Every week in partnership with the Tulare County Office of Education, we tell stories about South Valley students with awesome character.
At Westfield Elementary School in Porterville there is a student who has earned the nickname “Honest Abe.”
Like former President Abraham Lincoln, 4th grader Damein Sotelo, believes in fairness, honesty, and equality for all.
“Often times when kids are off task, he will remind them, ‘You are not doing what Mrs. Baker asked you to do’,” said Damein’s 4th grade teacher at Westfield Elementary, Mrs. Janet Ecobiza-Baker. “They will say, ‘You are too honest Damein. Can you give us a break?’ And he says, ‘No that’s not fair’.”
In the classroom, 10 year old Damein helps his teacher Mrs. Baker and is a role model among his class — admitting when he makes mistakes and taking ownership for his actions.
“Honesty is important because if you lie it won’t take you to good places,” said 4th grader, Damein Sotelo.
From the classroom to the playground, Damein practices what he preaches. Like at recess, when a group of boys wouldn’t let the girls join in and play football.
“All of them are saying the girls shouldn’t play, but I’m telling them they should be fair because what if I said you can’t play? How do you think the girls feel?” Damein adds.
Damein is passionate about including everyone and helping his peers choose right over wrong.
“He plays fair and whenever we play tag or something, he tells all the rules before we even play,” classmate Madilyn Ruiz said.
Living up to his “Honest Abe” nickname, Damein hasn’t always had it easy in life, but he has always kept it real.
Mrs. Baker adds:
“Even with setbacks in his life, he has a beautiful spirit. I love the fact that as a child he knows the difference between right and wrong and is willing to speak when he sees an injustice. Or if someone is not doing the right thing, he is not afraid to speak his mind.”
Damein Sotelo of Westfield Elementary school shows us why Your Character Matters.