Children are celebrated with character awards

They are the pupils teachers can always count on to do their work and set a good example in class. Many are officers in school clubs, while others volunteer outside the school walls in their communities.


Each year since 1999, the Joint Women's Clubs of Aiken honor those whose character shines brightly at the Celebration of Character ceremony, which was held May 18 at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church's St. Angela's Hall.

"It's quite an honor," said Judy Cross, a previous event chairwoman.

Each of the public and private schools in Aiken County and the Palmetto Independent Educators, a home school organization, are allowed to nominate one pupil per 100 pupils in the school's population.

Because of this stipulation, some schools may have only one nominee, and a school such as South Aiken High School might have 15.

A teacher must write an essay about the pupil's character. About 230 pupils were recognized at the ceremony.

The Celebration of Character ceremony is an outgrowth of Mayor Fred Cavanaugh's Character First Initiative.

Ms. Cross said the women's groups in Aiken wanted to support his efforts. First, they placed character banners around the city. The second project was the Celebration of Character ceremony.

This year, all of the seniors will receive a special award at their high school graduation ceremonies. The family of the late L.S. McCormick Jr. wanted to support the character initiative and is giving each high school senior nominated for the Celebration of Character a check for $500, said Ms. Cross.

Reach Charmain Brackett at


The following pupils were honored at the Celebration of Character ceremony:

Ashley Eldredge, Isabelle Kleinbub, Jacob Kneece, Cameron Mathison, Paige Nipper, Maxinne Rillo, Stella Rounsefell and Logan Stringfield , Aiken Elementary; Tre'vionna Horne, Amari Smith, Matthew Tant, Laurel Wall, Bricia Williams and Jenny Williams , Belvedere Elementary; and Robby McGee and Amy Rodgers , Busbee Elementary.

Brianna Mason, Jacob Randall, Sydney Strother and Brian Yonn , Byrd Elementary; Hunter Berley, Michelle Koval, Jonathan Lunn, Jessica Schifer, Mikaela Schifer, Amanda Stegen and Zach Thatcher , Chukker Creek Elementary; and Austin Langley, Nyasia Myers, Daniel Moreno and Alex Ortiz , Clearwater Elementary.

Stephen Goldman, A.J. Hembree, Seth Hilderbrand, Megan Martin and Catherine Riley , East Aiken Elementary; Justin Adams, Logan Morris, Casey Wilson and Emilee Wright , Gloverville Elementary; and Logan Channel, Jarrod Carson Holston, Deisy Lopez and Edgar Zambrano , Greendale Elementary.

Lura "Ellie" Fuller, Jordan Gambrell, Jonathan Grimm, Victor Johnson, Bryson Parler, Elizabeth Parler and Bennett Pearson , Hammond Hill Elementary; and Jordan Bartlett, Lupita Carrillo, Ameisha Collins, Christine Green, Stephanie Morales and Otto Williams , J. D. Lever Elementary.

Jessi Cliatt, Miranda Durden, Austin Holtsizer, Brianna Nicole Sheppard, Lauren Shoup and Emily Wilson , Jefferson Elementary; and Graham Adams, Elise Jones, Janee McCarthy, Jikerra McNear, Lee-Ann Murphy, Gracie Shanks and Hunter Smith , Millbrook Elementary.

Carrie Albion, Sarah Crews, Leah Faircloth, Isaac Johnson, Bryce Morris, Hampton Ratcliffe and Jordan Trahan , Mossy Creek Elementary; and Tiffany Corley, Austin Herndon, Myron Holmes, Hannah Maddux, Khalid Miller and Roderick Thomas II , North Aiken Elementary.

Erin Baumgarten, Chandler Dunn, Abigail Elvira, Austin Mills, Chloe Olkowski and Emily Wilson , North Augusta Elementary; De'Arrial Behling, Jonathan Bilton, Matthew Bush, Marco Maciel and Alejandro Negrete , Oakwood-Windsor Elementary; and Sydney Goff, Borsja Green, Ivan Henderson, Miranda Hood, Tyrecus McKie, Olivia Minolfo, Mandre Ogletree and Jackson Steed , Redcliffe Elementary.

