Character in action award

Published 4:38 pm Monday, May 16, 2022

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McKenzie School fifth grader, Kasthea Bullard, was awarded this year’s Character in Action award Monday, presented by Nickie McFerrin, judge of the Juvenile Court for this district.

Children can be nominated for this award by their teachers, the principal, a bus driver or any of the school employees who see that a child is demonstrating behaviors that exemplify what it means to be a good citizen of their community.

Bullard was nominated by his government teacher, Mary Catherine Gunter, for his helpfulness not only in her class but with other teachers as well.

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“Kasthea goes above and beyond to help and offer assistance wherever he can,” Gunter said of Bullard.

Bullard’s parents, Karentya Cook and Ksthea Bullard, both spoke of how helpful and generous their son was.

“When he sees something that needs to be done, he just does it without waiting to be told,” Bullard said.

When asked what their son wanted to be when he grew up, Bullard said, “A pro bass fisherman.”

Cook nodded in agreement. “He loves to fish,” she said.

Several speakers addressed the group of fifth graders, including various members of the legal system.

McFerrin asked how many of the children had cell phones; almost all raised their hands. She talked about cell phone safety and how to be safe online when playing video games that have multiple users.

“Be safe and respectful with video games,” she told the children.

She also talked about putting things, such as inappropriate pictures or comments, on the internet.

“Even if you delete it from your phone, it’s out there forever,” she told the young group.

McFerrin also talked about online bullying. When she asked how many of the students had experienced being bullied, almost all raised their hands. When asked if any of them had bullied someone, or said something they later regretted, a few students admitted their misstep.

Judge Cleve Poole told the children that when they came before a judge in court, it meant they were in trouble. His advice to them, “Stay out of trouble and stay away from a judge.” He then told them to have a good summer.

Sheriff Danny Bond, a 1979 graduate of McKenzie High School, explained how the Sheriff’s Office works hand in hand with other law enforcement agencies. “If you know something is wrong, tell somebody,” Bond told the children. “We want you to be safe.” He went on to tell the children that law enforcement wants to be their friend.

The Chief Juvenile Probation Officer in Butler County, Chris Taylor, spoke to the children as well. He talked about the “kid jail” and how young people ended up in the legal system. He answered questions posed by the students and told them that if they saw something going on to talk to a teacher or the principal.

Mattie Gomillion, from the county Clerk’s Office spoke briefly and wished the children a great summer vacation.

McFerrin devised a quiz game to test the knowledge of Gunter’s government class. Two teams were picked; the Blue team, and the Rocks. The Blue team won a resounding victory and received a chorus of cheers from everyone in the courtroom.

If you know of a child who deserves to be nominated for the Character in Action award, let their school know.