Character Counts

Character Counts

National Character Education Foundation visits Brookfield Elementary School.

World-renowned basketball handler Charlie Aeschliman spoke to Brookfield Elementary School students last week about achieving goals. A U.S. Navy SEAL for 10 years, he has performed basketball stunts in NBA, WNBA, and NCAA half-time shows.

He tells the students that his dream was to become one of the best basketball handlers in the world.

"If you want it enough, you can too," Aeschliman told the crowd.

He performed basketball stunts and drills with one, two, and even three basketballs — all choreographed to music with a little wit thrown in.

At Brookfield, Aeschliman taught students how to spin a basketball on their fingers and on the top of water bottles. Brookfield Principal Kim Brown even had a try at spinning the ball on her finger.

Aeschliman used students as assistants to help balance balls on the corner of books, wire circles and even toothbrushes. The students were all very excited and eager to participate, and many of them danced along with the music.

One student, Joey, went on stage and performed passing techniques with Aeschliman. They started passing one ball, then two, then three. The students hooped and hollered every time Joey threw the ball. While this was going on, Aeschliman made the point to say "no" to drugs and alcohol.

"When someone throws it at you, throw it back," said Aeschliman, "just as you would a basketball."

The character-building program was entirely funded by Brookfield's PTA. "It's a wonderful program, we are very lucky to have the opportunity for them to come," said PTA president Dawne LeKang.

According to Principal Kim Brown, the school was honored to share the day with Aeschliman and NCEF — the National Character Education Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based organization which teaches the benefits of good character.

According to NCEF Founder David Rettig, integrity, respect, and courage are essential for good character. The goal of NCEF is to help children see their worth and strive to achieve their dreams. The NCEF team conducts assemblies in both private and public schools around the country. It is made up of professional athletes, musicians and military personnel.

"Students are more willing to listen when it comes from a celebrity or star," said Aeschliman.

The All-Pro Action Team uses music and sports to gain the students' attention in order to share their ideas in a more relaxed, fun environment.

Aeschliman teaches students that they can do whatever they put their minds to. "What matters most is who you believe you can be," said Aeschliman, "even the first woman president."

Aeschliman has been working for NCEF for four years and performs about 200 shows a year.