Character.org has recognized Valley Stream South High School and Memorial Junior High School as 2016 National Schools of Character. They were initially selected as New York State Schools of Character and advanced to the next level based on their applications. They were found to be exemplary models of character development.

Character education is a focus throughout the Valley Stream Central High School District. All four schools embrace the BRAVE program, which inspires students to “Believe in the Rights and Values of Everyone.” Many lessons and activities held throughout the year in various subject areas incorporate this theme.  

“I am very proud that all the great work that South students and staff do to support our school motto of ‘Small acts of kindness make a BIG difference’ has been recognized,” said South Principal Maureen Henry.

A Character Action Team and a School Culture Committee help to support the motto, and an annual Service Week, a UNITY (Uniting Neighbors, Individuals Together Year-round) Week and school charity efforts emphasize the value of kindness, acceptance and generosity. “Make a Difference” awards acknowledge students who demonstrate good character, and the “Falcon Five Core Values” known as CARES, an acronym for Character, Accountability, Respect, Excellence and Service, further underscore positive qualities.

“I am excited that Memorial’s commitment to character education has been recognized,” said Principal Anthony Mignella. “It is a culmination of our programs, practice, polices and the things our students and staff do every day that is making our school shine. I am so proud of the all the hard work that our students, staff and parents do to makes Memorial such a fantastic school.”

An active BRAVE committee organizes various character education initiatives that support Memorial’s core values. For instance, every October, Anti-Bullying Month is recognized with activities that develop good hearts and minds, including annual C.A.R.E. Weeks twice a year. The Good Deed program recognizes students demonstrating good character and Positive Message on a Locker effort coordinated by BRAVE participants as well as the World of Difference Club provided thoughtful and encouraging messages on every student’s locker. Diversity Week, held each spring, emphasizes acceptance and unity as well as numerous school wide charity efforts and service learning lessons. Memorial would like to thank Dr. Phillip Fusco from the Academy for Character Education at the SAGE Colleges for all his support in the area of character education.

The Valley Stream Central High School District is one of only four districts to earn the national distinction, and South and Memorial are among 68 schools across the United States presented with this honor. They will be formally commended, along with other designated schools, at Character.org’s 23rd National Forum on Character Education in Washington, DC in October.

"We are extremely proud of this year’s designated schools and districts for their dedication to character development which has proven to increase the well-being of so many students’ lives across the United States and beyond," said Becky Sipos, Character.org’s President & CEO. "These character initiatives create conditions for learning where students are thriving and growing into ethical members of our society. They are developing lifelong skillsets they will leverage well into their adult lives.”