With the increasing severity of this nation’s social problems, it is imperative that children are taught character education. In today’s society, children are often faced with poor parental guidance, ineffective role models, negative media images, and an inability to set goals. In an effort to combat these negative influences on today’s youth, Melinda Toole has dedicated hundreds of hours to promoting character education as her platform for the Miss Alabama and Miss America Pageant Organization.
During the past three years, Toole has helped implement character education programs into three schools, Paine Primary School, Paine Intermediate School and Fort Dale Academy. Her involvement with the national non-profit organization, Core Essentials, enabled her to equip these schools with a myriad of character education lessons and resources. Furthermore, she attended a Character Counts! Seminar, enabling her to become a certified Character Counts! Educator. Following this certification, she was able to establish communication with the Director of Instruction of the newly formed Trussville City School System, Dr. Pat Hodge, in order to expand the realm of character education, not only to elementary school students but also middle school and high school students as well. This program she worked to promote is interwoven into the students’ lives in the sports arena, places of future employment, and their homes.
Her platform transcends the classroom. Toole has spoken to thousands of children and adults. Some of her speaking engagements have included organizations and civic groups such as the Greenville Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club, Trussville Chamber of Commerce, as well as numerous local churches. In addition, Melinda is currently working on gaining sponsorship for an Amendment she has drafted to the Alabama Accountability Act 95-313, in order to make character education more effective in the state of Alabama.
Her sincere commitment to character education has led her to be recognized by many. Recently, local Representative Arthur Payne invited her to the Alabama House of Representatives in order to write a resolution commending her for her community service accomplishments. In addition, the Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools, Phil Hammonds, invited her to speak before fifty-two administrators about the importance of character education in the classroom.
Her desire to reach all children and teach the fundamentals of character was a deep-seated interest that led her to give of her time freely in the schools on a regular basis to teach her lessons in a very organized, structured way that impacted students in a powerful way. She has lived the character education she has taught and has made the community better because of her desire to see children learn character at an early age. This contribution and impact will be felt for years to come.