Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
It’s a simple concept, "What you do to others will come back to you, for what you do to others will bring good or bad consequences to your life."
It was this concept that inspired the late Helen Whittle Katz, a passionate believer in the importance of character, particularly as taught to youngsters. She established The Katz-Helen and Ray Whittle, Jr. Foundation to fund The Golden Rule Character Awards in Georgia’s Glynn County and McIntosh County Public Schools.
Since 1999, the Foundation has awarded more than $800,000 to students, teachers, and schools.
A Golden Rule Character Student of the Month is recognized in each of the Glynn County and McIntosh County public schools in six months of the school year.
About the Award
When Helen Whittle Katz saw in the late 1990s that local school students were often recognized for sports achievements or good grades, but rarely for good character, she set out to change that. Seeing a clear need for character education and desiring to reward students who exemplify worthy character traits, Helen approached school principals and superintendents in Glynn County with her vision for a program to acknowledge students of all ages who live by the Golden Rule Law of Life, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
When local educators embraced her proposal, Helen generously established The Katz-Helen and Ray Whittle, Jr. Foundation as a memorial to her four deceased family members (children Helen and Ray Jr. and husbands Ray Whittle and Morris Katz) and to fund the award program in perpetuity.
In the spring of 2000, the first Golden Rule Law of Life Character Awards were presented to Glynn County students from the 1999-2000 school year. Today, The Golden Rule Awards have grown to include schools throughout Glynn and McIntosh counties, recognizing and rewarding students at every grade level, as well as teachers and staff members, who exemplify this law of life. The Golden Rule Awards have been awarded to thousands of individuals since the program’s inception.
Between September through November and January through March, a Golden Rule Character Student of the Month is recognized in each of the Glynn County and McIntosh County public schools. All monthly winners receive $50 cash, a t-shirt, a bumper sticker, and a certificate of accomplishment.
In addition, the winner’s name is inscribed on a permanent plaque displayed in the entrance hall of the school.
A special Golden Rule Selection Committee at each school determines the monthly winners who exhibit the character traits inherent in The Golden Rule: respect for the creator, kindness, compassion, honesty, patriotism, citizenship, fairness, respect for others, cooperation, self-respect, self-control, courtesy, tolerance, diligence, generosity, punctuality, cleanliness, cheerfulness, school pride, patience, creativity, sportsmanship, loyalty, perseverance, virtue, respect for the environment, and courage.
Ballot boxes placed in the school media center or another prominent location are provided for nominations by students, teachers, and staff members, who are encouraged to nominate students whose behavior consistently demonstrates the values expressed by The Golden Rule Character Awards program.
At the close of the school year, monthly winners from each school in each county, together with their families and friends, are invited to a celebration ceremony. During the ceremony, each student is introduced and receives a certificate of accomplishment and $50 cash.
From nominations proposed by the school committees, a Foundation Selection Committee chooses one Golden Rule Character Student of the Year from each of the three school divisions of elementary, middle, and high school. These students of the year receive an additional cash award. Seniors selected in an interview process from each high school are recognized as Golden Rule Character Award winners and receive cash gifts.
To encourage schools to promote this program, the Foundation Selection Committee recognizes a school from each system for outstanding performance in encouraging students to live by The Golden Rule Character Awards program. The school selected from each system receives a $3,000 cash grant.
The Don and Marjorie Varnadoe Paragon Award is given to an educator in Glynn and McIntosh County Schools who does an exemplary job of teaching, encouraging, nurturing, and living The Golden Rule Law of Life. The selected winner from each system receives a $1,500 cash gift.
The Golden Rule Staff Award is given to a non-certified staff member from each system who does an exemplary job of living and demonstrating The Golden Rule Law of Life character ideals in the school setting. The selected winner from each system receives a $1,000 cash gift.
At the close of the annual ceremony, all students, families, and friends are invited to a reception in honor of all winners.
Dr. Kelly Howe
Board of Directors
Dr. Jim Pulos
Dr. Scott Spence
Rev. Annie Franklin Arvin