The Cape Coral Police Department recognized seven students Wednesday during the February Do The Right Thing ceremony at City Hall.
- Aliana Hurst, kindergarten, Christa McAuliffe Elementary, daughter of Steve and Sandy Hurst.
In December, Alianna's family celebrated their 5 year "forever family" anniversary - the anniversary of when Ali officially joined the family. As Ali has grown up she has started to understand more about how she came to be adopted. As a result of that, she has started to worry about the girls and boys who don't have parents to care for them and over the past year, she has asked a lot of questions about how she could help them. Then she heard about an organization called Shoes for the Orphan Souls; a humanitarian aid project which provides new shoes and socks to orphans and vulnerable children in the United States and throughout the world. She also read about a little boy who helped collect shoes and socks for the orphans and she told her parents that she would like to do the same thing.
So, this Kindergartner began her journey as an official shoe drive coordinator! Ali's goal for her first shoe drive was to collect 10 pairs of new shoes and 100 pairs of new socks over a two-week period. She asked everyone she could think of, friends, family, etc., to donate and explained all about the children who needed help. For those family members and friends who weren't local she sent video messages asking them to help. After each donation, Ali called the donor personally to thank them. Ali embraced her role as shoe drive "leader," and as a result, she was able to collect 80 new pairs of shoes and 120 pairs of new socks for orphaned children.
We are proud of Alianna for her warm heart. (www.shoesfororphansouls.org).
- Doug Allen, sixth grade, Caloosa Middle, son of David and Mia Allen.
Doug is being awarded for making a conscious effort to focus on his schooling. He suffers from severe anxiety and seeing the bars in front of Caloosa Middle School stressed him out to the point that he didn't want to enter the school. His mom tells me, "Doug didn't understand that the bars are to keep him safe, not lock him in." She states, "I cried every morning for him when I dropped him off." They even tried Lee Virtual School for a while but it takes a lot of focus for a sixth grader to do all of their work online, so soon he was back at Caloosa Middle. It was not an easy transition, as now the students have already made friends and the new 6th graders had time to adjust to having multiple classrooms and teachers. The guidance team had to work hard to coax Doug into the school and to his classes and finally were able to make a deal with him - if Doug went to all his classes on time for one week, he could be assigned as a Student Aid. That was the motivation he needed! Doug has since blossomed into a social, outgoing student. He is an excellent Student Aid, he attends all his classes with enthusiasm, he has made many friends, and is a hard-working A student. Doug faced his fear head-on and has become a model student.
- Sebastian Dondero, second grade, Patriot Elementary, son of Michael and Laura Dondero.
Sebastian's mother suffers from severe panic attacks. While at home one afternoon, she felt an attack coming on and called her husband to see if he could come home. In the meantime, though, Sebastian, who was home with her, came out of his bedroom and saw that something was terribly wrong with his mom. He told his mom later that he thought at first that it was a test like they have at school because she continued to smile at him trying to dispel his fear. Sebastian stayed calm through the situation and called 911 to get his mom help. After he hung up he realized that he forgot to give them his address, so he called 911 back again to complete the necessary information. Sebastian remained calm while at the hospital, and has been strong throughout his mother's illness. Sebastian demonstrated bravery while helping his mother through a very stressful situation.
- Luis Fuentes, eighth grade, Caloosa Middle, son of Pedro and Minerva Fuentes.
Luis came to the rescue when a new student came to Caloosa who spoke only Spanish. Luis took on the task of aiding the student during Language Arts class. He sits next to the new student and helps direct the student through activities, assignments and lectures during the entire class period using mainly the Spanish language. Above all, Luis shows patience and understanding when working with the new student. Luis, himself, has been in the United States from Venezuela for about two years now, and has a strong academic work ethic, and has mastered communicating in English. He is actively involved in his church youth group and believes that he can make a difference in his community. Caloosa Middle is very thankful for Luis, and knows that he has the right tools to be successful as he moves on to High School.