Today, over 400 students, teachers, faculty and members from the Aplington-Parkersburg communities gathered in the A-P High School auditorium to celebrate Character Counts Week. Angie Chaplin, an advocate for character-based leadership, Mr. Al Kerns, teacher and coach, and Parkersburg Mayor, Perry Bernard, each got a chance to share a little bit about what having good character means. Mayor Bernard ended by proclaiming Character Counts week in Parkersburg.
As an intern for the Ed Thomas Family Foundation, I have the chance to work for an organization that I am truly passionate about. Not many people get to be like me and wake up every day loving what they do. In the past few weeks, a blog post went up saying to email stories of how Coach Thomas’ character influenced you. I want you to feel free to email any story related to Coach, or anyone else that has influenced you with their good character. Having good character means so much more than being nice to people. Your character will stay with you as long as you live and it is how you will be remembered.
I was honored to put on the program for Character Counts Week today, and would now like to start by sharing my own story:
I have lived in the town of Parkersburg all my life. This town has meant so much to me. In high school, I had the chance to be a football manager. I never would have thought of doing that if it wasn’t for Coach approaching me in eighth grade. I knew he was special and I felt pretty cool that he asked me to do that. For the next four years, I would grow pretty close to Coach.
We all have faced adversity. My senior year in high school proved to be one of those times that I had to face adversity. I was freaking out about where I wanted to go to college. I had grown up in this area and was extremely nervous about leaving my friends and family behind.
Like many, I had always wanted to move away and leave this town for bigger things. Coach Thomas helped me make understand the importance of friends and family. He also helped me understand that no matter where I go, my family and friends will always be there for me when I get back. It is important to never give up and follow your dreams. Even though it seems cliché, it is true.
I will take this advice wherever I go. Standing behind the podium today introducing the speakers of the program, I looked into the crowd. I remembered myself in high school and middle school, and how proud I was to be a Falcon. Our school and communities have something special that a lot of other places don’t have. I am so proud of where I came from and will never forget it.