Students celebrate character


Staff Writer

Celebrate Character Day at the Grand International Inn on Thursday was a day for the fun and for the serious.

Elementary students, with middle and high school students working as counselors, participated in such activities as building pyramids out of plastic cups to represent the six pillars of good character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. In another session, kids like Edison Elementary fourth-grader McKenzie Olson were asked to answer questions about the Golden Rule while maneuvering an Oreo Cookie stuck to their cheek into their mouth without the use of their hands.

“It was a lot of fun,” said McKenzie, who said she’d be happy to come back and do it again next year if she could.

She and fellow Edison fourth-grader Mason Robertson both said that the fun activities and the lessons on exercising good character made them want to keep exercising good character themselves.

Nearly 200 students from schools around Minot attended the day-long event, which reinforced the Minot school district’s character education program Character Counts! During the afternoon, kids quizzed grown-ups on a panel about ways they exercise good character in their jobs and homes and about the times when they haven’t een able to do so.

Panelists included Jackson Fowler, who works in Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s Minot office; Sgt. Margie Zietz of the Minot Police Department; Brian Anderson from the Minot Fire Department; Jason Rohrer from Horace Mann Insurance Co.; and Air Force Airman 1st Class Stephanie Ashley.

The panelists said good character is definitely not just for children in school.

Ashley said responsibility is important in the Air Force and everyone must do their job and pay attention to safety. Fowler said people who are having some sort of trouble come to the office and it’s important to treat them with caring and respect. Even if they aren’t always respectful to him, he said he tries to treat them with respect in return. Zietz said it is particularly important for police officers to be fair and to treat everyone, including the people they must arrest, with respect. Rohrer, a former teacher, said he tries to teach his children that everyone will make mistakes from time to time but the most important thing is how they correct those mistakes and make sure they aren’t a daily occurrence.

The panelists told the children that the good character they exercise today should be lifelong. If they don’t exercise good character, they may run into trouble with future relationships, getting good jobs or have runs-ins with law enforcement.

Jim Hill Principal Cindy Mau said she hopes some of the elementary school children will become presenters at the Celebrate Character Day when they are older.

Character Leadership Camps will be held June 11-13, June 18-20, and June 25-27 for students in grades 4-8. These camps are free of charge. Kids will learn leadership skills and take part in a special project in the park during the camps. People who want to enroll their children in one of the camps should call Jim Hill at 857-4477 as soon as possible.