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|Second-grader Faith Dressel is all smiles as she hangs onto a steel bar lifted into the air by Omegaman (Marc Wilkes)|
Building good character
Sandshore recently celebrated New Jersey’s Week of Respect – an annual week of awareness and education centered around the prevention of harassment, intimidation, and bullying.
The highlight of the week was a visit by Omegaman (Marc Wilkes) who delivered superhero-themed messages on good behavior. Weaving dramatic feats of strength and personal stories into his presentations, Omegaman kept the students entertained while underscoring the key messages including “Be a dream-maker, not a dream-breaker” and “Be a H.E.R.O (Helping Everyone Respect Others).”
In addition to anti-bullying and character building, other topics were discussed including peer pressure, making healthy lifestyle choices, self-esteem, academic excellence, and violence prevention.
"Teaching respect for yourself and others, as well as taking responsibility for your words and actions, is an important part of character education," said Julie Kester, school guidance counselor, who coordinated many of the week's activities. "It sounds like common sense to simply have these skills in place but it's not a given and these are the years that positive habits are easier to form. Just like we teach toddlers manners, we need to teach and encourage respect and responsibility."
To underscore the importance of good character, Mrs. Kester visited every classroom in the building and delivered lessons designed to heighten students' awareness of the impact of their words and actions on the lives of others. She's also begun working with physical education teacher Kit Thompson to teach kids effective conflict resolution techniques.
New Jersey education law mandates that schools observe the Week of Respect (first week of October) and School Violence Awareness Week (third week of October) by providing students with age-appropriate messages that focus on preventing harassment, intimation, bullying, violence, and drug use.
|The bulletin board in the main hallway showcases student essays about their personal heroes|