Character Counts! Celebrates At the Commissioners’ Meeting

By: Ashley Winterstein

The Queen Anne’s County Character Counts! Program had much to celebrate at the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners’ Meeting on April 24, 2012. Under the guidance of Mary Ruth Meredith and Wayne Humphries, Co-Chairs of the Queen Anne’s County Character Counts! Advisory Council, students of all ages had the opportunity to participate in the meeting.

The first student recognized was the recipient of the 7th Annual Faye Lister Teen of Character Scholarship – Olivia Wojtowicz. This scholarship, which is funded by the Centreville Rotary, is awarded to a senior who regularly demonstrates the Six Pillars of Character (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship) in their daily life.

Wojtowicz certainly fits these criteria, as she has been extremely active in sports throughout her high school career, even holding the position of team captain and traveling to multiple regional and state competitions. She has also volunteered for countless causes including domestic violence, a girl’s fitness camp, her local church, and cleaning up local landmarks.

Also recognized that evening were the winners of the 2012 Laws of Life Essay Contest: Sarah Starkey from Centreville Middle School, Audrey DeMaso from Matapeake Middle School, Katrina Schmidt from Sudlersville Middle School, Zachary Stump from Stevensville Middle School, Micaela Gately from Kent Island High School, and Jacob Schmidt from Queen Anne’s County High School.

Jacob Schmidt and Zachary Stump were present at the meeting and received Queen Anne’s County pins from the Commissioners’ in recognition of their accomplishments. They also had the opportunity to discuss the hot topic of bullying in schools when Commissioner Simmons asked the young men if they feel the Character Counts! Program creates an atmosphere of less bullying in school.

Stump replied that he didn’t see much bullying at Stevensville Middle School, in part he believes because they are treated like adults and the expectations are set high. Schmidt agreed that he doesn’t witness a lot of bullying at Queen Anne’s County High School and his award winning essay was actually written about the Golden Rule – treating others as you would want to be treated.

The Character Counts! presentation wrapped up with the reading of the Proclamation of Caring as the Pillar of the Month for May. This special proclamation was written by Dawn Kelly’s 2nd grade class at Matapeake Elementary School, with the help of their Character Counts! Coach Chris Grupenhoff. Character Coaches around the county will focus their lessons during the entire month of May on caring.

The students shared in the proclamation ways that people can show they care including doing their chores, sharing their toys, packing their own bags, including others in their games, helping others when they are hurt, following the rules, and recycling.

Ella Hoffman, Chase O’Malley, and Jaden Pezzano were present, along with their teacher Dawn Kelly and Principal Carol Kamp, to witness the reading of the proclamation and also to recite a character poem for the Commissioners and other community members present.

The Character Counts! Advisory Council would like to congratulate Olivia Wojtowicz on her achievements and wish her the best of luck at Rowan University this fall! They would also like to congratulate all of the winners of the Laws of Life Essay Contest and thank Dawn Kelly’s second grade class for participating in the proclamation writing.

If you would like more information about the Character Counts! program, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or Queen Anne’s County Character Counts! is a part of QAC Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.