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Promoting character among students in grades three through five at Perry and Tilden elementaries was the purpose of assemblies recently led by Hamburg Area High School athletes at both of the schools.
Athletic director Aaron Menapace, along with members of the Leaders in Student Athletes program, spoke of The Six Pillars of Character with the young learners and emphasized the importance of embodying the character at Perry Elementary near the end of October.
“No matter how good you perform in anything, if you have poor character it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t count,” said Menapace, as he spoke to the children concerning acting as a positive leader. He reiterated his point by telling the young learners that nothing they did mattered if the actions were not performed with quality and character.
He then informed the students that two of the Hamburg Area athletes at the assembly, Karlie Heistand and Tara Klee, accepted full scholarships for their future college educations, but that even this achievement would not matter if the girls did not have character.
Following his opening remarks, Menapace handed the microphone over to the first student speaker, senior Kellie Heckman, who spoke to the children about the pillar of fairness. Her time on the mic was followed by five of her peers, who each spoke of one of the other five pillars. Sophomore Dustin Snyder spoke about caring; senior Tara Klee spoke of citizenship; senior Brianna Richards spoke of trustworthiness; junior Blake Roberts spoke of respect; and junior Karlie Heistand spoke of responsibility.
Snyder talked to the students about the Golden rule and also the significance of helping others.
“Doing something small for someone shows that you care,” he told the youngsters.
Roberts, during his time spent encouraging the students, reinforced the statements of Snyder regarding the way the children should treat one another.
“You should treat others the way that you want to be treated,” he said. “You want to be treated nice? Treat other people nice.”
Also among the actions promoted by the high school athletes to the youngsters were showing up on time for activities, doing their homework, and performing chores without continual prompting from parents and teachers. The elementary students were also instructed to abstain from cheating, breaking promises, lying, failing to return items that belong to others.
When the athletes completed their presentations, Menapace ended the assembly by encouraging students to write a paragraph of three sentences or more of what they learned at the assembly. Upon completing the paragraph and turning the paper in, the students would receive tickets to Hamburg Area athletic events for themselves and their families.
Menapace then split the room in half and led the children in a cheer before leaving the school.
“We are” yelled the left side of the room, after which the other side screamed “Hamburg!”