Kiowa Aimar, Cristal Gonzalez, Miguel Denzel Leaphart and Austin McMehan , Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary; Federico Garcia, Zoe Hawkins, Keely Jordan and Antonio Pryer , Warrenville Elementary; Elizabeth Brielle Busbee , A.L. Corbett Middle; and Alexis Chavis, Karen Courrau, Lester Nicholas, Robyn Rutland and Amanda Yaun , Aiken Middle.

Kendall Allen Evans, Courtney Gantt, Ashlyn Sharp and Gyasi Yeldell , Jackson Middle; Jordan Beeler, Allison Burrell, Adrian Coleman, Taylor Harling, Will Holbrook, Marissa Mustion, Kevin Plunkett, Brandon Stephens and Tri Vo , Kennedy Middle; and Jazmine Diggs, Kenneth James Glenn, Kaitlynn Haney and Nancy Rodriguez , Langley Bath Clearwater Middle.

Remy Barnwell, Mikayla Bledsoe, Veronica Kieltsch and Keon Madison , Leavelle McCampbell Middle; Olivia Bajko, Kristen Nicole Barbour, Alison Cercy, Roby Gillespie, Will Harley, Morgan Maroney and Justin Stonehill , North Augusta Middle; Tonya Bledsoe, Kayla Howard, Matthew Larry, Cortlyn Maner, Cameron Quinn and Hampton Williams , Paul Knox Middle.

Rasheeda Martin, Chris Polatty and Travious Wigfall , Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle; Devante Butler, Leire Cullum, Sawyer Jackson and Brandon Muniz , Schofield Middle; and Robert Abshire, Michelle Alimpich, Zaccheus Eugene Allen, E. Kyle Beckner, Brittany Beady, Brooke Cantrell, Ellen Diane Herring, Brandon J. Jones, Brandon T. Jones, Emily Judd, Carley Martin, James Mock, Zeel Patel, LaTondra Richardson, Hudson Smith, Brittany Stapleton and William Vickers , Aiken High.

Jordan Cook, Ashley Frye, Brandy Higson, Kimberly Mabbott, Monica McAfee, Shatoya Prescott and Savannah Strom , Midland Valley High; Ian Calk, Andrew Phifer, Chad Reynolds, Eloise Smith and Seth Williams , North Augusta High; and Eric Blacks, Emma Faulk and Cari Kammerdiener , Ridge Spring-Monetta High.

Frederick Luther Blanchard, Steven Rocky Hornsby and Shannon Marie Schoultz , Silver Bluff High; and Doug Baldwin, Briana Cabbil, Ashley Coomes, Derick Golson, Robert Gunter, Leander Jones, Nolan Lacy, Kelley Lonchar, Shannon Looney, Olivia McNeil, Andrea Mikes, Michael Poole, Kelsey Ulmer, Colby Winona Williams and Rebecca "Becca" Wyatt , South Aiken High.

Ashley Jenkins and Jesse Johns , Wagener-Salley High; Vilai Harrington and Hannah Taylor , Aiken Christian; Michel'le Pixley and Robert Sandberg , Aiken County Career and Technical Center; Stephanie Kate Ling and Rainer Neely , Aiken Preparatory; Emily Tefft , Faith Christian; Isabella Hill , Mead Hall; Jacob Waterman , Midland Valley Christian Academy; and Carrianne Long and Aaron Stallings , Midland Valley Preparatory.

Emily Mentrup , Our Lady of Peace; Gabriel Holloway, Paul Landeene, Sarah Landeene and Stephen Landeene , Palmetto Independent Educators; Jessica Makayla Key , Second Baptist Christian Preparatory; Chase Gossett and Anna Holt , South Aiken Christian; Adam Rabin and Lauren Seidl , St. Mary's Help of Christians; and Colton Seth Pearson , Victory Christian.