Twelve winners of Glenview’s “Character Counts” essay contest, open to fifth through eighth graders, were feted at the Village Board of Trustees meeting on April 21.
“It’s so rare we get to learn from our children,” said Mark Walther, principal of Hoffman Elementary to a packed room filled with the winning scribes and their families. “We should be especially proud of them as they have shown they will be the leaders of our community tomorrow.”
Glenview’s Character Counts program is the longest running chapter in the state of Illinois and promotes six pillars of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. The bi-annual essay contest, held every spring and fall, is open to any student and asks them to think about these pillars in meaningful ways.
This year, nearly 1,500 students in 13 schools sent in entries covering one of two topics: Which of the pillars of character do you value as the most important in making personal choices? Or, describe an incident in which you learned something the hard way and how it affected your life. And clearly the material is something Walther took to heart.
“The type of work you provided is best-seller stuff. This is what we should be buying in bookstores,” he said. “Our entire village celebrates with you tonight and learns from the great messages you provided about what true character is. We hope it spreads across the community.” He then read an excerpt from one of the winners, Attea seventh grader Haley Ferrone:
“You can’t use one pillar without the others. They’re a package deal so while I was thinking about them, I realized they all made an important role in influencing my decisions. The definition of the word pillar means ‘to be a freestanding support.’ They all give me the support I need to make good choices.”
Each grade level had First, Second and Third Place winners who went home with $25, $50 or $100 American Express gift cards, respectively, as well as a commemorative medal. Prizes were underwritten by Northview Bank & Trust, American Chartered Bank, Glenview Optimists Club and Image Specialties. All of the winning entries can be read online.