Title: Distinguished guests join State of Indiana to boost character development
What does good sportsmanship have to do with good citizenship? Plenty, according to Peyton Manning. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback joined Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon; Dr. James L. Edwards, President of Anderson University; Mr. Don Peslis, Director for the Center for Character Development; Ronald J. Stratten, NCAA vice president for education services for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), based in Indianapolis; and others at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis today to make his first appearance as honorary spokesperson for the Center for Character Development at Anderson University.
Also at the rally was nationally known—Grammy award winning singer Christian contemporary vocalist—Sandi Patty; and more than 100 young voices from the Anderson Area Children’s Choir. Mr. Stratten was on hand during the event to announce a special partnership with AU’s Center for Character Development and the NCAA's national character development program entitled, “Stay in Bounds.”
“When the Center for Character Development and I took this cause to Evansville a couple of months ago, I met an 8th grader who led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance. He told me that when he started middle school, he was failing all his courses, but now he’s on the honor roll. His school’s emphasis on character has cut down on put-downs, roughhousing and other destructive distractions,” O’Bannon explained.
“Now, he told me, if people are less fortunate, other students don’t go around the hallways making fun of the clothes they wear. There’s less fighting. It feels safe. He feels comfortable and can concentrate on learning,” the Governor said.
“There are few things more important than a person’s character,” Manning added. “If I can influence one child in developing his or her character as much as his or her math, English or sports skills, then this effort will be worth it.”
“Character development may be the most significant undertaking for Anderson University in recent years,” said the university’s president, James L. Edwards, Ph.D. “We have received enthusiastic response and participation from educators, business leaders, community officials and — especially — children and youth. Our partnership with school systems, the NCAA and the State of Indiana is off to a great start.”
Manning earned his bachelor’s degree in just three years. He put off accepting a multi-million-dollar National Football League contract so that he could play out his fourth year of college eligibility and begin post-graduate studies. Manning ranked among the NFL’s best quarterbacks ever on entering their third season. Earlier, at the University of Tennessee, he garnered honors including the NCAA Top VIII for Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete in Athletics, Academics and Community Service, and he was named one of 10 outstanding young Americans by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce.
“The NCAA is extremely excited about joining the governor, Peyton Manning and the Center for Character Development,” said Ronald J. Stratten, NCAA vice president for education services. “We are committed to the development of character through the vehicle of sports and believe the center will be an exceptional resource for our ‘Stay in Bounds’ program. ‘Stay in Bounds’ is a character-development program, sponsored in part by Lilly Endowment Inc. and other Indianapolis organizations for Indiana youth.
“The NCAA wants to be a viable partner with the governor, as well as our schools and community and faith-based youth development organizations,in building good citizens throughout the state of Indiana,” Stratten said.
O’Bannon and Anderson University launched the Center for Character Development last spring to collect ideas for building character in school, then share those ideas with parents, teachers, community leaders and others who’d like to help.
“Character education sets the tone of responsibility, honesty and sincerity,” said Lawrence North Principal Lynn Lupold. “Character education provides an opportunity for individuals to do what is right when no one is watching. If all schools participated in setting a tone of doing the right thing, all schools would be a better place for students, teachers and parents. Lawrence Township is taking an active role in making character education a priority. It begins with each of us every day doing what is right.”
The Center for Character Development will help local groups develop character education in their communities through efforts including seminars, mentoring and a statewide resource center. More information is available on its new web site: www.character-development.org.
Phil Bremen or Cheryl Reed, The Office of Governor Frank O’Bannon, 317-232-4578;
Chris Williams, Anderson University, 765-641-4235;
Melody Lawrence, NCAA, 317-917-6116;
Mary Ellen Hamer, Lawrence Township Schools, 317-546-4921, ext. 106