Michael DeJong of Montezuma is one of 12 Iowa individuals and groups who was honored this week with an award for exceptional character through the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University.
The 2020 Iowa Character Awards celebration was broadcast on KDSM Fox 17 in Des Moines on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Michael received the Aaron Eilerts Community Service Award. He will be senior this fall at Montezuma High School and demonstrates good character by being a leader in his school and community. He is very active, participating in cross country, speech, band, student council, and National Honor Society, all while balancing a job, volunteering, and participating in other out-of-school commitments.
Rather than take a free period, Michael devotes his time in school when not in class to working two in-school internship opportunities. He spends significant time working with junior high math classes as a tutor and doing graphic design work for the school’s technology department.
“As a teacher and coach, I know I can count on Michael to do the right thing and set a positive example. Michael is the ultimate role model of character that I have met,” said nominator Kevin Gartman.
“It is such an honor to be receiving this award and I would not be the person I am today without the help and guidance from my family, friends, and mentors,” noted Michael.
The Ray Center annually recognizes Iowans who show the Six Pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS!: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. Since 2005, the organization has recognized more than 100 Iowans for showing good character.
The 2020 Iowa Character Awards are presented by Hy-Vee, KDSM-TV, CJM Financial and The Des Moines Register. Additional partners include Iowa Farm Bureau and Alliant Energy. For a complete list of Iowa Character Award recipients, visit IowaCharacterAwards.org.
The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, Iowa’s home for the CHARACTER COUNTS! and Excellence with Integrity programs, provides character and leadership development strategies to improve civility and develop ethical leaders throughout the world.