Character counts at Memorial
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A good deeds award program recognizes students who have performed an act of kindness at school. Students are nominated by teachers, and receive a certificate. A letter is also sent to their parents acknowledging the accomplishment. The student with the best deed of the month is given a Ginsberg Award.
In a typical year, upwards of 400 students are honored. “That’s literally being caught in the act of doing something good,” said Assistant Principal John Squadrito.
There are usually a series of character education assemblies in March each year. Steven McDonald, of Malverne, an NYPD detective who survived a shooting in 1986, will speak to ninth graders about violence and forgiveness. Eighth-graders will hear about cyberbullying, which Squadrito said is a concern because that often occurs outside of the school day on social media.
Mignella explained that the character education program is so extensive because the messages need to be reinforced on a daily basis to be effective. “It can’t just be a one-time thing in the middle of the year,” he said. “The teachers do a lot of this in the classroom. If it wasn’t for them, none of this would happen.”
Squadrito said that he believes the school’s character education initiatives overall are making a difference. He said that it has changed the way students deal with conflict, and that is evident through a reduction in suspensions. “There’s a general sense of caring on the part of the students,” he said.
BRAVE stands for Believe in the Rights and Values of Everyone. In addition to Mignella and Squadrito, other members of the committee include social workers Maggie McConnell and Joann Hundertmark, librarian Joan Mahoney, Student Activities Director Tracy Alesia and teacher Susan Krause.
Alesia said the committee’s mission is to make students feel proud of themselves and proud to be a student at Memorial.
Members of the committee hope that the award, which was earned following an extensive application process, will be the first of many.