Every year, Do the Right Thing presents the Dr. Andrew P. “Sam” Haywood Award to an overall Do the Right Thing winner. The award is given to a student who displayed exemplary attitude and behavior, showed bravery under extreme circumstances, or participated in outstanding volunteer work. All student winners over the course of the year are eligible to win the award.
Dr. Haywood taught school in Charlotte before serving as principal at four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools: Tuckaseegee Elementary, Coulwood Middle, Independence High, and West Charlotte High. He was later named an area superintendent.
Dr. Haywood assisted in leading Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools through the turbulent years of desegregation and was very much interested in educational reform and alternate methods of education. In 1970, Dr. Haywood was presented with the Oak Leaf Award from the North Carolina Parent-Teachers Association. In 1998, he earned the esteemed Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina, and reserved for individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state.
Dr. Haywood retired from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 1992, but continued to volunteer with groups that supported education, including the North Carolina Board of Education, CMS and Do the Right Thing. He passed away in 2006. We honor his memory and accomplishments by presenting this annual award named for him.
Congratulations to these previous award winners!
2015 Dr. Andrew P. “Sam” Haywood Award winners
Joseph Reyes was home asleep when he heard a several gunshots. The suspect was inside the house and firing at Joseph’s brother, who was hit several times. Joseph ran to his brother, dragged him down the stairs and out the door to safety. The suspect followed them outside, where Joseph stood in front of his brother to protect him. Joseph tried to wrestle the gun away from the suspect, who ran away. If not for Joseph’s bravery and quick actions, his brother may have been killed. Joseph Did the Right Thing when he risked his life to save his brother, despite a very frightening and stressful situation.
When Elijah was attending Northeast Middle School, someone stole his track bag from his locker. The bag contained his workout clothes and older running shoes. The next day, Elijah told Officer Kiser that he found out who had taken his things—because the student was in the school library, wearing Elijah’s clothes and shoes. As Officer Kiser and Elijah were walking to the library, Elijah said, “Officer Kiser, even though I want my stuff back, I’m going to try to hold my composure because I don’t know that kid’s circumstances and maybe there was a reason that he took my stuff.” The officer met with both students and their parents. The other student agreed to return the clothes, and explained he took them because he was being teased by other students, who were calling him names because of what he was wearing—some of which was too small. During the conversation, they learned the student’s parents were self-employed, but hadn’t been able to work because of a car accident. They had fallen behind on their bills, but were catching up and planned to buy new clothes to replace the too-small ones when the incident happened. The student returned the items the next day, but Elijah also went above and beyond, Doing the Right Thing when he brought a large bag of gently used clothing for the student who had taken his clothes. Officer Kiser said, “I have never in my 15 years of being an SRO seen such selflessness demonstrated in such a compassionate manner from one student toward another. To know that there are still some good people out there in the world gives us all hope. This nomination is one that I am so proud to write, like the others; but this one in particular deserves special attention because it embodies so many qualities that have sadly disappeared from society.“
Ezra Adams was a senior at Harding University High School when the substitute teacher and another student became engaged in a verbal, then physical altercation. Ezra saw the student hit the teacher and immediately jumped up and intervened to stop the assault.
2013 Dr. Andrew P. “Sam” Haywood Award winners
Jonathan Traverso, a freshman at Ardrey Kell High School, was home alone caring for his younger sister, when suddenly a fire broke out at their neighbor’s townhome. Jonathan opened the back door of his house to investigate and was hit by intense heat and smoke. Jonathan immediately got his sister outside and called 911. His quick actions saved not only himself and his sister, but also all the building’s other occupants.
Aliyah Morris was a junior at Harding University High School when another student showed her a gun in her book bag. Quietly, Aliyah asked her teacher for a pass to the restroom and nurse’s office. Aliyah went to the SRO’s office and told the officer about the gun. The officer immediately went to the classroom, removed the student and took the book bag. Thanks to Aliyah’s actions, the officer found the weapon and no one was hurt.