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DOING THE RIGHT THING SCHOOL REWARDS GOOD DEEDS WITH TREASURE.

Byline: MARK KELLAM Valley News Writer

Good deeds can be little gems of knowledge for teaching children the importance of doing the right thing -- particularly if they think no one is watching.

Chatsworth Park Elementary's Parent Booster Club recently started a recognition program for students who do praiseworthy acts. At 8:15 a.m. each Monday, three students get to pick out prizes from a treasure chest during a student assembly.

Each is honored in one of three categories: demonstrating caring with random acts of kindness, showing good citizenship by performing a praiseworthy deed or taking responsibility by doing volunteer work.

Students are nominated during the week by a school staff member who witnesses them doing the good deed.

On April 24, Samantha Ferreira, Rudi Hagood and Naweed Malal were selected to dig into the treasure chest.

Samantha, a second-grader, was recognized for her random acts of kindness. She is always helping other students and making sure everyone is happy, stated her teacher Ellen Irshay, who nominated Samantha. ``If someone doesn't have a partner, she always volunteers,'' Irshay added.

Rudi, a fourth-grader, was nominated by school Principal Elizabeth Cervantes because she picked up a cardboard box that was blowing away on the playground. She brought the box to Cervantes, who placed it in the trash. Rudi was honored for her good citizenship.

Naweed ``took it upon himself, without being told, to clean the sand back into the sandbox,'' stated teacher's aid Becky Gittins in her nomination. Naweed performed the deed without any help from other students, she added. He was recognized for his volunteer work.

The treasure chest program was created by Terri Telford, president of the school's parent booster club.

Telford said she'd seen her daughters bring home various toys and games from smaller treasure chests in individual classrooms. When the school received a large donation of toys and games from a local business, they had to be stored in a spare bedroom in Telford's house. As she looked at the pile of goodies, Telford got an idea. ``I thought, `Why not have a hug treasure chest for the whole school?''' she said.

Telford and other booster members decided to reward qualities other than academics. Qualifications such as volunteerism and community involvement are more important today than they were 20 years ago for admission into a good four-year university, Telford explained.

Telford got her husband, Chris, to build the chest. Four other parent boosters -- Beaumont Chimene, Cathy Morrison, Karen Birnbaum and Rekha Lad -- decorated it.

On its lid, the chest has inscribed the main message behind the program, ``An Act of Kindness Is Where You Begin to Partake of the Treasures That Lie Within.''

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Photo:

Naweed Malal, left, Samantha Ferreira and Rudi Hagood get to pick out prizes from a large treasure chest because they performed good deeds at Chatsworth Park Elementary School.
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Title Annotation:Valley News
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 10, 2006
Words:477
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