CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Breakfast

This week marks the national observance of CHARACTER COUNTS! week and this program has a very strong presence in St. Johns County. This was evident last Thursday when the CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Breakfast took place at First Coast Technical College. The six pillars: Fairness, Citizenship, Caring, Trustworthiness, Respect and Responsibility were highlighted by 15 middle school eighth graders chosen by each of their schools for exhibiting these character traits in their daily lives.

Madeleine Ross from Fruit Cove Middle School; Summergrace Grable from Alice B. Landrum Middle School; Joshua French from Liberty Pines Academy; Luca Stauble from R. J. Murray Middle School; Ellie Kenyon from Pacetti Bay Middle School; Zachary Mikan from Gamble Rogers Middle School; Daniela Muzquiz from Sebastian Middle School; Jagwan Adkinson from St. Johns Technical; Hannah Rose Gonzales from St. Johns Virtual School; Logan Robertson from Switzerland Point Middle School; Emily Cook from the Academy of Business and Leadership Education; Marcus Wiley from Beacon of Hope Christian School, Ava Bratic from Cathedral Parish School; Rikia Martin from the Florida School for the Deaf and Jackie Gutierrez from the Florida School for the Blind each expressed what the pillars of character meant to them. I was truly touched by the powerful and meaningful messages each student shared.

The breakfast also served as a way to thank sponsors of the annual American Youth Character Awards Banquet. Schools were able to recognize and show appreciation to their business and community partners for their support as well as the dedication of school staff, parents and volunteers who foster and develop those relationships.

Special student-made CHARACTER COUNTS! artwork decorated the tables at the breakfast and was provided by Durbin Creek Elementary School, coordinated by School Counselor and CHARACTER COUNTS! Steering Committee Member Renee Labaw.

Mr. Tim Forson, deputy superintendent for Operations, was this year’s recipient of the Marjorie Davidson Individual Service Award. Mr. Forson has led efforts to educate businesses, organizations and civic groups on CHARACTER COUNTS! and has created a more positive environment to celebrate the success of Pursuing Victory with Honor athletes at our high schools.

The Community Service Award was presented to Bozard Ford Lincoln for its efforts in making the inaugural CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk a huge success.

For more information on CHARACTER COUNTS! in St. Johns County and upcoming events visit