Humanitarian concern, honesty, integrity, positive decision making and heroism was recognized recently at the Lee County Sheriff's Office's "Do The Right Thing" Awards Ceremony.
Each month throughout the school year, the LCSO honors the positive actions of the community's students through the recognition program. The goal is to reinforce positive behavior among youths and to establish students as role models for their peers.
"Do The Right Thing" partners law enforcement, local government, the business and Lee County educational community together in an effort to make a lasting positive impact on the community's youth.
Some of the local students who were recognized include:
- Natalia Bowles, of Alva, is a second-grade student at Bayshore Elementary School.
Bayshore Elementary School second-grade teacher Anthony Herrera wrote, "Throughout the school year, Natalia has shown, time and time again, a willingness to care for others as much as for herself. From running to the aid of an injured student to helping another student understand a mathematics lesson, Natalia has consistently demonstrated the virtue of caring for others. I believe Natalia Bowles is a worthy candidate for the 'Do The Right Thing' award."
- Delicia Bryant, of Lehigh Acres, is a senior at the Lee Adolescent Mothers Program.
LAMP English teacher Beth Ely wrote, "Delicia is an outstanding young lady, is highly motivated and an intelligent student. She is the chairwoman of the fundraising committee for our senior class and she sets the example of exemplary leadership for the students. I can't think of anyone that would be a better community liaison for our school."
- Brittany Durocher, of Lehigh Acres, is a senior at Riverdale High School.
Michelle and Joseph Duffey wrote, "We want to introduce to you a very special young lady Brittany Durocher. Brittany has been a beacon of light and inspiration in our daughter Kailyn's life. Our daughter loves to Cheer, Dance and sing just like so many other girls her age. The difference is our daughter Kailyn has Autism. What we see so often is that people cannot see beyond this. People tend to shy away or feel our child cannot do the things others can. We have always believed that society should look beyond the disability and see the true ability that lies within. Brittany recognizes the ability our daughter has. With unwavering love and compassion she has worked with our daughter to help her try out for the cheer squad this year. Brittany has made our daughter's dream of being on the cheer squad a priority. We feel this has been an incredible gift of using her time and talent in helping someone else - a lesson for us all. We recognize what a true gift this is as Brittany makes the time for our child despite her full schedule. We find this to be a true act of generosity on Brittany's part. She is the captain of her cheer squad, holding down a full time job and applying for college. Despite all of this Brittany took the time to create a video demonstrating all the dance steps for our daughter. Brittany also has made time to work with our daughter one on one. Brittany does all this with an incredible Joy and Enthusiasm. Kailyn recognizes the love and acceptance she has been given by Brittany. Kailyn has said to us "I want to learn all these dance moves in my routine so I can show my friend Brittany, I want her to be so proud of me." For anyone who has a child with a challenge you will recognize what a profound gift and blessing this truly is. It brings tears to our eyes to see our daughter live out her dreams cheering with this amazing squad. Brittany has made this dream a reality for our daughter. We hope you recognize not only this incredible student but also the school. We have been blessed to see how Riverdale High School has shown by example how to give their exceptional students acceptance. It is through this acceptance and love that our children can live out their dreams just like any other person can."
- Jody-Ann Gauld, of Lehigh Acres, is a junior at Lehigh Senior High School.
Lehigh Senior High School teacher Cathy Resler wrote, "Jody is an academically advanced student with high moral character. I am happy to nominate her for the Do The Right Thing Award. Jody was shopping, one day, at the Edison Mall when she discovered a child sitting alone crying and in obvious distress. Jody observed that the boy was huddled and distraught as other shoppers passed him by. She saw that the child was clearly not supervised by anyone or even paid attention to. She went up to the child and gently spoke with him and through her conversation with the upset boy verified that the child was alone and had been abandoned. Jody then proceeded to take the child to a policeman on duty and turned the child over for protection. The police took the child into their custody and proceeded to care for the child. Her actions that day saved this child who had actually been abandoned and left by parents at the mall. So many dangerous things could have happened to this child but he was rescued instead. We are lucky to have Jody in our community as a student and citizen."
- Ludithe Jean-Baptiste, of Lehigh Acres, is a sophomore at East Lee County High School.
East Lee County High School SRO Cpl. Melissa Smith wrote, "Ludithe went into the women's restroom at school and found a very expensive I-Phone 5 inside a bathroom stall lying on the floor. She immediately took the phone and immediately turned it in to the School's Bookkeepers' office. Ludithe is a prime example of a student doing 'the right thing' at East Lee County High School."
