Springfield Middle School seventh grader Sampson Piermattei doesn’t think twice about helping his fellow students.
That attitude is what made him the Do the Right Thing Awards grand prize winner last week.
The 6-year-old Fort Mill Police Department program honors students who make good choices and is now being led by Officer Johnathan Gilbert. Gilbert is taking over the role of crime prevention specialist and leading the program in the wake of the pending retirement of Lt. Ray Dixon, who brought the awards to Fort Mill.
Winners get a slew of prizes, from electronics to gift certificates, sponsored by area business.
“It’s doing nothing but growing,” Gilbert said. “It’s amazing to see and hear what these students do.”
Piermattei, 13, was chosen as the top winner among 10 winning students for his efforts helping special needs students in his class, according to the nomination. He has devoted himself to helping two students in his theater arts class succeed.
“I just think it’s something everyone should do,” he said.
Piermattei recently helped a student with special needs compete in a class game, encouraging her to answer the questions and complete her class performance piece, according to the nomination. He has even helped the students when his teacher was not present, something he said all students should do.
“Do your best to help people,” he said.
Zaria Drakeford, Springfield Middle School seventh grader, not only helped her friend, but potentially saved the student’s life, according to the nomination. Drakeford’s friend told her that they may plan to harm themselves, an incident Drakeford reported to her teacher.
It was her action that allowed the student, who had been the victim of bullying, to receive help, according to the nomination.
“I felt like it was the right thing to do,” she said. “I’m thankful he didn’t hurt himself.”
Piermattei said he isn’t surprised by Drakeford’s actions.
“She’s the nicest person I’ve ever met,” he said.
Nation Ford High School senior Savannah Young said her faith is what pushes her to do the right thing.
Having been homeschooled in Pennsylvania prior to this school year, Young had to take a required entry-level class with mostly freshmen, according to the nomination. Despite this, Young goes out of her way to bond with her fellow students and work with those with special needs.
“I want to please my Lord and show his character by doing the right thing and showing kindness to everybody,” she said.
Gilbert said the Do the Right Thing program shows the potential young people have.
“Its students like you that make our jobs as police officers that much easier,” he said. “It’s awesome to see them recognized for doing something right.”
Each of the winners received a gift bag full of gift cards, coupons, and an iPod touch and Do the Right Thing commemorative items.
Amanda Harris: @amanda_d_harris, email@example.com
The following students were all recognized March 24 at the most recent Do the right Thing Awards ceremony:
Grand Prize Winner: Sampson Piermattei, Springfield Middle School seventh grader – Is always working with his peers that have special needs to ensure they are successful in class.
Diondre Gaskins, Nation Ford High School sophomore – Stays behind every day cleaning up his classroom, stating “I know how hard the custodians have to work. They shouldn’t have to clean up after us,” according to the nomination.
Zaria Drakeford, Springfield Middle School seventh grader – Reported a student’s admission that they were planning to harm themselves, ensuring they got the help they needed.
Savannah Young, Nation Ford High School senior – Constantly helps her fellow students.
Hunter Lawrence, Springfield Middle School eighth grader – Befriended fellow students who were struggling socially or academically.
Grace Asaad, Fort Mill Middle School sixth grader – Helped a student clean up his spilled milk and has taken being bullied by her fellow students with an understanding that it is a reflection on them and not her.
Skylar Whitmire, Fort Mill Middle School sixth grader – Helps special education students in her Spanish class, making sure they understand the work and made sure to keep a friend’s phone safe after she dropped it.
Natalie Chuck, Nation Ford High School senior – Created fundraising events for Cookies for Cancer, Breast Cancer Awareness and Pennies for Paris.
Conor Hanath, Springfield Middle School eighth grader – Invited special students to be his partner in badminton, helping them do well in the game and feel welcomed.
Darrius Brooks, Banks Trail Middle School eighth grader – Helped the school nurse in the health room for six months after she was injured.