Kids of Character Winners 2002

The following is a list of the 24 winners of the Kids of Character Award. One student was selected in each innovation zone in Broward County.

Blanche Ely Zone
Trudy Farrier, 17, Margate
12th grade, Pompano Beach High School

Trudy is willing to take risks and to pioneer fresh ideas to help our school develop as a new community. Still relatively new, Pompano Beach High has been working hard to establish traditions that bring cohesiveness and unity to our faculty and student body. Trudy is the type of student leader needed to re-establish our school as a proud and strong institution.

Trudy's leadership has been consistently well-accepted by fellow students. Other students can relate to her. As senior class president, Trudy was key in creating, organizing and launching a Winter Funland amusement for elementary school students. As a student government member, Trudy assisted administration in implementing a school "Dance Plan," whereby students would receive guidelines for suitable dancing styles at school events.

Although her position was not popular with all students, Trudy confidently led an assembly and schoolwide discussion about appropriate dancing. Trudy has served as president of our school's chapter of Florida Future Educators of America for the past four years, maintaining the club's focus even through several sponsor changes and dwindling membership. This year, she organized the FFEA Talent Show, which was successful in raising funds for the club and promoting the club to the general student body.

Although Trudy experienced a family tragedy during her sophomore year, her commitment to our school has remained steadfast. Considering this, the strength of Trudy’s character becomes even more apparent.

Boyd Anderson Zone
Rasheed Holloway, 6, Lauderhill
Kindergarten, Lauderhill Paul Turner Elementary

Rasheed not only is an exceptional student, but also is a kind, generous and unselfish child. Rasheed is extremely courteous to adults, as well as his peers. He always follows classroom rules and is more than willing to help out teachers.

Since he is able to read, he is always helping the students in the class who need extra help. He shows generosity by always offering to share snacks, pencils and even the special treats he receives for having a great week.

Rasheed has a way of putting a smile on anyone’s face. A perfect example of his personality occurred recently. A child had an "accident," prompting many kids to laugh and tease the child. Instead of following the crowd, Rasheed walked up to the boy and put his arm around him. He told the boy that he had an accident once and it was no big deal. "It is part of being a kid," he said. Rasheed's empathy made the boy feel so much better and put a smile on his face.

Rasheed is a friend to all of the students in class, as well as to the teacher, Lauren Bond, who nicknamed him "Buddy."

Coconut Creek Zone
Tashara Martin, 18, North Lauderdale
12th grade, Coconut Creek High School

Tashara exemplifies responsibility, perseverance, dedication, commitment, honor and leadership.

During her four years at Coconut Creek High, where she "is loved to death," Tashara has been a peer counselor, serving as a role model for her peers. She is a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), helping spread the mission of positive lifestyle choices through presentations and mentoring students. She also is creator of the Big Cougar, Little Cougar Club, in which high schoolers tutor elementary students.

In addition, Tashara plans enjoyable interactive mathematics activities for elementary students; serves as president of Cougars of Distinction, providing after-school tutoring; and is involved in other leadership activities on campus.

Academically, Tashara maintains a weighted GPA of 4.8, which is a fine example of her commitment to excellence.

Cooper City Zone
Alexis Pomerance, 10, Cooper City
Fifth grade, Cooper City Elementary

Lexi is a 10-year-old with a heart of gold. At the beginning of fifth grade, Lexi became aware that one of her classmates had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. Since that moment, Lexi has given herself unselfishly to this student. Lexi has gone above and beyond the call of duty by the way she continuously gives time to help her with her studies. Lexi is constantly aware of her whereabouts and has been known to defend her to students twice her size who are unfamiliar with her condition.

Lexi not only defends her and helps her with her studies, but she is also her friend. Friends are not something that her classmate will have a lot of in her life, and Lexi moved right in and made it so.

Lexi is a very caring, unselfish and loving young lady. Her classmate and her teacher, Jill Vecino, are truly blessed to have her in their lives.

Coral Springs Zone
Yinting (Winnie) Lo, 11, Coral Springs
Fifth grade, Forest Hills Elementary, Coral Springs

Winnie more than exemplifies good character -- she exudes an aura that makes everyone want to be a part of her life.

She is a kind and gentle leader, always ready to assist, but never overpowering. Very intelligent, she has won many competitions, but you would never know it because she would never boast.

When asked to come to school after September 11 as her favorite American, Winnie came dressed as a teacher. And although she is highly capable, don't expect to see her name in any future hall of fame, for Winnie would never seek the spotlight in her career as a teacher or a nurse.

Deerfield Beach Zone
Mimose Vilneus, 14, Pompano Beach
Eighth grade, Deerfield Beach Middle School

Mimose is a strong example of the character education traits.

