The Petway Elementary School in Vineland was one of only 41 schools in the entire country designated as a National School of Character.
Alexandria Bongiorno is a 5th grader at Petway and said, "It means a lot to us, this award. Being a National School of Character is just amazing!"
When school lets out for summer, it's usually a big celebration…and this year the celebration started a few days early at Petway Elementary in Vineland. Jennifer Frederico is the Principal at the school and said, "Today we are celebrating because our school has been named a 2014 National School of Character."
On Tuesday, hundreds of students, staff, parents, and local officials attended a party at the school to celebrate the national recognition.
Schools of Character are schools and districts that have demonstrated, through a rigorous evaluation process, that character development has had a positive impact on academics, student behavior, and school climate.
Students at Petway gave speeches about the "Pathway to Patriot Pride," which is Petway's motto for excellence and character development. Bongiorno told NBC40, "I'm pretty happy about that, and I feel honored that I got chosen to speak in a ceremony in front of thousands of people so it kind of gave me a boost up in life of public speaking - so I felt pretty comfortable with that." Another 5th grader, Anthony Tramontana, explained, "It means a lot to us because we put so much effort, which is on our pathway, into everything - making everything perfect. So we worked really hard for this award and we are really proud we got it."
The school is now expected to serve as a model for other schools, helping them to achieve the same results.
Leslie Smith, Social Worker at Petway, said, "We want to let everybody know how they can become a school of character because it makes a difference in the children's lives. It creates a school that has discipline and improved academics because everybody is working together to develop character education."
In October, five people from Petway are expected to travel to Washington D.C. where they will meet teachers and staff from all of the other National Schools of Character, and then they will be given a formal designation.
Petway will enjoy the distinction of a National School of Character for five years.
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