FORT HOOD, Texas - Duncan Elementary School was presented the Texas School of Character Award March 25, on Fort Hood for its Character Education Program.

The award was presented in front of a packed DES cafeteria in front of numerous guests to include the III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander, Brig. Gen. James M. McDonald, and the Fort Hood Garrison commander, Col. Bill Hill.

1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, adopted DES through the Fort Hood Adopt-A-School program, and their Rear Detachment commander, Capt. Tyler Stegeman, was on hand to take part in the school's occasion.

"I cannot even tell all of you how incredibly proud of each and every one of you I am today," said Stegeman, from Jefferson City, Mo. "You see a person with great character is someone who is genuinely a great person, someone who puts others before themselves, someone who places doing the right thing above choosing the wrong path."

Stegeman added, to be named a school of character doesn't just indicate the type of students they are, but also the type of person each one of them are, both in the classroom and out of the classroom.

Karen Washington, the Houston Independent School District's CEP's program manager, presented DES's principal and faculty with a banner that read, "Texas School of Character Award 2009," on behalf of the state of Texas CEP.

"More than 400 schools throughout the state of Texas submitted applications to the Houston ISD," said Washington, of Houston. "Based on the national criteria, reviewers screen applications using a scoring rubric based on Character Education Partner's 11 Principles of Effective Character Education."

This award is the product of the school's community dedication to encouraging and modeling our vision statement by following these character traits: Caring, Citizenship, Fairness, Responsibility, Respect, and Trustworthiness.

"This is great achievement for our students and staff to be recognized and honored in this manner," said Marie Davis, the DES principal. "I am very proud of them and for the efforts that they have demonstrated throughout the year."

During the service, students performed character skits about stealing and bullying.

"The faculty and staff set out to make Duncan Elementary School's community one of character," said Loucindy Benton, a DES counselor. "We want the children, when they leave DES, to able to impress upon the next school that they are kids who can be trusted, depended upon, and that they are going to work hard. We want them to represent that they have great morals and are good citizens who respect other people and are respected."

Benton, from Dawson, Ga. said, students have been benefiting from the character lessons taught throughout the school year, from pre-K through fifth grade, teachers have interweave lessons about the character traits into classroom activities.

After the ceremony, the students paraded through the hallways while holding banners they made proclaiming the character traits they aspire to live by.

DES faculty members plan on traveling May 16, to the Capitol, in Austin, Texas, to receive an honor from Texas State Legislature.