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Students honored for selfless optimism

Clarkston Optimists honored Seth Curtis, with his sister, Sloan, at left, his mother, Casey, and Principal Chris Turner, with a student-citizen award. (click for larger version)
February 20, 2013 - Clarkston Area Optimists honored Independence and Springfield Plains elementary students with Optimist Student Citizen awards, Feb. 13.

Kate Gualtieri, fourth grader at Springfield Plains, is a shining star who comes to class every day with a smile, said her teacher Christina Secord in her nomination.

"She's full of compassion and respect, and positive energy," said Springfield Plains Principal Nancy Mahoney.

For Christmas and birthday, Gualtieri forgoes presents for herself, instead donating them to children in need, Mahoney said.

"She's a giving, loving, remarkable young lady," the principal said.

"I already have lots of stuff, " Gualtieri said. "A lot of people don't, so I give it to them."

Kate Gualtieri, in front left, with Principal Nancy Mahoney, at left, and her parents Glenn and Kerri Gualtieri, and sister Corrin, was also recognized with an award. Photos by Phil Custodio. (click for larger version)
The fourth grader said she does these things to make other people feel happy.

"It's just good to make everything better," she said.

"We're very proud of her," said her mother, Kerri Gualtieri. "It's nice to get recognition for being the person she is."

Chris Turner, Independence Elementary principal, presented the honor to fourth grader Seth Curtis.

"Seth is the Optimist Creed – that's exactly how he lives his life on a daily basis," Turner said. "It's wonderful to know kids like Seth Curtis."

He's the first student to help anyone in need, always goes above and beyond what is required, and comforts people when they need help, said Jenny Warner, fourth grade teacher, in her nomination.

A check of his student file reveals report cards filled with similar comments from his teachers over the years, Turner said.

"He's always been a good student, a pleasure to have in class – that's just who he is, a friend to all," the principal said.

Curtis said he helps others because he wants to be friendly and help others.

"That's the way God wants us to be, too," he said. "It feels good to get the award – I'm happy to be here."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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