CdM Honors Kids With Character

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CdM 8th grader Patrick Ong shakes the hand Fire Chief Mike Morgan as he goes down the line of other city and district officials after accepting his character award with special recognition on Tuesday. — Photos by Sara Hall

Good character was the highlight of an awards ceremony at CdM Middle School on Tuesday.

All the students recognized at the school’s 4th Annual Character Awards were nominated by teachers and were chosen for exemplifying the six pillars of character: Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

The event showcased 40 seventh grade students and 40 eighth grade students, with special recognition given to the top five in each grade.

Patrick Ong, one of the five specially recognized eighth graders, said it is an honor to be recognized by the school for his character.

“I’m speechless,” he said. “This really means a lot.”

One way to build character, Ong said, is to always show interest in others.

“Show them you really do care,” he said.

Even a simple, little greeting with a welcoming smile can make a big difference, he said. Putting effort into getting to know others, taking the time to listen to them and showing them respect can really make a difference, he added.

David P. Fox, president of the Immortal Chaplains Foundation, speaks to a crowd of students, teachers, school staff and parents at the event.

The keynote speaker was David P. Fox, president of the Immortal Chaplains Foundation, an organization that honors individuals, both past and present, whose lives exemplify the compassion of the four chaplains and who have risked all to protect others of different faith or ethnicity.

The four “Immortal Chaplains” were Father John Washington (Catholic), Reverend Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), Rabbi Alexander Goode (Jewish) and Rev. George Fox (Methodist). All four were aboard the Dorchester, a U.S. Army troopship when it was hit by a torpedo on Feb. 3, 1943.

As the ship began to sink, the four chaplains calmed the soldiers down and handed out life jackets to the men, with no regard to religion or race.

“It didn’t matter,” Fox said as he retold the story to the group of students at Tuesday’s ceremony.

When the supply of life jackets ran out they took off their own and gave them to waiting soldiers.

“It was about compassion and love for their fellow human beings,” Fox said about the selfless act by the chaplains.

They were last seen standing arm-in-arm on the hull of the ship, praying for the men. The ship sank approximately 18 minutes after being hit. Almost 700 died.

Eighth grader Olivia Kamalski shakes the hand of city councilman Keith Curry after she was awarded honorable recognition for character.

Fox also reminded the students that it’s important to accept people for who they are and not to push them out or isolate them simply because they are different.

Teaching compassion and respect at a young age is important, Fox said, because their actions as young adults affect the person they become.

An event like the character awards at CdM is a great way to encourage those traits in children, he added.

“There’s no greater asset in life than good character,” Fox said. “It’s worth more than money.”

The assembly was a collaboration of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Education Committee and the school.

(Right, Foreground to left background) City Councilman Keith Curry, Fire Chief Mike Morgan, Police Chief Jay Johnson, Mayor Mike Henn, and school district officials and school board members listen to the keynote speaker at Tuesday's assembly.

Mayor Mike Henn, city councilman Keith Curry, NB Police Chief Jay Johnson, Fire Chief Mike Morgan, Newport-Mesa Unified School District board members Karen Yelsey and Judy Franco, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Richard Luehrs, incoming chairman of the board of the Chamber of Commerce Chandler Bell, and district and education officials also attended the ceremony to honor the students.




The 7th grade Character Award recipients include special honorees Matt Ctvrtlik, Arthur Pescan, Nick Premer, Claire Robertson, and Bridget Storm; honorable recognition went to Adam Aboubakare, Alex Acevedo, McCall Andrizzi, Emily Arenal, Jacob Ayers, Sarah Bauerlein, Maximilian Bui, Payton Carter, Katherine Chandler, Jenny Conde, Donato DiFerdinando, Karl Donovan, John Frey, Roxie Gaut, Daniel Ginsberg, Nick Guizan, Tim Hanson, Erin Hatch, Kate Hunter, Matt Hunter, Courtney Johnston, Ryan Levenson, Tim McCormick, Shannon Nelson, Bonnie Robertson, Ashlyn Rosol, Kian Schank, Seaghan Snider, Hyun Sung, Alexia Vaden, Camila Vincent, Dain Woods, Garrett White, Adam Wyatt, and Natalie Zahabi.

The 8th grade Character Award recipients include special honorees Jake Carlis, Ben Humphreys, Patrick Ong, J. R. Santoro, and Elle Quinn; honorable recognition went to Sophie Abber, Reilly Barry, Lauren Douglass, Taylor Fogarty, Sabrina Froehlich, Hannah Hogan, Matt Hollander, Brandon Huang, Katelyn Hughes, Olivia Kamalski, Rachel Kamran, Janelle Kaneda, Camille Kellems, Maria King, Cameron Klein, Anastasia Kushnyrenko, Patrick McGrath, Matt McKinnon, Connor Mickelson, August Miller, Gracie Morgan, Lauren Nakamura, William Nguyen, Grant Nutt, Kellen Ochi, Cole Parker, James Pflughaupt, Megan Rieden, Chance Sneary, Erin Stefano, Angela Vo, Alex Wendland, Natalie Wilde, Dakota Windham, and Andie Wright.


Students walk up to the stage to receive their award for good character and shake the hands of city and school officials as fellow classmates, parents and school staff watch and cheer.
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  1. Thank you to everyone involved who made this character award be possible. As the parents of Lauren Douglass we are certainly proud. We are appreciative that as parents we have social support that character is important just like good grades. Kudos to all the students who are positive role models to their peers. You teens rock!

    Tamerra & Michael Jarvis

  2. Seems like it was mostly kids who played sports who won which is a shame since school is suppose to focus on academics. Not that some of these kids arent great kids but to much focus at CDM is on sports. Way more than on education.