Do the Right Thing award presented to eight students

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Do the Right Thing awards were presented on Thursday to eight students whose good deeds made an impact.

The ceremony honored Monroe County students in kindergarten through 12th grade who have demonstrated courage, kindness, heroism, or leadership. News10NBC’s Emily Putnam presented the awards at the ceremony, the second one of the 2022-2023 school year. The final ceremony of the year will be on May 4.

The Rochester Police Department has held The Do the Right Thing Awards since 1995. Since the program began, 1,100 students have won an award. The students are nominated by adults, including family, friends, school staff, or coaches.

Here are the winners of the award

Carlos Cullet, 3rd Grade, Virgil I. Grissom School #7 (RCSD)

Carlos was nominated by 911 Telecommunicator Kathleen Burns for his bravery during a family medical emergency that occurred in March 2022. Carlos, who was seven years old at the time, was at home with his grandfather while his mother was at work.

When Carlos was unable to wake his papa, he called his mother who then called 911. During this 911 call, Carlos’ mother was able to also get Carlos on the phone and had him on speaker so he was also able to communicate with 911 as well. While Carlos was on the line, he was so calm and helpful, answering the telecommunicator’s questions and comforting his upset mother.

Unfortunately Carlos’ papa had passed away in his sleep, but Ms. Burns wanted to make sure Carlos’ heroic actions were recognized, saying that ‘the bravery that he had just amazed me, for being so young and for literally experiencing one of the worst case scenarios, I commend him. He is such a great little boy with the strength of a grown up’.

Skylar Jones, 4th Grade, Plank Road North Elementary (Webster CSD)

Skylar was nominated by his grandmother, Jody Nolan, for his calm and brave actions during a family medical emergency that occurred this past October. When Skylar got home from school that day, he recognized that his grandfather wasn’t feeling well and called his grandmother at work to tell her.

After Ms. Nolan spoke with her husband and realized how sick he sounded, she left work immediately to come home. While enroute, Skylar tried calling his grandmother several times to tell her that papa fell. When he was unable to reach his grandmother, he called his mother and told her what had happened.

Now with both women headed to the house, and 911 contacted by one of them, Skylar handled multiple phone calls between the two, where he was told the ambulance was coming and would likely arrive before either of them. During these conversations, he kept both family members informed of how papa was doing, assuring them he was conscious, breathing, and encouraging him to talk. He also secured the dog, and went to meet the ambulance when they arrived and helped them into the home.

Skylar handled this chaotic emergency at 9 years old better than some adults would have! He stayed calm and kept his grandmother and mother informed until medical help arrived. When asked afterward what he would have done if he would have been unable to contact either of them, he confidently said that he would have called 911 himself. Skylar’s family is so proud of him!

Brian LaMere, Jr., 6th Grade, Rochester Prep Middle School 3 (Charter School)

Brian was nominated by 911 Telecommunicator Kathleen Burns for the impressive way he handled a recent medical emergency. This past November, Brian was home alone and called 911 because he was having trouble breathing.

During the entire phone call he remained calm and answered all of the questions that Ms. Burns asked. Even though he was in a scary situation, his ability to remain calm and effectively communicate with Ms. Burns was very impressive. Brain was transported to the hospital, but is now doing just fine!

Xzavianna Matos, 7th Grade, Northwest Junior High at Douglass (RCSD)

Xzavianna was nominated by her 6th grade teacher, Ms. Carletha Bell, for her honesty and integrity. Last school year an adult from an outside organization was volunteering in their classroom at Abelard Reynolds School #42, and accidentally left her iPhone 13 Pro in the restroom.

Xzavianna found the phone and turned it in to the office. The volunteer was contacted and the phone was returned to its rightful owner. The volunteer was very grateful to have her phone back, and everyone at School #42 was very proud of Xzavianna for choosing to do the right thing and turn the phone in.

OlaRose Ndubuisi, 10th Grade Our Lady of Mercy School, for Young Women

OlaRose was nominated by her mother, Dr. Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi, for her leadership and advocacy for children with scoliosis. At the beginning of 9th grade, OlaRose was diagnosed with scoliosis. Initially she felt alone and afraid. Although her curved spine and back brace were visible, her pain was not. However, she has managed to take what could have been a very negative experience in her life, and turn it into something very positive by helping raise awareness of this medical condition.

