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West Elementary Students Place in "Character Counts" Contest



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Back Row: Eldon & Julie Sylvester, Mrs. Rice (fourth grade teacher), Amy Donahue, (4th grade teacher), Ms. Woodyard, Broderick FCE vice-president, Joyce Blanka. Front row: Jordan Sylvester, second place; Caroline Donahue, first place, and Tess Albin, third place.
April 25, 2014
Three Wamego West Elementary school fourth graders have placed at the local and county levels in the FCE (Family and Consumer Education) Character Counts Contest.

Tess Albin, daughter of Jena and Antony Albin, placed third; Jordan Sylvester, daughter of Julie and Eldon Sylvester, placed second; and Caroline Donahue, daughter of Amy and Sean Donahue, placed first. On April 15, Broderick FCE presented the three West Elementary winners with certificates and cash awards of $20, $25, and $30 for third, second, and first prizes respectively.

Caroline Donahue's first place essay and artwork have been forwarded to the Kansas Association of FCE (KAFCE) for state level competition. If Caroline places first at KAFCE, her entry will be entered in competition at national level through the National Association of Family and Community Education (NAFCE).

In the fall of 2012, members of the National Association of Family and Community Education were challenged to engage American fourth grade students to create handwritten essays and pencil artwork in the Character Counts Contest. The topic for the 2012-2013 year's contest was the first of six "Pillars of Character": TRUSTWORTHINESS. The subject for the current year's contest is the second "Pillar of Character": RESPECT.

In 2012-2013 Broderick FCE presented the Character Counts Contest information to Principal Amy Flinn. Mrs. Flinn then shared the information with the West Elementary fourth grade teachers, who decided to incorporate the contest as a whole-class writing activity while working on the trait "Voice" in their unit on "Character". They also found the TRUSTWORTHINESS topic and the contest to be a perfect fit with their Bullying Prevention model and utilized it during Class Meetings. Since the essay and artwork required of the contest fits in so well with the fourth grade unit on Character, the teachers have decided to continue with their students through all of the six "Pillars of Character".

Teachers Mrs. Beason, Mrs. Cowan, Ms. Rice, Mrs. Will, and Mrs. Woodyard evaluated all 102 student essay/artwork sets on RESPECT and forwarded the best two from each class to Broderick FCE. Using the rubric that all judges across the USA use to evaluate all levels of competition, the County Judging Committee, composed of Pottawatomie County FCE Council members, Broderick FCE members, and one independent FCE member, then scored the best two "RESPECT" essay/artwork pairs from each class and forwarded Caroline's first place entry to state competition.

Broderick FCE is very grateful to Principal Amy Flinn and the West Elementary fourth grade teachers, for being receptive to incorporating this contest into their curriculum and for evaluating all the essays and artwork. Since the Character Counts Contest is open to all fourth grade students, whether in public, private, or home schools, it is hoped that this collaboration with West Elementary will also encourage others involved in educating fourth graders to enter their students in the Character Counts Contest next year as it continues with the third "Pillar of Character": RESPONSIBILITY.

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Tags: USD 320 - Wamego, Wamego

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