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Bucket loads of character at Golden West
Golden West eighth grader and student body president Valarie Amaya, right, stands with the rest of the council during Fridays Character Counts assembly. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Students at Golden West Elementary School may or may not be familiar with the works of Carol McCloud.

She authored the book “Have you filled a bucket today?”

However, they’re now familiar with Kelly Nickel, who is the regional director for Bucket fillers for Life, Inc.

He met with students Friday at the Character Building assembly.

“McCloud (book) is almost the same as ‘How Full is Your Bucket’ by Donald Clifton,” Nickel said.

The message is the same.

His “bucket filling-based character education program conducts life-enriching assemblies much like at the one held at the Golden West multi-purpose building along with workshops geared for children and adults.

“The concept is that everyone has an invisible bucket,” said Karen Corchero, who is the school’s program coordinator. “The more things that you do the more your bucket and other buckets get filled.”

Earlier, Nickels had a group of kindergarten through second-grade students, in which he had to “Barney-fy” his presentation to cater to these youngsters.

He did the “Jim Carrey” thing to entertain while get the message across to the third- through- fifth- grade students.

With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Nickel used a plastic pail for his bucket-filling metaphors. Inside, the bucket is said to have messages of anti-bullying, using pro-kindness and pro-empathy.

One message students became familiar with is that of “Fill more / Dip less” – he incorporated that message into lyrics, using top-hit songs by the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen and Taylor Swift.

Nickels also encouraged students to “have fun, have a positive attitude, and treat people special.”

In addition, he engaged youngsters in fun activities such as “I’m alive, awake, alert, and enthusiastic, too” sing-along.

In any event, youngsters came away with big smiles, which is part of the message.

“Bucket fillers are little things that add up to make a big difference for others,” Nickel said.

He served eight years as a stay-at-home dad to his three children while directing a large faith-based youth and children’s program.

As an educator, Nickel has a professional passion in designing and delivering student-centered learning experiences. The result of that are real, measurable outcomes.

Before he bid his adieus, Nickel encouraged students to take an oath to “hear by promise to do much better filling (their) bucket.”