This past December, OlaRose started a project called Finding Scoliosis Kindly (FiSK) to increase scoliosis awareness, and to advocate for early management and treatment to prevent or improve the challenging physical, social, and emotional effects of scoliosis. She is passionate about her FiSK project because she believes that the effects of scoliosis are hidden and need to be revealed and understood in a kind way. OlaRose designed a t-shirt which she is selling in an effort to raise funds for free scoliosis screening in an underserved community. She also developed a research survey about scoliosis awareness, which has reached over 20 states, as well as other countries, and has enabled her to connect with other high school students. Both adults and children have participated, and through this project students have expressed increased knowledge about scoliosis, more empathy for those suffering from it, and have pledged to do an act of kindness a day.

Olarose uses poetry to convey and navigate her emotions and scoliosis journey. Writing poetry has helped her to freely express her experience with scoliosis and turn her pain into something beautiful and relatable. OlaRose hopes to start a Finding Scoliosis Kindly Club in her school. She envisions a club that would encourage writing and art as therapeutic, positive outlets for expression, for those both with and without scoliosis. She hopes to create a supportive, fun environment where students can feel comfortable communicating their thoughts verbally and artistically, without judgement or feeling that their emotions are not valid. To raise scoliosis awareness, OlaRose intends to organize monthly service projects that the club can do to help those in underserved communities to help prevent, improve, or manage scoliosis.

s young lady is an exemplary leader and role model for her peers and others in the community to use their voices, no matter how small, to raise positive awareness for causes affecting the vulnerable in the community. Despite her medical challenges, she maintains a radiant positivity, perseverance, and continues to excel academically.

Nikolai Patel, Kindergarten, Autumn Lane Elementary (Greece CSD)

Nikolai was nominated by his mother, Rebecca Jason, as well as his sister, Santii Patel. Santii was a Do The Right Thing winner in October 2019 when she was a 2nd grader. She was nominated for her kind and giving spirit.

Nikolai has decided to follow in his sister’s footsteps and give back to the community as well. He has a huge heart and wants to continue giving back to our local first responders. He’s held lemonade and hot cocoa stands to raise funds to buy treats for the local fire department, and is currently saving money to buy them lunch. Nikolai is always looking for ways to help his community as well. He goes around the neighborhood and picks up any trash he finds, and has turned in lost property that he found at the store to security.

His sister has also had a huge impact on him with making the world more inclusive, and he assists her in her mission of helping build inclusive playgrounds in the area. Along with Santii, he’s attended meetings with local state representatives and business leaders to keep making playgrounds accessible for everyone!

Javon Rivera, 8th Grade, Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy (RCSD)

Javon was nominated by his school counselor, Ms. Sherrolletta Scissum, for his heroic actions this past fall. Javon loves hanging out with his cousin and friends as they venture throughout the neighborhood making videos.

One Sunday in October during one of their adventures, Javon’s cousin was electrocuted. The light from the shock was so bright Javon was not able to see for a moment. Once he was able to see he observed his cousin was laying on the ground unresponsive, and immediately ran over to help him. Javon called 911 and started CPR until the Rochester Fire Department and paramedics arrived. Once help arrived, Javon called other family members to let them know what was happening.

Javon’s cousin was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where he remained for over two months. He had to have his hand amputated, but is now home and doing well in part because of Javon’s quick thinking. Everyone at school, as well as his friends and family, think Javon is a hero!

Dominic Turturro, 11th Grade, Churchville-Chili High School

Dominic was nominated by 911 Telecommunicator Kathleen Burns for the way he handled a recent family medical emergency. Back in September, Dominic was watching his two year old sister while their mother was at work.

He called 911 after his sister had what appeared to be a seizure. During the call, Dominic was very brave, and was able to stay calm and focused as he provided Ms. Burns the necessary information needed in order to send the appropriate help. Thanks to Dominic’s actions, his sister is happy and healthy today, and his family is so proud of him for being such a caring big brother! Ms. Burns said that she could tell during that phone call just how much Dominic loves his little sister!

You can see past winners here.