Author Archives: Sergio Rodriguez

News: Medal of Honor Presentation

Medal of Honor Presentation

Ed DeRoche addresses seminar attendees

Ed DeRoche addresses seminar attendees

We had our own July 4th celebration when the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s staff and two experienced California teachers provided pre-conference seminar attendees with a one-day training program. They focused on “lessons of personal bravery and self-sacrifice” as “a teaching resource designed by teachers to provide students with opportunities to explore” virtues such as courage, patriotism, commitment, integrity, sacrifice, and citizenship.

Forty attendees were thrilled to meet, in person, Jay Vargas, a Medal of Honor recipient, and receive the Foundation’s excellent and comprehensive instructional kit of resources, lessons, DVDs and black-line masters.

I want to share some representative observations from attendees, which I have edited.

I really felt a connection to the importance of service to others and how character truly counts; it was powerful and meaningful.

Learning about the value of character education has made me determined to add

Jay Vargas, Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient

Jay Vargas, Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient

character education into my classroom’s curriculum. Our nation was founded on the values that exist in service and this should not be forgotten. I feel very humbled to know about several Medal of Honor recipients and their stories, and that they were willing to open up, and at moments be vulnerable in order to share the love, selflessness, respect, and determination that have for their country and friends.

I found the vignettes to be informative and thought provoking: perfect material for my future world history classroom. Beyond the reminders of the costs of war, the seminar encouraged me to reflect on the importance of service to others. I believe that this is truly an important life perspective to cultivate in our students and ourselves.

One of the important things I took from this program, which I think is a good lesson for students also, is that you don’t necessarily need to be special to do something great. The message that I kept getting from the different men in the videos was that they did not think they did anything great or deserved all this attention and honor, they were just doing what they thought was the right thing to do. This is a powerful message because I think it can encourage students to choose to create values and beliefs of what is right.

From this seminar, one thing that I learned and found special was that I went home with a new meaning and awareness of what it means to be selfless and to sacrifice.As an elementary school teacher, I feel that this program would be extremely beneficial especially to the upper grades (i.e. grades 4-6) because it teaches students about the greater good and serving others before oneself. Learning about these qualities that the Medal of Honor recipients possess allows for thought provoking discussions and sharing of experiences.

Character education is something that I am extremely passionate about and will be intertwined throughout all aspects of my future classroom community. In certain classroom environments (potentially upper-elementary through high school), the Medal of Honor Curriculum would be a fabulous way to integrate character education with the study of wartime history.

The seminar provided an opportunity for me to reflect on the character traits of commitment, courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, and integrity as a person and educator.

As I see it, teachers should use the MOH resources and virtues/traits as a framework to introduce students to the characteristics and stories of heroes and heroines in many fields and professions. Teachers might retain the “medal” theme offering students units and lessons about the “Presidential Medal of Freedom,” the “Presidential Citizens Medal,” the “Liberty Medal” and the “Nobel Peace Prize,” to name a few.

What we are really talking about here is offering young people positive role models that may influence them in their studies, their relations, their behaviors, and their careers.

Blog Post: The 8 C’s of Character

The 8 C’s of Character
By Ed Deroche

There are only two C’s in “character,” but one can find many words that begin with C in describing good, positive character traits and behaviors. I’ve compiled a few C words that show the attributes of character.

