May 28, 2014 - Earning Clarkston Optimist Club's final Student Citizen Awards of the 2014 school year are Garrett Dellinger of Bailey Lake Elementary, North Sashabaw Elementary student Kaden Lockwood, and Eliza Mansour of Springfield Plains Elementary.
"This is my eighth year taking part in this award – this year was different," said Principal BLE Glenn Gualtieri. "I knew who it would be before I got the invitation."
Dellinger, new to Bailey Lake this year, stands out with his compassion for others, Gualtieri said.
"He's mature way beyond his years," the principal said. "He goes out of his way to make a difference for people."
The fifth grader is a leader in the class, and wants to be a Marine like his father or a Navy SEAL, said his teacher, Bob Brazier.
"He's a force for good," Brazier said. "He has a crystal clear purpose, to be best person he can be and learn as much as he can."
He's a risk taker, loves collaboration and group work, decisive yet reflective, curious, and thoughtful, the teacher added.
"My mom and my dad, they taught me everything," said Garrett, son of Stephanie and Matthew Dellinger.
Lockwood perfectly reflects North Sashabaw's leadership focus, said Principal Tara Ouellette.
"Kaden is a natural leader," Ouellette said. "He brings light into the building with his wonderful sense of humor. Thank you every day for your optimism – it's a gift."
The fifth grader is a positive role model, helps younger students, and can always be counted on, said teacher Mitch Phillips.
"He genuinely cares – friends or strangers, it doesn't matter," Phillips said.
"It's more fun to be positive and a leader," said Kaden, son of Tina and Mark Lockwood. "It's not what everyone else does. I like to be different."
Mansour maintains a positive and enthusiastic attitude every day, said SPE Principal Nancy Mahoney
"She has a great gratitude for life and everything around her," Mahoney said.
"We are extremely fortunate to have Eliza in our classroom this year," said her teacher Gloria Lacy."She is so very helpful. She notices everything and everyone, includes all peers in activities, and is extremely responsible."
Her teachers and principal also have positive attitudes, said Eliza, daughter of Kelly and George Mansour.
"I always have a great day," the fifth grader said. "It just makes me happier."
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.