ILMS’ good character is a shining example

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The  2010-11 school term has been an award-winning year for the Indian Land area schools.
Earlier this spring, Indian Land High School earned a pair of Palmetto Gold awards. Those honors were quite a coup for academic success at the Lancaster County Panhandle Class AA high school.
Now Indian Land Middle School is in the spotlight again with its second national award.
IL Middle is one of 10 schools nationwide to be honored as a 2011 U-ACT school by the Red Robin Foundation. The  Red Robin Foundation was established in 2006 by the national Red Robin restaurant chain to give back to the communities in which it does  business.   
The acronym “U-ACT” stands for “Unbridled Acts,” or random acts of kindness. Red Robin’s U-ACT program recognizes schools that demonstrate a commitment to promoting kindness and is dedicated to character building in grades sixth to eight. Those traits are important in the grade levels where building character is vital.   
“Our school isn’t perfect, and that is exactly why it is important to have a focus on character-building efforts,” said ILMS principal David McDonald. “The support from the Red Robin Foundation has allowed us to ‘kick it up a notch’ and continue to provide creative ways to model, teach and expect positive character traits.
“We are so pleased to be recognized as one of the top 10 schools in the nation for our commitment to provide a program that helps us teach kindness toward others.”
The U-ACT winning schools were selected based on the unique programs they implemented throughout the school year to reward students for their kind acts and the community service projects they implemented to make a difference in their communities.
The programs implemented by Indian Middle, which earned them the honor, were the Champions of Character, Character Counts Week, A-OK Week and Pasta for Pennies.
ILMS was also recognized by the state for its character-building programs when it was named a state School of Character this spring for the second year in a row.
Last year, the school won recognition as a National School to Watch, through the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grade Reform program, created in 1999 to honor high-performing middle schools. That recognition didn’t carry a cash prize, but it did give the school’s leadership team the opportunity to go to the National Schools To Watch Conference in Washington, D.C., where they were able to share ideas with leaders  from high-performing middle schools all over the country.
IL Middle School’s new honor of being a U-ACT  Merit School entitles it to a $1,200 grant and $250 to reward the students  with a party.
We hope they have fun because they’ve certainly have good reason to celebrate.
Their good character shows and has drawn notice across the state and the country.