How Character Classes Teach Summit Kids About Virtues

When Summit eighth grader Diana Padilla's Counselor Christina asked her what virtue she thought she needed to work on during a recent advising session, her response was immediate: Obedience. Diana said she had no trouble listening to her mother, but her father was more of a challenge. He had refused to buy her an iPod because she only listened to him when she wanted something. However, after talking about the virtue of obedience in Character Class at Summit, Diana said that she really did love and respect him and wanted to work on listening to him no matter what.


Summit Character Classes

One of the ways that Summit truly stands out as a tutoring and mentoring program for kids is the emphasis on virtue-based character development. In addition to a Math and Reading class, where Summit students review concepts they learned during the school year and prepare for school in the fall, students have a daily Character class where they learn about a different virtue each day and set goals to incorporate that virtue in their daily lives.

Students focus on a virtue each class like Respect, Cheerfulness, Generosity, Responsibility, Honesty, Helpfulness, Perseverance, Modesty, and many others throughout the Summer Olympics Program. Counselors try to make each lesson interactive with different activities like role playing, short stories, and discussions to help students better grasp the meaning of each virtue, and how it can be used in their every lives.


Etiquette 101

In addition to learning a new virtue each day, the girls' program incorporates an etiquette component to the Character class, where the girls learn about different common courtesies, like using "please" and "thank you," the proper way to use different greetings, telephone manners, table manners, etc. The girls also have a fun "tea party" class where they are able to practice some of the etiquette that they have learned.

Diana Puts Obedience Into Practice

In weekly individual advising sessions with each student on their team, counselors are able to talk with students about how they are meeting their goals and growing in the virtues that they have talked about in Character class. Students are excited to share how they have been incorporating these virtues at home with their families and friends, as with Diana.

After talking to Diana about how she could show her father that she loved and respected him by practicing obedience in small, everyday things, Christina was pleased to see how Diana really took her advice to heart. A couple of weeks after their talk, Diana walked into Summit to greet her team, smiling from ear to ear. "My dad got me the iPod!" Her father had been able to see that she was respecting him out of love and not trying to manipulate him; and she had received her reward.

But more importantly, Christina says, "Diana said she was going to continue to show him the obedience he deserves so he'll know that she is grateful and she is truly acting out of respect for him."

Nicole Heger