Student Extends Kindness and Support

Panther Run Elementary Student Extends Kindness and Support to New Classmate
Posted on 03/31/2022
Students sitting at a desk

Being a new student in a new country can be a difficult experience for most children, but making a friend can certainly ease the transition. That’s what Benjamin De la Fuente, a fifth grader at Panther Run Elementary School, recently did for a new classmate from South America.

"We got a new student from Argentina. I put him next to Ben as I knew he would take good care of him,” said Maria Fontaine, a fifth grade teacher at Panther Run Elementary. “Not only does Ben help him with his work, but he also translates anything the student doesn’t understand. They've become good friends.”

De la Fuente has also made an effort at school to make his new friend’s brother feel included.

“At lunch, the new boy’s younger brother was upset having no one to sit with, so Ben and the new student sat with him,” Fontaine said. “Ben always shows compassion and is always the first to volunteer to help with anything he can. He is one of the kindest students I have ever met!”

That’s why Fontaine recognized De la Fuente through the District’s Character Now! program for showing the character traits of empathy and kindness.

"Being nominated feels pretty nice,” De la Fuente said. “I really wasn't expecting it. It's just my instinct to help other kids. I'm always helping others."

The District’s character education program called Character Now!, was updated this year to incorporate new state standards with existing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Positive Behavior Support (PBS) initiatives.

The following are the themes for Character Now!:

• Showing empathy and kindness.
• Being responsible.
• Having a growth mindset.
• Demonstrating trustworthiness.
• Demonstrating respect.
• Being a good citizen.

Students are provided with instruction in the standards through the SEL and PBS initiatives. They are then recognized by their schools for demonstrating the character themes. 

The following standout students were also recognized by their schools in March:

Name: Trevor Ball
School: Palm Beach Virtual
Character trait: Being responsible.

Name: Tamia Battle
School: Pleasant City Elementary
Character trait: Showing empathy and kindness.

Name: Sophia Douihech
School: Omni Middle
Character trait: Being responsible.

Name: Casper Ellick Jr.
School: Palm Beach Central High
Character trait: Demonstrating respect.

Name: Ivanna Garcia
School: Okeeheelee Middle
Character trait: Showing empathy and kindness.

Name: Tuff Genda
School: Palm Beach Virtual
Character trait: Having a growth mindset.

Name: Aliah Henri
School: Jeaga Middle
Character trait: Showing empathy and kindness.

Name: Jeneva Smith
School: Tradewinds Middle
Character trait: Being a good citizen.

Name: Carmel Wells
School: Congress Middle
Character trait: Being a good citizen.

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