Washington College Honors Character Counts!

On Friday February 21st, at its Convocation Ceremony, Washington College honored local character-education program, Character Counts!, and civic leader, Richard Goodall, with its President’s Medal. The Washington College President’s Medal is presented each year to an individual or organization that has made a sustained positive contribution to the quality of life in the region. Washington College President, Mitchell Reiss, delivered a citation of the Character Counts! program:

Say “please” and “thank you”. Don’t interrupt. Share. Don’t cheat. Admit your mistakes. Greet people with a smile and a firm handshake.

Such seemingly small lessons in good manners and citizenship can make a huge difference in a child’s future success. When the local Character Counts! program sends more than a hundred volunteer “character coaches” into Kent County classrooms each week, they help our community’s young people become better friends, better students, better neighbors. A bonus for the schools: The more the character coaches succeed in their mission, the more time their host teachers can devote to academics rather than to discipline and classroom order.

A diverse lot with a variety of backgrounds and experiences to share, the coaches range from Washington College students to civic-minded retirees. Equipped with lesson plans, enthusiasm and a loving concern for children, they teach the program’s six pillars of character– Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. Just as importantly, they share their own life experiences and become role models for how to build a successful life.

While the Character Counts! lesson plans may be tailored to audiences aged 5 to 15, these six pillars can serve as a framework for how all of us, ages 5 to 105, should treat each other. Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship? Yes, please! Thank you.

For their ongoing commitment to teaching the essentials of good character and for serving as role models for the young people of our community, Washington College is pleased to present a President’s Medal– our version of a Gold Star– to the volunteer coaches of Character Counts! of Kent County.

Mitchell B. Reiss
February 21, 2014