Building good character

With schools in Webster City delayed by weather and road conditions on Wednesday, some may have doubted that the middle school could pull off another successful Character Counts Day, but Principal Becky Hacker-Kluver said students, staff and presenters just went with the flow and adapted.

“We’ve moved right on to plan B, C and D,” she said. “But the kids will got to see everything that was planned, maybe just in a shorter way.”

Hacker-Kluver said the Character Counts Day at Webster City Middle School has been an annual event for the past 14 years. The day celebrates and focuses attention on the six pillars of character – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship, according to Hacker-Kluver. This year’s theme was “Catch a Wave with Character Counts.” The doors and hallways of the school were decorated to reflect that theme with brightly colored, beach scenes.

“We’re excited to have everyone here,” she said.

The full-slate of activities included a performance by Rich Wieber’s bicycle stunt show. Wieber also spoke on the qualities of good character.

The current Miss Iowa, Mariah Carey – no relation to the pop singer – spoke with the students about the six pillars and also performed a tap dance for those present.

“This is something that I get to do all year as Miss Iowa,” Carey said. “It’s my favorite thing to speak to kids of this age, and to be able to influence them in a positive way is great.”

Carey said she found the school staff and students were very welcoming.

“The level of respect that this school has is tremendous,” she said. “It’s been an honor to be here today.”

And the students seemed to enjoy the presentation by Miss Iowa.

“I like that Miss Iowa could come to our school,” said Kia Pride, a sixth grader,.

Zach Messerly echoed those thoughts.

“I liked seeing Miss Iowa tap dance for us,” he said.

Throughout the morning, guest speakers visited the classrooms. Presenters included Mary Forture, who talked about health and wellness; Abe Goldstein, discussed immigration and music; Susan Peters, shared about traveling to Israel; the ICCC?dance team performed; teacher Kyle Teeselink, on military, leadership and travel; Guy Leman, a Webster City High School graduate spoke on leadership; Teacher LuAnn Garvey and high school students who will talk about involvement in high school activities.

Other speakers were Mike Willer, talking about the military and travels; Clara Nottbrock, a German exchange student; John Laird, discussing the outdoors and the environment; the Grandview volleyball team; Coach Ted Larson and high school athletes and teacher Theo Clark with the WCTV?students.

The afternoon brought A Taste of Character. Representatives of local businesses, organizations and city and county agencies manned tables filled with different kinds of foods which represented the six pillars of character. Students were able to sample foods like egg rolls, sorbet, cheese bread and other treats while listening to high school musicians and singers perform. Dancers and tumblers performed during the afternoon and the middle school students had a chance to give back by traveling to the elementary schools to work with younger children on reading skills and activities.