  1. Caring: Two important synonyms are “compassion” and “empathy.” Robert Krzaric wrote in The Greater Good’s e-newsletter that caring-empathy is one’s “ability to step into another person’s shoes, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.” Most importantly, he notes that new research suggests that caring-empathy is “a habit we can cultivate.”
  2. Choice: Living a life of good character doesn’t happen by chance, nor does it happen by circumstance. It happens by choice. One of my favorite character education authors, Hal Urban, reminds us that no matter what the circumstances — “people, places, times, things, conditions” — your choices determine your actions and behaviors, not the circumstances. Somewhere in this C word, I sense virtues like respect, responsibility, perseverance.
  3. Citizenship: Two social studies specialists once wrote that the purpose of schooling is not to help people be better off, but to be better scholars, citizens and workers. They noted that a multicultural society needs roots. These roots, they said, are described in our founding documents, in our symbols and slogans, and in our personal and public civic virtues. Our schools, therefore, are called to educate the young to uphold (and sometimes challenge) core virtues such as trustworthiness, fairness, patriotism, justice, courage, responsibility, respect and honesty.
  4.  Common sense: “Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.  He is survived by his four stepbrothers I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame,  I Am a Victim.” (CS Obituary printed in the London Times, date and author unknown)
  5. Company: “Character is how you behave in response to the company (peer groups, friends, family) you keep, seen and unseen,” according to psychologist Robert Coles in  “The Call of Stories.” Who are the virtuous, the responsible agents, the moral teachers, and the positive role models that keep company with our young people? Is it their peer group, the entertainment industry, the Internet, Facebook, YouTube?
  6. Conscience: From the B.C. comic strip Pearls of Wisdom: “A conscience is what hurts when everything else feels great.” No need for further comment.
  7. Consequences: The penalty we pay or the internal-external rewards we receive from the choices we make. Behaviors have consequences — some positive, some negative. People make mistakes, including people of good character. But these people have what might be called “character strengths.” They hold themselves accountable, take responsibility, pay the consequences, learn from their mistakes and do not repeat them.
  8. Courage: As adults, we know our courage is tested daily. The young can be taught to meet the personal and social challenges to do the right thing; to stand up for their own and other’s rights; to make difficult decisions particularly when such decisions may not be easy or popular; and to have the courage to say “no” when invited to cheat, bully, harass or be unfair, impolite or disrespectful to others. As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The time is always right to do what is right.”  What C words would you add to the list? Why?

Ed DeRoche is a former teacher, administrator, school board member, and dean. He has written several books and articles on character education. Currently he is the director of the Character Development Center at the University of San Diego and teaches in-class and online courses on instructional strategies, curriculum and programs, and character-based classroom management.


Blog Post: What is a Character Educator?

What is a Character Educator?
By Ed DeRoche

A strange thing happened to me at a holiday party. I was making the rounds introducing myself to people I didn’t know. The most common question, asked was, “Well what do you do? My answer stops people in their tracks. They pause! They look quizzical, baffled and hesitant about what to say next. Why? Because my answer to the question is “I am a character educator?” Well, let’s have another drink and move on.

What do I say if someone in the group asked, “Well, what is that?” Few do, of course, but how would I answer that question? “A character educator, I would explain, is someone who specializes in educating others, mainly educators and parents, about the need to teach young people (and some adults) what it means to be people of good character.

“But what do you do?” is usually the next question. I tell them: “I teach, write, and consult with educators and parents at schools, in the community, at parent-teacher meetings, at conferences, and in courses. I engage interested adults in conversations about helping young people learn and practice positive social and emotional skills and the virtues that the young need to learn and they need to model; virtues like respect, responsibility, perseverance and empathy.”

By now there are only two or three people in our group, the others have wandered off to get another drink and have conversations about sports, their favorite movies, and the latest issue of People magazine. But for the three or four who remain (I’m counting my wife here), the next question is usually: “How do you do that?”

The “how” question is a little complicated and can lead to a long-winded answer. A holiday party is no place to do that. So I suggest that they let me ask them a few questions. “What do you think of when I use the word ‘character’? After a short discussion, I remind them that the word “character” has two Cs in it; one stands for “choices” and the other for “consequences.” Living a life of good character, I tell them, doesn’t happen by chance, nor does it happen by circumstance. It happens by the choices we make. So as a character educator I try to help adults teach the young to make good, positive, ethical choices and learn to take responsibility (a virtue) for their actions and be willing to accept the negative consequences and do something about them, as well as celebrate the positive consequences.

By this time, we are ready to move on and engage in conversations with others. As we conclude, I suggest three things:

One, that character matters no matter who you are or where you are. Two, that they might look at character education this way: If exercising builds strong muscles, then practicing the virtues of good behavior builds strong character. Three, one important way that our children learn character is from observing, imitating, and modeling what adults say and do.

This being the case, I remind them that they too are character educators.

For some reason, I seldom get invited back to holiday parties.

Ed DeRoche is a former teacher, administrator, school board member, and dean. He has written several books and articles on character education. Currently he is the director of the Character Development Center at the University of San Diego and teaches in-class and online courses on instructional strategies, curriculum and programs, and character-based classroom management.

