People of Character


People of Character to be Featured in the 2017-2018 School Agendas

Listed in order of appearance with their respective CHARACTER COUNTS! 5.0 Model Standards Domains of Student Development – Academic, Social/Emotional, and Character – and corresponding values, skills, and character traits.

PLEASE NOTE: Designed with your youngest students in mind, our primary agendas also feature our people of character but focus on a more basic Six Pillars of Character® theme, with each month devoted to one of The Six Pillars (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship).

Pillar-related character traits associated with each person’s primary agenda biography are listed in parentheses.


Monique Péan Academic DomainMake Ethical Decisions (Primary: Be Responsible for Consequences of Your Choices)

Jewelry designer who creates one-of-a-kind pieces with sustainable materials while raising awareness of art, culture, global environmental issues, and fair trade practices

Jill Kinmont Boothe Social/Emotional DomainBe Positive boothe(Primary: Keep a Positive Outlook)

Former Olympic hopeful skier who, after suffering an accident that left her paralyzed, embraced her new life to become a painter and schoolteacher

“To get mad, to scream and holler, to tell the world – that doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Momofuku Ando Academic Domain Be Innovative (Primary: Work Hard)

Visionary inventor who tackled the problem of world hunger with his invention of instant noodles

Adolphe Sax Social/Emotional Domain – Persevere (Primary: Persevere)

Belgian musician who overcame many difficulties to invent an entire family of valved brass instruments, the most famous being the saxophone

Jennifer Bricker Character Domain Be Self-Reliant (Primary: Be Self-Reliant)

brickerProfessional acrobat and aerialist, born without legs and left at a Romanian orphanage, whose adoptive parents helped instill within her a “never say ‘can’t’” attitude

“I hope to inspire and motivate others to believe that anything is truly possible.”


Dr. Nathan Wolfe Academic DomainMake Rational Decisions (Primary: Think Long-Term)

Virologist who, in working to combat worldwide epidemics, aims to create an early warning system to predict and contain contagious diseases before they spread

Sir Isaac Newton Academic DomainUse Your Knowledge (Primary: Duty)newton

English physicist, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and scientist most famous for his law of gravitation; considered “one of the great minds of the 17th century Scientific Revolution”

“To me there has never been a higher source of earthly honor or distinction than that connected with advances in science.”

Olivia Quigley Social/Emotional DomainBe Resilient and Courageous (Primary: Be Diligent)

quigleyAutistic Special Olympics athlete who put her treatments for breast cancer on hold to compete in the world games

“I want to win a medal. I don’t care if it’s gold, silver, or bronze. I want to be able to go back home and say, ‘Look what I accomplished, and I did it with cancer.’” – Quigley prior to earning gold in the 100-meter sprint

Roger Williams Character Domain Live With Integrity (Primary: Make All You Do Worth of Pride)

Famous 20th century pianist known for entertaining U.S. presidents, performing to raise money for charitable causes, and championing music education


“Papa” Joe Bradford Character Domain Be Reliable (Primary: Reliability)

A positive male role model for kids in unstable environments and a founder of Elijah’s Heart, a nonprofit dedicated to meeting the emotional and physical needs of underprivileged children

Lisa Leslie Social/Emotional Domain Accept Yourself (Primary: Be Candid)leslie

Former professional basketball player and Olympian heavily involved in charitable causes aimed at helping young people reach their full potential

“… the first quality of being a good leader is you have to be able to follow.”

Rochelle Ripley Character DomainKeep Your Promises (Primary: Keep Your Promises)ripley

Descendant of Orthodox Jewish Holocaust survivors who, through hawkwing, Inc., the all-volunteer nonprofit she established, delivers goods and services to her fellow American Indians

“We’re all children of this earth, and we need to work together so that everyone has a chance at having a decent life.”

Ryan Weimer Academic DomainFind the Best Possible Solutions to Your Problems (Primary: Look Out for Those Who Care About You)

Nurse who turns his sons’ wheelchairs into magical creations each Halloween and works through his nonprofit, Magic Wheelchair, to also transform the wheelchairs of other kids unable to walk


Rueben Martínez Social/Emotional Domain Create Positive Relationships (Primary: Help Your Community Be Better)martinez

Writer, speaker, and college faculty member whose bookstore, which he once ran out of his barbershop, serves as a nonprofit supporting the educational interests of youth in his community

“I’ve always wanted families to read. I’ve always told young people, ‘A book can be a friend today and forever.’”

