On Monday, October 19, the Tulare County Office of Education will kick off its 25th annual celebration of National CHARACTER COUNTS! Week.

This year, 143 Tulare County schools nominated 4,675 students for the annual Kids of Character Awards

 We are very excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of CHARACTER COUNTS! Week in Tulare County,” said Tim Hire, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. “What began in 1996 has continued to grow into a national implementation model for character education.

What was important about developing character in youth 25 years ago is still important today and will be important 25 years from now. The benefits help put young people on a smoother path for life and that has a ripple effect in their families and within our community. It’s a generational, community asset.”

 CHARACTER COUNTS! is a nationwide initiative, created by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, which embraces six core values. CHARACTER COUNTS! is religiously and politically neutral. The six core values are Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

 In mid-November, the 30 winners and finalists will be honored virtually at the annual Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Awards. The winners and finalists were chosen by the CHARACTER COUNTS! review committee to represent each of the Six Pillars of Character. A video highlighting the winners and finalists will be posted on TCOE’s website (tcoe.org/KidsOfCharacter), YouTube Channel, and social media platforms. Through the generous support of the Provident-Salierno Family Foundation, students honored each year receive a scholarship.

 Local Students being honored with Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Awards are:


Top Honoree

Sutter Lautenschlager, Harmony Magnet Academy, Strathmore (Grade 9)          


Rebecca Kassab, Harmony Magnet Academy, Strathmore (Grade 11)     



Gerardo Espinoza, Pleasant View Elementary School, Poplar (Grade 1)  



Diana Reynaga, Hope School, Porterville (Grade 8)       

David Romero, Monache High School, Porterville (Grade 11)    



Brett Hulse, Sunnyside Union School, Strathmore (Grade 2)      

Samuel Vargas, Porterville Military Academy, Porterville (Grade 11)     

 For more information on CHARACTER COUNTS! in Tulare County, visit tcoe.org/CharacterCounts, or contact Kelley Petty at kelleyp@tcoe.org.

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