17th Annual Conference Announcement

The 17th Annual West Coast Character Matters Conference

Character Development Center
Department of Learning & Teaching
School of Leadership and Education Sciences
University of San Diego

Pre-conference Seminar
Medal of Honor: Lessons of Personal Bravery and Self-Sacrifice
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Character Matters Conference
Wednesday and Thursday, June 26 & 27, 2013
Theme: Character Education is the Common Core for Educating Both Hearts and Minds

We value you as a character educator of children and young people. We value your time and talent and the choices you make to enhance your professional development.

Educators continue to choose our Character Matters Conference because they leave motivated and empowered with new knowledge, skills, and content that will increase academic achievement and enhance classroom climate and school culture. The conference is your opportunity to meet new people that you can add to your professional learning network.

Pre-conference Medal of Honor Seminar: June 25, 2013

The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation Medal of Honor: Lessons of Personal Bravery and Self-Sacrifice

Purpose: To develop an understanding of the Medal of Honor material and how it can be used in your classroom and to share best practices using the specially prepared resources. Presented by two CMOH staff members.


Character Matters Conference: June 26 & 27, 2013

The Question: How do educators and community leaders foster and promote lessons for the mind and heart when teaching character traits and skills in our schools and community?

Presenters: A variety of teachers and counselors will share their ideas, suggestions, and experiences on why and how to implement character traits and skills in your school and classroom.

Featured Speaker: Dana Brown, Social Entrepreneur and Community & Youth Organizer
Heart-Based Language
Educating our Global Society Students
Through Common Core & Trauma-Informed Schools


  • Dr. Audrey Hokoda, SDSU, Child & Family Development
  • Rosa Ana Lozada, LCSW, CEO, Harmonium
  • Carol Prime, SDSU, Center for Critical Thinking & Creativity
  • Lynn Underwood, Executive Director, Commission on Gang Prevention & Intervention
  • Dr. Dorothy Zirkle, SDSU,Chair, Nursing and Public Health

Other Conference Presenters

  • Susan Schock –  Teacher with 42 years of experience including 16 years teaching first grade at Toler Elementary School, a California Distinguished School with a school-wide emphasis on character.  Fitting Character Education into Your Day –  Susan will share how she fits character education into her busy day. From literacy to read-aloud to social studies to classroom management, opportunities to add character to your day are there waiting for you. Participants will leave with easy, ready-to-use activities and tips they can put into practice in their own classrooms and schools.

Featured Speaker:

  • David Hanlon High School teacher and head of the Vista High School Character Leadership Program.  David will share best practice strategies for creating a comprehensive and effective character education program at your school site.
  • Leor Levin – Teacher, Wells Middle School, California State School of Character – Integrating Mindfulness  – Attendees will gain insight as active participants into the benefits of mindfulness, as well as how mindfulness can be integrated into the classroom throughout the day.
  • Molly Maloy – Elementary School Teacher, Specialist Certificate in Character Education – Bringing Character Alive in Your Classroom
                            • Using picture books to teach character within the context of theme (aligned to the Common Core standards)
                            • Character videos (with students choosing a character trait, writing a script, filming, and editing)
                            • Fostering a positive classroom environment
  • Jocbethem Tahapary – M.Ed. Counselor, Oak Valley Middle School, PUSD – PLUS Program –This session will describe the PLUS Program used in the Poway Unified School District. PLUS stands for Peer Leaders Uniting Students and the program offers students the opportunity to engage in conversations and interactive learning activities.


Character Matters Conference-ONLY Registration Fee:

  • $200 per individual
  • $125 per individual for schools sending two (2) or more educators
  • $75 for students with ID (non-credit)

Includes: Breakfast & Lunch –two days, two books, packet of 8×10 posters

One-Day Seminar ONLY – Medal of Honor Training Program Registration Fee:

  • $100 per individual
  • $100 for students with ID (non-credit)

Includes: Breakfast & Lunch, MOH instructional binder plus handouts (value= $120)


Seminar and Conference – 3 Days

  • $275 per individual
  • $250 per individual for schools sending two (2) or more educators
  • $150 for students with ID (non-credit)

Includes: Breakfast & Lunch –three days, MOH binder ((value = $120), two books and packet of 8×10 posters

Contact us for more information:

Blog Post: Character and Academic Achievement

Character & Academic Achievement
By Ed DeRoche

Believe it or not, character education (including social-emotional programs) promotes academic achievement.

“I don’t believe it!” “How can you make such a statement?” “For such an outlandish statement you need to show me proof!”

