Caring, compassion help build character
Continuing the 20-year-old tradition of celebrating good moral qualities, community leaders hosted this year’s City of Character Luncheon on Thursday at Pathway Church in Burleson.
Co-hosted by Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce, Burleson Independent School District, city of Burleson and the Burleson Ministerial Alliance, the event recognizes students and community members who promote good character collective betterment.
Every year, Burleson ISD students compete in an essay writing competition. The Character Council, made up of former and present educators and officials, examines all the submitted essays and chooses some of the best pieces.
The theme for this year’s essay competition was “Caring and Compassion.” The winners were announced at Thursday’s luncheon.
“There are many reasons I’m proud to live in Burleson,” said Andy Pickens, president of the Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce and keynote speaker on Thursday. “And one of them is knowing the value our community places on kindness and raising citizens of character.”
From third grade to high school, the essay competition was divided into four divisions. Apart from recognition certificates, the winners also received prize money, ranging from $15 to $100.
Murphy Jones, of Centennial High School, won first prize in the high school division for his essay on triumphing racial biases through selfless acts.
“The amount of racial ignorance that happens within the country, whenever I see that I think like ‘wow, this is actually happening right now,’” Jones said after the event. “And it was just if I could say something maybe it’ll help that out.”
The luncheon also honored outstanding students from the 13 schools in the school district with the “Student of the Year” award.
Accompanying their children at the luncheon, proud parents applauded all the students and teachers, who worked just as hard. A few could be seen holding back tears of joy as their children got on stage to receive their awards.
“She deserves all the recognition that she gets,” said Caleb Richmond, father of one of the Student of the Year honoree. “She’s an outstanding young lady. We could not be happier.”
On the non-student side of things, Carol and Bob Woolard received the Byron Black Award, given to a resident who showed philanthropic and community-building character. The couple operates Woolard’s Custom Jewelry in Burleson.
“This event is a forum for us to honor, recognize compassion and the character of our students,” BISD Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson said.”It’s a great quality that we want them to show the world. And this is an opportunity to showcase that. I’m proud of our kids, we’ve got wonderful kids.”