Inez Milholland Social/Emotional Domain Communicate Effectively (Primary: Respect Principles of Democracy)

Lawyer, war correspondent, and orator who in 1913 led 8,000 suffragettes to Washington, DC, to take a stand for women’s voting rights

Monique Pool Character DomainProtect the Environment (Primary: Protect the Environment)

Environmental activist who founded Green Heritage Fund Suriname to rehabilitate and release sloths and other rainforest animals affected by deforestation and urban expansion

Confucius Academic Domain Expand Your Mind (Primary: Pursue the Common Good)

Influential Chinese philosopher, teacher, and political figure whose teachings focused both on creating ethical models of family and public interaction and making education widely available

Maria Teresa Kumar Character Domain Participate in the Democratic Process (Primary: Make Things Better by Voting)kumar

Founding president and chief executive officer of the nonpartisan Voto Latino, which encourages Latino voters and political candidates and supports young Hispanics in creating a better tomorrow

“I always try to identify a possibility in the face of a challenge.”


Aidan Knaus Character Domain Support Others (Primary: Give Time to Make Someone’s Life Better)

Teen with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism who volunteers much of his time to escort the residents of a local veterans’ medical center to their canteen, chapel, and therapy

Emily Blunt Social/Emotional Domain Be Empathetic (Primary: Show Concern for Others)

Award-winning actress who overcame severe stuttering in her youth and now uses her fame to raise awareness of the speech disorder and inspire those who have it

Grace O’Brien Character Domain Be Charitable (Primary: Be Altruistic)obrien

Young founder of Ears for Years, Inc., a nonprofit that gives deaf kids in developing countries a chance for a better life by providing them with low-cost solar-powered hearing aids

“You start truly living when you start living for something bigger than yourself. I’ve realized my capacity to create change in the world.”

Chester Jackson Academic Domain Connect With Your Community (Primary: Give Support to Make Someone Else’s Life Better)jackson

Georgia mechanic who gives his money and time to refurbish old bicycles for children in his community who do not have them

“Wherever there is a child, there will be a bicycle – and also a smile.”


Joshua Goldenberg Social/Emotional DomainChange the World for the Better (Primary: Be Fair)goldenberg

Boy whose efforts to promote Braille signage in stores led to the birth of The Joshua Project, through which he strives to give blind people such as himself greater independence

“You might be young, but you can still make a difference.”

Carlos Noriega Academic Domain Be Open to New Experiences (Primary: Be Open-Minded)

Retired U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot and NASA astronaut who helped construct the International Space Station

Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Character DomainTreat Others With Respect (Primary: Treat People Equally)

The first black West Point cadet and Air Force general; later appointed U.S. Department of Transportation director of civil security

Christina Lang Character Domain Make Fair Decisions (Primary: Make Decisions Without Prejudice)

Record-breaking swimmer who lost her left leg just below the knee as a child; aspires to make her name known at the 2020 Paralympics in Japan

Dwight D. Eisenhower Social/Emotional Domain Demonstrate Leadership (Primary: Make Decisions on Proper Considerations)eisenhower

Former U.S. president who earned recognition as one of the nation’s greatest military figures for commanding the victorious Allied forces during World War II

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible …”


Mary-Pat Hector Social/Emotional Domain Manage Conflicts Peacefully (Primary: Nonviolence)hector

Founder of Youth in Action, which motivates young people to take a stand on such issues as bullying, drugs, and gun violence, and organizer of her own anti-gun violence billboard campaign

“A lot of young people just don’t know the things they can achieve. They don’t realize they don’t always have to be mediocre … That they can think outside of the box and do extraordinary things.”

Emily Dickinson Character Domain Respect Others’ Privacy (Primary: Respect the Privacy of All Individuals)dickinson

Nineteenth century poet whose unique writing style, along with the nearly 1,800 poems she penned, greatly influenced poets of later years

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.”

Cory Witherill Academic Domain – Be Dedicated to Education (Primary: Respect the Autonomy of Others)

Navajo who in 2001 became the first American Indian to race in the Indianapolis 500; today works to educate American Indian youth about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco use

Sharina Jones Character Domain – Help Others Make Healthy Choices in Their Lives (Primary: Help Others Make Good Choices About Their Lives)

Mother who, despite her inability to walk after being the victim of a shooting at age five, inspires others to reach their greatest potential and advocates for those with disabilities


Anjana Murali Academic DomainThink Critically (Primary: Judge Others on Their Abilities, Not Gender)murali

Young woman who created Queen’s Game, a day camp that introduces girls to chess while teaching them valuable life skills and driving home the message it is not a game for boys alone

“Chess is a lot like life. You have to be thinking about your next move and what you want to get out of it.”

