Do The Right Thing monthly winners announced
The Cape Coral Police Department hosted its Do The Right Thing Student Recognition Awards ceremony for the month of October on Wednesday at City Hall. The following students and groups were recognized for their positive attitudes toward school and family, their healthy decisions regarding drugs and violence, as well as their good citizenship.
— Wyatt Hart, fifth grade, Pelican Elementary, son of Tina and David Hart
On Sept. 4, 2009, at about 6:45 a.m., Wyatt was preparing to go to school. He went into the garage to say good morning to his dogs and to his surprise there was a man running across his driveway. Wyatt and his family live on 20-plus acres that is fenced and has an automatic security gate, so this was not normal. Wyatt immediately ran inside, locked the door, set off the alarm and asked his mom to call 911. He explained to his mom that there was a man in the driveway with no shirt on and a big stick. He was very scared, but he managed to think about his family’s safety and provide security for them. Wyatt described the man to the 911 operator down to the type of shoes he was wearing. The operator explained that the Cape Coral Police Department was already dispatched to the development next door for a disturbance and that they would send an officer over. While they waited, Wyatt’s mom asked him why he set off the alarm. Wyatt stated that he did it to scare the guy away. The officer’s responded in minutes and asked Wyatt questions regarding the man’s description and which way he ran. They explained that the neighbors had called because someone was at the marina across the street beating on the boats. The officers then asked Wyatt and his mom to go inside and wait while they searched for the man. After 10 minutes or so passed, the officers telephoned Wyatt’s family and said they had the man in custody and needed Wyatt to identify him. Wyatt was able to identify the suspect by viewing the man in the back of the squad car. Wyatt showed courage and bravery in a difficult situation and made a series of important decisions along the way.
— Eleanora El-Amin, eighth grade, Mariner Middle, daughter of Eleanor Penso and Bilal El-Amin
Eleanora is said, by her school administration, to be an exemplary person. She shows a true compassion toward others. When Eleanora realized that there was a new student in her class that spoke and understood only Russian, she researched a Web site where she could learn keys words to communicate with him. She taught herself a basic vocabulary so that she could at least tell the young man “good morning” in his own language. She also made her teachers aware of the Web site, which also translates Russian to English and English to Russian so they could use it to better teach him.
— Kaleigh Lenartz, seventh grade, Challenger Middle, daughter of James and Stacy Lenartz
Kaleigh did not ask for gifts for her 12th birthday. Not for herself, anyway. Kaleigh told her parents that she would like to have a pool party for her birthday and ask her guests to bring a donation for the Lee County Animal Services. A couple years ago Kaleigh and her family adopted a golden retriever from the facility and Kaleigh wanted a way to thank them for her beloved pet and help them in a time when the economy is so bad. The party was a success and she was able to deliver between $300-$400 in supplies, during which she was joined by several members of the media. While Kaleigh thought she would be helping the animals in the shelter, she learned that the supplies would actually go into an animal pantry and be given to community members who were having a hard time financially keeping their pets. Some of her friends were unable to attend the party but dropped off their “gifts” afterward so when Kaleigh and her parents made a second trip to the animal services she was stunned to see people were lined up outside to drop off supplies, some of them stating that they saw the story in the media.One of Kaleigh’s major goals is to become a vet.
— Nick Grabowski, 12th grade, Ida Baker High, son of Joseph and Laurie Grabowski
In July, a bug bomb inadvertently exploded in the Grabowski kitchen. At the time, Nick was home with his mom and two younger siblings. When the bomb exploded, his mom suffered chemical burns on her legs and was having trouble breathing. Nick directed his siblings to leave the home and gather in a safe place outside so as not to inhale the chemicals. He then called 911 and dragged his mom to fresh air so she could get her breathing under control. He directed his family not to touch the area of his mom’s skin burned by the chemicals until the paramedics arrived, and with their instruction, showered her legs to relieve the pain. Finally, Nick was a major help in the proper clean up of the chemicals afterward. Nick assessed the situation, and acted quickly and calmly to keep his family safe in a crisis situation.
— Gabriela Garzon, 11th grade, Island Coast High, daughter of Lisa and Mario Garzon
— Taylie Shaw, 11th grade, Island Coast High, daughter of Tonya and Stewart Shaw
Gabrielle and Taylie volunteer their time at Bootstrap Homeless Ministries in Cape Coral, which serves Cape Coral and North Fort Myers homeless and others in need. Bootstrap Homeless Ministries feeds and clothes those in need and helps them to get back on their feet. The ministry offers free phone calls and hair cuts. The two girls began helping over the summer to get community service hours but soon found themselves enjoying their visits. During the school year, they go every other Monday and hand out toiletries, pack up to-go bags of snacks and meals for those living in tents, set up clothing for access, and help with dinner by setting up and breaking down tables and cleaning up afterward. The girls noticed that many of the visitors are in need of backpacks to keep their belongings together so they recently started a backpack drive in their school so they could further help the visitors of Bootstrap Ministries. Their teacher states that their good deeds second only to the size of their hearts.
— Bria Young, 11th grade, Island Coast High, daughter of Wendal John and Denita Young
Bria was nominated because of her skills with conflict resolution. Fighting is a major offense in the Lee County School District and after a verbal altercation between three students, two of the students involved walked away from the situation, but a third student would not let the incident go. Instead she planned to fight the next time the other students approached her. That day, Bria and the young lady were having lunch together when she was told about the plan. Bria explained to her that fighting was not going to resolve anything or stop people from talking about you. Bria continued talking and discussing options and counseling the young lady. She explained that if they do talk about you, it is better to stand there and take it and let them appear ignorant than to let yourself get caught up in their game. Bria showed courage and understanding while diffusing a potential situation.