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KCPS students show character in annual essay contest
This year's winners from the 13th annual Character Counts! Kent County Six Pillar Essay Contest join together on stage in Decker Theatre at Washington College last month. The contest was open to all students in grades two through 12 in Kent County.
PHOTO BY GEORGE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY
This year's winners from the 13th annual Character Counts! Kent County Six Pillar Essay Contest join together on stage in Decker Theatre at Washington College last month. The contest was open to all students in grades two through 12 in Kent County.

CHESTERTOWN — Students in Kent County Public Schools showed that character counts to them and took home awards for it in an annual essay contest.

Students in second through 12th grade participated in the 13th annual Character Counts! Kent County Six Pillar Essay Contest this spring.

First-, second- and third-place prizes were awarded by grade, with overall winners announced by school level.

The awards ceremony was held April 6 in Decker Theatre at Washington College.

Jaiden Gillis, a second-grader at H.H. Garnet Elementary School, was the overall Elementary School winner in this year's contest. Ezra Kyle, an 11th-grader at Kent County High School, was the overall winner at the High School level.

Kent County Public Schools Director of Teaching and Learning Gina Jachimowicz celebrated all the school system's winners.

"Congratulations to the KCPS Character Counts! essay winners," Jachimowicz said. "Your essays were so thoughtful and you have each proven to be amazing writers."

Participating students were asked to write about the Six Pillars of Character — trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring and citizenship — and the role these pillars play in their lives.

The students shared their perspectives on character, what it means to them and the
journeys they’ve taken with their character.

This year, the students wrote about responsibility; what it means to be a person of character; the importance of showing others you care; trustworthiness; and on making tough decisions and choices — and their consequences.

Character Counts! Kent County received a number of essays on citizenship and how volunteering, community service and random acts of kindness are an important in every community.

This year's Kent County Public Schools winners, by grade, are:

Second Grade: first place, Jaiden Gillis, Garnet; second place, Amanda Revilla, Garnet; third place, Dominic Nawrocki, Garnet

Third Grade: first place, Brayden Brown, Garnet; second place, Isabella Tinelli, Garnet

Fourth Grade: first place, Charlie Hickman, Garnet; second place, Harper Speck, Galena Elementary School

Fifth Grade: first place, Ava Santos, Rock Hall Elementary School; third place, Braxton Murray, Garnet

Sixth Grade: third place, Kato Swanson, Kent County Middle School

Eighth Grade: first place, Alden Swanson, KCMS

Ninth Grade: first place, Kate Cannon, Kent County High School; third place, Taylor Walls, KCHS

10th Grade: first place, Grace Lindsay, KCHS; second place, Melissa Landon, KCHS

11th Grade: first place, Ezra Kyle, KCHS; second place, Chelsea Bender, KCHS; third place, Alexandra Miller, KCHS

12th Grade: first place, Luke Curran, KCHS; second place, Nickolas Jones, KCHS; third place, Keira McColigan, KCHS

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