On Thursday, May 3, 2012 the Punta Gorda Police Department’s “Do the Right Thing” program will honor five children for their good deeds. Awards will be presented to the following students at a ceremony in the City of Punta Gorda Council Chambers at 3:00 p.m

Our first recipient is, Arianna Hogan, the daughter of Veronica Hogan and a 6th grade student at Punta Gorda Middle School.

The person nominating Arianna writes: On Wednesday afternoon, February 15, 2012 I was leaving Punta Gorda Middle School after a day of teaching there. As I took my car keys from my pocket, I dropped some cash on the ground. I did not notice this, but Arianna did. She promptly turned the cash into the school office and the cash was given to me on the following day. That same morning, I visited with Arianna in her homeroom and presented her with my thanks and some “Eagle Bucks” that the staff of this school distributes to worthy students who exemplify this school’s motto of “SOAR”: Strive for success, Opt for honesty, Act responsibly and Respect others. Arianna is well respected by her peers, teachers and administrators…and now by me, too. It is not just about getting the cash back, but more importantly how this young lady, Arianna, opted for honesty that day, and every day. This reflects great credit on herself, her family and Punta Gorda Middle School.

 Arianna is an A/B student at Punta Gorda Middle School. In her spare time, she loves to play tennis and has reached the level of having a brown belt in Tai Kwan do. She plays the flute, loves to garden and loves animals of all kinds. In fact, she is a regular volunteer at the Animal Welfare league. Arianna is also active in her church.

 Our next DTRT recipient is Derick Cooper. Derick is  a ninth grade Charlotte High student and the son of Jameka Ezel and Byron Hartsville.

Derick was nominated by Dean Mut at Charlotte High for his honesty. Derick found an Itouch on his morning bus ride to school. Instead of putting the Itouch in his pocket like many of his fellow students would have done, Derick went through the Itouch in an effort to identify something familiar in hopes of identifying the rightful owner. It turned out that the iTouch belonged to an elementary school student. Derick knew the elementary school students older brother, so he located the brother and gave the electronic device to the brother.

Derick, we are so proud of the way you handled this situation. Thank you for being an honest person.

When not displaying his honesty, Derick likes to occupy his time with baseball and football. He is very helpful with friends and older people in his neighborhood as well. He will often cut the grass of some older neighbors and refuse to accept payment for his actions. His mother said he just likes to make other people happy and always encourages others to do the right thing.

School is his first priority and he is always trying to get the best grades possible

Our next young recipient is Kristopher Hale, the grandson of William Holland and Tracy Quintana. Kristopher is in the third grade at East Elementary school.

When it comes to doing “The Right Thing”, Kristopher is always the first to lead by example! His quiet demeanor provides him the opportunity to observe his peers. I never have to ask him to help a younger classmate; he seems to always be a step ahead of my thinking! Kristopher displays a positive, loving, goal-oriented attitude. There is one incident in particular that I would like nothing more than to honor Kristopher for! Several months ago, during the YMCA Afterschool Program at East Elementary, another student approached Kristopher. In a bragging manor, the other student boasted that he had a knife in his book bag. The other student arrogantly showed the pocket knife to Kristopher. The second that Kris saw the contraband, he turned to me with a look of fearful disgust. Alarmed, I asked him if he was, “OK”. He vociferously announced, “(The other student) has a knife in his book bag! He just showed it to me!” Immediately, I removed the other student along with his book bag. Upon questioning, the other student handed over a 3 inch pocket knife! I contacted his family (making him tell his Grandfather the very bad decision he had made), required the immediate removal of the student and suspended him for the following day. During my daily announcements the next day, I proudly recognized the admirable decision Kristopher made when staring in the face of peer-pressure. Sixty-four YMCA students then rose to their their feet while vibrantly clapping and cheering in recognition of the split-second decision to act on what Kristopher knows only as “The Right Thing”!

When not doing the right thing, Kristopher likes to do his best in school. He loves Legos, hot wheels and Monster trucks, not to mention NASCAR. He loves to swim and is very excited to  be part of the YMCA program at East Elementary.

Our next recipient for the month of May is Derek Romano, son of Disneyda Grisales and Silbino Romano to our May 2012 DTRT program. Derek is in the 8th grade at Port Charlotte Middle School.

 The person recommending Derek writes: I am a staff member at Port Charlotte Middle School. On April 4, 2012, I slipped on water on the floor and fell. During the fall, Derek, an 8th grade straight A student was walking towards me and asked if I was OK. I hurt my knee and leg and was in pain. The nurse came and took me to her office by wheelchair. During this whole time, I saw that Derek never left my side. In the nurses office, I asked him why he was there and he showed me his arm and that he was bleeding. Derek forgot about himself needing assistance from the nurse and make sure I was OK before seeking help for himself. I did not know Derek personally before this incident. I found out that Derek wants to be a  doctor when her grows up. He certainly has the bedside mannerism at the tender age of 14. I am honored to nominate Derek Romano for Charlotte County’s DTRT program.

Derek, we are sure you will make a wonderful doctor with that kind of bedside manner. Congratulations.

When not involved in helping others, Dekek maintains a straight “A” average at school. In addition, he has an interest in soccer, basketball and reading. It is true, he does want to be a doctor when he becomes an adult, He certainly has the characteristics I would want to see in my doctor.

We are pleased to introduce you to Sabrina Qualls. Sabrina is in the 5thgrade at East Elementary School and is the daughter of Brenda and Larry Qualls. Sabrina is the overall winner for the month of May.

 East Elementary had a reading challenge for grades 1-5. This challenge was for students to read more and gain Accelerated Reader points. Each point they received in Accelerated Reader allowed them one ticket for the bucket. The bucket was then used for the drawing at the end. The drawing included multiple small prizes, but also a big prize which was a bike. Sabrina read a lot during the reading challenge and earned many tickets in the bucket. Overall in the school, there were thousand of tickets in the bucket that final day. During the assembly that was held, the school announced the winner, and Sabrina’s name was called: she won the bike. During her acceptance of the bike she told our school principal that she was donating it to a needy family. She had already discussed it with her parents that if she were to win she would like to donate it to someone that would need it more than herself. We were blown away by her caring and love for others in this time of need. She surely shined that day!

Sabrina, an A/B student at East Elementary is described as being very loyal to others and a thoughtful person. She loves to go kicking, camping and swimming. For sports, her loves are soccer and dodge ball. She is a member of a bowling league and has a first place win in the league. She is not in favor of bullies and feels everyone should be equal. She is also protective of nature and does not like people who litter or who cut down trees unnecessarily.