- Megan Kalka, of Lehigh Acres, is a senior at East Lee County High School.
East Lee County High School SRO Cpl. Melissa Smith wrote, "Megan went into the women's restroom at school and found a I-Phone 4 on the sink counter. The restroom was unoccupied. She immediately came to me in my office and turned it in and reported where she had found it. Megan is a prime example of a student doing 'the right thing' at East Lee County High School."
- Pablo Y. Lopes, of Lehigh Acres, is a junior at East Lee County High School.
East Lee County High School teacher Merari Persing wrote, "I had a student fall ill in class and asked to go to the clinic. Upon getting to the doorway, she fell down and could not get up. I called the Office for help, but before anyone arrived, a student Pablo Lopes (without being asked) picked up the student in his arms and carried her to the Clinic for help. He reacted quickly and heroically. I am very proud to nominate him for the Do The Right Thing Award."
- Wyatt Norsworthy, of Lehigh Acres, is a sixth-grade student at Alva Middle School.
- Paul Walker, of Alva, is a sixth-grade student at Alva Middle School.
Alva Middle School art teacher Susan Fansler wrote, "Wyatt and Paul provided information regarding a safety matter at school. They resisted peer pressure, came forward, stepped up to the plate and did the right thing here at Alva Middle School. They made our school safer for all."
- Corey Pollock, of Lehigh Acres, is a second-grade student at G. Weaver Hipps Elementary School.
G. Weaver Hipps Elementary School Assistant Principal Tami Black wrote, "I feel Corey should be nominated for 'Do The Right Thing' because of his quick response to an emergency situation in the school lunch room. One of Corey's fellow classmates was eating the school lunch. The boy started grabbing his neck, gagging, and his face became red. Other students were staring at the boy frozen in fear, while Corey immediately left his table to find me (the Assistant Principal). When he approached me, he was calm but yet I could still see the frightened look on his face. He informed me that a student was choking at his table. Corey then took my hand and brought me to the table where the boy was seated. When we arrived at the table, the boy was able to look at me and must have cleared the piece of the nacho chip to the point where he could cough. I asked the boy if he was ok, he responded yes, but that there still was a piece of nacho chip in his throat. Bu this time I had already called for the clinic assistant and the boy was taken to the clinic. Corey's quick response assisted in making the boy feel more at ease during this crucial time. I believe Corey coming to get me for help allowed the boy top stay calm. It eliminated any anxiety that may have taken over if the boy thought there was no help on the way. I also believe by Corey's ability to keep his composure, his plea for help was easily understood and it allowed for everyone at the lunch table to remain calm. Although Corey is a second grade student this reaction to this situation was way beyond his years. I am so proud of you Corey."
- Lucinda Vinson, of Lehigh Acres, is an eighth-grade student at Alva Middle School.
Alva Middle School reading teacher Jane McElree wrote, "Lucinda goes out of her way to be helpful. I have a handicapped child in her class that she is forever helping. She is very considerate and kind. Whenever possible and need be, Lucy is there to open a door, pull a chair out, say a few kind words and helps her with an assignment. I can't say enough about her. She is special."
- Desiree Washington, of Lehigh Acres, is an eighth-grade student at Harns Marsh Middle School.
Harns Marsh Middle School SRO Deputy Tricia Aponte wrote, "Desiree became aware of a safety concern at school. She came forward and shared the concern with school authorities. The next appropriate action was taken and the matter was resolved. Great job Desiree."
- Blake De Santis, of St. James City, is a fifth-grade student at Pine Island Elementary School.
- Jerrold Green, of Fort Myers, is a seventh-grade student at James Stephens International Academy.
- Matthew Malavsky, of Fort Myers, is an eighth-grade student at Evangelical Christian School.
- Samuel Malavsky, of Fort Myers, is a junior at Evangelical Christian School.
- Jennifer Manuel, of Fort Myers, is a seventh-grade student at James Stephens International Academy.
- Allan Miguel, of Fort Myers, is a third-grade student at Bayshore Elementary School.
- Juan Morquecho, of Fort Myers, is a sixth-grade student at Oak Hammock Middle School.
- Arden Paige Ramming, of Cape Coral, is a freshman at North Fort Myers High School.
- Matthew Shannon, of Fort Myers, is an eighth-grade student at Summit Christian School.