Michelle Offenbacker 2008 Character Education Award Recipient

Character Counts! congratulates Michelle Offenbacker, 17 and resident of Kent Island, as the recipient for the 2008 Character Education Scholarship.

This was the first year that nominations were sought from citizens to propose a student from Queen Anne’s County Public Schools whose intention is to further their education. Within the letter, the nominator was asked to explain how the student demonstrated the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.
Seventeen students were nominated for this year’s award. The Character Counts! Advisory Committee selected a panel to review all nominees. After careful consideration, Michelle Offenbacker was selected and the award was made at the May 13th Commissioner’s Meeting. Receiving her award, Michelle stated, “I was really happy to receive this scholarship. The cost of college is so expensive and I know this scholarship will be able to help me out. I really appreciate receiving the scholarship, too.”

Letters of nomination were received from Michelle’s mother, Connie Offenbacker, and from her neighbor, Alana Weller. Connie Offenbacker states in her letter about her daughter, “Michelle is a very hard working, caring young lady which I’m very proud of. Michelle has a very strong commitment to becoming a nurse which I feel she’ll be an excellent one, because she is a very caring person. When my husband had an accident, she took good care of him on her summer break without complaining. When her cousin wanted her to go to the ocean with her and her family, she wouldn’t leave until she knew for sure there would be someone home to take care of him.”

Caring seems to one of Michelle’s strongest character traits, but it is evident that she demonstrates the other Pillars of Character as well. According to Weller, “Michelle is one of the most responsible teenagers I know. At 16 years old, she has already accomplished so many things that only a responsible student can. She worked very hard to earn her G.E.D. and get into college. She is currently enrolled at Chesapeake College and plans on becoming a nurse. She is a very caring person and wants to devote her life to helping others. Becoming a nurse would make her happy because she would know, in some way, she is making the lives of other people better.”

Once Offenbacker completes the required courses at Chesapeake College, her intention is to apply for admission to the Nursing Program. Her interest in nursing came from her own personal experience. As a young girl she experienced some medical problems which necessitated her undergoing many tests. Offenbacker explains, “I remember how caring those nurses were and how hard they worked and I want to be able to do that for someone. I want to become a nurse to care for people and help them get better. I have always enjoyed taking care of people and it feels good to know your helping them.”

When she is not busy pursuing her nursing studies, Offenbacker takes part in many outdoor activities such as kayaking and playing tennis. Caring for and spoiling her dog is another chance to have fun, too.

Both Connie Offenbacker and Weller believe that Michelle clearly is a person of strong principles and character. Michelle agrees that having good character is essential. She states, “You learn a lot from having a good character, such as respect and trust. Having good character makes you a stronger person.”

Character Counts! congratulates Michelle Offenbacker as the recipient for this year’s Character Education Scholarship and wishes her much success as she pursues her nursing education. We would also like to give special recognition to the Centreville Rotary Club for their continuing support and the $500 scholarship award. Special thanks is also given to all those who took the time to write letters of nomination for many worthwhile students.
For more information on Character Counts! please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or by email at Jcarter@qac.org.