASB's Outreach Committee and has worked tirelessly over the last few months to compile a list of awareness events and activities to help build an inclusive, tolerant, and accepting culture in the Burton School District community. She regularly works with our school psychologist, counselors, and club advisors to make sure every event ASB plans is inclusive and respectful of the beliefs of the student body. To top it all off, Aubry has spearheaded efforts to create functional workspaces on campus for all students and works outside of school time to ensure that those spaces are maintained. Aubry exemplifies what it means to be a good citizen and I am excited to see how her talents continue to grow in her senior year. In addition, Aubrianna has a caring and compassionate attitude toward her peers, especially those who struggle. By a happy accident, I created a seating chart at the beginning of the year, which placed her right next to a student who had suffered a traumatic injury.  This student is a delight to have in class but can easily be distracted or confused. I have observed Aubrianna's interactions with her over the last month. She is gentle, sensitive, and often helps direct her attention back to the activities we are doing in class. Aubrianna is patient and genuinely kind. It is something that when you witness it, your heart is happy.”

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

CHARACTER COUNTS! is a nationwide initiative which embraces the six core values mentioned above. These values, common in a democratic society, can be taught by teachers, parents and community members to build and develop character in youth. The CHARACTER COUNTS! program is provided to the schools in the 43 districts administered by the Tulare County Office of Education.

CHARACTER COUNTS! is a service mark of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.