The Lee County Sheriff's Office's "Do The Right Thing" awards ceremony was held Jan. 16 at the Lee County Public Education Center in Fort Myers.
Each month throughout the school year, the LCSO will honor the positive actions of students through the recognition program. The goal is to reinforce positive behavior among youths and to establish students as role models for their peers.
It partners law enforcement, government, the business and educational community together in an effort to make a lasting positive impact on the community's youth
Area students honored were:
- Xavier Vargas of Labelle is a fifth-grade student at River Hall Elementary School.
River Hall Elementary School principal Dr. Scott LeMaster wrote, "Xavier is a proud fan and Volunteer for Special Olympics Florida and has been for the last five years. Xavier volunteered at the Special Olympics Fall Games in Orlando, and over the summer he helped with the Summer Games Track and Field Competition at Disney Wide World of Sports, in Orlando. He has helped hand out medals, assist athletes get to and from events, and helped with handing out water, setting up and cleaning up. Xavier has also helped at the school with a variety of events including YAP (Young Athletes Program) for special needs children ages 3 to 8. He has been a play pal to these students and a partner in some events. Xavier loves to help anyone he can. He is a go-getter and does not mind getting his hands dirty. Xavier will jump right in and assist in any way he can. He has a big heart for such a young boy. Xavier puts his sweat and heart into everything he does for Special Olympics. He also helps his mother in her classroom. His mother is a special needs teacher. Xavier deserves the 'Do The Right Thing' award."
- Jackie Echevarria of Lehigh Acres is a fifth-grade student at James Stephens International Academy.
James Stephens International Academy teacher Ana Maria Gonzalez wrote, "Jackie has taken the initiative to stand up against bullying. Along with a group of friends she has created a group named the Anti-Bullying Club. I am proud of Jackie! The idea for this club came to her through her own experience. She is definitely a leader and inspires other young people to 'Do The Right Thing.' It is an honor and pleasure to have her in my classroom."
- Octaviano Castro of Lehigh Acres is a seventh grade student at Lehigh Acres Middle School.
Lehigh Acres Middle School SRO Deputy Jevon Matthews wrote, "Octaviano and another student noticed two stray canines on the school campus. The dogs were beginning to cause a distraction as students were entering school and arriving on campus. Octaviano was very helpful in assisting me with securing the dogs in a safe place until Lee Animal Control arrived on the scene. Octaviano went above and beyond what was expected of him. He demonstrated maturity, responsibility and helpfulness in his actions. He should be rewarded as he 'did the right thing' that day."
- Tatiana Rodriquez of Lehigh Acres is an eighth-grade student at Lehigh Acres Middle School.
Lehigh Acres Middle School teacher Jennifer Serrago wrote, "I have seen this student stand up for a student getting bullied by a group of students. I have seen her come to the aid of other students. When something is not right, she will try to make it right. She is a good student and always puts her best foot forward. She has a deep concern for justice and a heart dedicated to helping others."
- Erik Kallin of Fort Myers is a senior at Riverdale High School.
Riverdale High School, intensive teacher Joan Starr wrote, "Erik is a senior who maintains a GPA of 5.0. The high GPA is due to his International Baccalaureate (IB) coursework. Erik is a student who believes in hard work and dedication to his academic studies. What makes Erik unique is how he combines his strong work ethic that includes participation in sports. Erik swam on the Riverdale swim team, showed up for practices and always did what was expected of him by his coaches. In addition, Erik went out of his way to make new swimmers feel welcome and a part of the team. Currently Erik enjoys producing films and plans on attending Florida State University. Erik deserves this award because he epitomizes every parent's dream of an ideal high school student. He is funny, kind, earns good grades, and is well rounded with his involvement in extra-curricular activities."