The case is rather straightforward. When teachers – all school personnel for that matter – take the time and make the effort to nurture character development traits (values/virtues) such as respect, responsibility, self –discipline, caring/empathy, honesty, trust, and fairness, there is a “pay-off” academically, socially, and emotionally. Students, in all classrooms and in every school, need education and guidance regarding their behaviors, their attitudes, and their actions.

A few quotes from the research (without references as I want to limit this blog to about 600-words) will clearly suggest that character education instruction and academic achievement are related.

“A 2011 meta-analysis of school-based social and emotional learning programs, published in Child Development, found significant improvements in academic achievement, behavior, and attitudes compared with control groups.”

“[Our study] found that greater reliance on character education translated to higher state academic test scores. Additional positive results have been found within the closely related field of Social Emotional Learning.”

“[Researchers] performed a meta-analysis of 213 school-based, social and emotional learning programs involving 270,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Compared to control groups, SEL participants demonstrated significant improvement in social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance.”

Russell J. Sojourner, Director of Leadership Development, Character Education Partnership writes: “Perhaps no case is more compelling than that of Ridgewood Middle School (Arnold, MO), which Charles Haynes and I reported in USA Today on February 20, 2007. Simply by transforming the horribly negative school culture of a failing school by using character education principles, they moved from state test scores with only 30% success in communication arts and 7% success in mathematics in 2000 to 68% in communication arts and 71% in mathematics.”

Here is one of my favorites because it introduces us to the emerging field of positive psychology. “We have found that students’ academic achievement is influenced by a set of character strengths. Among middle-school students, the character strengths of perseverance, love, gratitude, hope, and perspective predicts academic achievement. Similar results are found as well among college students.”

Here is another: “Youths’ social, emotional, and academic development are related, and promoting social and emotional development can lead to several desirable outcomes…an increase in positive student behavior and academic performance, and also a reduction in disruptive behavior and emotional distress.”

The Child Development Project (Oakland, CA), implemented in many elementary schools and written about in several research publications, demonstrated the “transfer effect” of their character education program. When compared to a control-group, students in CDP’s character education program were found to be more concerned for others, demonstrated more altruistic behavior, learned greater conflict resolution skills, had a greater liking for school and classes, and were more motivated to learn school subjects. Most important, however, “years later, students from the program’s schools were making greater academic progress relative to their peers….”

Regarding Paul Tough’s new book, How Children Succeed, J. Nocera (New York Times) says: “…tapping into a great deal of recent research, Tough writes that the most important things to develop in students are ‘non-cognitive skills’ which Tough labels as ‘character.’ Many of the people who have done the research or are running the programs that Tough admires have different ways of expressing those skills. But they are essentially character traits that are necessary to succeed not just in school, but in life.”

As we say and promote at this Center, CHARACTER MATTERS. It matters because helping children and youth develop positive character traits and skills is an important means of helping them become both smart and good, managing their emotions and behaviors, and becoming productive and contributing citizens.

Blog Post: Character and Leadership

Character and Leadership

By Ed DeRoche

When you deal with human beings in leadership situations, you deal with what is essential to the study of leadership, namely, moral and ethical issues. Through the study of lives, one finds out how individuals have confronted specific actions and decisions relating to leadership positions. – James MacGregor Burns, December 4, 2004

The film “Lincoln” is the talk of the town. It has resurrected an interest in the leadership styles of presidents, a topic that has been written about by many historians and leadership scholars. We offer an undergraduate course on the topic. The film confirms my readings about Lincoln’s character— integrity, trust, honesty, fairness, a “sharing leader”(Burns’ term) along with a strong sense of values, a commitment to them (example: liberty and equality), and the ability to communicate (persuade). Lincoln’s “approach shows that truth is a common denominator for all interactions, among any group, and with people of varying personalities.” (D. Phillips, Lincoln On Leadership.)

While there are no specific formulas for successful, effective leadership, there are guidelines that potential and current leaders should not ignore. Studying Lincoln would be a good place to start. Other examples are worth investigating as well.