A straight-A student, her outstanding character has earned her three monthly "Kid of Character" awards and nominations for the U.S. National Minority Leadership Award, All-American Scholars and All-American Honor Roll.

Mimose’s teachers are delighted with her cooperation in contributing to the education of classmates by assisting teachers and tutoring other students.

She shows kindness and responsibility in caring for small children, without charge, so that three mothers can go to work without worry.

Mimose embodies characteristics of the "Kids of Character" and then some.

Fort Lauderdale Zone
Jeffry Womack, 18, Fort Lauderdale
12th grade, Fort Lauderdale High School

Jeff is one of four boys, a middle boy and twin. He will be first-generation college and the only one of his siblings to make this post-secondary choice. More importantly, he has chosen to continue his education despite his twin brother's quitting school.

The most frequent faculty comments regarding Jeff refer to his strong personal commitment to do his best. They also describe integrity and fine moral character.

This past spring, Jeffry observed a student attempting to commit suicide. Without any regard for personal safety, Jeff intervened and maintained this situation until adult help arrived. He refused any recognition for his actions. The few faculty members who know of Jeffry's heroism are truly impressed with the cool head, quick thinking and good judgment Jeffry exhibited.

Mature and responsible, Jeff has demonstrated an ability to organize and prioritize his time. He works 16-20 hours per week and is very involved in the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) program. Jeff has demonstrated leadership and an ability to work effectively as Drill Team Commander, Rifle Team Commander and Operations Officer.His Environmental Science teacher says, "Jeff Womack is a dedicated student who performs well independently or in cooperative learning situations. Jeff takes the leadership role when working with others, but is willing to help and encourage his teammates rather than dominate them."

Dillard Zone
Janelle Spence, 13, Pembroke Pines
Eighth grade, William Dandy Middle School, Fort Lauderdale

Janelle is an all-around good person. At home, she helps her mother, a single parent, with cooking and doing laundry.

At school, Janelle is known to be polite, greeting teachers and security guards with a bright smile. She sacrificed time and helped wrap gifts for the community and kindergarten students of a neighboring school. Also, she participates in school events such as the Valentine's Day Sale, which included selling flowers to help raise money for the Builder’s Club.

She helps peers by listening, giving personal advice and helping with homework.

Flanagan Zone
Suzanne Al-Said, 10, Pembroke Pines
Fourth grade, Silver Lakes Elementary School, Miramar

Suzanne is a wonderful fourth-grade student who has been able to persevere through many obstacles this school year. Earlier this year, Suzanne lost her mother in an automobile accident. Being the oldest daughter, Suzanne took on the role and responsibilities of "mini-mom," helping her father raise the other children in the household.

Showing extraordinary self-control and focus, Suzanne maintained her A/B grades and positive attitude following the tragedy. She continued to come to school, do homework and class work on a daily basis, as well as serve as a wonderful friend to school peers.

Each day Suzanne diligently takes her young brother, who has some special needs, off the bus, walks him to class, sees that he sits properly in the hall and helps him with homework and reports. She accepts this responsibility without any complaint. It is evident that Suzanne is a young lady who exhibits the character traits of responsibility, self-control and kindness.

Hallandale Zone
Santiago Faleroni, 9, Hallandale Beach
Third grade, Hallandale Elementary

Santiago Faleroni arrived from Argentina two years ago. He experienced culture and language shock. He found it difficult to learn English and overcome shyness.

Today, Santiago welcomes new students with a tour and rules of the school, and shares the hardships he overcame.

He offers the students his phone number and invites their families to his home for homework assistance.

His efforts and his family's have helped students make a smooth transition within the classroom. He has truly made a difference in the lives of many students and is a student of true character.

Hollywood Hills Zone
Mason Ip, 11, Davie
Fifth grade, Davie Elementary

Mason is responsible and dependable at school and at home.

As a member of the school safety patrol and an anchor on the Davie Elementary morning news, Mason can be relied on to perform any task assigned to him.

Mason is well-liked by his peers and teachers and seems to have a kind word for everyone. Mason was selected to be a peer mediator because he works well with other students.

He is very respectful, and his behavior at school is impeccable. In addition to this, Mason is dedicated to doing his best. Mason has achieved straight A's in the fifth grade, takes Kung Fu lessons, and has been playing and performing on the guitar for about three years.

McArthur Zone
Michael Bohorquez, 11, Hollywood
Fifth grade, Hollywood Park Elementary

Michael has consistently distinguished himself from other students in a variety of ways.

He has maintained a positive attitude and a sincere commitment to his studies. He also has overcome the overwhelming obstacle of mastering the English language and excelled as an honor roll student each grading period.

