By: Ashley Winterstein
You would be hard pressed to make an appointment with Principal Bonnie Dixon of Centreville Middle School around lunch time on the third Thursday of every month. It is during this time that she is serving tea, punch, and desserts to an elite group of students who have earned the honor of such special treatment. Her monthly tea party began last September and has been going strong ever since. In fact, she admits that it is the highlight of her month and she very much enjoys the individual conversations she can have with the students in this setting.
Every month two students, one male and one female, from each team at Centreville Middle School are nominated by their teachers for demonstrating the six character traits of the Character Counts! program (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship) on a daily basis. These students are not necessarily straight ‘A’ students, but ones that can be trusted to deliver a message, help a classmate, or consistently follow directions. By the end of the year, a total of 140 students will have been nominated for being students of great character.
The motto this year at Centreville Middle School is “Going for the Gold.” Principal Dixon explains that while this does relate to the Olympics, she also stresses to her staff and students that the real message is to try your best at every opportunity. In honor of this motto, each nominated student is referred to as a gold medal winner and adorned with a medal that reads “Student of the Month.” Pictures of each student wearing their medal can be found near the main office at Centreville Middle School.
This month fourteen students were invited to join Principal Dixon for tea. Melissa Michaels, Daniel Ward, Havir Kaur, and Brandon Muller were nominated by their 6th grade teachers; Matthew Schiwy, Katie Diseroad, Carter Miller, and Katie Hendrie by their 7th grade teachers; Stephanie Brazerol, Brianna Boyd, Andrew Dulac, and Lindsay Galvin by their 8th grade teachers; and Kristen Schreuber and Michael Dunmyer by their Unified Arts teachers.
Each student was given the opportunity to meet Principal Dixon during their recess break at a lavish table topped with brownies, cookies, and cupcakes prepared by the PTA. Upon arrival, each student was offered a seat and their choice of hot tea or fruit punch, served to them in a tea cup with saucer by their principal. At first, the students seemed reserved, but respectful of the formal setting. It only took a few moments for Principal Dixon to have them engaged in conversations covering topics from Shakespeare’s Birthday to extracurricular activities to college plans. She even asked them things they liked about Centreville Middle School and things they would like to see changed. When one student replied that they appreciate the freedoms that middle school offers, Principal Dixon did not miss an opportunity to teach. She replied that as the students get older, they can handle more responsibilities and when they get to high school, there will be offered even more independence as long as they show that they can handle it. Before each student left, Principal Dixon offered them a Student of the Month pencil and reminded them that they should feel very proud of their accomplishments.
The Character Counts! Advisory Council would like to congratulate the gold medal winners at Centreville Middle School and thank Principal Dixon for her support of the six pillars of character! If you have any questions or comments about the Character Counts! program, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or firstname.lastname@example.org.