“Character,” according to Zenger and Folkman (The Extraordinary Leader)

is “the center pole, the core of leadership effectiveness.” Greenstein (The Presidential Difference) offers six qualities (might they be called “character traits?”) related to the leadership styles and performances of presidents. These are public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence

Historian and presidential scholar, Robert Dallek’s “Lessons from the Lives and Times of Presidents,” describes seven factors that distinguish effective and ineffective presidential leadership – vision, pragmatism, charisma, consensus, trust, judgment, and luck. Notice the “character factors” specified or implied—trust, perseverance, integrity, respect, responsibility, etc.

The Turknett Leadership Group ( offers the “Leadership Character Model” stating that “Leadership is about character – who you are not what you do.” The model includes three core qualities as the keys of “leadership character”:

Integrity — honesty, credibility, trustworthiness. “Without integrity, no leader can be successful.”

Respect — empathy, lack of blame, motivational mastery, humility. “Respect helps create a culture of partnership and teamwork.”

Responsibility — self-confidence, accountability, focus on the whole, courage. “Great leaders accept full responsibility for personal success and for the success of projects, teams, and the entire organization.”

Those of you in the education profession are “character educators.” You deal with “moral and ethical issues” everyday. You are also educational leaders positioned at all levels—in the classroom, at the school, in central office, in your professional community, and in the public arena.

It might be wise to examine who you are (your character and values), how you perform (your skills and talents), and how you lead (sharing, partnerships, team-building).

Blog Post: What About Empathy?

What About Empathy?

By Ed DeRoche

If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. – Professor Daniel Goleman

Over the past month, we have had informal discussions at the Center about violence from bullying to bullets. Teachers and parents, given the events of the past few months, seem to be struggling to find ways and resources to help their children be more in touch with their feelings and concerns about what happens to themselves and others. Thus, I want to say a few words about empathy.

Reflecting on our discussions, I began asking myself some questions about the emotions of sympathy and empathy. For example, the cards, flowers, letters that the Sandy Hook tragedy generated – were those the expressions of sympathy or empathy?

Other questions kept popping up.

  • – What is empathy?
  • – Is empathy different than sympathy?
  • – How does one learn to be emphatic? Can it be taught?
  • – Does the emotion “kick-in“ only when one actually experiences a personal or social tragedy?
  • – Do we teach empathy in our schools? Is empathy in the curriculum?
  • – What do teachers have to know? How do teachers teach it?
  • – How do parents teach it?
  • – Where and how do the young learn to be sympathetic-empathetic?
  • – What resources are available for teachers and parents?

So, like any good researcher, I “googled” the topic! As you might expect there is a rich array of information. For example, I discovered that there is a difference between sympathy and empathy. I discovered that there are three types of empathy. I found out that there are many resources available to teachers and parents. No 700-word blog will be able to thoroughly answer all of these questions. The best I can do here is highlight three discoveries.

Discovery One: There is a difference between sympathy and empathy.

Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. It goes beyond Sympathy, which is a feeling of care and understanding for the suffering of others. Both words have similar usage but differ in their emotional meaning….Empathy (is) understanding what someone else is feeling because you have experienced it yourself or can put yourself in his/her shoes. Sympathy (is) acknowledging a person’s emotional hardships and providing comfort and assurance.

There is much more to it then these simple definitions. My current view is that there is probably a continuum that begins with the development of an understanding and practicing of sympathy (caring, compassion, etc.) that may “graduate” to enabling one to really experience the empathic stage.

Discovery Two: There are three types of empathy—cognitive, emotional, and compassionate.

Sam Chaltain (, in his blog, “The Empathy Formula,” offers a “formula” based on the works of Goleman and Ekman (Emotional Intelligence). In summary, the first stage of becoming empathetic is cognitive empathy – the act of knowing how another person feels. The capacity to physically feel the emotions of another is identified as emotional empathy. Compassionate empathy is the combination of cognitive and emotional empathy to take action about what one feels and thinks.

Discovery Three: There are resources for teachers, counselors and parents/guardians.

Three examples will suffice.

  1. Roots of Empathy
  2. Second Step
  3. Tribes 

We have resources here at the Center that we will be pleased to send to anyone who responds to this blog or emails us at

I will end the blog with this quote:

How young children FEEL is as important as how they think, and how they are TREATED is as important as what they are taught. – Jack Shonkoff, co-editor, Neurons to Neighborhoods

Blog Post: The Other Side of the Report Card

The Other Side of the Report Card
By Ed DeRoche

The school year consists partly of “school chiefs” and others pushing national and state standards, applying pressure to increase students’ test scores, and promoting “laserlike, focused efforts” on the teaching of math, science, and reading. Few school leaders talk about the “citizenship side” of the report card. Yet, it is this side of the report card that tells the real story about student achievement and behavior because it assesses social and emotional skills, and character traits. The “citizenship” side of the report card should not take second place in the “race to the top.” Why?

