Alabaster students receive Character in Action awards

ALABASTER – Five exemplary Alabaster City Schools students were recognized on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 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 doing well in life.

The students recognized were Grace Hall, Creek View Elementary; Lucero Mateo Garcia, Meadow View Elementary; Journey Rudolph, Thompson Intermediate School; Zachary Sims, Thompson Middle School; and Gracelyn Noss, Thompson High School.

As each student and their parents walked up to accept the award, ACS student services coordinator Dorann Tanner shared comments from teachers and administrators about why each student was deserving of such an award.

Hall’s teachers said she consistently treats her teachers and classmates with respect. She cares about her classmates’ feelings, and she is always willing to offer a helping hand. On many occasions, her teacher said she stood up for what was right and did not follow the crowd of other students who were not making the best or right choices. Her teacher also noted her kind heart, her capacity to show empathy to others and her perseverance.

“If Grace felt that she didn’t achieve to her full potential on an assignment or test, that only made her try harder, study more and persevere until she reached her goal,” Tanner read. “She has the confidence in herself to know that with enough practice she can master or achieve a goal she’s working toward.”

Mateo Garcia’s teacher said she always tries her best and is kind to everyone. She asks questions if she does not understand a task and is always willing to help others.

“She goes above and beyond in her school work,” Tanner read. ‘One example of this is with the use of Extra Math, a fluency program that we tried to complete daily in class. However, Lucero often logged on and practiced at home on weekends and she is the only student who has continued to work on it at home this summer.”

Another example of her motivation to learn and reach goals was her participation in the ESL summer camp. Her parents had to commit to bringing her for five days from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and she did not miss a day. Although very quiet and soft-spoken, Mateo Garcia’s teacher said she has a strong presence for doing the right thing regardless of if anyone else is watching. She is patient, kind-hearted and responsible.

Rudolph’s teacher said she makes sure to include other students in class activities and makes others feel included and welcomed. She is also said to be a responsible student who takes the initiative to complete and turn in assignments with no reminders or prompts from adults. She also goes above and beyond to be a helpful member of the classroom and community. She is a leader who looks for opportunities to be a blessing to others.

“She has been known to give other students pencils or other supplies they may need to ensure that all students have what they need to be successful,” Tanner read. “She does these things on her own without prompting from teachers or other adults.”

Rudolph lives by the Golden Rule, she always treats others as she would want to be treated, Tanner read. Her perseverance shines when doesn’t give up on a difficult task. She always puts forth her best effort.

Sims’s teacher said he is one of the most respectful young men she has ever taught. He is known to take his responsibilities very seriously. He likes to be organized and take responsibility for what is expected of him. As the leader of his football team, he also takes it upon himself to take responsibility if something goes wrong. He is a natural born leader.

“Zachary is the first one to volunteer to help in any situation,” Tanner read. “I have witnessed him hold open doors for his fellow classmates, pick u books for other students, and I witnessed him pulling a chair out for a young lady to sit down.”

Sims’s teacher said he began showing leadership qualities within a few days as a new seventh-grader last school year.

“His friendly personality was catching,” Tanner read. “Zachary showed courage becoming a leader so quickly. He is well-liked by all of his peers and so well-rounded. Other students view him as a role model and follow his example. He is a young man who cares deeply for those around him. As a natural born leader, it’s no surprise that he is also the starting quarterback for the school’s football team. He works diligently all year to improve athletically. He has that same perseverance in the classroom. If a concept does not come easily to him, he asks questions and tries to improve.”

Noss’s teacher said she treats everyone with respect. For example, there was an elderly woman who would pick up trash at the former THS campus on weekends, and Gracelyn approached the principal and asked if she could make a ‘thank you’ sign for this woman.

“She was appreciative of the woman’s kindness and in return, she felt that her efforts should be noticed,” Tanner read. “Young or old, Gracelyn displays high levels of respect for everyone.”

In addition to being a good student, Gracelyn is also on the soccer team and is involved in many organizations such as Peer Helpers, National Honor Society and Beta Club. She successfully manages her academics, athletics and extra-curricular activities without becoming overwhelmed. And she still finds the time to volunteer at church and in the community.

In January 2019, Noss was given an assignment to create a goal for the year. Her goal was to go on a mission trip. She could have easily made up any goal and received class credit, but she understands the true learning value of assignments. Over the next few months, she made the arrangements and raised money to go this mission trip. In July 2019, she took her first airplane ride to her first international destination and completed a mission trip in Brazil.

Although she can be a quiet and reserved person, when the moment arises for Noss to lead, she does not shy away. She has led prayers and spoken in front of large groups of people, and she does not follow the crowd or give in to peer pressure, Tanner read. She strives for greatness in everything she does.