SULTANA, Calif. - Every week in partnership with the Tulare County Office of Education, we tell stories about South Valley students with character.
Second graders are always on the move, but for one second grader at Monson-Sultana Elementary School in Sultana, moving is more of a challenge.
Daniel Meza has cerebral palsy, but it hasn't slowed him down in the classroom or on the playground -- thanks to the character of his 2nd grade class.
"They are very sweet. Very loving. Very compassionate with Daniel. They want to help him all the time, " Daniel's 2nd grade teacher, Yolanda Pruneda said.
At the beginning of the year, the whole class set goals for Daniel.
"To help him become more independent in the classroom, to try to get around the classroom without his walker," Ms. Pruneda adds. "To help him only when he is struggling."
While in the classroom, Daniel parks his walker -- which the kids call his car. The students know it's important for Daniel to be independent and to build up his muscles by walking around on his own.
"If we don't help Daniel he won't learn how to do stuff when he is older," 2nd grade classmate Victoria Gonzalez said.
The students help by being aware and keeping their desks tidy so that Daniel can grab on while he moves to the class learning stations.
"When he falls down we help him and pick him up," classmate Esteban Carrillo adds.
When outside on the playground, Daniel is never left alone for long. Rather, these 2nd graders find activities and games to play that Daniel can be a part of.
And the reason they do it, is simple.
"Because when he was in kindergarten he was my best friend, and is ever since -- that's why," Gonzalez said.
Carillo adds: "It's good to help other people."
A little village taking care of one of there own. Showing kind gestures that remind us what it means to be a team and include others. Others, like Daniel, who just wants to feel like everybody else.
"I dare you to not fall in love with him," Ms. Pruneda said. "When you meet him. He is just the sweetest kid ever."
With the sweetest class ever, they make Daniel's days easier..and brighter.
Ms. Pruneda's 2nd grade class at Monson-Sultana Elementary school shows us why Your Character Matters.