Return to Headlines

Kirkwood High School Service Project Selected for CharacterPlus 2024 Champions of Character Recipient

Students and staff members from the Kirkwood High School Innovation program are one of four recipients of the annual Cardinals Care Champions for Character Award. Champions for Character recognizes local schools for excellence in service learning. The St. Louis Cardinals have partnered with CharacterPlus on this initiative since 2004.

For their service project, students and staff from the Innovation program conducted an annual Diaper Drive. Students prepared and decorated collection boxes and placed them around the KHS campus. Students went on the weekly school announcements soliciting donations and creating awareness of the event. After the drive, the Innovation team went to the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank to present the diaper donations and monetary collections to organization representatives. The group also spent time sorting and packing sizes and feminine products. Since 2019, their efforts have netted over 8,000 diapers collected and $4,320 in monetary funds. KHS did not hold the diaper drive in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a Champion of Character, KHS senior Cam'Ron McKinney will throw out the first pitch at the Cardinals game on Monday, May 20. KHS Innovation teachers Phil Cotta and Katie Vondera will join him on the field. Students and staff in the Innovation program were also gifted tickets by the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

CharacterPlus® is the longest-running character education initiative in the country. Champions for Character recognizes local schools for excellence in service learning. The St. Louis Cardinals have partnered with CharacterPlus on this initiative since 2004. The program goal is to increase awareness of the benefits of service learning and encourage schools to move from one-time community service to more long-term, schoolwide service learning projects. For projects to be considered service learning, they must demonstrate how the service is connected to curricular standards, that there was student voice in the decision-making process, student leadership in the project, and reflection on both how it felt to serve and how the project went.

The 2024 recipients of Champions for Character are:

• Wilkinson Early Childhood Center (St. Louis Public Schools)

• Campbellton Elementary School (School District of Washington)

• Riverbend Middle School (Meramec Valley R-3)

• Kirkwood High School (Kirkwood)