At the Educator Appreciation Breakfast on March 12 (from the left), Melissa Anderson and Tara Horn from Buckhorn Elementary School and Kelly Noel and Lisa Kennedy from Lopez Elementary.

By Linda Chion Kenney

The Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon hosted a breakfast on March 12 to celebrate educators who work with club members to provide school-based youth programs, including the Terrific Kids student recognition initiative at elementary schools.

“I feel we should all be giving you this breakfast, rather than you giving it to us,” said Lisa Kennedy, a guidance counselor at Lopez Elementary School in Seffner.

“A lot of our kiddos, they might not have that academic achievement yet, but my goodness, they light up when they know they’re going to be a Terrific Kid,” said Cathy Haynes, a guidance counselor at Valrico Elementary.

She added that when Rotarian Eddie Jenkins visits the school each month for the Terrific Kids ceremony, for the students “it’s like winning the lottery.”

Being recognized for “character traits and skills,” Haynes added, gives them “that feeling of success that will carry them throughout their lifetime.”

According to Kiwanian Janet Daigle, the Brandon club has Terrific Kids programs at Alafia, Buckhorn, Colson, FishHawk Creek, Frost, Gibsonton, Kingswood, Limona, Lithia Springs, Lopez, Nelson, Riverview, Seffner, Stowers, Valrico and Yates, as well as Bailey, James, McDonald and Tinker.

The Terrific Kids student recognition program is designed to promote character development, self-esteem and perseverance. (‘Terrific’ is an acronym for thoughtful, enthusiastic, respectful, responsible, inclusive, friendly, inquisitive and capable.)

Recognition includes getting pinned as a Terrific Kid, a food-themed party and presentation of certificates and other giveaways, including a bumper sticker that notes a child’s ‘Terrific’ achievement.

School-based Kiwanis youth programs also include K-Kids, for elementary students; the Builders Club, for middle school students; Key Club, for high school students; and Circle K International (CKI), for college students.

At the March breakfast, Kathy Horn, assistant principal of Buckhorn Elementary, said she’s come “full circle,” having been both a student at Buckhorn and a member of the Key Club at Bloomingdale High.

Buckhorn students, she added, love Terrific Kids.

“If they don’t get a bumper sticker they come back and get it, and their parents want it too,” Horn said. “All the work you do, and the money you spend, it’s all worth it for our kids.”

The Brandon Kiwanis club meets at 8 a.m. on Thursday mornings at the Golden Corral on 815 Providence Rd. in Brandon. Visit BrandonKiwanis.com for more information.