Character counts even when no one is looking
Lake Valley Elementary School in Prescott Valley celebrated the week by conducting an essay contest for all fifth-graders, with the two winners each receiving a bike.
The subject of the essay was the Golden Rule and how it fits into the six pillars of Character Counts: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
The winning essay by Erik Martinez summed it up.
"The six pillars tell you how to be a good person," Erik wrote in his winning essay. "When you are trustworthy you don't cheat on something or someone and you also don't steal and you have to be honest with people."
APS and the Yavapai County Health Department judged approximately 100 entries.
"In order to make good choices, kids need to know how to succeed in life," said Joan Bank, health educator for Yavapai County Health, about the six pillar approach.
Lake Valley Principal Beverly Harvey commended both students and all the fifth-graders on their essays.
"You write and talk about the six pillars, but I'm so pleased that you live them also," the principal said.
The Prescott Valley Police Department donated bike helmets for each winner; Focused Future, Workforce Development of Prescott Valley and APS, contributed the two bikes.
Ray Arnold, design project leader for APS, presented the boy's bike.
"There are no losers here," he said to the school assembly. "I am impressed by all of your essays."
APS supports the Character Counts program's integration into schools and the community.
"Investments like these always pay off because youth are not only 27 percent of our population, but 100 percent of our future," Arnold said.