Michelle Borba, the author of the book, Building Moral Intelligence, writes: “Today’s kids are being raised in a much more morally toxic atmosphere than previous generations for two reasons. First, a number of critical social factors that nurture moral character are slowly disintegrating: adult supervision, models of moral behavior, spiritual or religious training, meaningful adult relationships, personalized schools, clear national values, community support, stability, and adequate parents. Second, our kids are being steadily bombarded with outside messages that go against the values we are trying to instill. Both factors make it much harder for parents to raise moral kids.”

There is concern enough for Newsweek (September 2004) to run a theme issue titled, “How to Say NO to Your Kids: Setting Limits in the Age of Excess.” The Josephsen’s Institute’s annual poll of teens reveals a rather high percentage of teens who cheat, steal, lie, and exhibit a “propensity toward violence” including bullying. Teacher polls show that teachers find students to be less respectful, more aggressive, more impulsive and impatient, and display more inappropriate language. One observer of the youth culture noted that the mantra of the “ME” generations appears to be: “I Know My Rights – I Want It Now – Someone Else Is To Blame – I’m A Victim.”

The other side of the report card also underscores the importance of social and emotional skills in the workplace. For example, the top five traits/qualities that Fortune 500 companies seek in employees are: teamwork, problem solving, interpersonal skills, communicating skills, and the ability to listen. Thomas Stanley, in his book, The Millionaire Mind, reports that a polling of 5,000 millionaires reveal that crucial to their success was integrity (being honest), discipline (self-control), social skills (getting along) and hard work (perseverance).

As we think about these observations and the citizenship side of our children’s report cards it might be wise to ask three questions:

  1. Do we really believe that children are born “morally literate?”
  2. Do we believe that they need to be taught to be moral (knowing the difference between right and wrong) and ethical (doing what is right) at home, in school, and in the community?
  3. If we want our children to be good, caring, empathetic human beings, do we let this happen by chance or do we help them develop positive social and emotional skills?

We require, push, demand, cajole our children to learn the basic skills of reading, writing, and computing. But what is more basic than nurturing them to be caring, civil, responsible, respectful human beings who know and practice the “Golden Rule”? Daniel Goleman in his book, Emotional Intelligence, notes that IQ accounts for about 20% of success in life while the remaining 80% is attributed to factors related to emotional intelligence, such as self–awareness, managing emotions, empathy, social consciousness, self-restraint, and nurturing positive relationships.

As this school year continues, let all of us join the many schools and communities in this county who are attending to the “citizenship” side of the report card by implementing programs designed to teach students democratic values, prosocial skills, emotional control and anger management, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and what it means to be a good citizen.

News: 2012 Character Matters Essay Contest Winners

Thank you to all the participants and congratulations to all the winners!

Elementary School

1st Place: People are Like Puzzles
By Eitan Breziner, Grade 5
Teacher: Hagit Cohen-Hamo
San Diego Jewish Academy

2nd Place: Friendship Matters
By Rachel Ownbey, Grade 4
Teacher: Cindy Canfield
Berry Elementary

3rd Place: Character Matters to Me
By Maria Ines Acosta, Grade 5
Teacher: April Henry
St. Therese Academy

Middle School

1st Place: 1,825 DAYS
By Ana Laura Castro, Grade 8
Teacher: Juan Escamilla
Nestor Language Academy Charter School

2nd Place: Third Time’s A Charm
By Noah Packard, Grade 7
Teacher: Kim Pittner
Coronado Middle School

3rd Place: The Clown Death March
By Kimberly Strater, Grade 7
Teacher: Michele Gallo
Oak Valley Middle School

High School

1st Place: Character Matters
Jackeline Recinos, Grade 9
Teacher: Erika Heinzman
Kearny High Complex S1B

2nd Place: Character
By Adam Motiwala, Grade 12
Teacher: Sumaiyah Vedder
National University Academy

3rd Place: My Inspiration
Megan Davey, Grade 10
Teacher: Cynthia Hedges
Point Loma High School