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2:27 AM Tue, Sept. 25th

Learning: Character Counts program builds model citizens

The Daily Courier/ Les Stukenberg 
Kerriann Welker draws a picture of a person she looks up to as part of the Character Counts program in Jenene Woodruff’s class at Mountain View Elementary School in Prescott Valley Tuesday morning.

The Daily Courier/ Les Stukenberg Kerriann Welker draws a picture of a person she looks up to as part of the Character Counts program in Jenene Woodruff’s class at Mountain View Elementary School in Prescott Valley Tuesday morning.

PRESCOTT - The students in Jenene Woodruff's fourth-grade class at Mountain View Elementary School are learning about role models, specifically the difference between famous role models and those they see in their daily life.

Famous role models could be singers, athletes or movie stars. These people may be role models based solely on their fame.

However, people look up to everyday role models, such police officers, firefighters, teachers, parents or friends, for what they do to benefit society.

"I tell my students that what they do affects the people around them," she said.

Learning about role models is part of the Character Counts education program that Woodruff teaches every day.

"Character Counts was introduced to the school in a limited way three years ago. This year we want to expand it to a school-to-community process," Woodruff said.

Woodruff said school officials introduced the program to the entire school Tuesday morning.

"I try to use it in my classroom every day," she said. "This week we are talking about role models. In September, the fourth and fifth grades will focus on respect."

Woodruff said the students would identify a person, past or present, whom they respect, and then write a biography about that person.

Each month the students will focus on one of the six pillars of Character Counts: Trustworthy, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

"I tell the children they are working toward becoming model citizens," Woodruff said.

Student Kerriann Welker said Character Counts taught her to help people.

"I try to take care of people if they are hurt. I respect my parents," Welker said.

Robert Sauceda said Character Counts means caring about people.

"In class, I help people who need help," he said. "Having good character means helping others and listening when someone else is talking."

Woodruff said her favorite quote is by Martin Luther King: "Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."