Next, Michael has served his school community in the school safety patrol and as a volunteer on the student council.

Last, he has served as a role model for his peers and the entire school community. Throughout the school year, he has assisted new students with the task of becoming members of the Hollywood Park community and empowered students to resolve their differences peacefully.

Miramar Zone
Oliver Sohn, 11, Weston
Fifth grade, Whispering Pines Center, Miramar

This young man is really amazing. During the past year, he has experienced some personal crises in his life, but has kept a positive attitude.

Oliver is immediately well-liked by all. He accepts people as they are and sees the good in them. When we have new students, Oliver is the first to assist and welcome them.

Once when a student didn't have lunch money, Oliver was kind enough to purchase a meal for him because he didn't want to witness a peer going without. During this school year, we have a student intern and Oliver always made the teacher-to-be feel welcomed and appreciated.

He volunteered on every assignment she had to implement and was never rude during her instruction. She said he would set the tone of the group with respectful manners, and others would follow his lead. Oliver brings a smile to everyone he meets. He is a fine young man, and he will continue as an outstanding citizen throughout his life.

Northeast Zone
Stephanie Murray, 17, Lighthouse Point
11th grade, Northeast High School, Oakland Park

Stephanie, an architecture/design student, maintains a 4.5 GPA in honors and AP classes and was selected "Outstanding Architecture Student."

A scholar athlete, she plays volleyball, tennis and flag football. Recently, she was featured in VolleyballUSA after overcoming two separate setbacks. Stephanie was impaled by a steel rod on Interstate 95, and also had an unrelated spinal surgery. Her recovery from both and perseverance were miraculous.She participates in student government, Key Club, School Accountability Committee( SAC) and Science, Engineering, Communications, Mathematics Enrichment (SECME). She was a driving force behind the development of the Removal of All Debris Safely (ROADS) task force and spoke to the Florida House of Representatives to help get the 911 Cellular Wireless Bill passed.

Stephanie runs sailing and water-safety camps and volunteers for magnet activities and local organizations.

Nova Zone
Leigh-Ann Fairweather, 12, Lauderhill
Seventh grade, Nova Middle School, Davie

Leigh-Ann is an exemplary student who lives with her mother. In her spare time, Leigh-Ann enjoys playing kickball and hanging out with friends.

Leigh-Ann is responsible and has shown academic excellence by maintaining an A/B average, and by being a recipient of A/B Honor Roll Certificates. Because of her outstanding citizenship, she was nominated by teachers as the November "Davie Student of the Month" and was recognized by the Davie Police Department.

Leigh-Ann shows kindness and tolerance every day in the school and community. She is an active member of Speaking Hands, a group that travels to churches and conventions to sign for the deaf and hearing impaired. One of her most memorable experiences was signing the National Anthem before a worldwide audience at the 1999 Super Bowl. She and her group have also signed at numerous community functions and conventions, including a convention attended by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Piper Zone
Taylor Westerlind, 10, Lauderhill
Fourth grade, Challenger Elementary, Tamarac

Taylor is an outstanding student and a proven leader. This was recently demonstrated following the events of September 11, when she shared an idea with her family to help stress the positive things that kids do. Her plan consisted of implementing a "Kid's Corner" in the school newsletter highlighting good deeds. Using the school TV, she marketed her program.

Encouraging her sister and brother to help her earn money for more school computers, Taylor also implemented a neighborhood refreshment stand and donated all profits to the school to use for purchasing new technology.

Taylor is very worthy of the honor "Kids of Character."

Plantation Zone
Krystal Ying, 14, Plantation
Eighth grade, Plantation Middle School

Kind, respectful, honest and sincere are words describing Krystal. She cares about others and goes out of her way to assist anyone in need. She volunteers at a nursing home and works directly with the elderly.

Krystal works hard to promote cooperation and diversity in school by serving as a member of the Human Relations Council. She cares about the safety of her fellow students and participates in the school Crime Watch program. She solicits concerns, questions and ideas from classmates and attempts to implement ideas that will continue to promote an active, positive learning environment by serving as student council president.

She is an active member of the National Junior Honor Society, giving more than 40 community service hours to many different projects to help the less fortunate. She serves in her church youth group. She has done all of these things while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

South Broward Zone
Peter Clairvil, 16, Hollywood
11th grade, South Broward High School, Hollywood

Peter is a good citizen at home, school and in the community.

At home, he helps take care of his diabetic brother. At school, he is always willing to help the teachers and staff and will do whatever is needed.

Peter is a member of Student Government and has helped organize many major events at South Broward High School. One of these is Special Olympics, a countywide project.