Mo’ne Davis Character Domain Be Courteous and Polite (Primary: Be Courteous and Polite)

Teen who made headlines as the first girl in Little League World Series history to earn a win and pitch a shutout yet humbly noted she would not have been in the spotlight without her teammates

Simón Bolívar Character DomainDo What Should be Done (Primary: Respect the Freedom of All Individuals)bolivar

Venezuelan military leader respected worldwide for his dedication to freeing South Americans from the oppression of Spanish rule and devotion to the continent’s fight for independence

“A people that loves freedom will in the end be free.”

Adam Beach Social/Emotional Domain Live Out Your Values and Beliefs (Primary: Respect the Dignity of All Individuals)

American Indian actor who serves as a strong role model for his tribe; established the nonprofit Adam Beach Foundation to foster suicide prevention and awareness among native youth


Ernie Banks Character Domain Be Sincere (Primary: Be Sincere)banks

Professional baseball player who became the first African American to play for the Chicago Cubs, was dubbed “Mr. Sunshine,” and earned esteem as one of the sport’s greatest players

“You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren’t happy in one place, chances are you won’t be happy anyplace.”

J.K. Rowling Social/Emotional DomainDisplay Self-Confidence (Primary: Have the Courage to Try Even When You Might Fail)

Writer whose Harry Potter book series, which inspired a love of reading among a new generation of adolescents, teaches lessons of acceptance, friendship, and loyalty

Ziauddin Yousafzai Character Domain – Respect Another’s Civil Rights (Primary: Have the Courage to Do What is Right)yousafzai

Educator, Pakistani diplomat, and father of Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Malala Yousafzai, with whom he founded the Malala Fund to enable girls to obtain a safe, quality education

“Education is power. It is just like a light in complete darkness.”

Queen Latifah Academic Domain Think Independently (Primary: Build and Guard Your Reputation)

Award-winning hip-hop artist, actress, talk show host, and executive producer; offers a positive voice in rap music, through which she sends messages of self-worth, respect, and empowerment


Jake LaFerriere Social/Emotional Domain – Demonstrate Flexibility (Primary: Be Compassionate)laferriere

Former firefighter who, upon meeting kids with severe burns while undergoing burn treatments himself, created Firefighters for Healing to support young burn victims and their families

“Not everybody is going to get an opportunity to run into a building to save people. But people … that live selflessly and help others in need … that’s a hero.”

Dr. Lillie Rosa Minoka-Hill Character Domain Be Loyal (Primary: Help People in Need)

The second American Indian woman to earn a doctor of medicine degree; known for her generosity in providing care to people at modest amounts they could afford

Konner Sauve Character Domain Demonstrate the Importance of Character (Primary: Be Kind)

Young man who spent much of his senior year in high school making over 650 anonymous online posts, each reflecting heartfelt, kind words about his fellow students

Margaret Bourke-White Academic DomainBe Perceptive and Observant (Primary: Be Considerate)

Pioneering photojournalist best known for her career with Life magazine; recognized as the first female documentary photographer authorized to work with the U.S. armed forces

Gayatri Datar Social/Emotional Domain Set Goals for Yourself (Primary: Be Empathetic)datar

Cofounder of EarthEnable, which works to provide affordable, sanitary flooring made of gravel, sand, and clay to people worldwide who would otherwise live and sleep on dirt floors

“… always remain humble in what you can learn from other people … don’t undervalue empathy.”


Kiah Williams Academic Domain – Be Curious (Primary: Get the Facts)

Young entrepreneur who founded SIRUM, a nonprofit corporation that saves lives by utilizing technology to provide unopened, unexpired medications to people in need

Rubén Blades Character Domain Meet Your Civil Responsibilities (Primary: Participate in Making Things Better)blades

Prominent Hispanic actor and award-winning salsa songwriter and composer; gives much of his time in service of others

“What would [give] me fear is regret for the things I didn’t do … I want to be able to say, ‘I tried. I did the best I could.’”

Lynn Peters Adler Social/Emotional Domain Express Gratitude (Primary: Consider What People Have to Say)

Founder and director of the National Centenarian Awareness Project, which stresses the importance of seniors and their contributions to society in honoring those who’ve lived to age 100

Sadie T.M. Alexander Character Domain Respect Just Laws (Primary: Observe Just Laws)alexander

Lawyer and civil rights activist who became the first black woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in economics, pass the Pennsylvania bar exam, or serve on a U.S. presidential commission

“Don’t let anything stop you. There will be times when you’ll be disappointed, but you can’t stop. Make yourself the best that you can make of what you are – the very best.”

All illustrations provided by Kaso Comics, Inc. Artwork by Ed Coutts, Anthony Cacioppo, Ken Langraf, and Gary Scott Beatty.