School rejects character development program

“Terrific” is an acronym for Thoughtful, Enthusiastic, Respectful, Responsible, Inclusive, Friendly, Inquisitive and Capable. Who doesn’t want all of our children to strive for these attributes?

Apparently St. John’s Elementary School in Darlington.

After decades of involvement by the Darlington Kiwanis Club through the Terrific Kids Program in St. John’s Elementary, among other elementary schools, one school has asked the club not to hold the program for the first time.

Terrific Kids is a student-recognition program that promotes character development, self-esteem and perseverance. I doubt the parents of these children don’t feel the need for this type of encouragement. As a taxpayer, I want our next generation to have the attributes promoted by the program, too.

If the club had needed to support the school and teachers with additional resources, in terms of people or dollars, it should have been given the opportunity to do so or to correct whatever issue led to this decision. The school neither notified the club of any additional needs or problems with the program, if there were any. Just that we were no longer welcome.

If volunteers needed to attend specific training or provide documentation for security purposes, we would have gladly complied rather than rob these children of more mentorship options.

To simply be thrown out of the school without any discussion or reason seems disrespectful at worst or careless at best.

I don’t have children in the schools. Many taxpayers do not. Nonetheless, we as a community all benefit from children being educated, and few if any would say today’s children need to work less on their character. We need children to learn to be Thoughtful, Enthusiastic, Respectful, Responsible, Inclusive, Friendly, Inquisitive and Capable.

I ask the school to reconsider or at least approach the club with a reason and a way to continue the program, rather than just the boot.



Darlington Kiwanis Club board member

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