Peter is a member of the Bible Club as well. He is a leader on the football and track teams. He has organized a new method of organization for keeping our school marquee current with messages to the community. Peter has been recognized in Who’s Who of American High School Students. He was nominated for Tomato King of Dania Beach.

Peter volunteers at a daycare center, Academic & Us.

South Plantation Zone
Christine Conroy, 12, Plantation
Fifth grade, Plantation Park Elementary

The home, school and community to which Christine belongs are better places because of her.

Christine continually demonstrates responsibility, citizenship and kindness whether she is raising money to support the Humane Society or the Love Jen Program for cancer patients. Her kindness and her innate generosity of spirit set her apart from others.

There is no better role model for cooperation. Christine manages her class’ laser disc recycling program, which resulted in a free digital camera for the class.

Christine is the first to volunteer baby-sitting services while at the P.A.L. field.

Christine embraces the saying, "Character -- The Core of Our Lives" in everything she does.

Stoneman Douglas Zone
Carmen Camacho, 14, Coral Springs
Eighth grade, Sawgrass Springs Middle School, Coral Springs

Carmen demonstrates all eight character traits emphasized by the School Board of Broward County.

Caring about others is one of her strongest qualities. We were able to observe this recently when one of her teachers was dealing with the impending death of her mother. Carmen exhibited overwhelming empathy toward this teacher and her mother. Carmen wrote daily notes, poems and uplifting stories to the mother and was the only student who truly expressed genuine concern on a daily basis.

Before Christmas vacation, Carmen amassed cards for every day that school was out for this teacher's mother. The messages that were contained in these cards showed wisdom far beyond Carmen's years and gave great comfort to the entire family. So much so that during the final days, Carmen's words were echoed throughout the family and will always be part of their memories. Carmen's actions bring tears to teachers' eyes.

Stranahan Zone
Pierre-Richard Gautier, 11, Sunrise
Fifth grade, Riverland Elementary, Fort Lauderdale

Ricky has been in the gifted program for the past three years and has maintained an A average. He also has volunteered at Riverland in several capacities.On a daily basis, he gives time after school to type daily announcements for our media specialist. Ricky has volunteered on many occasions as Book Fair Helper and has participated in the RIFT program (reading to K-1st grade students). During past summer school sessions, Ricky has volunteered in the lower grades.

Because of his physical appearance and neatness, as well as his speaking abilities, Ricky has assisted school administration as a greeter and host on occasions when Superintendent Frank Till has visited the school.

Ricky is on the Riverland Safety Patrol. He was chosen by his teachers because he is dependable and responsible and sets a good example for others.

On many occasions, Ricky has motivated others to participate in contests, projects, etc. because of his enthusiasm and response to such projects. He is cooperative, generous with help and most willing to participate. His enthusiasm is contagious.

Ricky's character, honesty and enthusiasm have made him a hit with teachers and peers.

Taravella Zone
Perry Gattegno, 13, Coral Springs
Eighth grade, Ramblewood Middle School, Coral Springs

Perry is active in the National Junior Honor Society and Peer Counseling Program at the school. He tutors at-risk and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students.

Perry is also a straight-A student who recently organized a book drive for the library of the Boys and Girls Club in Davie. He collected almost 3,000 books for the club that inspires and enables young people from disadvantaged homes. He hung posters at the school, mentioned it during morning announcements, and set up a table at school from 8:30-9 a.m. to collect books from fellow students.

Perry is mature and friendly to everyone. He is one of those students you can always count on to help you or his peers. He truly exemplifies good character.

Western Zone
Brianna Nay, 9, Davie
Third grade, Hawkes Bluff Elementary School, Davie

Brianna is a sensitive and caring child in and out of school. She volunteers to help others, is a hard-working student and a good role model for her peers.

Brianna was watching television when she saw a story about a girl with cancer who had no hair. Brianna decided to do something about it. She let hair grow and this past summer had it cut and donated to the Locks of Life program. This wonderful program makes wigs and donates them to children with cancer. With this unselfish act, Brianna demonstrated the character traits of kindness, citizenship and respect.

Charter Schools
Sharleane Velloza, 10, Tamarac
Fifth grade, Chancellor Beacon Charter School, North Lauderdale

Sharleane is an Honor Roll student and a member of the school’s Safety Patrol.

Sharleane’s classmates value her leadership skills and consider her a role model and friend upon whom they can depend.

Sharleane is a member of Girl Scout Troop 205, where she is working toward her Bronze Award for community improvement. She especially enjoys the time she spends with the residents of Henry’s Retirement Center in Fort Lauderdale, a facility adopted by her troop.Sharleane credits her teenage brother for her patience and tolerance. "Handling his teasing makes it easy to get along with everyone else!"

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