Pelham students receive Character in Action awards

ALABASTER – Four Pelham City Schools students were recognized Wednesday, March 20, during the Character in Action awards ceremony for demonstrating what it means to have good character.

Every year, each Shelby County school district selects one student from each of its schools to receive a Character in Action Award. The ceremonies are held separately for each school district. These students have been handpicked by teachers for displaying respect, courage, responsibility, friendship and kindness toward others.

Shelby County District Court Judge Jim Kramer, who presides over Juvenile Court and is chairman of the Children’s Policy Council, said the Character in Action award ceremonies, held at Family Connection in Alabaster, are especially enjoyable for him because it isn’t often he gets to recognize students who are making good decisions.

The children recognized were Pelham Ridge fifth-grader Gracely Howatt, Pelham Oaks fifth-grader Emily Wester, Pelham Park Middle eighth-grader Jada Winston and Pelham High School senior Kaylyn Tomlinson.

As each student and their parents walked up to accept the award, PCS Director of Operations Floyd Collins shared comments from teachers and administrators about why each student was deserving of such an award.

Collins read comments that Howatt’s teachers wrote about her. She was praised for being a leader and always having the courage to do what is right, no matter what others are doing.

“Gracely exhibits leadership through discipline and self-control in all situations, and she always makes good choices and takes steps to work toward her educational goals,” he read.

Teachers noted that Howatt is a true friend to others. When another student was recently injured, she made sure to carry her friend’s book bag every day. She also rode the elevator with the injured student so she wouldn’t have to be alone.

Wester’s teachers said she is a helper to her teachers and friends – always going out of her way to assist those in need.

“She is motivated to be great at everything she does and always puts forth maximum effort,” Collins read. “She has a great sense of humor, good manners, gets along well with others and excels socially.”

Her teachers wrote that Wester, who also loves to play soccer, thinks about her words and actions, and makes choices that are not only right for herself, but also those around her.

Winston is said to be a role model at Pelham Park Middle School. She is a cheer co-captain, a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the tennis team. She is a PPMS ambassador and volunteers for the Childcare Resources’ Fairy Tale Ball. She is always among the first to volunteer to help and takes initiative in school related projects.

“Jada maintains her focus on academics by challenging herself with several pre-AP classes and earning a place on the honor roll throughout her middle school tenure,” Collins said.

Her reputation as a competent leader led to her selection as a student speaker for the Pelham Park Awards Day Ceremony.

“Jada is self-disciplined, organized and proactive,” Collins read. “She displays confidence and composure, but also courage and humility even when in the spotlight.”

Collins said Tomlinson’s character and actions represent the best of Pelham High School.

“Kaylyn, who is known throughout the school as “KK,” plays multiple sports and is involved with several school activities,” Collins read. “Her teachers and coaches can always depend on her to do the right thing and stay true to her beliefs. She has an encouraging and positive influence on her teammates and friends, and she goes out of her way to make others feel welcomed.”

Although she has faced unfortunate circumstances, her teachers said she continues to persevere and sets the bar high for herself. Tomlinson, who also volunteers her time with youth camps and recreational sports, is said to be a great example of a well-rounded student athlete.

The Character in Action Award is a partnership between Shelby County Juvenile Court, the Shelby County District Attorney’s office, the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition, the Shelby County Children’s Policy Council, Family Connection, Shelby County Schools, Alabaster City Schools and Pelham City Schools.

The awards were presented with family, friends and educators present.